Dating is tough. Dating with an ostomy is tougher. Maybe you should tell your date about your ostomy beforehand. Or is it better to wait till the second or third date? Maybe you’ll leave it as a surprise, see their reaction on the spot, and hope they won’t run away.
You’re constantly worried that your stoma would act up in the middle of your date. What if the bag fills up or lets out an odor that’s hard to ignore? What if it starts making noises or gets blocked?
While all of these concerns are legit, most of their implications are exaggerated. They should not stop you from finding a partner and enjoying a healthy fun relationship. They won’t even matter if it’s the right person who will accept you for who you are no matter what. The key lies in first accepting yourself the way you are, and living positively and confidently with your stoma. If a date does not seem to comprehend this, then they’re the problem, not you.
Dating with a stoma bag might need some getting used to, though. But if you are thinking of getting back into the field, we are giving you right now the answer to all of your questions regarding dating:
If you have an ostomy and are planning on dating, you need to know how to prepare, where to go, and when and how to tell your date that you have an ostomy. You can start by finding a date on ostomy dating websites, forums, or with any other popular dating services. Later, when your date is approaching, choosing the right venue is an important aspect. You should go to a place where you’re comfortable, that serves stoma-friendly food and has accessible restrooms. Furthermore, a stylish but comfortable dress code as well as preventing odor are things to consider for your date. Ultimately, you should think about when and how you will tell your date about your ostomy.
Therefore, we’ve put together this ostomy dating guide to help you slay it in the dating field. Here you’ll find a list of popular dating websites and apps, decision support in when to tell your potential partner about your stoma, how to prepare for your date, and how you can deal with rejection. Read on!
Welcome to 2021, where most social interactions start online. This holds true when it comes to ostomy dating as well.
There are many ostomy dating sites that you can use to find a date. You can use dating services that are specifically made for ostomates to meet and date. However, being an ostomate should never prevent you from trying to find dates on other popular dating platforms, like Tinder. Chances are, you’ll find a nice date using any of these apps with the right approach.
Ostomy Specific Dating Sites
If you’re looking to find someone who would understand your condition and who shares a similar experience, then ostomy dating sites are the place to go. Websites like Ostodate.com are specifically built to help ostomates find that special someone. No need for awkward conversations about your condition. The people you’ll find there already know and understand what you’ve been through. So, if you’re still feeling nervous and not completely comfortable dating with a stoma, then ostomy-specific dating services might be the way to go!
General Dating Sites
Ostomy dating is not much different than regular dating, and being an ostomate does not mean that you should limit your choices! You don’t have to use exclusive ostomy dating services. You can check out all the popular dating websites in your area to find a date for tonight. Some popular apps and websites you can try out are:
For being successful on a dating app or website, you of course need a good profile that is representing yourself. When it comes to ostomy dating, you first have to decide if you want to showcase your ostomy already in your profile. If you want to do so, there are many ideas where you can use your dating profile to creatively let potential dates know about your stoma.
- The open card approach: having a picture with your bag in your profile
- The direct approach: Stating it in your description
- The word gambler: Stating it in you description, but not directly – use e.g. metaphors or beuteltier
- The pros & cons approach: State something where you find yourself as an ostomate truly have a advantages, as well as disadvantages – be creative & funny
- Two truths a lie: state two things that are true about you, one of it having an ostomy, and one lie
However, many others prefer to not present their medical history online and talk about their condition after getting the other person better. Read below to find out what is your approach to go – before or during the first date, when things are getting more serious, or not at all!
Forums and Groups
The internet is awesome when it comes to connecting people that understand you. There are numerous ostomy-focused Facebook groups and support forums out there where you can share your experiences, ask questions, and even meet new friends and potential partners. Many forums and support groups are international, but english-speaking. You can think of it as a good chance for language exchange!
Here are a few we found:
When it comes to ostomy dating, this is the big question: when and how do you tell someone you have an ostomy?
For Ostomy dating, there is no correct answer when and how to tell your date that you have an ostomy. Around 45%* of ostomates prefer to tell potential partners about their condition early on, even before going on their first date. Many ostomates, however, prefer waiting to see if they click with their potential partner, and share their condition during the actual date. Around 13%* do this on the first date, while 40%* wait even more, till things start becoming more serious. A minority of ostomates (1.7%*) choose to avoid the topic altogether and work their way around it. Whichever way works for you is the right way.
*This survey was conducted in April 2021 among international stoma patients. The data results from 60 voluntary respondents. It was published in the following stoma-specific facebook group “Ileostomy, colostomy, stoma and bowel support”.
Moreover, you shouldn’t feel pressured into telling everyone about your ostomy. After all, it is a medical condition, and you probably wouldn’t go around announcing you have diabetes before going on a date with someone. But when it comes to ostomy bags, (sadly) people who don’t know much about it might feel weirded out. This is why it’s necessary to find the proper timing and way to explain it.
Sharing before going out
Around 45%* of ostomates tell their date already before going out for the first time about their ostomy. It works best for ostomates using online dating services. You can choose to include that yo
u have a stoma bag in your dating profile (bio). If you don’t want to go sharing your medical history on a public domain, you can choose to tell your potential date about your stoma bag once the conversation commences. If you click, and you actually do find the other person interesting, you can go ahead and tell them about your condition.
Telling others about your ostomy early on can save you time and energy. You’ll be able to know beforehand if this someone deserves to go on a date with you, and can properly comprehend your condition.
Nevertheless, rushing into such a conversation can mean that you won’t get to know each other well, and hence would be quick to dismiss or misunderstand each other. If you meet each other in person and your date gets to know you better and you click, your stoma will probably not be an issue anymore.
During the first date
Around 13%* of ostomates wait until the first date before saying they have an ostomy bag. If the person you’re talking to seems to be interesting, and you’ll give them some time to go on a date, then it might be your chance to tell them about your condition. Ostomy dating is pretty much like regular dating. The first date is always frightening. Nerve wrecking. Exciting. You don’t know what to expect.
Once you start sharing your stories, you will start getting to know each other more and more. You already have a general idea about what kind of person your date is. Do they seem like someone you would want to see on a second, third, and tenth date? If they do, then you might want to share the news about your stoma during your date.
This is a good middle ground between sharing too early or sharing too late. You took your time to know the person on a date, so you’re not too quick to dismiss each other. And, if they don’t seem to comprehend your situation, then you didn’t invest too much time or emotions.
It is your first date, you are nervous. And this doesn’t make it easier to talk about your ostomy. For some people it is better to first get more relaxed with a couple of more dates so that also the person in front of you can start to like the real (not so nervous) you. Then it could also be easier to talk about your condition.
Wait even more
Ah, you’ve made it to the third date! That means you probably really like them! Well, kudos to you. By now, you might feel like you want to share that you have an ostomy before things get more serious and intimate.
Waiting for the third or fourth date might be a good option if you want to be absolutely positively sure that this person is the one, before sharing that you have an ostomy bag. By now, you know you like them. You know they like you. And, you kinda know they would accept you for who you are, and won’t care about your ostomy bag. This is why this is the favoured option of 40%* of ostomates.
The risk that comes with waiting too long to tell your date about your ostomy bag is that you might be investing too many feelings and time into the wrong person. You might be surprised that the person who seems right, is not even close to being so. Moreover, by assuming that your date would not understand your condition, you might be prejudging them as untrustworthy and can hurt their feelings.
Avoiding the topic
If you’re too nervous about ostomy dating, and can’t seem to find a way to blurt it out, then it’s fine. A lot of other ostomates have been there as well.
You’re free to keep your condition a secret as long as you like. It’s your own body. Your own life. You’re not obliged to share it. Even if you’re gonna have sex, you can hide your ostomy bag with a stealth belt and say something like “it’s a private medical condition”. Chances are, you’re still gonna have sex anyway.
Nevertheless, if you’re planning to go on long term with this person you’re dating, then you can’t keep hiding your ostomy bag forever. They will soon ask you more about your belt, and you’ll have to explain. So, working your way around the topic might only work if you’re looking for a casual relationship and not a long-term one. This is why only 1.7%* of ostomates follow this strategy.
When choosing a place for your ostomy date, there are a few things you need to consider – food & restrooms:
- By now, you probably know what foods get your stoma going, and which don’t. You want to go to a place where they serve stoma-friendly food. You don’t want to be ordering food that gets your stomach upset and over-stimulates it. The gurgling sounds and stoma winds will make for an awkward date if you’re eating the wrong dish.
- Another thing to consider is the facilities in your date location. Are there any bathrooms? Do they flush well? Is there toilet paper? Emptying your ostomy bag in public might be a hassle if you’re not used to it, especially if the bathroom is not suitable. So, maybe go check out the place before you go on your date to make sure everything works for you. Better yet, choose a place that you’re already familiar with so that there aren’t any unwelcome surprises. In any case, we have gathered 11 secrets about how to make emptying your stoma bag in public super easy.
This is one of the things that most ostomates are insecure about. What if I’m on a date and my bag gives a stinky smell? What do I do to prevent the odor?
There are many tips to prevent your ostomy bag from causing an odor. Try to avoid gassy foods before and during your date. If you don’t know which they are, check our dietary article for colostomies and ileostomies. There are also many methods to hide out the smell, for instance you can try ostomy bag deodorants or odor-eliminating sprays. Moreover, don’t forget to take your Bioderm Stoma Plus clenaser to have a fun and odorless date.
Many ostomates are self-conscious when it comes to the way they look. Is the bag showing? What if it gets full and causes a bulge from under my clothes?
If you have an ostomy and you’re going on a date, you might want to wear clothes that can perfectly hide your bag (while still making you look smokin’ hot). Whether you’re a man or a woman living with an ostomy bag, there are several tips and tricks when it comes to choosing your clothes.
High-waisted skirts, pants, jeans, and leggings can perfectly keep your bag in place and out of sight. Alternatively, you can wear an ostomy belt or any other support wrap to keep your bag from bulging under your shirt or dress. Moreover, these support garments can be useful when things get intimate and clothes start to fly off. Speaking about that:
Is it getting hotter?
No matter if you have told your partner about your ostomy yet or not, it should not make you run away if things are getting more exciting. There are many covers available to shop online to keep your attractiveness-level up high when it comes to intimacy. For this important topic, we have created a special article with top products to cover or hide your ostomy bag, do’s and don’ts for the bedroom and answers to any questions or concerns regarding intimacy, sex and love-life.
When playing the dating game, you’ll always be risking rejection. However, this does not mean that you shouldn’t play. Chances are, if you play long enough, you’ll find someone that loves you for who you are. Someone with whom you can be yourself. Stoma or no stoma, they like you for you.
Whether you’re an ostomate or not, there’s always a good chance that the other person would not click with you. You don’t need to internalize this and start beating yourself about it. Sometimes, your date might not handle the idea of your ostomy bag well, and they make it clear that it’s a problem. It’s fine. It’s not the end of the world. It’s their own problem, and not yours. You need to always keep in mind that not every person out there is as understanding as you imagine them to be.
We asked many ostomates about their relationship with their partner and the most heard answer was this one: They love their stoma since it has saved their life. It made them the great person they are today. It’s the reason why they still exist.
Whether you’re an ostomate or not: self-confidence and self-love are attractive, while self-pity and insecurity are not. Confidence might not come naturally after your surgery, but it’s okay. Support groups, friends and family, doing sports, and finding a calling in life can all help you become the person who you want to be. They will help you feel full and happy.
So, love yourself, love your stoma, and eventually, you’ll find someone to love you both.