Ask the Guys of GAC: Dating
Welcome to “Ask the Guys,” a column where you can ask these guys living with type 1 diabetes what it’s like as a dude, because sometimes we don’t talk about the tough stuff. This is a place to do just that. Beyond Type 1 plans to explore issues of masculinity, how a chronic illness can affect our perceptions of it and how it can inform it.
Question: When do you tell someone that you’re dating you have diabetes?
For me this was never too big of an issue (despite being diagnosed inside the dumpster-fire of a 16-year-old’s dating life). Most of my dates I went on, and shockingly still some of the dates my girlfriend and I go on are centered around food. Food is such a great gateway drug into the diabetes conversation, because even if you’re really worried about what the other person is going to think, you can buffer their response by going to a really dope restaurant. Like who is going to get upset that you have diabetes when you have impeccable taste in restaurants? Nobody I’d be dating, that’s who. Life is a confidence game. I’m going to repeat that for those of you in the back. LIFE IS A CONFIDENCE GAME. Trust me when I tell you that if a person doesn’t like you because of your diabetes, you saved yourself a lot of time, heartache, probably money and definitely awkward political discussions.
I have lived in a small town in Michigan, then Chicago and NYC. I had various dates with girls along the way and “coming out” with T1D was almost always on the first date. Explaining every aspect of diabetes to someone who had no idea or very little information about the disease was not the best topic to go in-depth on the first date. Since it is something I have to deal with 24/7 then the other person I was with should know in some capacity about it. I would keep it light and let them know that I would down a orange juice if any issues should arise. With most dates, I would find someone they knew had type 1, but did not know much about the disease. Then I met my wife Samantha.
We met for our first date and I ordered a Diet Coke, Samantha ordered one as well. Which I thought was a bit strange that we both got that. We jumped right into conversation about dating life in NYC and our first questions. I asked things like dream job, dream vacation and what would you do if you won the lottery. I looked over and in the middle of the answers I will never forget her pulling out a graph with numbers. Since I am technology guy I was curious what it was. She said it was for her blood glucose level readings, a thing called a Dexcom G4. I remember thinking was this a joke? How? I have type 1. My head had a million thoughts and I managed to say to her Samantha I have type 1 diabetes as well…
She looked at me and said shut up thinking that I was playing a joke on her. We both looked each other in the eye and I said again yes I have type 1 diabetes. I am now married to the love my life, my best friend and my type 1 wife. I was put here on this earth to be the best husband one can be and a T1D role model for others. We are all in this together.
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