“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