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Readers Respond: How Has IBD Affected Your Marriage?

Responses: 16


Updated July 21, 2012

From the article: Lack Of Sex Drive With IBD
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) puts stress on all your relationships, and especially your marriage. People with IBD frequently suffer from fatigue, and may need to spend time in the hospital or resting while recovering from a flare or surgery. The well spouse may wind up taking on more than their share of responsibilities such as housekeeping and child-rearing. IBD can also take a toll on your intimate life. Yet, some couples may find that they grow closer with the adversity that a health problem brings. How has IBD affected your marriage? Share Your Story

So very lonely ...

I am the healthy spouse. I have been married to my husband for over 20 years. He was diagnosed about 8 years into our marriage. He does not feel well a lot of the time. I am lucky that he is able to work (mostly from home) and supports us while I try to get my own business off the ground. I am extremely lonely. When he is not working, he is not feeling well. Sex is non-existent as is the intimacy. I try not to take it personally, but as a woman, I bristle at the constant rejection. I also care for our children totally alone. Except the financial support (which is huge I know), I am basically a single parent. I travel alone with the children and take care of so much alone. I always offer my support to him and make sure that he is taken care of at all times. I have no one to talk to as no one truly understands. Not many of my friends have experienced anything like this because we are still young. I do worry what my life will be like in 10, 20 years if it is this sad now.
—Guest Caregiver's Side

UC Sucks

I've been with my girl for 7 years. She's been fighting this disease ever since. She gets an infusion every 4 weeks has had every bad reaction you can think of and a total knee operation because of the meds at a very young age. I might add she's also anemic. Everyday is a struggle most recent is seizures from another side affect. Sex life -- forget about it. Attitude all the time due to her just being Burnt out all the time. It takes a massive toll on everyone. That's part of the relationship just because she's going through it doesn't mean I'm not feeling the affects as well. I guess why I'm writing is just to say y'all are strong going through this it is a very serious condition but the love I have for her is so strong I will never go anywhere. I just wish she would see this it's easier to write to strangers then bug her while she's feeling sick.
—Guest Eric c

Only diagnosed with UC in December...

So this is all new to me. I talked it over with my husband and he totally understands. He has been there every step of my illness. I also have Fibromyalgia, so he knows what it is like to deal with someone with a chronic illness already. This one unfortunately has a very nasty twist.
—Guest Wendy H

True Love Conquers All

My boyfriend and I have been together for 3 years now. He told me about his colitis about a month into the relationship. He explained the symptoms and the disease. We're very active people, we love hiking and scrambling. He's a photographer and we would go out on trips all the time. About a year ago, we were on a trip and it started with a horrible migraine. He was up all night sitting in the dark trying to wait it out. The next few weeks he was hospitalized because of horrible stomach pain, we then found out that he got an ulcer because of the colitis meds. We've been on a constant roller coaster with his health. In and out of the hospital because of dehydration. We're trying everything we can to help him go into remission. We do not accept this taking our lives away. We've had to make changes in food, where and how long we go on trips, even in our sexual lives, "where there's a will there's a way". He gets depressed at times, I let him know its ok. We're a team. We'll get through this.
—Guest BL28

He's not perfect but doing his best

I've been with my boyfriend for 3 years, and we met when I had a terrible flare-up. He tries to understand the symptoms of my Crohns, but never fully realises that I go to the toilet 8-9 times a day or that I've stopped eating because I feel sick. Our sex life is non-existent, as it is so painful for me. And he's still with me, which is amazing an I'm thankful for that. We talk about having kids but know that it will be a long hard battle - first to be well enough to come off Methotrexate; and then we have to wait another 18 months to even start trying for a baby. He's not perfect, but he's doing his best under the circumstances. Talking and being with each other is key.

UC The great struggle........

I was first diagnosed with UC some 17 years ago. My struggle began a few months before I got married. My first symptoms left me both scared and worried, too shy to speak about it . By God's grace I was blessed with a wonderful husband who loves and cares for me. Pregnancy, childbirth and child rearing made it more difficult for me to balance my responsibilities along with my poor health. UC left me a totally withdrawn person. Due to weakness, fatigue and frequent bowel movements I became a home bird. Due to financial strain medication became far fetched at times. I could not come to terms with my illness and so refused to accept it. My loving husband and caring doctors helped me realize my folly. A flareup in 2011 and a piece of my doctors mind shook me up. This made me be regular with medication and follow ups. I am now symptom free. I feel both stronger and more confident. Thanks to the Almighty for having blessed me with such wonderful people. GOD BLESS to all who share my problem.
—Guest Honour

Hang On

I am 55 years old, have had Crohn's for 16 years, married for 36 years, raised 3 children, and have 5 grandchildren. Living with Crohn's has been very hard at times. There is no way IBD will not affect your marriage in some way. My husband didn't understand for years what I was going through, although I would try to tell him. After a medical scare a few years ago, he finally told me that men are "fixers" and he felt like he had failed me because he couldn't "fix" my illness, so his natural response was to pull away, which I saw as not caring about me. So, we were in a vicious cycle for years. Now, we take each day as it comes and we adjust to situations as needed. I can't imagine having gone down this road with anyone else. So, my advice is to "hang on". There are many twists, turns, and bumps along the road with IBD. My faith and love for God have grown during this time. I know He will always take care of me.
—Guest Karen

We are on a constant roller coaster

I was diagnosed about 3 years ago with UC. But I have been sick for about 5 years. My husband has never understood this disease. He never truly understood how I could sleep for hours or had no energy. Our sex life was non existent which really put a strain on our relationship. He then turned to the one person I thought who was really there for me. They ended up having an affair which when I found out made me sicker. Fast forward 7 months later. I found myself a full time job but did stay with him trying to work on everything we now do a lot of talking. I still don't know if we will stay together but we are trying because we love each other and for our children. So for now I stay on the roller coaster hoping it will end soon . Good luck everyone.
—Guest Carjewel

Lucky with Crohn's disease

I feel so lucky and blessed because of my husband! When my husband and I first started dating I told him about all my issues and he said he didn't care he would be here for me no matter what! Then I was hospitalized for 20 days because I had to have an ostomy after my bowel busted open. My now husband only left my side to go to work and then he would come to the hospital and stay the night with me sleeping on a hard cot every night! I went through a little bit of a depression after that because I now had an ostomy in my 20s and would have it the rest of my life. I had lost my job and had all these mounding medical bills and not sure how I was going to make it. Three months after all this my husband proposed to me and we just had the most amazing wedding in June. That's why even with Crohn's I feel like the luckiest girl ever. He is such an amazing person and even with all my issues he adores me!
—Guest Naomi

Boyfriend Can Only Take So Much

My boyfriend can be a saint. He tries so hard to do whatever he can for me...which isn't too much but helps since food is on the second floor. But sometimes he can get resentful. Like I'm doing this on purpose or like he is the one suffering. I have tried to explain that top take care of me he had to take care of himself first. He doesn't quite understand but he's trying!
—Guest Abby

Marriage and Colitis

I was diagnosed with UC 10 months ago. I've lost 40 lbs. I'm 5'9" and now weigh 128 lbs. I have been in total misery but have one of the most unsympathetic husbands. He just doesn't understand what I've gone thru and really doesn't care to hear it. Our sex life has had to make a total turn around and he stays mad all the time about that and there isn't a thing I can do. I'm about ready to tell him if sex is that important go look elsewhere. I have gone thru broken bones, heart attack, kidney stones and a lot more and have always been completely sympathetic with him. Why can't I get the same treatment? This horrible disease has changed my whole life and I just wanta make it go away!
—Guest Peg

No One Since...

I have given up on a relationship since I developed Crohn's disease. I have had the disease relentlessly for going on 8 years now and I find it so hard looking after my own health, medications, TPN, hospitalisations, appointments. I can't imagine having to start a relationship or worry abut someone else. And that's not even considering the way this disease has destroyed my body, self esteem and hideous side effects that are now permenant. If there was someone out there for me he'd have to be one hell of a guy!
—Guest Eliza

Crohn's Affecting My Marriage

My husband is still devoted to me even though our sex life is non-existant. It is very uncomfortable for me to have sex because I do not know what will happen. The last thing I want and am most afraid of is having an accident in the middle of sex.
—Guest MsTaz51

Sick And Tired Of Being Sick And Tired

I couldn't imagine having three children and doing it. I only have one and I have to drive 45 minutes every morning to get her to school and get to work. It's so draining trying to get through the sickness and get out the door I have no option but to do it. My family depends on my income and missing work to rest just isn't a option. I dream of being normal and pain free. I just want to eat normal food and have a normal life. I want to be able to do things with my daughter that she wants to do but my days off are usually spent trying to rest from a week of sickness It doesn't help that I run a warehouse and do a lot of heavy lifting that can make you feel worse during a flare up. I am newly married and he knew about my illness before we got married but he never lived it first hand until this year. It seems to take a toll on him as well even though he's very sympathetic to what I am going through. Living with this doesn't seem like life. I have been sick for 12 years & it gets worse every day.
—Guest Erin620

Crohn's Disease

Diagnosis and treatment destroyed my marriage. My ex-partner of 12 years withdrew from any sharing or indeed caring about my illness. She simply couldn't cope with watching my descent. Relationships since then have been transient , as a result I have little faith in love and rely on my own resources to survive. I can end a relationship by letting them know the real reason for my lack of money, employment. Initial diagnosis should include joint counseling when steroids are first prescribed.
—Guest Tim

It's Not Easy

I have 3 children, one who is mentally handicapped and when I have a flare-up -- forget it. I'm tired all the time. It definitely does put a strain between my husband and myself. He doesn't understand how this really affects me. Mentally and physically. And sometimes he is not open to discussion.

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