In celebration of our two years together,
I figured I would sit down with my boyfriend, Adam (non-diabetic), to talk about what it’s really like dating a type 1 diabetic. Among the numerous challenges of having diabetes, one of my most self-conscious has always been how someone I’m interested in will handle dating someone with a chronic illness. Now, I realize this can seem a little silly because good people in the world will love you no matter what characteristics you have (even being half robotic with a dead pancreas), but feeling different from people with a working pancreas can impact your confidence level immensely, especially in your younger years.
I used to feel like my diabetes would hinder my chance at love. I would wonder what people would think to see my pump on my stomach, or how a boy would react to me testing my blood sugar if he had never witnessed something like that before. But surprisingly, most people don’t really care at all! I found that sitting down with Adam to get his perspective was truly refreshing and I hope you enjoy our conversation about what it’s really like to date a type 1 diabetic.
Ariana: Please tell everyone a little about yourself.
Adam: Hello, Readers! My name is Adam Schmitt, I am 25 years old and currently reside in Las Vegas, NV, the place I’ve called home for the past 21 years. I have recently considered myself a “hobby junkie”, which is just a nice term I like to use to explain my sub-par abilities to participate in a myriad of activities. Most importantly, however, I have the unique and highly sought after privilege of dating Miss Cup of OJ herself, Ariana Frayer. We have been together for just over two years now and it has been wonderful every step of the way.
Ariana: Do you remember how you found out I was diabetic? What were your original thoughts?
Adam: I’m beginning to find out that I have a terrible memory, but if memory serves (which it generally doesn’t) I found out you were diabetic on our first date. We went to a sushi restaurant (obviously lots of carbs) and you pulled out your insulin pen before we started eating. You explained to me that you were diabetic and you were injecting yourself with insulin to compensate for your lazy pancreas.
In my head, I thought “Ok. I have no idea what any of this means. Needles aren’t my thing, but more power to you.” I wasn’t taken back by it at all. Mostly because I didn’t understand how prominent it was in your life. To where you had to inject insulin into yourself for every. single. meal. And then prick your finger to check your blood sugar multiple times throughout the day. (This was before the Dexcom.) I was just getting to know you and that was just something unique about you. That was the extent of it.
Ariana: How does type 1 diabetes impact our daily lives?
Adam: The impact of Type 1 Diabetes on my daily life obviously starts and stops with you. I like being able to periodically check your blood sugar on my phone or smartwatch through the Dexcom app to see how you’re doing. Before that, I basically had to guess how your blood sugar was, and that was always stressful. Another worry for me is whenever you go to bed. It’s always a little risky (at least in my opinion, I’m sure most diabetics are comfortable with it) for us to both be “unconscious” and not able to monitor your blood sugar.
There have been countless 2:00 AM sprints downstairs to the refrigerator to grab a Cup of OJ (Hey I said the name!). Yes, it interrupts our sleep, but it is far more important to me for you to feel better, and to have peace of mind. Plus, I am not confident at all in my abilities to successfully operate a glucagon, so I’ll run a mile to a gas station to always be stocked up on juice before you even have a chance to need that. I think we have practiced the steps of the glucagon just once and I was terrible at it. My only other training was when I watched “Panic Room”, with Jodie Foster. Pretty sure there was a glucagon in there. But I digress…
Ariana: What is your favorite part of dating someone with diabetes?
Adam: My favorite part is getting to date you. My fridge also always has orange juice in it now, so I guess I’ve gotten more Vitamin C in my diet since dating someone with diabetes. Oh! If we are at a social event that we no longer want to be at, but we aren’t quite at the appropriate “we’ve been here a justifiable amount of time” threshold, we will ALWAYS have the excuse that your blood sugars aren’t cooperating and can go home! Times like those make it all worth it. (I’m not the most social of butterflies if you couldn’t tell.)
Ariana: What is your least favorite part?
Adam: My least favorite part is definitely when I have to worry about your blood sugar, especially when going to sleep. I get a little scared sometimes. But other than that, there’s nothing burdensome about dating someone with diabetes. Maybe I have to wait a little longer to order food because you are checking the nutrition labels on every ingredient, but that’s no biggie. I know you would do the same for me.
Ariana: So do you feel like you are an expert on diabetic knowledge now?
Adam: I certainly have a much more extensive understanding of the in’s and out’s of diabetes. I’m nowhere close to being an expert but I like to learn where I can so that I can help when I’m needed. I could definitely use another crash course on the glucagon. I don’t want to be reading the instruction manual during such a seemingly intense moment. And I’m not sure how many times I can watch “Panic Room” to get my schooling on that subject. It’s not that it’s a bad movie, but it’s just not something I have to experience multiple times. Ariana hasn’t seen “Panic Room” so she will probably ask me why I’m talking about it so much.
Sidenote from Ariana: Panic Room is a thriller featuring a home invasion and hostage situation involving a diabetic child. Thriller and Horror movies are scary enough because I already think about having diabetes in that thriller situation. I don’t want to see it actually play out straight out of my nightmares!!! Thank u, next.
Ariana: What advice do you have for other non-diabetics dating a type 1 diabetic?
Adam: Patience is key. If you are not patient with your diabetic significant other, you’re going to have a bad time. There will always be those 2:00AM orange juice runs, you’ll have to wait for them as they get stopped in the security lines at the airport 9 times out of 10, and your significant other can get moody at times when they are low (just like us non-diabetics get hangry). But you just have to take a step back and realize that they cannot control it. They didn’t wake up one day and suddenly decide to make their pancreas no longer work properly. It’s part of the deal when you date someone with diabetes, and you get used to it very quickly. Just have to be patient, and then it’s a breeze.
Diabetes certainly does add another layer to dating, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be a negative one. There will always be someone out there that has the patience and understanding that taking care of yourself and your sugars will always be top of mind no matter what. If someone is consistently weird about it (obviously it can take some getting used to) or suggests you risk your own health for their comfort, they are not worth your time.
At the end of the day, find someone who is always willing to fill you a cup of oj.