Dating and diabetes; when do you tell someone you have type 1 diabetes?

       Knowing when to tell someone you are interested in or just begun dating is often difficult. You might think, “What if he gets freaked out?” or “How will he take the news?”

This is one of those moments you must remember to be your brave and bold self! It is only fair you let a romantic interest know about your diabetes as soon as you can. You don’t have to be a drama queen and start telling him “I have this terrible disease…” Just be straight forward and let him know that your favorite color is red, you love shoes, you hate liars, and you are a type 1 diabetic. Don’t necessarily say it like that. What I mean is…as you are talking about yourselves and getting to know each other, make sure you mention the diabetes. If he has questions, just be happy to answer them. Questions are a sign someone is eager to learn. If he does not have questions you could ask, “Do you know what type 1 diabetes is?” Then proceed from there. You do want him to have an idea as to how big a role diabetes plays in your life.

I do believe he has a right to know. If it scares him away, then he wasn’t the one for you. Also, all your secret long trips to the bathroom to check your sugar and give insulin might worry him if he doesn’t know what it is about. What if you need to check your blood sugar but can’t get up to go somewhere private? You don’t want to sacrifice your health just to keep a secret. Here is a scenario we don’t want to think about: You pass out from low blood sugar and are seizing. You and he are alone somewhere and he endures one of the scariest moments of his life AND doesn’t know what is wrong with you AND doesn’t have information available to tell the medics so then they have to waste time troubleshooting. Honestly, that scenario is much worse than just telling him and dealing with his reaction.

My husband always knew I was a diabetic because we were friends for a long time and have known each other since middle school. Yet, because we only hung out for short periods of time every so often, he never really saw all that my diabetes entailed. So when we began dating he suddenly had to deal with a lot of surprises. He didn’t know I had to check my blood sugar so often, how disabling a low blood sugar could be, how easily blood sugar control was lost, and how emotionally and physically burdened I was from the disease. He never turned away from me though. I did a whole lot of explaining so that he would know as much as me (spread out over 2 years so as not to overwhelm him) and he did a lot of listening. He cared for me and that included caring about the diabetes, too. Now we are married and we share this challenge of diabetes together. He supports me when I don’t feel well and he helps me remember I need to do my best to stay healthy because I deserve it. My diabetes control improved greatly during our time together and he continues to be a source of support and inspiration. I am glad I was so open with him because not only does he help me so much but, I knew he loved me when all this bad news came at him and he didn’t go anywhere.

Give your partner a chance and be patient, everyone reacts differently and at different speeds. Remember though, eventually, If he/she doesn’t support you and take your diabetes seriously, don’t waste your time or theirs.

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