I think part of me assumed the first boy I met who I really liked, who could look me in the eye and tell me I was beautiful, that my ostomy didn't matter--somehow I thought that would be all I needed. I thought if this one part of me was accepted then automatically that person must, by default, possess all of the other qualities I could ever possibly want in someone else. Needless to say, I was off.
I'm not saying that in this particular instance I completely settled but I definitely overlooked major red flags because I felt like someone "got it" to an extent I wouldn't find elsewhere. After years of having my health as a huge strain on every relationship in my life, I am not entirely disappointed in myself for this oversight. I get it. I understand why I was so content.
As hard as it is, I try to think of my own baggage on the same level as anyone else's hang-ups. We all have issues that make being in a relationship challenging and scary. But when it comes down to it, I am unusual. I have no template to follow or friends to consult with who are in the same situation. I just have to go with the flow and it's never the same each time around. I think that part is the hardest. The fact that it is never the same from person to person and it requires me to be on edge at the beginning of any relationship because I am trying to feel the other person out.
Sometimes the conversation comes easy and other times it's hard. I have learned that easy doesn't always mean that the relationship is meant to be. And sometimes it's simply harder because the stakes are higher.
Hard or easy, I am going to keep putting myself out there. I don't have to settle just because I feel like I will never find someone. If the past year is any indicator, I know that people are genuinely accepting, open-minded, and willing to learn. In short, I am putting an end to settling. So should you.