Preparing for a big date can be incredibly fun, and incredibly nerve-wracking. For those who live with IBS, however, the factors to consider go beyond just what to wear or where to eat. Today we’re talking about dating with IBS, and what strategies you can use to make it easier on yourself.

Dress to Impress and Feel Great

We want you to look your best, and feel your best! When you’re choosing your outfit for the big night, don’t just think about how it will look, but also how it might make you feel. Avoid tight or constricting waistlines, as these can become a serious pain in the case of bloating you can’t relieve. The best ‘fit in the world won’t do any good if you’re too distracted, uncomfortable, and self-conscious to enjoy your date – and this is true for everyone. Feeling your best goes hand in hand with looking your best, allowing you to show up as the best version of yourself! For more bloating style tips that can help you look great while dating with IBS, check out this article by the Tummy Diaries.

Set Yourself Up for Success With Gut Friendly Goodies 

On the days leading up to your date, you’ll probably be buzzing with excitement. You can better prepare by giving your tummy some extra love and care. This starts with eating gut-friendly foods and making sure to prepare recipes that will nourish you without causing uncomfortable symptoms.

If you’re going out on the big day, try to do research on the menu ahead of time to find out what you’ll be able to order. Most restaurant menus are available online, and with the Monash Low FODMAP App, you’ll be able to navigate with confidence. 

If you feel it’s appropriate, you can also suggest spending a special night in; doing your own cooking is a great way to make sure you’ll be able to enjoy your date without triggering your IBS. Eating in can be just as special as going out; you even make your own romantic low-FODMAP three-course meal

Keep Those Butterflies Under Control!

It’s great to have flutters of anticipation before a special date, but you don’t want them to be all-consuming, as they can turn into stress. While stress doesn’t cause IBS symptoms, it can exacerbate them when the brain releases certain hormones and sends certain signals to the gut, causing it to become over- or under-active. 

Ironically, stressing about possible symptoms can lead to stressing about stress, which can in turn lead to symptoms flaring up, trapping you in a vicious cycle. If you’re starting to feel anticipation turning into anxiety, try using some stress-busting techniques or take some time to yourself to work on a favourite project or hobby, and remember: everything will be ok!

Dating with IBS Can Require Honesty

Granted, IBS symptoms don’t make the best conversation over a candlelight dinner. Depending on the stage of your relationship, however, disclosing your condition to your partner can make it easier both for you and for them to deal with symptoms and the effect they have on the relationship. Dating with IBS and dating someone with IBS comes with its own particular set of challenges, and being open about them will likely relieve some stress for you, and relieve some confusion or uncertainty on your partner’s part. 

If you’re not sure where to start or how to broach the topic, it’s a good idea to do a bit of research on the best ways to explain and talk about IBS. This article from Very Well Health is a great place to start, as it offers some great openers and conversation templates. Remember, however, that you don’t have to share anything you’re not comfortable sharing with anyone. Fundamentally, it’s your body and your business!

Everyone Has Something, And Most Importantly…

Be yourself! It’s normal to feel nervous before a special date, and whether it’s your first date or your four-hundredth, you want everything to go perfectly. But if you’re worried about your IBS throwing a wrench in your spokes, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Millions of people around the world are affected by IBS and stomach problems. And even more people than that have issues in their relationships that leave them feeling vulnerable.  

So once you’ve set yourself up for success, all that’s left to do is enjoy yourself. With the right decisions and a bit of planning, you can make it a night to remember – in the best way possible.

For more tips on navigating IBS and stomach sensitivity, check out Fody’s blog, and head over to our recipes section to find delicious, gut-friendly recipes for life’s special events, or just for any old day. 

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