Dating someone with diabetes is almost exactly the same as dating someone without diabetes – you just get a few bonus little extras thrown in for good measure. Once you’ve got past all the usual awkward smalltalk about the traffic, the weather and what you do for a living, it’s time to delve into the juicy stuff – and diabetes will inevitably come up, whether it’s in conversation or it rocks up unannounced in the form of a trembling, sweating hypo. So when the D-bomb has been dropped, it will always, without fail, lead to a torrent of questions. Most people with diabetes have their answers ready to go on autopilot, but if you want to get another date in the bag, what SHOULDN’T you ask your diabetic date?
- “Should you be eating that?”Every single diabetic has heard this a million times, as if we’re going to look at the giant slice of chocolate cake in front of us and say ‘Actually, good point, I’m sending this back’… just trust that we know what we’re doing. Whether we have our trusty Carbs and Cals app or we’re just plain good at guesstimating the carb content of our food, there’s a 99% chance that we know better than you do in this case.
- “I couldn’t inject myself – how do you do it?”I can assure you – none of us are jumping for joy at the prospect of injecting ourselves multiple times a day. In fact, we probably said exactly this when we were diagnosed. But in the middle of a date, talking about the ins and outs of injecting probably isn’t the best topic. We don’t want to do it any more than you would, but we don’t have a choice.
- “Do you have to check your blood sugar at the table?” For the most part, people with diabetes do their best not to flaunt their blood sugar tests in anyone’s faces. So when we’re fumbling around under the table, trying to look sexy while we squint at the impossibly fiddly test strip in the candlelight, please just let us crack on with it. It’s not the most romantic task, but we’ll get it over and done with as quickly as possible so we can get back to the matter at hand.
- “You look great – how do you have diabetes?”The ultimate backhanded compliment! You may be trying to compliment your date, but for type 1 diabetics and many type 2s, developing diabetes was totally unrelated to their lifestyle. If you want a safe compliment, stick to their pretty eyes or their nice smile or something – literally anything – that isn’t about them ‘not looking like a diabetic’.
- “Hang on… I can’t catch diabetes can I?”You’re gazing into each other’s eyes, the stars are twinkling above you, you lean in for a goodnight kiss and… yep, there we go – the old ‘is diabetes contagious’ clanger. Most of the time it’s a joke, but there are few quicker ways to kill a vibe than by asking your new squeeze if they’re about to kill your pancreas too. To save you the hassle and your date the rage, you can rest assured that you absolutely can’t catch diabetes, from anyone, ever.
- “Is that an electronic tag?”Now, it’s perfectly understandable that you might not recognise all the latest diabetes tech… but if you don’t recognise that sensor or that tube, just ask! It’s probably best to avoid suggesting that your date might be a criminal quite so early on – and who knows, if you really hit it off it might be useful to know what all those devices do in the future…
- “It’s so late! Do you really need those chips?”Fun fact: alcohol makes your blood sugar spike, then crash. That’s why everyone – with or without diabetes, craves carbs at the end of a heavy night. Except our bodies can’t properly regulate or blood sugar levels, so yes, we NEED these chips to avoid going hypo overnight – so unless you want to wake up next to a sweaty, hypo mess, I suggest you get your grubby mitts off mine and get your own portion.
Hopefully these pointers will help you avoid any cringe-inducing dating moments – but if you do manage to royally put your foot in it, please rest assured that you’re not the first and far from the last to ask your diabetic date an awkward question!