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With 415 million people living with diabetes worldwide, we often still feel alone and unprepared. With diabetes bags made for organization and a community of people who are just like you, Myabetic will help you feel connected and prepared for every day with diabetes.
As a girl in her 20s, dating and finding that special spark can be hard enough... Add diabetes in the mix, and it makes it seem almost impossible! I have lived most of my life without type 1 diabetes, but at the age of 23, low and behold I was diagnosed with it. This changed every aspect of my life. I basically had to relearn how to simply do anything: sleep, eat, walk, travel, exercise, and of course, DATE.
Living with a “silent disease” where I don’t look “sick” is a positive because I am able to blend in and look like everyone else. However, it also doesn’t make it very easy to find the right moment to open up to that special someone about something so internal and personal.
To be honest, this has always been a struggle for me. I’m still learning how to navigate the ‘diabetes talk’ because every date and every person is a different and new situation. On one hand, I don’t want to start the date by confessing my health issues all at once, overwhelming the person with diabetes overload. But on the other hand, I don’t want to ignore it for multiple dates making it my ‘big elephant’ in the room. I am guilty of doing both. And actually, both ways have turned out fine. I was able to learn from them and decide how I like to handle opening up to someone.
FINALLY, one afternoon over a drink, we got on the topic of one of his own family members having an autoimmune disease, so it made it a perfect segway for me to open up about my autoimmune disorder too! Immediately after telling him, I felt so much better.
To my surprise, he was so sweet and supportive about my diabetes secret. I constantly stressed over what he would think of me, and I clearly didn’t need to! If anything, it showed me how much of a caring person he was. It also gave him the opportunity to be vulnerable and connect with me about his family. I was so glad I finally opened up, and I actually wished that I did it sooner.
A first date is – well – completely nerve-wracking! For me, on a first date, I didn’t want to bring up my diabetes because I didn’t want it to take over the focus of the date. Plus, I wanted to make sure I liked the guy before I open up to him about my life’s story.
However, on this first date, I chose to wear a tank top which showed the Dexcom placed on my arm. I actually totally forgot it was there! So, when he went to open a door for me, he saw the back side of my arm with my Dexcom staring right back at him. He then asked right away what it was. Butterflies flew into my stomach as soon as I figured out he was asking about my CGM. I shyly gave a short explanation that I have type 1 diabetes and brushed it off like it wasn’t a big deal. Shockingly, he was actually really interested in it and wanted to know more!
It made me feel more comfortable talking about it because he genuinely wanted to know about it. Plus, it gave us something interesting to talk about over lunch. Towards the end of our conversation, he told me that even though diabetes is a sucky thing to deal with, it actually makes me really unique! He said it showed him how strong and positive I am to live with something like this.
Dating is not always filled with giddy excitement and butterflies. I have also encountered a not-so-good reaction to my diabetes. I was newly dating a guy, and he did not know I had diabetes. On our second date, we were holding hands walking home. He moved his hand up my arm to rest his arm on my shoulder. While in that transition, he felt my Dexcom through my sweater. He immediately asked what it is was. I quickly showed him my CGM and explained to him that I have a type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease. After I told him, I felt a shift in his mood. He got really quiet and kind of distanced himself from me. I picked up on his energy and felt that he became uncomfortable. I then started to feel very awkward and ashamed. He walked me to my door in silence, and we both said our goodbyes there.
I could tell that this was probably the last goodbye we would have. I was confused. I cried as soon as I shut my front door. I was thinking it was something about me and my diabetes that made him change his mind. But I think there was something deeper and personal that he was going through. Just like hard days with diabetes, we have to pick ourselves up and continue on! It wasn’t meant to be, and I’d rather not be in something that made me feel uncomfortable about my body.
I’ve always questioned how I could make someone “swipe right” on my diabetes. Seems like a hard question, but it’s actually simple. To BE MYSELF. As cliché as that sounds, it’s actually 100% true. A person falls in love with YOU and EVERYTHING about you. I have found that if a person is really into me already, telling him about diabetes won’t make a difference either.
I have found that telling the person I am dating about my diabetes is actually the perfect test! It is such a great way to see how a person would react. If the person reacts negatively about it or treats me differently, then that person is definitely not worth my time because there’s no way we should ever put up with that. Diabetes is already negative enough, we don’t need more of that in our lives!
But, if the person reacts in a supportive way, asking good questions, wanting to learn more about it, offering to help, then that’s someone to pay attention to. He for sure would get an A+ in my grading books. Diabetes helps weed out the failing losers fast!
Diabetes tends to shine its brightest during the most inconvenient of times. I can be in the middle of kissing a guy and, all of a sudden, feel my blood sugars falling fast and have to stop to chow down like a wild woman on a handful of Skittles. Or having to disrupt comfortable cuddling on the couch to inject insulin to fix a high blood sugar. Or having medical devices and their alarms get in the way of intimacy. It’s all a different type of rocky road, but the right person will not have those little things get in the way of a great relationship!
In all, I look at dating with diabetes like the TV show The Bachelor. I picture the rose as my diabetes story. There is a pool of guys that I could potentially date throughout my life. As I go on each date, I decide on if I want to give out my rose (my diabetes story) and who are worthy of receiving it. In addition, seeing if they are willing to happily accept and respect my rose in return. If he is not there for me and for the right reasons, then I will gladly send him home.
We will all find our happily ever afters. Our journey just has a few more small bumps along the way than most people, but we easily can overcome them. Like The Bachelor - making our “rose” and relationship a beautiful journey together!
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