Dating and Diabetes: He Says
Chris Dallas, who lives with type 1 diabetes, and his fiancée, Maroulla Plangetis, were featured in "The Dating Game" in the December 2012 issue of Diabetes Forecast (coming soon!). Here, Chris, 25, shares his advice and tips for staying healthy together.
I've had type 1 diabetes since the age of 18 months, so life has presented me with many challenges and is always a learning process. One of the biggest so-called obstacles people have asked me about is how I manage my diabetes in dating and relationships. I treat this the same way I treat anything else: with confidence and faith.
|Dating and Diabetes|
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Telling a person you're dating about your diabetes can be a very scary step in a relationship. But it's a very important one because diabetes is a part of your everyday life. I have always pondered the best way to break the news about my diabetes. I have learned that the best thing to do is just put it all out on the table. There is no way to sugarcoat it. Diabetes is your everyday life, for your entire life.
Once my girlfriend (now fiancée), Maroulla, and I got over the hill of my telling her about my life as a person with diabetes, we moved on to our life together and how we can best tackle this disease. I really wanted to embed diabetes in our relationship because just as relationships take teamwork, so does diabetes. In Maroulla, I have been blessed with an amazing woman who has never shown an ounce of fear. Instead, she truly looks out for my diabetes and overall health every minute of the day. She is always on me to test my blood glucose and eat healthfully. I tell her things that I am a little weak on, such as my giant sweet tooth. She really makes sure I watch my portions and don't overeat as well as helps me make good decisions in having well-balanced meals and snacks. My average blood glucose over the time I have been with her keeps dropping!
We have moved far along in our relationship, and now diabetes is deeply embedded in both of our everyday lives. Looking back on what has worked for us, the most important success tips are:
- Don't hide it and wait to tell. You don't have to bring it up on the first date, but your diabetes is not going away, so the sooner you bring it up, the better.
- Be honest. Tell your significant other how your life with diabetes has been and what to expect in the future.
- Get her or him involved in your diabetes care. I have taught Maroulla about carb counting, high and low blood glucose (BG) care, how I test my BG and change my insulin pump. Sometimes I even have her test my BG or change my pump cartridge for me! As we move along, I am starting to bring her to my endocrinologist checkups. I like to keep her as involved as possible. Basically, I train her as if she had diabetes herself.
- Be patient. There is a lot to learn. Remember, you've had your whole life to learn diabetes care, but your date or significant other is just learning.
- Keep the confidence, faith, and teamwork going strong every day!
By taking these steps, Maroulla and I have been able to build on our relationship and hit new levels every day. If you are both open and honest about how diabetes affects your lives, it will work out. It is amazing; diabetes has not come close to weakening our relationship. In fact, it has built our character as individuals and strengthened our relationship as a couple. We have been able to develop a deep bond that brings us closer and closer each day.