Ask the Guys of GAC: Dating

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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.

Here, the gentlemen of the Beyond Type 1 Global Ambassador Council will answer your questions about T1D. Have a question? Submit it here!

Question: When do you tell someone that you’re dating you have diabetes?

Rob

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 realize that I come from a place of privilege with this in both my cis-white-male-ness and also because I’m tall, dark, handsome and have impeccable taste in french terry hoodies (aren’t I the worst?). There is absolutely a toxic masculinity issue behind much of the Diabetes-date-shaming out there, and that can be extremely disheartening and frustrating for women with Diabetes. To those women who have been hurt by the words and actions of bro-dudes about their ‘betes, I will tell you this: “Don’t blame Diabetes for Chad-bro-guy being an all-around dipshit.” It’s easy to make Diabetes the scapegoat for many things in our lives, but as far as dating is concerned, I find it to be an excellent acid test for the capacity for human goodness and kindness. For all the horror stories, there are just as many good and uneventful ones.

Ryan

I tell a girl on the first date always! It usually comes up naturally when I check my blood sugar or for sure when I take my insulin (I always take it at the table). I like to get it out in the open, it’s something that is a huge part of who I am. It impacts my life in many ways and I think that anybody in my life should know that. Plus it’s a great conversation starter.

Jordan

There are really only two times when I bring it up. The first is if she thinks I’m texting at dinner, when I’m just bolusing from my pump discreetly. I believe it’s very rude to take out your phone on a date, so to show I’m not an asshole I’ll clarify what I’m doing if I think that it’s necessary. The second scenario is when the pants come off and I have to disconnect, which I can do pretty smoothly now. Let’s be honest, that’s not the best time to have that conversation, but its good to give someone a heads up that if they grab your booty, they might feel some weird bump sticking out. If you’re dating someone and it’s going well, it’s pretty easy to bring up naturally in conversation. I don’t think it’s like a taboo topic. If someone wasn’t interested in me because of my diabetes I’m not hurt by it. Same way I’m not hurt when someone tells me they hate beards. I don’t stress over things out of my control, can’t waste energy on that.

Justin

I actually told my girlfriend on our first date. It’s part of me, it’s who I am. You can’t change it or run away from it. I’ve known people to hide it from their significant other, being embarrassed about it — it’s not something you should be embarrassed about. The more you embrace it, the less you have a fear of it, because you’re taking control of your diabetes. It’s also a safety net: My girlfriend knows how to check my blood sugar, when I’m low, and how to treat me when I’m low.  She also recognizes how I act if my blood sugar is high because, you know, I’ll get moody when I’m high.

Ryan

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 1st 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.

 


Previously on ‘Ask the Guys of GAC’. Have a question for the guys? Submit it here!

Learn more about the Global Ambassador Council here.