Finding your “one and only” these days can feel like a daunting task. Even under the best of circumstances, knowing when and how to share yourself with someone new can be exhilarating and scary at the same time.
So, what’s it like dating with diabetes in the mix? Does having a chronic condition like diabetes complicate things further? In short, it doesn’t HAVE to. Below we’ve gathered some great tips for BOTH sides of the relationship equation.
For THOSE WITH DIABETES Dating Someone
We understand that diabetes is just a PART of your life, it’s not the core of who you are. However, endeavoring to BE YOURSELF means that hiding your diabetes might not be the best way to build a lasting relationship. Figuring out the right time to share that news (and knowing how much of the details to share) can feel tricky, though. To help you navigate this topic, we’ve touched on a few tips for you to consider in deciding when and how to start this conversation on your next date.
1. BE OPEN ABOUT THE BASICS:
While some people choose to freely share in order to advocate and educate, others see their diabetes as a more personal topic to withhold until they get to know a person better. While there is no rule book, your own level of comfort with yourself is the biggest deciding factor here. In the end, sharing at least some basics of your health could prove helpful should you need assistance with unexpected lows or mood-swing inducing highs. But that brings us to point 2.
2. EASE IN:
There is so much more of you to know about, this is just one piece of your grand puzzle! Definitely be yourself and share, but as with all aspects of dating, it’s a good call to take it slow. Just as you don’t want people to only know you by your a1C, you don’t want to overwhelm your date with a diabetic-knowledge dump. Let the information trickle in as appropriate to the conversation or situation, or maybe even let your date lead by asking questions. If you think they are open to it, share this handy infographic or direct them to see the mySugr blog where there's lots of small digestible information at hand (and maybe avoid the google searches *cringe*)
3. PREPARE ACCORDINGLY:
Like with anything else, diabetes & dating demands some planning ahead. Alcohol consumption and rich restaurant foods can wreak havoc on your numbers. So lay a protein base before you head out. If you can, check the restaurant’s menu online and have your selection carb-counted before you arrive. Make sure you have emergency glucose on hand at all times, and maybe even a backup of insulin, pump supplies, or test strips. That way no matter WHAT your BG does, you are ready. Should your relationship be ready to go to the next level, be safe and be smart. All the excitement and hormones at play can ruin the romance if you aren’t prepared and able to have an open conversation with your significant other. We’ve dropped some knowledge on diabetes in the bedroom for both men and women so check those out too.
For those dating SOMEONE WITH DIABETES
Dating someone should be a fun and exciting time of getting to know each other. Favorite pets, job details, likes and dislikes, etc. But learning your date has a chronic condition like diabetes can feel daunting. So what do you do? First and foremost, don’t panic. Before you react (or heaven-forbid OVERreact) check out these quick tips to better prepare yourself:
1. DIABETES 101: Let's just get this bit out of the way, shall we.
1. Carbohydrates make blood sugar go up.
2. Insulin makes blood sugar go down.
3. It's not their fault.
4. It's NOT contagious.
2. EDUCATE YOURSELF FURTHER:
In this day and age, it would be truly shocking if you didn’t know at least a little about diabetes. But if you find out your partner has a certain form of it (Type 1, Type 2, LADA, MODY) the very LEAST you can do is educate yourself on the basics. A quick google search can overload you so check out some of the awesome books on Amazon like What To Do When Your Partner Has Diabetes: A Survival Guide. Beyond that, use the mySugr blog or podcast by Scott for information on diabetes as it connects to things like travel, drinking, exercise, and more. There’s even a post on basic diabetes vocabulary that can help you get familiar with basic terms.
3. BE A SAFE PERSON:
This can be a tricky area that only you and your significant other can talk thru, but if you wish to date someone with diabetes you need to know what level of involvement they want you to have. They may want you to know the basics, or they may want to keep back-up supplies in your car or apartment. They may feel that, for now, you don’t need to do anything at all! But open conversation is a GREAT start and starting this kind of dialogue early-on can help as the relationship progresses.
Diabetes can be well managed if you are mindful of the needs of the day. So, whether you have diabetes or are dating someone who does, some conversation, some basic education, and a little preparation can go far in making sure your relationship stays in top shape.