Living with diabetes is difficult enough, from meal planning, carb counting to finger pricks and site changes. When you add the “Big D” to the mix of everyday life, it can cause a relationship to either grow stronger or fall apart. These extra challenges that are involved with the lifestyle of a diabetic are better when faced together. “In sickness and in health until death do us part” isn’t just a memorized vow you say at the altar, it has a deeper meaning to us diabetics. It means when shit gets hard, you will be there every step of the way. When we become shaky, fatigued and sweaty, will you hand us our favorite candy (yummy glucose tablets) or juice box? How about when we’re cranky and argue for no reason? Will you be the first to apologize and tell us to check our numbers for a high? When we are burned out and don’t feel like diabetes-ing today, will you step in and take over our numbers or cook a low carb meal? When the going gets tough, will you run or accept the challenges of this new lifestyle and face it together?
I reached out for some first-hand experiences and tips on dating a diabetic, and the responses came rolling in. I found them very valuable and have shared them with my valentine of 6 years, and now, with you.
“My husband knows a box of chocolates is just asking for disaster, because if there’s chocolate in the house, I will find it and then eat every piece! Flowers are always a sweet gesture, and I won’t snack on those!” – Ang, @sickoftheprick
“My boyfriend and I were together prior to my diagnosis, which was back in November. I always had so much energy prior! Then things started to go downhill. I felt so awful and tired all the time, so much that one day I stopped at his house on my way home from class so I could nap, and then continue on home.
When I got the diagnosis I felt so calm, as if I had already accepted it. I think at that point I was just glad that I knew why I felt awful. Though, that’s when my boyfriend kinda freaked out about it. Every time I ate, we would go on long walks to bring my blood sugar down, and when I wanted ice cream, he literally read all the nutritional facts on all the ice creams at Kroger until he found one with the lowest amount of carbs. Even when I bought him a cake for his birthday, it was obvious that the thought of me eating a slice worried him. He didn’t quite grasp that I could just use insulin. At that point, he had also done research, which of course revealed all the terrible effects that T1D can have on the body.
Now, I’m the one freaking out. It’s like it has finally hit me that I’m going to be battling this the rest of my life. Luckily, my boyfriend is the calm one now. I cry a lot more, and he just holds me. I have a Dexcom G5, so whenever my phone makes a noise, he checks to make sure it’s not my blood sugar. He knows how to use my glucometer, knows how to work my insulin pen, and he knows what to do if I’m high or low. For me, I sometimes don’t even feel a low, but when I do, he can tell. I also never feel highs unless I’m hitting 500.
He has truly made this process so much easier for me, and I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like had I not had such a supportive person by my side through this. As long as a person cares about you, your diabetes won’t matter. If anything, this experience has made our relationship stronger.” – Rachel Reedy
“My hubby said that he’ll remind me to check my bgl if my movements are slow and/or my speech is slurry. I know he has asked me to check them if I’m cranky and I try to listen without being defensive, where possible! When I initially started on insulin, my hubby learned to carb count with me, and I have to say that I relied on him a lot as I was having trouble remembering things at the time. We go for walks together on the weekend, and he happily changes his pace for my interval walks. He was originally impatient when we went on long road trips, but now makes stops patiently if I need to make frequent toilet or water stops when my bgl is up. We mainly eat healthy, and my hubby has learned to try to keep junk food out of sight. He has also slowly learned not to tell me what to eat! It has been a hard road, and we still struggle with it sometimes, but we’re getting better at it all the time.” – Pauline Cunningham
“We have been together almost 24 years, and I was diagnosed about four years ago. He has been awesome. He knows when I am low, and he knows to be patient when I am high and crabby. He wakes me up in the middle of the night to check my sugar if my sensor is not working. He tries to eat as close to me as possible aside from some ice cream and heath bars when he is dying for sugar. He helps remind me to make sure I have all my supplies on me. In return, I have helped him with his sobriety and this year we were both diagnosed ADHD, so we have been through hell together and are stronger because of it.” – Kelly N Jeff
“We have been together 4.5 years, and I was diagnosed just 2.5 years ago. He’s been great at adjusting! Before I got my Dexcom, he would just magically know I was low when I had no idea. He reminds me to take my insulin even when I’m having a rough day and don’t want to and will do pump changes for me if I’m being lazy about it. We are still working on learning that if I start getting mean when high to remember it’s the sugar talking, not me!” – Alexandra Marie Raxter
“I have been with my husband for 6 years. I was diabetic when we first met. It took him a while to get his head around it all, but he’s my rock. Now, he will always take interest in my sugars and remind me to take them if I am unwell. He does it for me at times. He’s good at recognizing symptoms of highs and lows, and he’s been there for every hospital admission, and I would be lost without him.” – Stacey McAinsh
It does’t end here. If you want to give your valentine a shoutout or share some experiences you’ve encountered, please comment below.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
P.S. splurge the day away, just don’t forget to bolus 🙂