Wednesday, 7 August 2013

How do I tell him...?

Thanks to the wildly inaccurate media reporting of type 1 diabetes (and at times, even type 2) there can now be a minefield of social stigma and misconceptions the size of a moon-craters to wade through when trying to talk to someone about your diabetes.  If you are lucky, the person you are talking to will have an open-mind and the willingness to learn.  At worst, you may have a battle on your hands.

But there is one time when being able to explain your diabetes really matters; to someone you might be getting into a relationship with.  While they should also perhaps be the ones most willing to learn about you and your many facets, they are probably also the ones who you want more than any other to understand you - truly understand you, their view untainted by the damage we all know the media can create.

Recently one of my Independent readers contacted me to ask me about exactly this situation. Having got talking to someone she likes, she's now trying to cross 'the diabetes talk bridge' and needs your help. How to drop it in conversation?  When the best time is? What to say? And how to replace years of wacky reporting with our version of events?

So ladies (and gents), to help out a fellow DOC member trying to navigate this sometimes tricky road, how did you start that conversation with your significant other?


  1. Do what you normally do. Check you blood sugar in front of them at dinner. Take your insulin in whatever you need. Treat your Diabetes as a footnote and they will too. If they have questions, answer them clearly and concisely. Be honest and tell them it's hard but it doesn't hold you back. Be positive. Slowly introduce the nuances. Remember, if they buck at this small part of your life, they may not be the right person for other reasons.

  2. Thank you for bringing up this topic! I think we all kind of wonder how significant others might respond and whether or not they feel like what we have to do and go through every day might feel like a lot to be around.

    I second what Maria said! Be yourself.

    When I was meeting my current boyfriend (5 years ago!) I was wearing my pump on the outside of my jeans. He asked what it was and I just said, "it's my insulin pump." then I think I asked him why he was excited to move into the dorms. I just answered his question and then asked my own.

    Diabetes doesn't need to be a "you might want to sit down for this" kind of discussion. If the person is curious, that's awesome. even if you and that person 'don't work out' then you will have left them with some knowledge about diabetes! how cool!

    I also want to point out what Maria alluded to in the end of her comment. ..

    If a potential significant other responds poorly to your diabetes, it probably says something about their character. You deserve better than someone who doesn't try to understand.

    go get em.

  3. I'm on syringes, not pumps or pens. I have friends who honestly forget I have diabetes. I don't make a big deal of it so they don't. Half the time I can inject myself in a group of people and literally no one has noticed. Its not that I am ashamed its just never really been a problem. I have had a few people occasionally ask a bit about diabetes, but that's literally it.

    I think the fact that I cant remember telling any of my girlfriends over the past decade, but know they all knew is a sign of how small a deal it really was. Honestly I wouldn't worry about it

  4. Thanks for the advice guys, great help and good to get people's views.