Nervous to date with diabetes

Dear Poppy,

I'm self-conscious about dating with diabetes. I’m scared they’ll think that my disease is weird, or scary, and won’t want to be with me because of the long-term potential for complications. This fear bothers me a lot. How can I get over it?

Signed, Nervous


Dear Nervous,

I know that feeling. While I don't have any specific breathing techniques to calm you down, I do have a couple of things to say that might be helpful in helping you shift your thinking.

Consider this: We all have our “things” -- and your partner is bound to have something too, whether you can see it immediately or not.

We all have secrets and “drawbacks” (not that diabetes is one, but it can occasionally be viewed by outsiders as a drawback) -- I guarantee he has one or multiple of equal weight to diabetes.

Every human on the face of the planet has good things and less-than-desirable things that we bring to the table. Here’s just a short list of possible things your partner may or may not have that you’ll have to deal with every day: bad teeth, acne, poor spelling/grammar, awkward social skills, horrible fashion taste, ADHD, depression, anxiety, any number of psychological disorders, asthma, epilepsy, serious farts, bad spending habits, shitty family drama, emotional baggage (whether they know it or not), the professional graces of a rhinocerous, inflated ego/sense of self, shallow interests, boring hobbies that you have to sit through, mean friends, drinking/drug addictions (or past addictions), unhealthy habits, anger issues, strange obsessions, etc.

We all have our “things” (some of us have multiple!). They’re not “bad” per say, they’re just part of us, and things that we learn how to live our life with.

Diabetes has likely made you stronger. You did nothing to earn it, it is not self-inflicted, it has made you more responsible, and you manage it and push through it. On the whole, it’s not a bad “thing” to have, it just one of those “things” -- like anything else on the infinite list of “things” we could bring to the table. Just wait a few weeks, and see what comes out of the woodwork on his end. I guarantee he has his own issues -- yours is just more immediately apparent and comes up in conversation sooner than his does.

My intent in saying this is not to tell you to be scared, never date, and live at home with your mom forever, where at least the devil you know is better than the devil you don't. It's to say: our diabetes may not be as big of a deal as we think it is. We're no different than anybody else. We all have issues. So get out there, and don't worry: you're not a 'freak.' We're all freaks.