Question: I’m single and dating, and I have IBS. I think telling a new guy is a third date topic. It’s embarrassing and it’s not “sexy,” so I like to put it off as long as possible. The problem is, it’s hard negotiating restaurant choices and choosing items that meet my dietary restrictions without sharing my condition before I’m ready. Him: “Want to try a piece of my [dairy and gluten covered] pizza?” . . . Me: “Um, no thanks. What to try some of my chicken breast without the sauce?” Lame! Or my worst fear, explaining why I have to cut the date short and run home like Cinderella just to get to the bathroom. Any suggestions?
Answer: Dating with IBS can be difficult, especially when you want to have a normal restaurant experience. Here are a few suggestions for keeping your privacy as long as possible. 1) Suggest activities that do not center around food and eat from your “safe list” before you go. 2) Keep your anxiety as low as possible. Dr. Krista Beyer says that “proper management of anxiety and stress is imperative in reducing IBS flare-ups.” So do a little self-care before he arrives. 3) Dr. Elizabeth Carr adds, “remember that the point of dating is to vet people. If the person does not want to be with you because you have IBS, he is not going to be the right person for you in the long run. Waiting to tell people is reasonable given that many first dates do not lead to a second or third date, so there is no reason to tell too soon. That said, do not be afraid to be “found out.” You are looking for someone who will love all of you, even your sensitive GI system.