I just wrapped up what – let’s hope – was the worst date of my life. Highlights: my date told the waiter that I didn’t want anything to eat (without asking me if I did), proclaimed that women belong in the kitchen, and then broadcast to the entire train station that he wanted to kiss me. It was extremely bizarre. And that was without bringing diabetes into the picture.
My dating history can be summed up as: bleh. One of my ex-boyfriends took me to the hospital in the middle of the night when I had a stomach bug and high ketones, only to repeat – daily until we broke up – how annoying it was that he had to take me. Another guy I was seeing for a few months told me he didn’t care at all to learn about my diabetes.
Like it or not, when out there looking for a mate, those of us with diabetes have to worry about more than the usual. Thinking about this led me to ask myself: who is my dream companion? Being with a person with Type 1 diabetes is, well, kind of like being with two people. And that’s not for everyone. I know my special someone is out there. Here are the qualities I’d love him to have:
Yeah, there are times when my blood sugar can be too high or too low, and I just so happen to take it out on the people I love the most. My family, close friends, and previous plus-ones can all speak of my “Linda Blair” moments. My dream partner would understand that those moments are temporary, that I don’t mean all of the rude things I might say, and know to just ignore me. It might kind of go like this:
Me: Growl hiss yell cry whine I need I need I need growl hiss.
My love: Can I rub your back while you wait for your blood sugar to come down?
I am usually quick to recover and apologize. Dream partner knows this and accepts said apology politely.
2. The helpfulness of all of my iPhone apps, without the pop up notifications
I am extremely independent when it comes to my diabetes care, but there are times when I do want a little bit of help. When I’m sick, I might want my partner to glance at my sensor while I’m resting. When I’m busy with work, I might want him to help remind me that it might be time for me to take my insulin. When I’m feeling burned out (which does happen sometimes), I might want my spouse to be there to encourage me and reassure me that I can do this, and to not let diabetes win.
I don’t want someone who is overbearing and constantly nagging me, but I do want a person who can be there when I need someone.
In other words, they need to know when to speak up and know when to shut the heck up. No nagging; but plenty of support.
I want my partner to understand my feelings, methods, and everything else that goes along with my diabetes. When I finally find someone who is forever, I want that person to be well educated on not just diabetes, but my diabetes. The reason why I have such an easy time discussing my diabetes with my family and close friends is because they took the time to learn and understand how diabetes affects me. I want my partner to be well acquainted and comfortable with my personal diabetes. That’s going to mean some give and take on both sides. After all, I have to be patient when this person asks for insight. And I need to not go all Linda Blair on them when they do.
4. A sense of humor like Jimmy Fallon’s
Humor has gotten me through a lot of the tough situations in my life. No matter how hard the situation, a good joke or something witty can always make someone smile. Cracking jokes and making light of situations is just how I cope. I need someone who is going to understand how that works for me, and know intrinsically when it is okay to joke about the big D. You have to have a stomach for diabetes humor, and that’s a must for my mate.
5. Someone who loves me as much as Jay-Z loves Beyonce
The person I end up with will have to deal with my sarcasm, cat obsession, outspokenness, crazy family, Netflix addiction, One Direction jam sessions, and of course my diabetes, too. If I can find someone who loves me and is willing to be there for me through all the craziness that is my life, then I’ll feel pretty lucky.
As one of my “diabetes mentors” Katie Clark told me “Find a good person to be with. That good person will be a good person even with diabetes in the picture.” Now, let’s just hope I don’t have to find him on Tinder.