The expression “It’s complicated” doesn’t even begin to describe the wild world of dating.
And when you factor in managing a chronic condition while managing your love life, meeting up with someone can feel a bit daunting, to say the least.
We can’t speak to whether your date will always chew with their mouth closed, be a good conversationalist, or make your heart go pitter-patter.
But if you have type 2 diabetes, you might wonder how the condition will factor in to your love life. The good news: It doesn’t have to make dating even more muddled.
We’ve put together an everything guide to dating with type 2 diabetes. This way, you can focus on the all the fun aspects of getting to know someone better — like those hoped-for heart flutters.
The fact that you’re an avid swimmer or that you have a labradoodle are no-brainer things to include in your dating app profile. Your pooch is probably front and center in your profile picture anyway.
But what about type 2 diabetes? Should you include that as an attribute?
Some experts say you probably shouldn’t disclose your diagnose in your dating profile — but not because it’s something to hide.
“Given that online dating profiles are public and can be seen by individuals whom you are and are not interested in dating, online daters should not disclose significant health information in their profiles, but rather wait to find the appropriate context and time to discuss their health status,” says Jess Carbino, PhD, former sociologist for the dating apps Tinder and Bumble.
Including your type 2 diabetes diagnosis in your dating profile might feel like checking that box of full transparency, adds Jason Lee, a relationship science and data analyst with Healthy Framework.
“However, it starts to let your medical condition define who you are and overshadow the other things that make you you,” he says.
“You are not your diagnosis — your diagnosis is part of your story.” — Marissa Tunis, PsyD
Dr. Marissa Tunis, a licensed psychologist, dating coach, relationship expert, and founder of Datefully, agrees: “Health conditions are best shared after you connect with someone on an app, not in your profile.”
“You are not your diagnosis — your diagnosis is part of your story,” she says.
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for when you should tell a potential partner that you have type 2 diabetes, but experts recommend having the conversation whenever it feels natural.
“There is no set time frame or dating milestone by which you need to reveal your condition,” says Michele Benoit, a life coach at Deep Blue Coach. “But the general rule of thumb would be to share the news with your dating partner when it becomes relevant — because of an action or decision that affects both of you — or as you feel comfortable enough to share more intimate, daily details about yourself and the way you live.”
Tips for talking about your diabetes
- Bring it up at the beginning of your conversation.
- Be open and honest about how diabetes affects you.
- Keep the conversation candid and brief.
- Allow the other person time to ask questions.
When you’re ready to talk about your diabetes, it might make sense to bring up the condition at the beginning of a conversation or your time together.
“That [way] the prior discussion doesn’t unduly influence what you intend to say or lead you to hesitate and not do so at all,” Carbino explains.
She says to be open and honest about how type 2 diabetes affects your life — but you can do so in a general way, rather than going into too much detail at first.
Carbino also recommends making the conversation more of a dialogue, and allowing your date to ask questions if they have any.
When you first mention type 2 diabetes to a new date or partner, they might ask questions that seem silly or misinformed.
“Remember, they might know nothing of type 2 diabetes,” Lee says.
If their reaction is more about a misconception, it’s up to you if you want to provide more insight.
“A little clarity can turn things around,” Benoit says.
But that doesn’t mean you have to endure negative or otherwise inappropriate commentary about having type 2 diabetes. If that happens, it may be a sign to reevaluate whether the relationship is the right fit for you.
“If your date reacts negatively to your condition, you have to think about how supportive they can be on an ongoing basis,” adds Benoit, who helps her clients with dating challenges. “If you don’t see a future with this person or they don’t seem open, take care of yourself. Be sure to continue your healthy practices and choices.”
Nowadays there are dating apps and sites geared toward just about any preference or community.
A person with diabetes may sometimes find it more comfortable to use a diabetes dating site to explore relationships with other people who have the condition.
“Dating someone who is familiar with diabetes can be a big help and comfort,” Benoit says.
But it’s not a requirement for having a good connection with someone or for finding a significant other who has your back.
“No matter what is going on with your life, you want your dating partner to be supportive of what is important to you,” adds Benoit.
Someone can be your rock — and you theirs — even if you don’t share the same health condition.
Going on a date can be exciting, but it can also rustle up butterflies in the belly.
From what to wear to what to do, everything feels like a big decision. And when you have to consider factors relating to type 2 diabetes, it might feel like you have an extra layer of dating complexity.
But you can tackle the decisions and the dating details in a few different ways.
Benoit recommends getting active in planning the date by choosing a restaurant that fits your needs, which can be helpful if you’re not ready to reveal that you have type 2 diabetes.
If you’ve practically memorized the carb counts at the corner pub, then don’t be afraid to suggest your favorite place. Of course, you can review online menus and find fresh spots that could work well, too.
You might also prefer choosing a nondining activity and bringing your own snacks, Benoit adds. That way, you’ve got something on hand if your blood sugar takes a dip.
Date ideas that don’t involve dining
Going to a restaurant can make it tricky to stick to your eating plan. Here are some fun alternatives to the traditional dinner date:
- stroll around a botanical garden or nature reserve
- play mini golf
- take a hike
- go bowling
- see a movie
- visit a zoo or an aquarium
- play bingo or board games
- see live music
If you’re already open with your potential partner about having type 2 diabetes, then simply plan meals out together until your prospective partner gets the hang of it and knows the drill.
“Be prepared with suggestions of what works for you,” Benoit says. “You may find that your date wants to play it safe and follow your lead.”
As your relationship progresses, you might find new ways share what it’s like to live with diabetes.
“Ready for sleepovers? Tell them (or show them!) how you measure your blood glucose levels in the mornings and evenings. Let your partner know what’s going on and how they can be supportive — even if it’s just giving you the space you need to take care of yourself,” says Benoit.
Wherever you’re at, whatever you do, and whether or not you’ve disclosed your diagnosis, Tunis has this reminder: “It is OK to excuse yourself multiple times in order to take care of your health.”
Benoit says having a small on-the-go care kit can make managing type 2 diabetes on a date a little easier.
Building a diabetes care kit
Packing a small on-the-go care kit can help you manage your diabetes on a date. Here are some tips for building your kit:
- Invest in a container or bag you like that’s also easy to carry.
- If you use insulin, opt for an insulated option.
- Refresh items regularly so you’re never missing supplies.
- Set up auto-renew for supplies to avoid running out.
- Set calendar reminders to charge devices if necessary.
If you have type 2 diabetes, your condition doesn’t have to make the dating world more difficult. Sure, sometimes dates center around dining, but you can help find a suitable restaurant or suggest another activity.
With a little planning and a willingness to be open about your diagnosis (when you’re ready), you can have a fulfilling dating experience.
Dating can be complicated for everyone who gives it a go — even for folks who’ve never had to take a pill or check their blood sugar. But dating can also be incredibly fun, especially when you meet someone who just seems to get you, and vice versa.
Remember, your potential partner isn’t dating your diabetes, they’re dating you.