So I was in my mid 20s and I was about to go out with my friend’s friend from grad school.
We’d met at black-tie pre-party, and afterwards when our group hit the bar for drinks, I invited him to a “Rat Pack” party I was throwing (lounge wear was mandatory, as was music by various members of The Rat Pack, Esquivel, and soundtracks from movies like Big Night & the Original Ocean's 11,) a few weeks later. What can I say? I love throwing parties with great soundtracks!
Anyway, I wore martini covered silk PJs and he dressed up like Mr. Howell from Gilligan’s Island, (which made me laugh,) and an good time was had by all!
Two days later and after a hellish day at work, he called and asked me to dinner for the following Saturday.
The day of the date had been crazy. Back then, I played touch football every Saturday in a mixed league, and even though I had no idea what I was doing, let alone what direction to run, it was always fun and a great way to meet people! But by the time I came home, showered and got all dolled up, I was starving.
So when he my picked me up at my apartment early that evening, I was downing grapes unceremoniously and by the fist full.
"Sorry," I said all apologetic, I’m starving!
"You’re starving", he asked quizzically: What are you, a diabetic??
And I looked square in the eye and said: Yes I am. Is that a problem??
Him: “REALLY? No, that’s fine, no problem at all. Just..., why did you keep it a secret? We’ve been talking on the phone for weeks, not to mention the fact that we’ve gotten together a few times socially, so I thought maybe you’d have mentioned it at least once.
Me: I wasn’t keeping it a secret, I was just keeping it to myself for the time being. I wanted to tell you when I was ready to tell you. And quite frankly, I didn’t want to bring it up tonight. But you guessed so now I'm telling.
Him: I’m glad I guessed, I want to know who you are. All of you.
Me: Great. Glad we got that out of the way - Now lets get out of here and go eat!
So we did, and had good time.
We ended up going out for about 3 months and I can honestly say, he was a stand up guy regarding my broken pancreas, but not so great in other areas. And while we got along and laughed, he had issues & so did I.
I was still learning to figure out my life as an adult, and as an adult with diabetes. And he was trying to figure out his life as an adult.
Bottom line, it wasn’t a long term love match, nor was it meant to be. And eventually I would come to realize that - and then some.
But when it ended I was pretty bummed out, and it took me most of the summer to get over it.
Looking back, it was a really good lesson(s) on all sorts of levels and it reinforced four very important facts that I kept with me always.
1. None of my previous relationships with the opposite sex had ended because of a negative reaction to my diabetes, including the one with "Mr. Howell"
2. My diabetes was mine, and if I wanted to have a significant other in my life, long term, short term, or somewhere in between, I needed to own my diabetes. And I needed confidence in my life with diabetes in order to have confidence in other areas of life, PERIOD.
3. We weren't "soul mates," not in the least. MAJOR BULLET, DODGED.
4. Sometimes people aren’t meant to be together for the long term, regardless of pancreatical challenges - That's why people with both working and non-working pancreases actually go out on dates, so they can figure all that dating stuff out!