What It’s Like Dating Someone With Type 2 Diabetes

A guide for navigating the condition in new relationships

Type 2 diabetes requires constant management, such as choosing foods carefully, staying physically active, regularly checking blood sugar, and sometimes taking medication. If one or both partners in a romantic relationship has type 2 diabetes, it's important to communicate needs and boundaries pertaining to the condition and how it is managed.

Read on to learn how romantic couples can be affected by type 2 diabetes and for some tips on navigating dating with diabetes.

Couple checking diabetes blood sugar level

Fertnig / Getty Images

Dating Someone With Diabetes: Things to Know

Good communication, respect, and boundaries are important in any relationship, but when one or both partners have a chronic condition like type 2 diabetes, it becomes even more so.

When both people understand each other and act as a team, it makes managing the condition easier and the relationship stronger.

Pre-Date Planning

Managing type 2 diabetes requires certain lifestyle choices like eating nutritious foods that limit blood sugar spikes and being physically active.

This may make common date activities, such as going out to eat, tricky — but with some planning ahead of time, you can have an enjoyable time while still taking care of your health.

If you are planning on going to a restaurant:

  • Try to look at the menu before your date so that you can plan out your meal.
  • If you can, make a reservation so that you know what time you will be eating.
  • If you are having an appetizer, choose something light like a salad or one that is lower in fat, such as barbecued or grilled fish or meat, as opposed to more rich foods.
  • Look for main dishes that are steamed, boiled, or grilled instead of fried.
  • Load up on vegetables like a side salad or an extra plate of steamed veggies.
  • If you have dessert, keep portion sizes small.
  • If you will be having alcohol, know how it affects your blood sugar ahead of time, make sure your healthcare provider says it is safe for you to drink alcohol (especially if you are taking medications), and choose water or soda water as mixers instead of sugary drinks.

If eating out seems too stressful or complicated, try planning a date in which you make your own food, such as a picnic in the park. Or choose an activity that doesn't involve food, like a museum, a movie, or window shopping.

Since exercise is an important part of managing type 2 diabetes, consider planning a date that incorporates physical activity, such as:

  • Skating
  • Going for a hike
  • Biking along a trail
  • Playing a one-on-one sport like squash or tennis.
  • Swimming
  • Rock climbing
  • Golfing

No matter what activities you plan, make sure you take everything you need with you, such as your blood sugar meter, medication, and snacks.

What to Pack in a Bag in Case of a Blood Sugar Spike or Drop

Your blood sugar doesn't care that you are on a date. Blood sugar spikes and drops can happen, so you need to be prepared ahead of time. It's a good idea to pack a kit to keep with you in case your blood sugar becomes unbalanced. Your daily diabetes kit may include:

  • Testing Supplies: Such as your blood glucose meter, lancet device, lancets, and alcohol swabs
  • Insulin and/or Oral Medication: Aim for a three-day supply. Make sure to follow the storage instructions, including temperatures at which your insulin or medication needs to be kept.
  • Emergency Fast-Acting Carbohydrates and Glucagon: Pack fast-acting carbs, like hard candy, glucose tablets, fruit juice, or regular soda (or, if recommended by your healthcare provider, prescription nasal glucagon) in case of a severe drop in blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Medical Identification: Wear a medical bracelet or tag that indicates you have type 2 diabetes

If you are traveling, such as going on a vacation, you will need to pack a more extensive kit.

Communicating Your Needs

Both partners in the relationship have needs that need to be understood. In addition to typical relationship communication, some diabetes-specific topics are likely to be discussed.

What Is Type 2 Diabetes?

Don't assume the partner without diabetes knows what the condition entails or has accurate information. It's helpful to give them an overview of type 2 diabetes, provide resources they can use to learn more, and be open to any questions they may have (that fall within your comfort level).

What Managing Type 2 Diabetes Entails

Discuss your diet and exercise plans and how your partner can support you with them. If you use injections, be mindful that your partner may feel squeamish about needles, and give them a heads up before you do it.

What to Do in an Emergency

Make sure your partner knows the signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), including:

  • Shakiness
  • Sweating, clamminess, or chills
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Irritability or impatience
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Hunger or nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Blurred vision
  • Anger, stubbornness, or sadness

Tell your partner what to do if your blood sugar drops too low or if there is another diabetes-related emergency.

How Type 2 Diabetes Affects You

Type 2 diabetes can cause changes in mood and emotions. Knowing that this can happen and why may be reassuring to your partner. Your partner may also want to discuss how your mood swings affect them, and together you can discuss what to do when they arise.

Changes in mood that escalate to verbal abuse, violence, or other harmful behavior are unacceptable. If this occurs, you will need to find a way to manage it.

How Involved Do You Want Your Partner to Be?

You may want to manage your condition as a team, or you may prefer to do so independently. Make sure your partner knows what support you need and when you would prefer they step back.

How Can You Bring Up Type 2 Diabetes on the First Date?

Some people prefer to tell a potential partner about their diabetes on a first date, while others would rather wait a bit. When you tell others about your condition is entirely up to you.

There are some benefits to getting it out in the open early, including making planning diabetes-friendly dates easier, being able to do blood sugar checks or taking your insulin/medication without feeling you need to leave the room, and so that your date knows what to do if you have a dangerous blood sugar drop. You don't need to go into great detail initially; simply mentioning that you have type 2 diabetes and will need to check your glucose levels occasionally is a good introduction.

Type 2 Diabetes Dating Resources

If you have type 2 diabetes, you may wish to connect with potential partners who also have diabetes. Some dating sites are aimed specifically at pairing people who have diabetes with each other, including:

As with any dating site, do your research before joining and be mindful of safety and security. Verywell Health has not vetted nor endorses these dating sites.

Diabetes and Sex

Diabetes can have an impact on sex, including the potential for erectile dysfunction, vaginitis (inflammation of the vagina), cystitis, and diminished clitoral sensation. Hypoglycemia can also occur during sex. If diabetes is impacting your sex life, talk to your healthcare provider.


Type 2 diabetes can affect both partners in a relationship, but with open communication, each person can get the support they need. Diabetes management should be kept in mind when planning dates. Choose diabetes-friendly foods when dining out, and consider incorporating physical activity into your dates.

It's a good idea to bring a diabetes kit with you when you go out that contains anything diabetes-related you might need, including your blood glucose meter, medication, and ways to raise blood sugar that is too low.

A Word From Verywell

Dating with diabetes can feel intimidating for both partners, but with good communication and thoughtful planning, successful and fulfilling relationships are possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you ask questions about your date’s diabetes?

    If your date is open to it, it's OK to ask about their diabetes. Some key things to remember include:

    • Every person with diabetes is an individual with different needs and preferences.
    • Be mindful of boundaries, and step back if your date feels uncomfortable.
    • Be attentive when they are speaking. They are trusting you with personal information about themselves, be respectful of it.
  • What are the emotional effects of type 2 diabetes?

    Ups and downs in blood sugar levels can affect your mood.

    If your blood sugar is low, some emotions you may feel include:

    • Angry, frustrated, or irritable
    • Sad or depressed
    • Scared, panicky, or overwhelmed with anxiety (may mimic a panic attack)
    • Tired
    • Silly, feeling like you are drunk

    High blood sugar can cause you to feel moods such as:

    • Angry
    • Irritable or cranky
    • Depressed
    • Tired
    • Unenthusiastic for daily activities
    • Feeling "under the weather"
10 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Type 2 diabetes.

  2. Beyond Type 2. Relationships and type 2 diabetes.

  3. diaTribe. Dating with diabetes.

  4. Diabetes Self-Management. Dating and diabetes.

  5. Diabetes UK. Eating out with diabetes.

  6. Beyond Type 2. Daily type 2 diabetes kit.

  7. Diabetes.co.uk. Diabetes and dating.

  8. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. Friends, family & diabetes.

  9. Beyond Type 2. How diabetes impacts your mood.

  10. Diabetes.co.uk. Diabetes and sex.

By Heather Jones
Heather M. Jones is a freelance writer with a strong focus on health, parenting, disability, and feminism.