Double D’s: Dating & Diabetes

April 5, 2016

Maddie Maloney
Seattle University '18
I used to be that girl; the girl who was embarrassed by her autoimmune disease. Well not exactly embarrassed, just not willing to open up about it, especially to people of the opposite sex. I was diagnosed with T1D just after my thirteenth birthday. I don’t know that there is a “good age” to be diagnosed with T1D, but in the midst of puberty is definitely not at the top of the list. Already struggling with hormone fluctuations, body changes, and the newfound discovery of boys, diabetes threw a wrench into the works. The idea of dating with diabetes scared me, at first. I did not want to burden someone else with my problems, nor did I want to scare people off. But then I realized, in guarding myself, I was putting my health and my own emotions in jeopardy.

Going to college is a chance for everyone to start fresh—to create a new identity. I used this opportunity to be the girl who owned and embraced her T1D and the warrior it made her. My new attitude translated into the realm of boys and relationships, as well. Dating with diabetes can be a challenging task to tackle in college, so here are a few personal tips regarding dating and diabetes, or as I like to call them “the double D’s”:

“Being honest about diabetes early on and giving tips on how your love interest can help you manage your disease is the easiest way to do it.”
·Be Proud
Don’t be embarrassed by your T1D—own it! Honesty and confidence about your condition will make dating with diabetes so much easier. Being honest about diabetes early on and giving tips on how your love interest can help you manage your disease is the easiest way to do it. If someone is off put by you giving yourself injections, checking your sugar, or stuffing your face with fruit snacks at 2 a.m. then they are not a keeper– trust me.

·Diabetes Comes First
They may be prince charming and a great kisser. They may bring you flowers and sing you love songs. But, if they don’t respect you or your diabetes, get rid of them. If a relationship is hindering your ability to manage your diabetes, then it is time to reassess!

·Keep Calm When Diabetes Gets in the Way
There will days when you want to cry, scream, and punch someone when your blood goes from 400 to 40 in a matter of an hour, I know. It is even more frustrating when this happens on a coffee date or romantic evening. The worst, by far, is when your Dexcom starts alarming at 4 a.m. alerting you of critically low sugar and you’re in someone else’s apartment and don’t know your way around the kitchen. So what do you do? You get up and find some orange juice or kindly ask your cuddle buddy to help you out (and remember to pack some fruit snacks for your next sleepover). If you have had the conversations with this person about your diabetes previously, the middle of the night low is much easier.

·Be Open to Questions
Unless someone has a personal connection to a type 1, or is a T1D, they probably do not have much insight on the daily life of a T1D. When dating and getting to know one another, you will probably be asked about your diabetes and management. Some of these questions will be more naïve than others. I’ve had to explain the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes too many times to count. These questions can be repetitive, but understand the intention behind them is so this person can get to know you better. The more willing we diabetics are to share our stories, the easier it is for non-type 1’s to relate.

Dating with diabetes can be challenging and frustrating at times, but don’t be afraid! College is a great opportunity to embrace a relationship with your mate, your diabetes, and yourself! Dating is an experimental process; an endeavor of having fun, assessing compatibility, and getting to know another person in their entirety. T1D is a part of who we are. Embrace it. Own it. And rock it. There is no reason diabetes should hold you back from dating— if someone has a problem with your T1D, kick them to the curb!

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