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Sex, Desire And Whether Other People Can Handle This

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So, I'm getting accustomed to my new identity as a person with an autoimmune disorder -- and my life is in quite a bit of disarray right now with an ex-boyfriend who's slowly figuring out whether he can come to terms with this stuff and start to rebuild a relationship or not.

I'm generally pretty comfortable with my body and stuff and, ironically, despite the low weight, I do still seem to attract some attention from men -- nice, because it's affirming in a way -- but I'm also way past the point of being worried whether I'm hot or not. At 36, I've got kind of an old soul -- which, combined with knowing I'm not physically whole right now is what's prevented me from following my girlfriends' advice to go out and have a bunch of fun casual encounters.

But here's the question -- eventually I will want to have sex again -- my drive is still there and I know it's going to happen. I worry about whether the fact that I'm technically a "sick person" will scare men off or not. My fear is that -- because I'm someone who's confronted mortality so much recently -- both through Celiac and through my mother's death two years ago -- people will think of me as some kind of untouchable.

This may seem like a weird question and it's obviously based in a lot of my fears -- I do still have a very young spirit -- of the playful, tree-climbing variety -- but I don't know whether other people will be able to deal.

Any thoughts, ideas answers out there?

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Bluntly, if they cant handle the fact you have celiac disease, then they are very shallow and you should ignore them and move on.

Thats just my take on it....

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Bluntly, if they cant handle the fact you have celiac disease, then they are very shallow and you should ignore them and move on.

Thats just my take on it....

Yeah -- I should add that I'm not so much concerned about the ex-boyfriend's desire -- the issues are probably somewhat different there -- having more to do with his frustration that it took so long to figure out what was up with my health. This is more of a larger question since I'm in downtime right now and starting to think about the things that will come up after healing -- whether I'm going to choose to return to this relationship or move on to someone else.

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Yeah -- I should add that I'm not so much concerned about the ex-boyfriend's desire -- the issues are probably somewhat different there -- having more to do with his frustration that it took so long to figure out what was up with my health. This is more of a larger question since I'm in downtime right now and starting to think about the things that will come up after healing -- whether I'm going to choose to return to this relationship or move on to someone else.

The way I read what you wrote was "I got sick, BF could not deal , we broke up". That might be overly simple, but Im a guy thats how we are LOL. Still goes back to "if he cant deal with celiac disease, then he is too shallow, move on".

Unless I missed somthing?

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Some people will, some won't. Some people are seriously 'oogied' by intimate relationships with people they think of as fragile, for a number of reasons - physical and psychological. But those sort of people won't be right for you because you'll need more than that. I wouldn't say that most people are, and I wouldn't say that you're in a particularly bad position - the diet is a fairly minor modification. (Parapeligics and quadrapeligics, or those with serious fibro, for instance, may have more trouble because their issues are constant. On the diet, you can be perfectly healthy.)

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I don't see myself as a "sick person". Theres a bunch of foods I can't eat, and I've got to be careful about CC in wierd ways but I'm not "sick". I was sick but I'm better now. If you come across as someone who's sick, who's got a "disease" then they'll pick up on that, and alot of them won't be able to deal. If they can't deal with the way I have to order in restaurants, then they're not worth sleeping with, but I'm not making a big deal out of "OMG I have an autoimmune disorder - can you deal with it?" Especially not in the beginning. My now-ex was pretty good about dealing with it after the initial stupidity, but one of the reasons we broke up is he doesn't want to have kids with me now. That's not MY problem. Anyway.

If you look at yourself in a positive light, look at Celiac/GI as a positive force in your life ( something thats finally been figured out so you can be better) then you won't come across as someone who has something wrong with you, just someone who has been brave enough to face challenges and beat them. They see the persona you give to them, so if you keep up the happy persona, you'll get the same energy back. They'll only see you as untouchable if you let them.

Have at it girl, do whats good for YOU.

Elonwy

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Yeah, I guess I should give some more context here -- it's not as simple as "I got sick, he left me" -- although I have had to go through a bit of that self-pitying phase.

Basically, he was impatient about the fact that he wanted me to find out and fix whatever was wrong with me fast -- in time for him to finish his dissertation, get a job, propose to me and have us move off together to a happy tomorrow.

Most of my symptoms seemed, at the time, to be symptoms of deep anxiety, possibly ADHD, etc.... -- our couple's counselor has actually pointed out that he thought fleetingly that I could have been bipolar. I pretty strongly -- too strongly, perhaps -- resisted the psychiatric diagnosis because of some fears and projections I had about being "crazy" -- stemming from my late mother's experiences --which were pretty atrocious.

Anyway -- BF picked up on these fears and projections and kind of adopted them himself -- meanwhile, I'm starting to figure out that this is a food thing, not a mind thing and I'm trying to hold him off with one hand while I go about doing what he's asking me to do (which I want to do anyway -- because it's my life and my health -- but I was damn well not going to let anyone push me around and tell me how to do it).

So -- the celiac thing came as quite a shock -- with inconclusive bloodwork -- just before he turned in the dissertation. When he didn't see immediate improvement, he had to leave because he was just about drowning in worry about me and anger that he felt I wasn't listening to his concerns -- he was stressed about the lack of job interviews for him and worried that the whole situation was going to take his dissertation down. I was just about drowning myself in all of this -- so it was a relief for him to leave.

Now, well, now he's trying to figure things out -- we're about to take "tiny baby steps" and have a few dates to see whether we can still be peaceful together -- because he's still in town for at least the summer. I cannot leave town with him as was originally planned -- I need the year to stay here and heal and get my life and degree back on track.

So -- it's complicated. The sex thing is only part of it. I guess it's been on my mind lately because ex-BF and I were at the same party last weekend and he was starting to flirt with me and I overheard him telling a lot of "Erica and I" stories to other people on the side. In the next week or so, we're supposed to go on a hike together.

So, that's the story

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Elonwy, your boyfriend didn't want to have kids with you because of Celiac Disease? If I read that right, that's so interesting because my finace and I had a HUGE talk about this exact issue last week. He kept making remarks about our kids possibly getting celiac disease and I didn't understand it. Then he admitted to me that a couple of his friends/co-workers recently asked him if he was sure he could deal with celiac disease the rest of his life and possibly have kids who get it. He admitted he was kind of scared of it and I couldn't comprehend this.

I just didn't understand why it was so scary and why people felt they had to 'warn' him on this before he married me. First, I took the approach of explaining to him that it's not a big deal for a number of reasons.

1. It's just a diet change....it doesn't change the person that you are, your soul, INSIDE.

2. Because I already know I have it, I will ALWAYS be aware of any little sign of celiac disease in my children and be able to put them on the diet before any serious damage is done.

3. They won't have to go through all of the 'poop' I went through because I didn't know until I was 21 that I had a serious issue and therefore it shouldn't be a big deal. It's already second nature to me, so for them, it would be NOTHING.

4. Everyone's got SOMETHING, and if they can't eat gluten BIG DEAL, compared to having other health problems, or a poor family life, etc.

Etc. etc. etc.

So after this, as the day went on and of course I was thinking about it more, I got kinda mad.....(maybe I shouldn't have, but I just didn't understand it!) I felt kind of uncomfortable about it and said, ya know, if you really can't handle this, or are scared of having children with it, then don't marry me! Although I don't consider myself a 'sick' person, celiac disease is NOW a part of me, something I can't control and something that will always be there. But like I said, everyone's got SOMETHING, and if this SOMETHING is too big for you to deal with, then you don't accept me and therefore we shouldn't get married. I felt like it (he) was so weak. I didn't tell him this because then I would feel like I was bullying him into something, but to me, this is just another hurdle to get over in my life, and there's always going to be hurdles, FOR EVERYONE, just in different ways. If our kids end up having it, well, there will be OTHER things that they WILL have/not have that maybe the kid down the block doesn't have...........so what's the big deal!??1

Well, needless to say, he completely understood and apologized for not seeing it in such simple terms. He said that he wants to be the one who deals with this with me, and it really isn't a big deal, etc. etc.

Anyway, the way I see it is, if someone can't deal with the fact that you have celiac disease, a disease where you can still walk, talk, learn, work....LIVE healthy and acomplish your dreams and goals, then they are just TOO WEAK for you. They are not meant for you anyway and deserve to be with someone who is a wimp like them, afraid to take chances, to learn about something new, to be too involved with themselves. Even though you know what? THERE WILL STILL BE PROBLEMS IN THEIR LIVES, JUST OTHER ONES. Therefore, we all deserve someone strong who doesn't run away at a problem, ANY PROBLEM......the weak ones will either always be running, scared, or be FORCED to deal with something HUGE, probably on their own. Why would you want a teammate.partner (IN LIFE) like that anyway?

That's just my little input.......there's no way around problems, so if someone might pick at celiac disease, let them go and don't even give it a second thought, just like Elonwy. (GOOD FOR YOU!)

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I don't see myself as a "sick person". Theres a bunch of foods I can't eat, and I've got to be careful about CC in wierd ways but I'm not "sick". I was sick but I'm better now. If you come across as someone who's sick, who's got a "disease" then they'll pick up on that, and alot of them won't be able to deal. If they can't deal with the way I have to order in restaurants, then they're not worth sleeping with, but I'm not making a big deal out of "OMG I have an autoimmune disorder - can you deal with it?" Especially not in the beginning. My now-ex was pretty good about dealing with it after the initial stupidity, but one of the reasons we broke up is he doesn't want to have kids with me now. That's not MY problem. Anyway.

If you look at yourself in a positive light, look at Celiac/GI as a positive force in your life ( something thats finally been figured out so you can be better) then you won't come across as someone who has something wrong with you, just someone who has been brave enough to face challenges and beat them. They see the persona you give to them, so if you keep up the happy persona, you'll get the same energy back. They'll only see you as untouchable if you let them.

Have at it girl, do whats good for YOU.

Elonwy

Very well said....

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BTW -- I totally agree with you too Elonwy! I was just wondering -- now that I've got this thing -- how many people out there _were_ actually freaked by this stuff. After almost six years in one relationship, I've got no flipping clue what dating is like anymore.

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Well heres my major concern with this.. if your ex left becasue celiac disease was to much stress... what happens, I HOPE IT DONT BUT, if you get cancer? Or some other very serious issue... and now you have kids??? He just gonna run then too?

I just think based on the very limited picture, he is not right for you, move on and be happy you found out this now rather then later!.

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Well heres my major concern with this.. if your ex left becasue celiac disease was to much stress... what happens, I HOPE IT DONT BUT, if you get cancer? Or some other very serious issue... and now you have kids??? He just gonna run then too?

I just think based on the very limited picture, he is not right for you, move on and be happy you found out this now rather then later!.

I agree. That's how I saw/see it too. Everyone gets sick, we have the right to expect our partners will be there for us.

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Yeah my boyfriend didn't want to have kids with me because of Celiac. It absolutely changed the way I saw him after that fact. The thing is, he's lived a sheltered life, and has never been exposed to ANYTHING, let alone an illness like this. I actually think he was better with it when I was sick, than when I started to get better. Mainly we broke up because we realized we had different goals in life, kids being one of them.

Life is too precious and short to waste on stupid people and being unhappy. Some people are strong and deal well with change, and some don't. I myself thrive on change and difference, and try to surround myself with those same people. I'm not that worried about dating, they'll either deal or they won't, and its a pretty good litmus test, if you ask me. Most of the people around me deal with it very well, and everyone else can pretty much just stuff it as far as I'm concerned. Even the people that forget all the time don't bug me as much anymore, because its not thier concern to take care of.

There are much bigger, scarier things in the world than this little auto-immune disorder. I want someone in my life who will take these challenges head on, eyes open, with glee, just like me. I'm actually looking forward to being single, and banning gluten from my house entirely. If I find someone or not, I will be strong, and well, and me, doing what I want to do with MY life. That's all that matters.

Elonwy

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Yeah my boyfriend didn't want to have kids with me because of Celiac. It absolutely changed the way I saw him after that fact. The thing is, he's lived a sheltered life, and has never been exposed to ANYTHING, let alone an illness like this. I actually think he was better with it when I was sick, than when I started to get better. Mainly we broke up because we realized we had different goals in life, kids being one of them.

Life is too precious and short to waste on stupid people and being unhappy. Some people are strong and deal well with change, and some don't. I myself thrive on change and difference, and try to surround myself with those same people. I'm not that worried about dating, they'll either deal or they won't, and its a pretty good litmus test, if you ask me. Most of the people around me deal with it very well, and everyone else can pretty much just stuff it as far as I'm concerned. Even the people that forget all the time don't bug me as much anymore, because its not thier concern to take care of.

There are much bigger, scarier things in the world than this little auto-immune disorder. I want someone in my life who will take these challenges head on, eyes open, with glee, just like me. I'm actually looking forward to being single, and banning gluten from my house entirely. If I find someone or not, I will be strong, and well, and me, doing what I want to do with MY life. That's all that matters.

Elonwy

Wow! Well good for you Elonwy. Actually, it's funny how I just went through this problem. I think that his initial thoughts on it were the same as your ex's because he's also grown up with kind of a sheltered lifestyle. Nothing big has ever really happened to him. He doesn't have any major issues in his life, never has. Me on the other hand, hahaha....I like to say 'I'm an old soul' because I has such a mature outlook on things. But the truth is, I really had no choice in a lot of situations. It was either take control of my life and be the bigger person, the strong person......or who knows where I would be today. Nothing has ever been 'given' to me in any shape or form.......so I work for them myself and as a result, appreciate what I've got probably a lot more. I can't see life any other way.

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Members of the opposite sex are like buses, every fifteen minutes another one comes along. If someone can't deal with your celiac then dump them and trade them in for a new one. My ex-wife just didn't get it at all and that is why she is now my ex. My girlfriend gets it completely and it is just not an issue.

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I met my husband in 1974 before he got ill then I married my husband after he had his "mystery" illness - unbeknownst to me and him it was celiac. We've been married since 1979. We married for "in sickness and in health." I'd give up everything I own to make him well again.

My advice is going to be blunt, so if you don't want to hear it, skip me.

That being said, my advice is that if you go into this relationship with this man you will always have a fear that he will up and run whenever times get tough.

Is this how you want to spend the next 25 to 50 years of marriage?

He is showing a lack of character and perseverance, and, with all due respect, he is viewing your relationship as "what's best for him" instead of "what's best for US."

I detect a streak of self-centeredness in what he is saying to you. This behavior is neither male nor female: both sexes can be this way. It appears that he is viewing your health situation as a "drain" on his mental and physical well being. Well life isn't always as perfect present wrapped in a bow. Life seems to be "all about him."

His reaction to your celiac reflects an immaturity in his character and perhaps he's not adult/mature enough for a serious relationship. Ths would make HIM undesirable to you. YOU have to determine if you want to take him on in a relationship where you are the only mature adult. You are in the driver's seat, not him.

You are giving him a chance to get back into your relationship, when you know by his own admission that he cannot handle a partner with health issues. It's now your turn to sit in on judgment on him: Perhaps due to this character flaw HE's not the right person for you? At least your health issue (celiac) is a controllable dietary remediated issue; immaturity sometimes never gets better.

D.

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I couldn't have said it any better than Debbie. I also met my husband in 1974! Her and my stories are very similar--only I am the one with the ongoing mystery health problems that turned out 20 years later to be Celiac. There are a lot of people out there like Debbie and my husband--those who commit to the person and then live up to their vows. It's not always easy, but not everything in life is. We have dealt with other things having nothing to do with my health--if it's not one thing. it will be another. You want to think very carefully whether or not this is the person who you want to spend the rest of your life with. I truly hope that you get some peace about this.

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I've been with my boyfriend for 5 years... when we met I had the mystery illness.... I was doing ok when I met him but I continued to get worse and worse... we travel alot (he for business and I go along for the ride, I work from my computer and cell phone) and it got to the point where I really couldn't travel any more because I was so often sick.

Finally a year and a half ago we found out what was wrong with me and he was overjoyed to put a name to it. He has been nothing but 100% supportive of me. I'm back to traveling again and he always handles the eating out issues when we are together, he calls the restaurants ahead of time, most often goes down there prior to our reservation to talk to the maitre d and the chef.

I have often asked him if he feels it would be less "trouble" to be with someone without Celiac and he thinks I'm crazy, to him a dietary change amounts to zero. He does understand the disease and some of the health risks I may have from it being untreated for 13 years but he keeps telling me I'm worth it.

He's a wonderful man and I thank god every day for meeting him...... this is how a partner is supposed to be!

susan

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My husband and I will celebrate our 15 years of marriage this September. We have been together for nearly eighteen years.

He didn't run when I was sick, he was very supportive. When we finally figured out what this was, relief it wasn't cancer or some thing out of control, and a very DEEP respect. I had to do the research and guide doctors, and the full magnitude of suffering I had been through and never really complained about. He is very good about checking menus at events, speaking with maitre d or chefs at restaurants - I think he often checks before he even mentions any plans to go.

Don't ever settle for someone that is not truely in love with you.

L.

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Yes -- you are all right -- he did run when this went down and I cannot let that be okay -- I totally agree with what everyone is saying.

He is asking me to meet with him at some point in the next few weeks, however, and I think I'm going to -- If for no other reason than to hear what he has to say and see if he recognizes his responsibility in all of this.

To his credit, he has been flying from job interview to job interview for the last two months and I know that, on one level, he's terrified that he's going to be unemployed. That doesn't make for an excuse, but I do know that some of his concern before all this went down was that he wasn't going to be able to adequately support the both of us.

Whatever happens, I'm not "going back" soon or in any easy way -- I've already decided that I need a year on my own to pick up the pieces. I guess what I want to figure out is how thoroughly I need to drop this guy from my life given that we had six years together and many friends and family in common. This has more to do with the question of whether we can be civil or can be friends than anything else.

Wow -- hope I'm not coming across as too doormatty here -- I've been trying to process a lot in therapy -- basically, I'm trying to be honest and real, but firm.

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Come to think of it, I met my husband when I had this mysterious illness and we've been married almost nine years. I only figured out that I had gluten intolerance last year. You know we couldn't even have sex in the beginning because I had a long bout of D.

A significant other really has to like and accept you with all your good and bad. Since we are not all perfect.

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I had promised myself not to post here anymore, just read but this has got me breaking my own rule.

First off take everything DEBMIDGE said becuase its all very well thought out but I would even add to that.

Relationships are a two way thing, each one is like some contract and each has different rules because both partners want different things. These things also change ... most profoundly (but not exclusively) I think for women where a priority might change most dramatically about having children ... at least it seems regarding kids its usually the women gets to this point first...

The point is the change in circumstances is something the relationship changes with... however lets step back and look what a relationship is...

Basically its like a contract where two people want to be together and provide certain services for each other, be that support or sex or just understanding.

Some relationships break up cos a guy doesn't want kids and then the guy meets a girl and they have kids in a short space of time. Has the guy changed? I don't think so, I think perhaps its more that the relationship 'contract' as it were is different with the new girl. The guy hasn't fundametally changed, it is the nature of the relationship with the new girl which has changed.

Each contract is unique but also changes and adapts .. some adapt well and other not and some the partners compromise and change for the relationship.... in other words you have three seperate but interconnected changing fundamentals. If any of these becomes inretrievable then the relationship is likely to fail.

Everyone, and I mean everyone has faults. It is how we deal with the faults that keeps a relationship healthy. We can adapt or we can break the relationship or we can pretend the faults don't exist which in many cases is a recipe for a bad relationship.

Everyone else can tell you about their relationships but yours is unique... you say coming across as 'doormatty' but obviously you have faults as well and maybe some you know and others you don't.

That doesn't make for an excuse, but I do know that some of his concern before all this went down was that he wasn't going to be able to adequately support the both of us.

That is up to you, I can't tell you to accept it or not because its unique to your relationship.

Let me just say many relationships are founded on trivial things. What you need to decide is whether it is simply your medical condition and if he can/will come to terms with it.

As a counter to all of those other posts, many women end relationships just because a guy looses a job or has financial problems. Many a relationship fails because one partner medically can't have kids ... but if you lookk at stats for failed relationships on IVF programs for instance they are very high if the IVF fails ...

People also look for different things in a relationship according to the timing...which is a extension of the IVF thing...

For instance many people look for a certain type of person for a relationship .. an example is girls looking for a strong alpha male ...and then they find that the relationship is not what they hoped for because the guy is acting like the person they were attracted to in the first place which could be the 'bad boy' image in this case and someone who won't settle down once in the relationship. On the other hand many women also look to providors and steadyness but then find thier man boring and stead. Recent research has showed that an amazing amount of father's are not the biological father ... the research was undertaken because of the then nexplicable amount of familes with genetic illnesses who refused to have their kids tested ...

Random screening shows an incidence of 1:25 that a alleged father is not the real father, wheras the biassed stats of people asking for it show 1:7... This study prompted lots of psycholgists to explain why... and basically the opinion seemed to be that the women involved were either seeking out or being impressionable from alpha males in their more fertile time. In other words they had different properties they looked for in a biological father and the person they wanted to provide for them and their offspring.

I see all of this as part of the contract part of the relationship. It sounds so cold but the relationship is probably anything but. You can turn the whole thing around and say lots of women with bad boy boyfriends/husbands seek companionship (not necassarily sexual) with other less aggressive guys.

There are also different aims from both sides... many men look for shallow relationships, probably not so much as the avergage girl gets the impression since she is probably hit on 20 times more often by the people with a shallow interest but there are also guys who simply want to take that protective role and others who are even attracted to someone with a illness that creates dependancy.

Specifically Im thinking of two real friends, one of whom is in cancer remission and the other who just wants to take care of her. Her last fiance was also a cancer patient and they shared experiences of mortaility and expectations ... The new guy is a platonic friend but who wants a relationship and take care of her... Who knows it seems weird to me but that is to me, perhaps they will find happyness together.

The ex-fiance was messed about by one of her previous 'platonic' friends who simply played on the fiances insecurity of being in a different continent and made sure he was always around to feed the paranoia ... and was more than happy to escalate the platonic friendship to a sexual relationship as soon as he managed to split them up.

In other words Im only talking about three relationships with a close friend of mine who a regard as a sister.

Each relationship was unique ... not simply the nuances but the actual basis of the relationship.

Just like the many guys who leave relationships because they couldn't commit and 2 yrs later are married and expecting their first child circumstances change this relationship too.

My friend like many of her social class had been grought up to look for a lawyer or similar as a spouse, nothing specific ... but just she was encouraged to look for the sort of guy who would be able to provide financial security to the point of never worrying about money. When she recovered from the cancer and her husband left her mostly because of the cancer she changed to looking for someone to be happy with excluding finance... removal of vital parts made her choice of partner as a 'father' imatterial and with it the need for a partner who could provide for her children. Who knows if her ex-husband had been disbarred and unable to provide she might have left him because the providor part was very impotant to her then...

In other words her criteria changed and all future relationships have changed with it....

You now have a lifelong condition and its not going away ... whatever you choose your relationship will be different than the last one even if it is the last one.

Whatever happens, I'm not "going back" soon or in any easy way -- I've already decided that I need a year on my own to pick up the pieces. I guess what I want to figure out is how thoroughly I need to drop this guy from my life given that we had six years together and many friends and family in common.

Im not knocking a year on your own but I don't think you can set firm rules....

I met my present gluten-free after a reasonably amicable divirse and I was just looking as she was for a little fun. Well that's 3 1/2 yrs ago and she spent two of those years in a different country and we now live together and are very happy. I am quite a bit older than her and noone gave the relationship more than weeks (except the friend I just mentioned and given her previous relationship choices it wasn't an opinion I took with too much weight)

When you find the right person you should at least be ready to acknowlede it and your earlier post about

At 36, I've got kind of an old soul -- which, combined with knowing I'm not physically whole right now is what's prevented me from following my girlfriends' advice to go out and have a bunch of fun casual encounters.

Why not.... ?

I think the basis is you need to be objective... I honestly think relationships where partners go out looking for a serious relationship are more likely to fail. Chances are you get serious first then find all the faults and either stick with it or not. By getting to know some guys first and identifying WHY they are not right will help you spot when it IS right.

In this case you have a new part to yourself which will be there from day 1 and the dyanmics of any future relationship (from which I mean a single dinner date after you decide 'no thanks' to a more advanced relationship) will be on these terms... If you are not specifically looking for "Mr right" then your assessement is more objective... everyone has faults and be most suspicious of those who don't appear to have them because they are hiding them. In the same way don't hide your faults or your illness. If you do and a relationship develops then its founded on mistruths and deception and unless you are the sort of person who wants that sort of relationship (some people do but youre posts indicate otherwise) the relationship will turn sour.

Well that's me back into silent mode........

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Oh, I'm definitely not ready to be looking for a serious relationship. The problem I have with "casual encounters" is that I'm in a university town with a dating pool that's mostly transients and there's a lot of partying going on. I mean I'm not into the sex for fun with no ethical care for the other person's feelings thing. Of course, I'm also pretty firm that I don't want to stay in this town once I'm done with my degree, so virtually anyone I was to date would have to be, by definition, not serious.

I guess I'm also just not ready to be dating -- it's only been two months and a lot of them have been taken up by what Elonwy is calling the "stupidity" -- stupidity of finding out about celiac, stupidity of breakup -- finally, the drama is starting to recede. I think in a few months I may be ready to date again -- and I'm certainly meeting people, but I just don't have an interest right now in getting into other boy/girl stuff -- I'm still healing.

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Erica,

It sounds like you have the right idea in just letting yourself heal for now. But I'm in a similar situation where I have a boyfriend finishing his dissertation, and I'll be beginning my own in the Fall. I've got some news for you--writing a dissertation is not so difficult that you cannot cope with life while its being written. My boyfriend and I have traveled to at least 10 places, moved apartments, spent significant time with our friends, and dealt with my frequent illness, all while he was writing his dissertation, and never has he accused me of trying to bring down his dissertation. I hate to be harsh, but your ex obviously has his own fears about academic inadequacy because, let's face it, it's not easy to get into academic jobs, but that is not about you, it's about him and his own insecurities.

I was diagnosed a month before beginning my doctoral program, and I moved to a college town also thinking that I would not begin to date anyone seriously and long term. However, what scared me about dating was not the fact that I had celiac disease but rather the fact that I had an ex-boyfriend who had stalked me for a year after our breakup despite repeated restraining orders and an arrest for violating those restraining orders. This is a person who once seemed normal and then turned to a total psycho, so I was truly concerned that I was simply a bad judge of character. What I'm trying to say is that everyone has their own baggage and celiac should really be the least of ours. After 4 months of living in this college town, I started dating someone I had already befriended, and he never had a problem with the fact that I have a disease. This is not a temporary relationship despite the fact that we are both living a transient existence--we're just going to have to do our best to find jobs in the same town. Sometimes I know that celiac disease has to be as much of an annoyance to him as it is to me, but he doesn't express that but just deals with it--he knows its harder on me than it is on him because I'm the one to get sick, so he's just very supportive. We have a fairly high grocery budget because of the certain special foods I have to buy, but even on a graduate stipend, we'd still both rather pay more for groceries to keep me healthy. In fact, he has said that he's eating a lot healthier now then he ever was before he met me since we're eating so many whole foods and fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats. In addition, we even joke about what we will do if our children do or do not have celiac (i.e. little non-celiac Jr. will beg mommy to allow wheat bread in the house on daddy's prompting, etc). It was a much bigger obstacle for us to deal with the fact that I had a crazy ex that made me lose faith in men's ability not to fly off the handle and that he had a needy ex-girlfriend who always made herself out to be a victim in every situation. Even with all of my health issues, I'm still not a needy person and he's not an overbearing one, so we're just right for one another.

I actually took almost 3 years off of dating after my horrible college boyfriend experience, but you must determine yourself how long it will take until you feel on track and then find someone worthy of you. I felt on track during many of those times in the 3 year break, but I still hadn't met someone good enough for me yet. I have a feeling that when you do meet someone that's worthy of you, that the most significant baggage will be that you were in a 6 year relationship that wasn't working for you--not that you have celiac disease.

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