Since February is the month of love and Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, we thought it’s the perfect time to discuss dating with a stoma bag…
One of the biggest concerns for ostomates is how other people may react to their stoma, this is especially true for a potential partner or someone that you are dating. We’ve put together our top tips for dating with a stoma to make sure it’s an exciting experience for all ostomates.
First dates when dating with a stoma…
Going on a first date with someone new can be a nerve-wracking experience at the best of times, even more so when you have a stoma to think about. Therefore, when you’re arranging a date with someone new, it’s a good idea to opt for doing something that makes you feel comfortable and doesn’t make you feel any more nervous.
Dining out is typically the most common type of first date, since it provides the perfect opportunity to chat and get to know someone properly. Dining out with a stoma isn’t much different. If you do decide to go out for a meal, maybe choose a restaurant that you know well as this can help you feel more at ease.
It’s also a good idea to choose a meal that you know your stoma reacts well with, avoid any new food types just incase it causes an upset with your stoma whilst you are on the date. The chances are you will already have a good idea of which foods react well with your stoma and which don’t, so stick with what you know.
Of course, there are many other date ideas that you could choose to do; whether it’s some sort of activity, going to the cinema, going for a few drinks or maybe just meeting up for a coffee. It’s important that you only choose an activity that you know you are comfortable doing and that you aren’t risking any damage to yourself.
Always make sure you are well prepared and take plenty of supplies with you and ensure you know where the nearest toilets are in case of any accidents.
When to tell your date about your stoma
Opening up about your stoma to a new partner can be daunting. However, it’s important that you do have a conversation with them once you are comfortable to avoid any awkwardness further down the line.
There is no set time of when you should tell the person you are dating that you have a stoma, it’s completely up to you and depends on when you feel comfortable to do so. Generally speaking, if you have been on a few dates with someone, things are going well and you both like each other, it’s probably a good time to tell them. It’s also important to say something before your relationship turns intimate to avoid any surprises and to make sure you are both comfortable with the situation.
When you do tell your partner, it’s completely up to you how you decide to word it or how much detail you give. A good place to start is to just explain what it is, how long you have had it and why. Try to keep things positive and lighthearted as this can help to make it less awkward than making it a serious conversation.
Sexual relationships with a stoma
Despite many ostomates being concerned, it is possible to have a normal and healthy sex life with a stoma. If your new relationship is likely to turn intimate soon, it’s really important that you communicate with your partner to ensure that both of you are completely comfortable beforehand.
There are a few things that you can do to prepare and help you feel more at ease before sex, for example, emptying your stoma bag will stop you worrying about any leakages. It may also be a good idea to use a stoma belt to hold your bag close to your skin and prevent it from getting in the way.
The key to enjoying a normal sex life, whether it’s with a new partner or someone who you’ve been with for a long time, is to communicate well and make sure that both of you are completely comfortable.
Be confident with your stoma
Our final piece of advice is to be confident in yourself and to not let your stoma get in the way of your love life. Remember that your stoma has likely saved your life and if someone can’t accept that, then the chances are a relationship with that person was never going to work out anyway. So, be positive and don’t accept anyone who makes you feel self-conscious or worried about your stoma.