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Life with T1D

Dating with Diabetes: Going Steady When Your Blood Sugars Aren’t

Dating with diabetes or dating a partner with diabetes can be challenging. It requires honesty, communication, planning, and patience. T1D writer Kelsey McShay sheds some light on navigating the highs and lows while searching for that special someone.

Dating with Diabetes: Going Steady When Your Blood Sugars Aren’t

Let’s face it: dating can be hard. People usually prefer to meet the natural way, which, while convenient and often seemingly more promising, can feel like it takes forever. If not that way, this leaves dating apps or putting your faith in the hands of a trusted friend, both of which can be scary and unpredictable.

Nevertheless, people form romantic relationships every day, in both the organic, “spill the coffee as they’re turning the corner kind of way” or through hopeful shots in the dark with one successful swipe right. I mean, that’s all it takes, right

However you meet your partner, the story becomes a fond memory, but it might take a few blunders before you find your soulmate.  

Now, add diabetes into the mix, and it can feel like a whole new ball game.

Honesty is the Best Policy

There is something sweet about the nerve-wracking first few dates filled with honest but cautious questions and careful responses. Trying to determine the perfect moment to discuss diabetes can be difficult. Because the thing about type 1 diabetes is—it isn’t a one-time thing; it’s for life.

Support Runs Both Ways

Being a supportive partner to a person with type 1 diabetes might seem as consuming as having it and may feel like a burden to put on someone’s shoulders. Of course, this is not the truth, and if the learning curve is too high, they may not be ‘the one.’ The right person won’t see having type 1 diabetes as a weakness but instead a strength.

5 Tips for Dating with Diabetes

Here are a few tips for navigating the scary world of dating with type 1 diabetes.

1) Breaking the News

As mentioned, telling your potential partner that you have T1D can feel like dropping a huge bomb. It’s unexpected, often misunderstood, and definitely can be hard to explain to someone with little prior experience with type 1 diabetes.

Despite this, remember that it is entirely up to you to determine when the time’s right to let your partner know that you have diabetes. If you feel confident on the first date and it comes up in a funny story—go for it. If it’s date three or four and you begin to get into the nitty gritty deep stuff, tell them then if it feels right.

Only you can read the situation and determine the best time to make the announcement, “I have type 1 diabetes.”

The beautiful thing about telling your date is that their reaction may help you determine if this person is truly a good match. If they respond with support and encouragement or even pull up a sleeve to reveal a continuous glucose monitor of their own, congratulations—you may have found Mr. or Ms. Right.

2) Have Patience

For people with diabetes, it’s easy to feel like all of the various quirks and extra steps taken throughout the day are part of a monotonous routine surrounding diabetes management. Though this may be true for you, this world is completely new to them. 

Have patience and allow time for you both to get into the groove of things before giving up. Remember, if the world of diabetes is new to your partner, it can be scary to approach the subject without them feeling like they might be disrespectful.

3) Educate One Another

As you and your partner spend more time together and become more comfortable, don’t be shy to explain what diabetes-related thing you are doing and why. If you need to change your sensor or pump, take the time to explain the process and invite them to watch or ask questions.

 4) Open Communication

When and if it feels right, answer their inquiries. Type 1 diabetes is already such a misunderstood and misconstrued disease, which makes it that much more important that those closest to you, mom, dad, siblings, or companion, understand the reality of your situation. Just as with anything else, open communication regarding type 1 diabetes is crucial in making sure both parties feel heard, and all needs are met.

5) Accept Help

Once you have been with your partner for a while, it’s now likely that they not only understand your daily diabetes routine but have seen it in action over time. Remember that your partner is there to love and support you in whatever way you may need, so getting them involved in your routine can be very helpful.

Whether you struggle with inserting a new sensor in a specific area or may want them to carry around a few extra low snacks, remember that it is okay to accept help, especially from your closest people.

Highs and Lows 

As each person with type 1 diabetes responds differently to the highs and lows of a rollercoastering blood sugar level, the important thing is that your companion, who will be spending a lot of time around you, understands how you react to different sugar levels.

This may help them feel more prepared to offer aid during high and low episodes, such as knowing when to grab you a low-treat if your low blood sugar keeps you immobile and when to have water on deck when your blood sugar seems to be skyrocketing.

It’s also no surprise that such severely changing blood sugar levels can cause pretty severe and completely warranted mood swings, so it’s a good idea to explain this concept to your partner. Hence, they can help you when possible.

Critical Conditions

As a person with T1D, you are prone to situations that may turn dangerous quickly. It is also critical for your partner to be well-versed in the signs of a potentially dangerous situation and how to provide proper diabetes care. Though this can seem daunting and scary to explain, and it may feel like you are putting stress on someone else, remember this is not true.

The right person isn’t going to feel burdened by your type 1 diabetes but instead will become your #1 supporter. 

Romantic Relationships are Unique

So, there you have it. A small guide to help navigate dating as a person with type 1 diabetes through some of the different stages. Remember, each relationship is unique, just as each individual is—and only you know the correct and most comfortable time frame for your situation.

Also, never let your diabetes be a hindrance in finding “the one,” as “the one” will be happy to support you through every high and low, diabetes-related or not.

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