I love talking to people about IBS. I think that helping people understand what I go through is an important way to make other people with IBS feel like they aren’t alone. In some cases, it can make them feel better about their own journey or struggle. But, recently, I was asked about how someone should support their significant other. (Disclaimer: I’m single and have never dated another person with IBS. This is just my view of it.)
Because IBS can be different for different people, I think it should start with a conversation. I believe it would be a good idea to make it something special, maybe with their favorite meal or something you know they can eat and have wanted to try. This will not only help them feel special but put them at ease. And both of those are things that you want, especially for this kind of conversation.
Then, you’ll want to try to ease into the conversation. If you want to start with an apology for past actions (perhaps if you’ve been dismissive or had arguments about IBS), that will never go wrong. If that doesn’t apply to you, you can mention that you want to be a good partner and take their health into consideration. Acknowledging their pain and suffering is a nice touch, also.
That’s when you want to hit them with the big question. How can I be more supportive? This starts a conversation about what they need from you when they want support. Different people want different things from their partners. And how we read support can be relative. It would be good to follow up with asking how you can help during a flare. During a flare, many sufferers need support more than in daily life. And this will be highly appreciated and a very nice gesture. Flares are also as individual as the person’s IBS. Some people need help moving around, and others might need someone to keep them in bed. Cooking for them is nice, so is bringing them tea or water and keeping them hydrated.
The most important part of this conversation? It has to come from love. When you open a conversation thinking about how much you love this person and keeping that persistent through, you can’t go wrong. It’s something you’ll want to remember and maybe say once in a while. It helps to affirm that you want to help, you want to care for them and that you will try to understand. If you want to say those things, it won’t hurt; either. 😉
Just remember that having this conversation is a step in the right direction. And I’m sure it will be appreciated, far more than you know!
As always, if you have any questions that I haven’t covered shoot me an email. I’m always happy to help!!