Life, love and diabetes

minute read
July 8, 2024
A single type 1 diabetic Indian woman, walking on a beach, looking hopeful.
Note: Image for illustration only. It does not show the author of this story. Photo credit: Arun Gulla

Diabetes does not make dating or relationships easy – In Asian countries, it’s already hard to build a relationship as a healthy girl, let alone when you’re a diabetic.

With our judgmental society, my diabetes is a big barrier to building relationships. And balancing my health needs with my emotions, it’s tricky to express myself. When my friends talk about their relationships, I feel excited. But when someone tries to ask me about the future and how I feel about a relationship, I pull away.

The problem is I can’t help but think that I’ll create trouble for myself by being in a relationship with someone. Because I need extra attention and love. I will expect too much from my partner, and (like many 25-year-old girls) look for a fantasy that simply can’t be reached.

There have been good people who were willing to share their lives with me, but I put up a barrier, and I still have it even now.

It’s hard for me to listen to my friends talk about their relationships and know that it’s something I’m missing out on. But I’m still too concerned about what any long-term relationship with me would be like.

I worry I’ll find it stressful being with someone who doesn’t understand my situation. I’ll find it hard to explain my dietary restrictions, and it will be difficult to talk about the importance of blood sugar control.

When I have tried in the past, my partners haven’t understood the impact of their food choices. And managing my diabetes in social situations with them made me feel constantly on edge.

However, despite all that, a part of me does still want a relationship. I recognise that finding someone understanding and supportive of me is a crucial part of my life’s journey.

It’s a delicate and confusing internal struggle. I want to be in a relationship with someone, but I also want to focus on my health. I’m excited at the thought of building emotional and romantic connections, but don’t want my personal health to suffer.

And society’s expectations aren’t helping. Too much is expected of girls, and my personal insecurities make it harder for me to find love. And it’s a huge challenge to learn to accept yourself when at the same time you’re expected to spend all your time and energy on being accepted by others in our male-dominated society.

And yet, I remain hopeful.

Not everyone will jump over the hurdle that is my diabetes to be with me. But I am still approached for relationships – I’m well-educated, have a strong background, and am talented. I’m self-made, earn more than the average amount, and people like my confidence and straightforwardness. I have a bright future and career ahead of me.

I’m not quite there, but in time, I believe I will learn to accept myself, my personality and my health in a relationship. Many years have passed since I last struggled with psoriasis (a complication of my diabetes). I’m managing my diabetes well and don’t have to take any medication. I’m living a normal life and feel like a healthy person.

And I will find a person who will accept me, undeterred by my status as a diabetic – It will be a truly happy, invaluable moment for me when I enter a relationship with someone who deeply understands and accepts my worth.

Graphic of a female profile picture.

Iniya (not her real name) is a single, type 1 diabetic. She’s not quite ready for a relationship, but believes at some point she will be.

Editor's note: The opinions and experiences reflected in stories from the diabetic community belong to the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of InDiabetes.

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