Bringing Up the “D” Word

“So, there’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you… It’s nothing bad or anything. Just figured I’d give you a heads up,” I stumble as my hands become clammy and my cheeks turn red as my body temperature flares up. I just know that underneath my t-shirt, my neck and chest have become a splotchy red mess.

Staring at me expectantly, probably thinking I’m about to say I’m married or have a child, I quickly say, “I have Type 1 diabetes” while simultaneously letting out the air I wasn’t conscious of holding.

Immediately, I feel a little bit better knowing that the cat’s out of the bag, but I’m not in the clear yet. I still have to brace for the reaction. Surprise and concern are usually at the top of the list, and then come the questions about what that means. I explain what type I have, how it’s different than Type 2 (which I explain is the type they are probably most familiar with), and what I have to do to manage it.

Welcome to the dating world with Type 1 diabetes. As if dating wasn’t already hard enough!

I’ve only had diabetes for a year and went through my diagnosis when I was already dating someone, so it’s only been pretty recently that I’ve dived into the world of diabetes and dating. I’m sure it’s a world I’m probably going to get well acquainted with, too.

So, how soon should I bring up the fact that I have an incurable disease? Generally, I’m pretty loud and proud when it comes to having diabetes (I tweet, blog and talk about it all the time) but I tend to clam up about it when I start dating someone and I miss the window. That window is generally somewhere in the first date when I start talking about myself. If I miss that window, well crap! Things just got a whole lot harder. Not only am I thinking about what to do if there’s a second (or third) date and what I should wear, but I start thinking about how to approach the D subject.

Quite honestly, I haven’t found a “smooth” way to bring it up. Generally, I just get this overwhelming urge to tell the guy I’m with, so I spill it in the most non-eloquent way imaginable. After that, I just hope said guy doesn’t run screaming in the other direction.

Of course I know that if a guy genuinely likes me or isn’t a shallow jerk, my telling him I have Type 1 diabetes isn’t going to be a deal breaker, but it’s still nerve-wracking as hell! Diabetes can be a lot to handle and whoever I’m dating will not only be dating me, but dating me and diabetes (because you all know that sometimes D just takes over).

Just so you all know, it took me three dates, a few glasses of wine, and sweaty palms. The reaction- no screaming out the front door, so I’d say it was a success.

Any funny anecdotes, tips, answers, general rules on introducing the subject in a less awkward way than having a 15 year old kissing for the first time, would be much appreciated! Tell me I’m not the only one who turns into a sweaty, nervous wreck when it comes to telling someone I have diabetes.

A little humor goes a long way

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2 thoughts on “Bringing Up the “D” Word

  1. I went through this 7 years ago when I went on my first date with my now fiancee. I think it’s important to tell them pretty early in the dating process because what if on your first date, you are nervous and your sugar goes low? They should at least know to tell somebody. You can always use a line like, “You better treat me nice, because I’m as sweet as sugar, no really, because I have type 1 diabetes.” Then you can explain how that’s a joke and also educate them on misconceptions of diabetes.

  2. When I started dating my now-husband, I was at the opposite of Loud and Proud about Diabetes phase of my life. I dated him for a full three months before I told him – complete with going through great lengths to hide diabetes. I don’t recommend that at all. Luckily, he’s been my hero when it comes to diabetes (and everything else), but it really wasn’t smart or fair to hide it from him for so long.

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