Ask Nadia: When to Tell Someone You Have Diabetes

Dear Nadia,

I just started dating someone I really like. When do you think it’s a good time to tell this person I have diabetes? I don’t want to scare him off.

Anne

Portland OR

 

Dear Anne

Your question is somewhat subjective. In my personal experience, when I first started dating my previous husband, who has type 1 diabetes, he first told me about his diabetes over dinner. It was routine for him and novel for me. I observed with fascination how he managed his diabetes. Sure, I had family members with type 2 diabetes but they simply took medication.  My first experience with a person with type 1 diabetes was educational.

Later, I married this man and it opened up a whole new way of life for me. I become more health conscious, started making better meal choices. His diabetes was a blessing to me.

After being married for several years, we decided that we did not like our corporate jobs and wanted to start a diabetes supply store in San Francisco.

After being in business for many years, one day disgruntled women walked into our store to buy diabetes supplies. We started talking and I shared that my husband has diabetes. She shared that she was once in love with a man and decided to stop dating him because he had diabetes. She went on to marry a different man.

Her unhappy disposition started making more sense to me after our first conversation. Our encounter occurred because she had to come into my store to buy diabetes supplies for her husband and was not happy about it. My conversation with her did not stop there. She leaned in over the counter knowing my husband was in the next room with an open door, and asked in a whisper “ You mean you new he had diabetes and you still married him?

Her question caught me by surprise. Clearly she thought I was an idealistic, naive person who sees the world through rose-colored glasses. Why? Because I married a person with diabetes and I knew it. What she failed to ask me was how my husband’s diabetes changed my life.

After her purchase, I thanked her for coming in and escorted her to the front door.

Once I heard the front door shut and looked to see that she was walking down the street, I stood there buffaloed, wondering if she made her husband’s life more difficult because of his diabetes.

Going back to your question, whomever you are dating will need to know you have diabetes. If you are comfortable with your diabetes, they will be comfortable with your diabetes.

Romantic encounter can have an inseparable quality where you can share everything and anything because you both feel comfortable with each other.

Other times romantic encounters move more slowly. The timing of the conversation might need to be more deliberate.

Don’t wait too long to have the conversation. The passing of time might work against you and your romantic interest could feel that you were deceptive which can also back fire on your intention, of trying to find the perfect timing.

Don’t be afraid to express who you are. If it’s an issue for the man you like, better to cut your losses and know it up front when you have not investment too much time in this particular relationship.

AskNadi@diabeteshealth.com and you will receive her unique perspective on your question.

 

About Nadia:

Nadia Al-Samarrie, Founder-Editor-in-Chief of Diabetes Health magazine, has selflessly dedicated her career to educating and informing patients and healthcare professionals for over 25 years. As one of the country’s most passionate diabetes advocates, Nadia has worked tirelessly to try and ensure that diabetes patients receive the support and education they need in order to properly manage their diabetes.

She was not only born into a family with diabetes, but also married into one. She was propelled at a young age into “caretaker mode,” and with her knowledge of the scarcity of resources, support, and understanding for people with diabetes, co-founded Diabetes Interview–now Diabetes Health magazine.

Her passion for working in the diabetes community stemmed from her personal experience and loss. Her mother, brother and two grandmothers all passed away from diabetes complications. She has used her experience as a caretaker to forge a career in helping others.

She holds 11 nominations for her work as a diabetes advocate.