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Dating a Man with Diabetes: An Editorial

By HERWriter
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Diabetes Type 1 related image Photo: Getty Images

Recently, I dated a Daniel Craig look-a-like. This attractive Chicagoan had incredibly expressive blue eyes and long eyelashes women would envy. He was a swimmer and didn’t have an ounce of body fat. When we first met, he seemed like any other normal guy.

However, there was something very different and special about him. This 30-something suffered from type 1 diabetes which is also known as juvenile diabetes.

Our romance educated me about diabetes and provided me with a plethora of information about dating someone with diabetes. Some of these helpful tips were featured in dLife’s story ʺSupport Your Loved One with Diabetes.ʺ

1. Support. Support. Support.
Ask your significant other what you should do in case of an emergency. Ask them for emergency phone numbers (doctor’s phone numbers, local hospital, pharmacy, insurance, etc.) and an emergency contact phone number. Post these important phone numbers near their landline and add them into your cell phone. Also, ask about their medication. Find out the type of medication they are taking and where they store their medication. If your loved one suffers from fatigue due to diabetes, allow them the rest they need to recharge their batteries.

2. Educate yourself.
Read up and learn about your loved one’s illness. If possible attend one of their doctor’s appointments or an appointment with their diabetes educator. Learn about their glucose readings and their glucose reading device. For example, the gentleman I dated tested his blood sugar before and after his meals. He’d casually take out his glucose monitor, prick his finger and wait for his reading.

3. Be Active.
Because we avoided the bars, we filled our days with activities. We worked out together, walked everywhere and attended baseball games. Also, we attended oodles of summer music and art festivals. Interestingly enough, we grocery shopped and cooked together. Our grocery list looked like this:
• Lots of fish
• Whole wheat products like multi-grain breads and whole wheat pastas. One of our jokes was there were no white food products (white rice, white bread, white sugar) in his house.
• Diet drinks
• Brown rice
• Nothing fried or breaded
• Lots and lots of fruit and vegetables
• Skim milk or soy products (skim milk, skim milk cheese, etc.)
• Sugarless candy and sugarless gum

We turned grocery shopping into a game of true or false: was this food item loaded with carbs or did that item have sugar? When we dined out, we also played ʺfind the best five meals for a diabeticʺ on the menu.

4. Don’t be a food Nazi.
One of the benefits of dating Mr. Long Eyelashes was I lost weight and watching my calorie and carb intake became second nature. However, every now and then he’d get a craving for something fried. He knew his body better than anyone and he knew his limits. After he’d indulge himself, he’d quickly monitor his glucose level and go back to his diabetic diet.

5. Communicate (even through sensitive issues).
Sex is an important part of a healthy intimate relationship. Some men and women with diabetes may have a decreased libido.

According to the magazine Diabetic Living, ʺexperts estimate that 75 percent of men and 35 percent of women with diabetes experience some sexual problems due to diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage) to the nerves that stimulate normal sexual response.ʺ

With this in mind, you may experience a temporary sexual problem if you are involved sexually with someone with diabetes. The key here is patience and knowledge. This issue can be corrected with a prescription or medical procedure. Talk to your partner about the steps you want to take to have a healthy sexual relationship. If the next step is a discussion with his doctor, let your partner know you support him in his decision. Also, let him know you’d be happy to meet with his doctor to discuss the issue. Finally, be ready to listen because your partner may want to talk about what he is going through emotionally.


Sexual Health - American Diabetes Association. Retrieved August 7, 2011, from

Sanders PhD, B. P. How Diabetes Affects Sexual Function - What You Need to Know about Diabetes and Sex. DiabeticLifestyle: Recipes and Practical Information for Managing Diabetes. Retrieved August 7, 2011, from

Sex and Diabetes | Reader's Digest Version. Retrieved August 7, 2011, from http://www.rd.com/health/sex-and-diabetes/.

Sexual Health - American Diabetes Association. Retrieved August 7, 2011, from http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/mens-health/sexual-health/.

Wartburg, D. v. Men, Sex, and Diabetes - Diabetes Health. Retrieved August 7, 2011, from

Diabetes impairs but does not halt sex among older adults. PhysOrg.com. Retrieved August 7, 2011, from

Roszler, J. How Diabetes Affects Your Sex Life: How Diabetes Affects Your Sex Life. Diabetic Living. Retrieved August 7, 2011, from http://www.diabeticlivingonline.com/complications/other/sex/?page=1.

Support Your Loved One With Diabetes > Friends & Family > Diabetes Lifestyle > Everything Diabetes. Diabetes | Type 1 Diabetes | Type 2 Diabetes. Retrieved August 7, 2011, from

Reviewed August 8, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I wish that people would stop using the phrase "suffers from type 1 diabetes." I am healthier than a lot of people that I know and do not feel like I am suffering from anything. Please don't assume that we are suffering. Most of us T1Ds aren't.

April 11, 2013 - 7:22pm

ALL carbs are processed in the body the same as sugar; which is why counting carbs is a necessity for T1D's. The one and only day my 6 year old son had the best blood sugar ever was the day he ate very little to no carbs. Too bad he's a carb-a-holic, :( The point is: rice, whole grains, any breads of any kind - they're all the same as eating pure sugar. Carbs are carbs no matter where they come from.

Anyway.... I wanted to say that, first and foremost, I hope my son sees a cure LONG before he starts dating. But, if he doesn't, I hope whomever he dates takes as much an interest in learning about caring for him as you did. ;)

August 9, 2011 - 10:48am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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