It’s tough enough to find your soul mate under the best of circumstances. When you have a chronic disease like diabetes, dating becomes even more complicated.
Try explaining to your date why you have to run to the bathroom to test your blood sugar before a meal, count carbs during dinner, or eat before you go for a walk. There’s a good chance they won’t get it.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t date successfully. Here are a few tips to make the dating experience more compatible with your condition.
1. Date someone with diabetes
If you’re worried that your prospective partner won’t understand your diabetes, look within the diabetes community for potential mates. Dating someone who knows exactly what it’s like to live with rising and falling blood sugar levels can be a huge relief.
You’re more likely to find someone who understands you right off the bat if you look for a partner on a website targeted to people with diabetes. Two websites where you can meet other people with diabetes are DiabeticDate.com and DiabetesDatingSite.com. You can peruse profiles of other singles with diabetes on both these sites for free. If you want to connect and set up dates, you’ll need to pay a monthly fee.
These sites don’t do much in the way of background checks, so be on the lookout for scammers who prey on dating community members. Watch out for backstories that don’t make sense, people who refuse to meet you in person, and those who give the illusion of being very wealthy or successful. And if anyone asks you for money, that’s a definite red flag. When you set up a date through these or other dating sites, always arrange to meet in a public place. And don’t share any personal information until you feel assured that the person is legitimate.
2. Be honest …
It’s totally up to you whether you want to come clean about your diabetes to the person you’re dating. And you’re certainly under no obligation to divulge your condition in the first few dates.
But once you feel like you’ve made a connection, honesty does have a few advantages. You won’t have to hide blood sugar checks at meals, and you won’t be afraid to tell the person if, for example, your blood sugar drops while you’re on a date and you need to eat something.
Though the news of your disease might turn some people off, at least you won’t waste your time moving forward with a relationship that would’ve never gone anywhere.
3. … But don’t reveal too much at once
Honesty is great, but you don’t have to give a full dissertation on diabetes during your first date. When telling the other person about your condition, be sparing about the details until you can gauge their response. If they ask a lot of questions, offer more details. If they seem overwhelmed, proceed more slowly.
4. Don’t make it all about diabetes
By all means be open about your condition, but don’t dwell on it. Reminding your date every five minutes that you have diabetes, or that your blood sugar isn’t under control, or that your hands are tingling because you’ve got nerve damage may cause them to lose interest. Share details about your diabetes only when necessary. You want your date to know that there’s a whole lot more to you than your medical condition.
5. Keep things light
Diabetes is a serious condition, especially if you develop complications like nerve damage and vision problems. But you don’t want to worry your date by talking about those things — especially if you’ve just met. Try to keep the conversation light. If you can learn to laugh about your situation from time to time, you’ll have a much more fun experience.
6. Express your needs
Your diabetes won’t take a backseat just because you’re out at a concert, going windsurfing, or eating at a restaurant. If an activity is too much for you to handle and you need to take a break, let your date know.
Discuss restaurants that would suit your needs with your date. Places that serve only fried foods or that have a fixed multicourse menu may not work with your dietary requirements. Staying silent could compromise your health, which isn’t worth it.
7. Prep for your dates
Dating with diabetes requires a little extra planning. Here are a few tips:
On an active date
If you’re going to be doing something active like hiking on a date, bring some hard candy, juice, or another fast-acting carb in case your blood sugar dips.
Dining out strategies
Managing your carbohydrate intake is one of the most important things you can do when managing diabetes, but don’t let this discourage you when trying new restaurants. Look at menus ahead of time and be mindful of your carbohydrate portions, no matter what you decide to order.
Enjoy a salad as an appetizer and order an entrée that includes lean protein and lots of veggies. This can help prevent eating too many carbs in one sitting, which can cause blood sugar issues.
Discuss restaurant options with your date ahead of time, and plan accordingly.
If you are having alcohol on a date, steer clear of carbohydrate-rich mixers like regular sodas, tonic water, or juices. Instead, choose water or soda water with lemon or lime as mixers. Choosing light beer over regular beer and dry wine over sweet or sparkling wine is also recommended.
In addition, be mindful of low blood sugar when consuming alcohol, and make sure to check your blood sugar more often.
Taking insulin along
If you need insulin, make sure you bring more than enough with you — just in case the date goes on for longer than expected. Temperature extremes can make insulin less effective, so carry it in a cooler, if possible. Bring along testing supplies, too.
Also, check that you’ll have a place to test your blood sugar and inject insulin privately. Pulling out a needle in front of someone you’ve just met could startle them, especially if they’ve never seen someone test their blood sugar before.