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Telling a new partner about IC

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  • Telling a new partner about IC

    This is directed to people who are dating, or in a new relationship with someone. I'm a very honest person and in general I feel honesty is the best policy, but sometimes when it comes to medical conditions, I have mixed feelings about this. I know many of us with IC really don't have a choice about whether to discuss it or not - it's pretty obvious when we're in the bathroom every few minutes. But some of us can sort of "get by" and a new person in our life not necessarily notice immediately. So many guys, even if they are nice, understanding people, just don't handle medical information well. It's very confusing and threatening to them. And it's also stressful for us to sit there and have to describe our whole medical history on a date. Personally, I don't think that's always the best approach. It can sometimes ruin a potentially good thing even before it gets started or has a chance. Some people are just intimidated by the whole concept of pain, illness, etc. esp. if sex is part of the scenario. I'd rather let a person get to know ME first, not my medical records. True, people who judge based on health issues are suffering from a lack of compassion somewhat, but we can't expect everybody to immediately get with the program in two seconds. It's a lot to absorb.

    Nowdays, I tend to take a "wait and see" attitude before telling all and giving tons of info about my medical history to someone. In fact, I've been glad I didn't on several occasions when the relationship didn't work out for entirely other reasons than anything health related. I mean, are we supposed to give our personal medical histories about ourselves as if that sums us up, on the first date? Or even later? It's as if we don't have the right to keep certain things personal for awhile, or for as long as we can or wish to, because our bodies are an open book for the whole world to read. What about our privacy and feelings? It's as if I'm labeling myself "IC patient" instead of funny, intelligent, interesting, exciting person in my own right, and I think a guy sees it that way too, if I start out discussing my "health problem". True, some people are lucky and seem to run into all the understanding guys, and that's great. But I don't really think that's the norm, unfortunately.

    So then the question becomes, when and how to discuss it? Again, I think small doses of info is best. Hitting someone over the head with it all at once will scare away lots of guys. They aren't necessaryily "bad" people, they just aren't geared to hearing a lot of bad news like that in the beginning of a relationship. It's rough and I don't have the solution, but maybe we should look at the possibility of slowly discussing it over time. It just seems to me that some potentially nice relationships get killed off or nipped in the bud before they've had a chance. Let the person shine through first, then the body. If we put our bodies first, as if that's the be all and end all, then when do our personalities have a chance to work their magic on another person lol? I don't advocate lying to anyone, no. It's HOW and WHEN to transmit this information. True, you don't want to do it just before the "big night" and he's expecting sex 24/7. I'm just trying to keep things from self-destructing too early and maybe give more relationships a chance before they're dismissed out of hand.

  • #2
    dating w/ IC

    Well I'm not on the dating scene anymore.....married for six years now. But I've had IC since before I met my husband. Back then, I didn't have a name for my "pee problem." I would just laugh it off and say, "Yeah I have the world's smallest bladder." And then as I spent more time w/ someone I would get more honest about it---"Well, actually I pee b/c it hurts to hold it." And then I would get REALLY HONEST---"Okay I hurt all the time to some degree."

    But, then again, back then I didn't have a name for what I had---IC. I'd been to many doctors and was told that nothing wrong with me and that it was "in my head." By this time I was seriously dating my husband and so I never had to decide how to disclose all of this information to anyone.

    And I'm lucky in that sex hasn't ever been painful for me. Sometimes I have to stop and pee in the middle of it though! (And annoy the *%#@ out of my husband, but I've never had a pain issue w/ it, LOL). So this was never an uncomfortable dating issue for me either.

    Anyway, if it were me, I wouldn't discuss it for a long time. A guy will eventually notice on his own and will probably ask you about it. I'd just give them the bare minimum information and I'd try to sound as optimistic about it as possible. (So you don't scare them off or make them feel uncomfortable).
    Lee Ann
    Current Rx Meds:
    Atarax, Ditropan, Elmiron
    Prior to pregnancy: The above 3 meds PLUS Neurontin, Topamax, Loratadine, continuous OrthoCyclen, Lidocaine Patches PRN, Temazepam PRN, & Vicodin PRN
    Hooray for babies!
    Misc. lifesavers: Hot baths, ThermaCare Heat Wraps, Ice Packs. The IC Diet has changed my life.
    Didn't work for me:
    Detrol LA, Amitryptiline, Morphine, Percocet, TENS unit, Interferential Pain Stimulator Unit, Hypogastric Plexus Nerve Block
    IC (Mod-Severe) since 1996

    UPDATE: 5/21/08 Pregnancy and breastfeeding afterwards have alleviated my IC symptoms more than anything, EVER. Most days are 100% pain free & I now have normal frequency (as long as I take these 3 meds).

    My little sweetie! Jack weighed 9 lbs 12 oz and was born via c-section on Feb. 28, 2008...


    • #3
      HI! I agree with LeeAnn they will figure it out soon enough! lol I've only been married for 3 yrs and I had full blown IC symptoms at that time. My told my husband I had a painful bladder sometimes and had to make many trips to the bathroom.....which he witnessed for himself! lol
      So go slow...if it's a guy you are really interested in for a long term relationship then give him a little info at a time.....easier to digest!
      Good luck to you and your relationship! Roxie

      Double Spinal Cord Stimulator surgery 8/09
      Unsuccessful MiniArc sling surgery 12/07
      Dx'd Hypothyroid
      Dx'd Chronic Axonal Neuropathy & Myopathy
      June 2007
      Dx'd IC May 2006 (after suffering for 25+ yrs!)
      First Cysto 1979
      First Hydro 1981 (Many treatments since then!)
      Collagin"Durasphere" injections for urethra
      Gall bladder surgery Aug. 2004
      Gastric Bypass Dec. 2004
      Dx'd: Barrett's Esphogus July 2004
      Dx'd: Vaginal Atrophy 2005
      Bladder surgery 2000
      Dx'd: IBS 2000
      Hysterectomy (fibroids) 1999
      Laminectomy 1989
      Dx'd: Degerative Disk Disorder 1989

      For IC I use Elmiron, Elavil and Freeze dried Aloe Vera (it works likes Elmiron, but naturally)and Azo as needed. I also take Zegerid, Randitine for Barrett's Esophagus. (which causes me to have constant yeast infections!)I take Cymbalta for Neuopathy/Myopathy pain. I use the Climara patch for menopause symptoms. I'm on a very strict diet because of the IC, IBS and Gastric Bypass. I take Primal Defense Probiotics and whole food Iron.
      I no longer have the awful urethral pain! I've been using MSM gel now for 4 mo. and haven't had a flare up or the urethra's amazing stuff!!:woohoo:


      • #4
        Thanks for the feedback! It's nice to know I'm not the only one who thinks going slow with giving info about this ailment is the best way. I do think the "I have a small bladder" idea is a good way to get someone accustomed to the whole story. It's not lying (our bladders ARE small and contracted), and it doesn't sound so much like "illness" to someone. Obviously, we need a way to explain the multiple trips to the restroom and I think guys are kind of used to women having small bladders lol.....we can even perhaps say that sometimes sex hurts and to take it easy. Any guy who can't handle at least that much info isn't worth it. I'm concerned that the new generation of female IC patients are being encouraged to "tell all" right off the bat, as if it's a requirement of this ailment now that it's officially a part of the medical world. Years ago, since no one knew, we could all giggle and laugh at the restroom visits. But now we know better, and that it is a serious problem. I think some patients now feel they must divulge all the details. That's a recipe for disaster in my opinion. It's great to see that you eased your guys into it somewhat, and they were then able to get used to it.

        If I sat and told just about anybody on a first date that I have IC, that would be the last date. I know that. I say "just about" because there are guys who for whatever reason would stick it out, but I'm realistic and I know that's rare. Why deny myself the pleasure of someone's company or some fun by doing that? I HATE feeling dishonest to anyone about anything, but I truly don't see this as dishonesty. I'm not telling someone I have perfect health or everything's fine with me. That would be a lie. Anyway, I do like the "small bladder" explanation for an opening line, because as you say, they're gonna see it soon enough. I'd just like it to be later rather than sooner........thanks for the input!


        • #5
          Just wanted to add a p.s. to this. Sometimes you can reach a guy by telling him something about the ailment he can identify with. Like, if he's into sports, tell him about the golfer from a few years ago (gosh, can't remember her name now, but she had IC and talked about it in a lot of big interviews), and let him know that even sports people, or very physically fit and active women might be dealing with this behind the scenes and no one knows. Try to reach him at his level, something he understands. If he's into movies or the celebrity world, tell him about the actress Pamela Sue Martin who has IC and gave interviews about it some years ago. Yeah, hot sexy women get this too! LOL! That way you won't seem so "weird" to him. Most likely, he won't ever have dated or even met a woman with IC, even though there are many women out here with it, or a version of it! (i.e, chronic UTI, etc.) The stigma of illness is what turns guys off. Medications, pills, doctor visits, hospitals....all this is really scary. The thing is, lots of people have health problems of all kinds, at all ages, but when you say the word "bladder" there's this yucky response. So, it's really important to normalize the situation as much as possible before getting into it further.