My husband Alex is going to answer my questions about what it has been like to date and be married to me (a type 1 diabetic for 15 years).
Maybe men dating diabetic women can get a heads up and diabetic women can gain insight into what our non-diabetic partners may be thinking.
So we begin…
S: Alex, we dated for about 2 years but, have been friends for longer. While we were friends, what was your impression about my diabetes?
A: Well when we were friends I really didn’t know much about your diabetes. I knew you had it but, didn’t really know what it was about. I knew you had to check your blood sugar and I knew sometimes you had to get sugar if you were low or give insulin if you were high.
S: Did it freak you out to see me check my blood sugar or give insulin?
A: I never remember seeing you check your blood or give insulin in front of me. I saw you use your insulin pump but, that was it.
S: That’s right! I never let you see me check my blood sugar. I did it in the bathroom or in the car before we hung out.
A: So maybe it is good that guys read this. I would encourage a guy out there dating a diabetic girl to let her know that you are aware she needs to check her blood sugar and if she needs to do it in front of you then to go right ahead.
S: Yes! That would have been so nice to hear back then. At that time I was scared to let guys see me manage my diabetes. A little encouragement would have gone a long way and improved my glucose numbers.
Next question. Once we began dating, was there ever a moment when you realized my diabetes was more serious than you had previously thought?
A: It wasn’t so much one instance as much as a slow realization. Every time your blood sugar was low and you didn’t have some sugar with you (although you usually did) we had to stop whatever we were doing and get you some. If we were going somewhere or at a movie or at a club, we had to quickly deal with it. It wasn’t so much an issue of should we, instead we HAD to. So after a few months dating I began to realize how serious diabetes is.
S: Did you ever feel I was an inconvenience to you?
A: No I didn’t. I guess it helped that we still went out to all kinds of places and did different activities. I also saw you put a lot of effort into managing your diabetes. It would have been frustrating to see you not try and then us both have to deal with extra scary situations and maybe not go out much anywhere because you didn’t take care of yourself. It also helps that I love you.
S: I love you, too! Anyway, I didn’t expect your answer. It’s interesting that something important for you is the fact that I try my best to take care of myself and still get out and do things. Like when we go hiking, I just take extra sugar and supplies with me. Same goes for you ya know. I want you to take care of yourself, too.
A: Of course there was that one time you woke me up and told me I had to rush you to the ER the time you accidentally overdosed on insulin. We were there for about 8 hours. (that complete dramatic story here)
S: But, wasn’t it nice being the hero?
A: Sure, but don’t ever let that happen again. (joking)
S: No problem! So…on a more serious note, did you ever wish I didn’t have diabetes?
A: Of course. You asked me once what I would change about you if I could change one thing and I said I would make you a non-diabetic. Reason being because I see how much suffering is involved. I know it would make your life so much easier not to have diabetes.
S: A lot of emotional turmoil is involved, too…
A: Yeah, It took years of dating but, eventually you let me see you when you occasionally broke down about it.
S: It was a relief to finally allow you to help me when those moments happened. I hid them from you for a while because I was scared you would feel I came with too much baggage.
A: Have you noticed you breakdown less and less?
S: Yes, It helps to manage blood sugars and maintain discipline. Honestly, your support and understanding has helped me get to where I am now.
A: Glad I could help.