Slick Chicks x Dateability: Navigating the Complexities of Dating with Kristen Furey

Slick Chicks x Dateability: Navigating the Complexities of Dating with Kristen Furey
Slick Chicks has partnered with inclusive dating platform Dateability for Disability Pride Month! Our partnership merges Slick Chicks' commitment to inclusivity with Dateability's innovative platform, creating a narrative that challenges preconceptions and highlights the joys and challenges of dating for those with disabilities and chronic illnesses. By leveraging the voices of ambassadors who live these experiences, we aim to inspire, educate, and foster a more understanding and inclusive dating environment for all.
This week, we're excited to feature Kristen's story. Living with Crohn's disease since she was young, Kristen has learned a lot about dating, accepting herself, and looking for love. Facing these challenges, Kristen's story truly inspires hope and strength.
Can you share a little about your personal journey and how it has shaped your approach or perspective on dating? 

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at the young age of 12. My family and friends would describe me as active, outgoing, competitive, bubbly, and full of life! I was a traveling competitive soccer and softball player and involved in school activities. Slowly I showed signs of pain and discomfort with blood in my stool being the biggest marker for something being seriously wrong. Following these symptoms, I experienced a misdiagnosis, years of sampling medications that never worked, several doctors' visits and tests, and a body that progressively got more and more sick. Having a chronic illness that affected my body in high school and college significantly affected my perspective on dating. It simply made me not want to date period because I never felt well or felt I looked well. It wasn’t until my ostomy surgeries started when I turned 19, I started to consider dating and experiencing that part of life.   

What have been some of the biggest challenges and triumphs you've faced in the dating world as a person living with a disability or chronic illness?

Once I started to date and consider intimacy, my body had changed so significantly. I had a bag on my body, scars, stretch marks, and my bottom closed. I underwent a loop ileostomy surgery in 2013 and then a total colectomy and Barbie butt closure 2 years later. I was 21 years old. It took years for me to accept my new body, so it was very difficult to expect anyone else to accept me. I tried hiding my bag and my disease in fear that it would be “too much” for a partner to be okay with. I couldn’t have been more wrong. When I gave dating a chance and started to navigate educating my partner and sharing my journey on social media, I learned that what I went through wasn’t the worst thing in the world. It was the best. Anyone who couldn’t or wouldn’t accept that, wasn’t worth an ounce of my time. 

How has embracing your identity and overcoming personal challenges impacted your confidence in dating and romantic relationships?

A few years into living with an ostomy bag I realized that it was the biggest gift that I ever received. Once I made that step to accept my body and embrace the new me, I had a few relationships! My first boyfriend in college actually had Crohn’s too! Others I dated accepted me and were so happy to hear that I had this life changing surgery and that I was okay. They were supportive of my health and loved me for me. It’s what I always wanted and deserved. Now I feel the most confident I have ever been while dating and I hope whoever is reading this knows there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Choosing what to wear on a first date can speak volumes and play a significant role in one's confidence. Could you share your thought process on selecting the perfect outfit for a first date, especially considering your needs for comfort and accessibility?

Being that I have an ostomy bag and most first dates are dinner or some sort of food, I always make sure I plan for my bag filling up! I love wearing tight clothing so I use things like wraps or booty shorts under dresses or skirts to disguise my bag! While also adding comfort so my bag doesn’t hang near my legs! My go to outfit is a pair of my high waisted jeans (stretchy) and a cute crop top!

What advice would you give to others with disabilities and chronic illnesses about navigating the complexities of dating and relationships?

Disabled and disability are NOT bad words. Having a disability is not a bad thing. The reason our society thinks this way, is because they haven’t been properly educated. Seeing this with a different perspective is everything! If we give others a chance in learning the true us by sharing and educating, you’d be surprised how your future partner will react. Dating and being in a relationship isn’t easy for anyone! Find what works for you and communicate that to your partner. Don’t take any less than what you deserve. The right person will accept you for you and support and care for you like you need to be. 

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