I do not have diabetes, yet it has affected me greatly. This year I began dating a guy who was diagnosed as TD1 five years ago. He is in his thirties and I am a few years younger.
The first time we were in bed together I noticed the pump, and it didn’t really phase me. I’d seen one before, and I know all bodies are different and come with their unique quirks.
I admit I knew little to nothing about diabetes prior to meeting him - mostly that there were two types.
In the early days of our relationship, I made light of his disease. Not mocking it at all, just acting as though it wasn’t a big deal for me. Honestly, it wasn’t a big deal for me, and I developed a great respect for how he took care of himself and handled the inconveniences of constant testing with grace.
The more I fell for him, the more I found myself doing research on TD1 and the lifestyles of those affected. When I read what a massive impact it has on people’s lives, I was heartbroken. I truly had no idea how taxing the disease is, and how it affects one not just physically, but profoundly emotionally as well. Suddenly I was racked with guilt.
I had never meant to be insensitive, and only now am I seeing how ignorant many of my comments must have been. I grew up understanding that health issues were private matters, so I refrained from what I felt would be invasive questions. He is a big, strong, amazing guy, and I suppose I also sensed that tiptoeing around his diabetes would be emasculating.
I don’t drink juice, but I now keep a bottle in my fridge at all times, and I know where he hid some supplies in my house. I have spent countless hours reading medical info, Internet forums, and sites like this, to gain as much insight into what having TD1 must be like for him. He doesn’t know I do this, because it has been hard for me to communicate how much I care.
How do I truly show my depth of concern without seeming overprotective or annoying? I don’t know if I’d ever be able to say this out loud (I’ve always struggled to display my feelings), but if it were possible, I’d readily take some of his burden onto myself.
I haven’t said ‘I love you’ to him (or to anyone else, for that matter), but feeling such compassion for another person - whether or not we end up together - may be as close as I’ve ever come.