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I'm sitting at my computer while my boyfriend is in the other room. We haven't spoken to each other since we both returned from work. It's been this way for a few days. I'm afraid we're headed for a break-up.We've been together almost 3 years, and have talked marriage on several occasions. But... IBS is always getting in the way.Unfortunately, pamphlets and online research aren't really going to do much good here. My boyfriend is a doctor. Not a GI doctor, mind you, but still knows his fair share about the condition. Unfortunately, this makes life no easier. I firmly believe that prior to meeting me, he subscribed to the belief that IBS is not a REAL medical condition. That it's a bi-product of a psychiatric disorder, felt by the over-anxious, and those with low tolerance to pain. Conversations that went this way in the beginning of our relationship often ended up in screaming matches.I know he can't deny that the condition isn't real anymore. I regularly get bloated so badly that I look pregnant (and I'm a thin girl, so it's very obvious). But I still get the feeling that he thinks I'm over-exaggerating the pain that I'm in, or using symptoms as an excuse.I hardly feel like being physically intimate these days. My symptoms have majorly gotten worse in the past year. I'm feeling pretty crappy almost every day. I've got constipation, major gas and bloating, and indigestion/acid reflux. Some days, when the pain isn't quite as bad, I can hide it and try to go out and act normal. But even on those days I don't feel like being physical. I think this is the major strain on the relationship. I think he's feeling unattractive and unwanted, and obviously frustrated. He can't understand why my symptoms have gotten worse (I can't either).I've tried every prescription available, tried probiotics, miralax, fiber, etc etc etc etc. I've tried accupressure, exercise, blah blah blah. I've had IBS for 12 years now. I've determined some trigger foods and cut them out, but I can't figure out everything. Mostly because I'm fine with a certain food one day and then not the next. I also LOVE to eat, so restricting everything (when I'm sometimes okay with certain foods) seems like a nightmare. Sure, anxiety or stress bring on a major IBS attack, but don't account for the everyday bloat, constipation, reflux.I'm not sure what I hope to get out of this long post, but I guess I'm airing frustrations here because I know there are people here who will actually understand. I probably haven't portrayed my boyfriend very fairly in this post either. I should say that he is otherwise very caring, very supportive, very sweet. He's always looking out for me. On our better days, he tells me that he's not mad at me, but frustrated with the disease. And he struggles with it, not having the years that I have had to get used to it. I think it also upsets him that he can't fix it (as a typical man, always wants to fix the problems).I am grateful for having him in my life. But I worry that he's becoming less and less fond of having me in his.I think I may be rambling here, and upsetting myself, which is only making my stomach hurt worse! So I suppose I'll end the post there.Any words of wisdom, or just support or co-misery appreciated. I suppose just typing this has made me feel a bit of a release.
 

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(((HUGS)))I'm so sorry you're in such a tough situation. I can totally understand...Not sure if I have any words of wisdom... Just want to first of all give you a supportive hug...It does seem that your b/f loves you and cares about you (and vice versa). And so maybe after he's calmed down a bit, you could try and have a heart-to-heart conversation with him... you know, let him know that it's the IBS that's making you unable to get physically intimate, and it wasn't him, and that you do love him very much? If it's hard to express these face-to-face without a shouting match, maybe write something down, like a rephrased version of this post (from the standpoint of understanding and appriciating him, but also wanting to work through problems with him), esp. the part that you're not exaggerating your pain and that this pain etc has prevented you from feeling well enough to get intimate with him? As a fellow sufferer, I feel your pain and totally understand. Thing is we've got to make our loved ones understand. So... like you said, it sounds like he feels hurt mainly because he needs some validation that you do love him (and men esp. they intuitively seek confidence from being loved in the more physical aspect). So, like, if you could let him know about how much you love him and how bad you feel about not being able to get physically intimate with him, then, he may be able to understand better. And once he understand a little more, you guys could co-decide what you as a couple could do to work around it and make arrangements that feels OK with both. For example, when you can't get deeply intimate, maybe, just cuddle together by candle light and talk sweetly to each other... etc... you know, who knows, maybe when you're both relaxed and happy, the IBS won't play as much, and then you may even progress from there. The key thing is that you guys as a couple need to talk about it (with the IBS as a given factor) and reach a mutual decision. And also both need to remember that with an illness, a decision shouldn't become like a "prison", but more like a flexible general guideline. And important thing is to keep in mind that you need to feel understood and he needs to feel attractive/wanted. I do understand that for a lot of (if not all) men, the cuddling etc doesn't count. My husband used to be like this the first few years of our marriage -- every time I express my feelings, even just a hug, to him it was an invitation for intimacy, even though it so totally wasn't what I wanted at all, LOL! And for me that was no laughing matter whatsoever. It was pure pain! I couldn't even count how many times I was in tears and he was so totally mad. And when I got diagnosed with IBS, the matter got even more complicated. It wasn't until after a lot of heart-to-heart conversations about our respective expectations and reached a mutual decision that we were able to really get into the new rhythm. So, this might be something to give a try...In the mean time, I'm wondering if you've tried hypnotherapy? We have a forum for this in the treatment section. It is based on solild research and a lot of patients have gotten their pain under control after listening to the CD's. Are you on meds for the reflux? I have GERD, too. I've been using a wedge pillow to elevate the upper torso at night and it works really well. (I got mine from BBB, there are also some on amazon.com). Might be something to try if you haven't already. (((Big HUGS))) again and hope things get better for you very soon! Do keep us updated. We're all here for you!
 
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