How To Bring Up (or Not) Your Diabetes on a First Date?

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Hello everyone, welcome to my editorial 🙂 My name is Stéphanie, I’m 42  years old, I’m a nurse, and I’ve been living with type 1 diabetes for 27 years, and I also became a mother in 2017, of a child living with t1d.

Leading up to a first date, we generally torture ourselves with a million questions: Should I bring up my diabetes right away? How will my date react? Will they run away in terror if I do? Will they ever want to see me again? I’ve agonized over these questions, too. For me, there are at least three ways to deal with the situation. Here are a few tips for a successful first date!

Scenario 1: You are a direct person!

You decide to begin the introductions and “spill the beans” right away: “Hi, my name is Lucie, I’m 20 years old, I’m a business student, I dance, I love a good laugh and I’m DIABETIC!” There, you’ve said it! (whew).

That might work if you’re meeting through a job interview or an anonymous gathering for people living with Type 1 diabetes 😂. But all joking aside, don’t do it! Diabetes is only one part of you, it doesn’t in any way define your personality, your uniqueness or your character traits.

If I have ONE piece of advice to share, it’s this: Take your time. Every couple needs time to get to know each other and trust each other, whether or not one of you is living with diabetes. That way, when you make the big announcement, you’re more likely to be seen by your partner for who you are, not as a “sick” person.

Scenario 2: You’re afraid of scaring them away.

So you want to see them again, but you’re afraid they’ll say no because of your diabetes? You’re in love, and you don’t want them to leave you? What if they think you’re really sick? Will it be a burden on them for the rest of their life?
These are unfounded fears, and deep down, you know it. Luckily, diabetes isn’t a debilitating illness. You’re living proof!

Keep it simple. Your revelation should be reassuring and sensitive. You’re sharing something very personal with them. Their role and their place, both in terms of your diabetes and in your relationship, is to support you. Nothing more.

Scenario 3: They know nothing, or almost nothing, about diabetes.

Even though you understand Type 1 diabetes inside and out, you’ll definitely have to go back to the “basics”.

Don’t worry! If you trust each other, everything will go fine. Just go over the basic info and be as good a teacher as possible. Explain to them:

  • That diabetes is a chronic condition that keeps your body from regulating the level of sugar in your blood.
  • That diabetes requires daily treatment and monitoring. For those of you living with Type 1 diabetes, this is an opportunity to explain how your materials work (blood glucose meter, continuous glucose monitor, insulin pump, etc.) and show off your cutting edge technical knowledge!
  • What hypo- and hyperglycemia are.
  • That diabetes isn’t contagious.
  • That you can still eat out, travel, party, and exercise (and lots of other things).
  • What they’d need to do in an emergency. Your partner will probably be worried about you.

One last piece of advice: Don’t let them choose the first restaurant! I say this from personal experience. On our first date, my partner took me to a restaurant where sugar was a main ingredient in every dish. Maybe it was a sign… We had a great evening anyway, and needless to say I didn’t make my revelation that day.

I waited for the RIGHT moment. When he asked me why I wear my phone strapped to my waist, I had to explain that it was actually my pump (insulin, that is, I wasn’t talking about my shoes).

Humor is also a great way to break the ice about your diabetes.

Good luck, everyone. Trust yourself, and you’ll be fine!

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