If you have ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, traditional restaurant dates can be a recipe for disaster. Try these ideas for fun dates without the fear.
Dating is hard in general. Add inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to the mix, and it can be quite the challenge.
Many of us with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis experience symptoms including abdominal pain, urgency, and diarrhea when we eat, especially when eating restaurant foods that we may not be used to.
When I was younger, I feared going on dates because eating out almost always made me sick. How could I enjoy a date when I was in pain and stuck in the bathroom after dinner?
Of course, it’s a goal to achieve remission, find a diet that works well for your disease, and not fear going out to eat on a date — but this is not always attainable. For those times when you would prefer to avoid eating on a date, try any of the following date ideas that don’t involve food.
During a flare, you will probably want to avoid an active date and stick to a more relaxing activity.
If you do choose an active date, whether you are in full remission or flaring, you will want to know where the bathrooms are. Be sure to come prepared with any emergency medications, biodegradable travel wipes, a change of clothes, safe snacks, water, and any of your other emergency flare essentials.
Naturally, some of these date ideas will work better for more established partnerships, while others are fun even for first dates. Have fun trying them out!
First dates can be full of forced or awkward conversation. To relieve some of this, you might want to consider a date where you do an activity together. It’ll help break the ice and give you more things to talk about.
Of course, staying active also helps improve fitness, quality of life, and self-image. People with Crohn’s disease who regularly engage in physical activity have less disease activity, according to 2021 research.
Try one or more of these ideas:
Summer is certainly my favorite time of the year. You can sit outside comfortably at night, go for after-dinner walks while it’s still light out, and watch the sunset together.
If you’re out in the hot sun, be sure to apply sunscreen, as many medications for IBD may increase the risk of skin cancer, according to 2019 research.
Here are some summer ideas:
It can be more difficult to think of active date ideas in the winter, especially when the weather is unpredictable. It can be gorgeous after a winter storm, however, so bundle up and enjoy the outdoors.
Some ideas are:
When the weather is cold, rainy, or otherwise unpleasant, keep these date ideas in mind:
In the end, dating can be overwhelming for anyone, especially those of us with IBD. Remember that you are worthy of love and joy.
Plan ahead for your dates when you can so there are no surprises. You can even educate your date about IBD if you feel comfortable with it, and let them know how to support you so you feel more confident and secure on your date.
Medically reviewed on September 02, 2022
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