As most of you guys know by now, I am currently having a bastard of a time with my stomach in the shape of some bacterial issues and a leaky gut. This basically translates to a very boring diet, a bloated stomach and a lot of time stuck on, or near the loo. And unfortunately for my boyfriend, I am at the moment, totally unable to hide what is going on from him, no matter how much I wish that I could.
Now before you say it, I know that he loves me to pieces and that he won't mind talking poo with me from time to time, we have been together for 4 years this January and if we're honest, he would be a bit of a prick by being disgusted by it, at least externally. So yeh, we talk about it. In fact, we are at the point now where it's probably the thing that we have been talking about the most. Which if I am totally honest, I hate. Almost as much as poor Alex does. But what choice do we have? It's such a big part of my life right now that it would be impossible not to talk about it; the poor man now knows pretty much everything there is to know about my poo, which for some reason, we seem to think that this is a HUGE DEAL and something that our significant other should never ever find out about us.
Despite our 4 years together and my current health issues however, I still want (need) Alex to find me attractive, and I would have hoped that I could have maintained an element of mystery around me, at least until he saw me pooing myself on the delivery table whilst trying to squeeze a baby out, for the good of the relationship. But the one thing, I am sad to say, that I have discovered about leaky gut syndrome, is that it is very hard to be sexy, let alone feel it, when poo is number one on the agenda most days. Yet my IBS isn't going anywhere and neither, I hope, is Alex, so I have had to try and find a way of making the two things work together, of making them coexist.
And since we all poo, I thought I'd write about this. Because whether you too are the proud owner of a leaky gut or irritable bowel, or if you are just one of those people who would like to be able to do a poo in their own house without four candles lit in the middle of the night, then I'd like to help. So here are some of the things that I am doing to maintain a relatively normal relationship with my incredibly long suffering boyfriend.
I started trying to make myself feel like two different people.
I know this sounds weird and unnatural and totally different to the "Pretty Normal Me" message that I normally spread, but go with me here: the Em that shits a lot is normally the barefaced one who is sitting on the sofa in her pyjamas cuddling a hot water bottle, the Em that is the sexy ass mo fo that she wants to be is the one out for dinner (fine, a glass of water) with the killer lipstick on and the high heels. When I am out, even if I am making regular loo trips, I am not the girl that is constantly complaining about an upset stomach. This might actually be more important for me than it is for Alex, but it really does help me to differentiate between the gross me, (that's how I see myself BTW, not the idea of pooing in general) the natural me, and the girl that I want to be around Alex from time to time, and I think it is an important thing to do, even if it's only once in a while.
You also need to remember that pooing is totally natural.
I mean it, even the Queen poos (everything changed for me when I realised that for the first time). Trying to hide this totally essential part of our day to day lives when you think about it, is utterly ridiculous. It doesn't mean that it has the be the topic of every conversation that you have at dinner, but it does mean that it ought not to be tiptoed around like an unexploded bomb - no one should pretend that they don't shit - it's just weird.
Have the conversation
It doesn't need to be a 'babe, we need to talk' kind of thing, but dropping it into conversations around the subject every now and then is not a bad thing. 'You might want to wait a couple of minutes before you go in there...' 'OK, I am never ever ever ordering spicy food again as long as I live' type sentences are not the relationship ending, like crushing, humiliation inducing things that you think that they are. I'd put a lot of money on your SO not giving one flying fuck because they will appreciate that EVERYBODY POOS.
Take as much stigma out of it as you possibly can
The first couple of times it will be weird, I grant you that. But after you get used to having the conversation, it will stop being this huge elephant in the room and will just be something that happens. Alex and I are a couple of months into constant poo chat and it stopped being gross (at least for me) about 5 days in.
I know that for many of you reading this, this isn't a big deal. Of course everybody poos and I know that a lot of our readers are married or in very long term relationships with partners that are long since used to sharing the bathroom. But I suspect if you are early doors in your relationship or have, like me, been diagnosed with the least sexy illness in the whole wide world, then this is a pretty big deal, so this was for you guys.
Happy pooing everyone and here's to never having to do it in the middle of the night with the windows open again, who knows maybe one day soon we too, like our male counterparts, will be applauded for stepping into the bathroom with a coffee in hand and a newspaper under our arm before photographing our shits and uploading them to ratemypoo.com - oh a girl can dream.
EDIT: My boyfriend has since rung me (as in is on the phone right now) and said to me: "babe you won't believe it but I just pebble-dashed the whole loo...." So there we go, I think we're officially what they call 'comfortable.'