emotional health

3 Ways Diabetes Can Destroy Your Relationship (and What to Do About It)

Whether you’re single and dating, in a serious relationship, or have several years of marriage under your belt, diabetes is a significant part of your life and can inevitably have an impact on those relationships, for better or for worse. We’ve talked about diabetes impacting your sex life specifically, but here are three ways diabetes can bring turmoil to your relationship as a whole and what to do about it.

1. Hide Your Diabetes

If you’re out in the dating world, and you’re purposefully hiding your diabetes from the people you’re dating because you’re afraid of their reaction to the sight of you pricking your finger, wearing an insulin pump, or giving yourself an injection, you are hiding a huge part of who you are. If the person you’re dating isn’t comfortable with your diabetes, or isn’t willing to learn about it gradually with your help, then this relationship is doomed for disaster. Also, you’ll inevitably wind up neglecting your diabetes, like skipping insulin doses or going hours without checking your blood sugar because you don’t want them to witness the event.

Solution: The way you present your diabetes to a new person in your life is a big part of how they will react to it. If you present your diabetes as something you’re embarrassed by, they will see it as something that is weird and worth being embarrassed by. If you present your diabetes as something you boldly face every day that you’re proud of yourself for, they will see your response to diabetes as something that is impressive and worth admiring.
In the end, if someone isn’t attracted to you because of your life with diabetes, then they are definitely not a person who can become a supportive partner in the long-term. You deserve a partner who will embrace every part of who you are, and that includes your health.

2. Don’t Let People Support You

Nobody wants to be nagged by the people who love them when it comes to diabetes, but the people who love you want to help take care of you, just like you probably want to take care of them in other ways. If you don’t take the time to explain what kind of support you’d like to receive from your partner, then they will be left trying desperately to support you in every way they can. They’ll feel like you’re not letting them in, and you’ll feel like you’re constantly be bugged and nagged about your diabetes, like they’re being nosey and trying to micromanage you.

Solution: Explain to your partner exactly how they can be the most supportive in your life with diabetes. For example: maybe you don’t like being reminded to check your blood sugar, but you don’t mind being ask after the meter gives your result, “Hey baby, how’s everything going?” This way, your partner can be included (and aware of your safety, if your blood sugar is low or high). Or you can explain to your partner what you need when your blood sugar is low: “When I’m low, I really need a juice box and I’d love your help in getting one quickly,” or “When I’m low, I really just need you to give me some space and not talk to me while I wait for my blood sugar to come back up.”

3. Neglect Your Diabetes: Hurt the People Who Love You

As people with diabetes neglect our health because of diabetes burnout, it hurts more than just us, it hurts the people who love us. The more out of control our blood sugars are, the more the people around us are impacted by our disease. Every low blood sugar brings worry, panic, and responsibility to our partners. Every high blood sugar that leaves us feeling sick and grump impacts their lives, too. In the long-term, the more we neglect our diabetes, the more we are at risk for complications that will leave our partners ultimately more responsible for taking care of us in the future. It can almost be considered very selfish to neglect your diabetes, as this will inevitably hurt the people around you. It’s not just about you.

Solution: If you’re struggling with diabetes management, it’s time to ask for help. Whether you need more help from your partners or professional medical help, ignoring this part of your life is going to cause major stress in your relationship. If you need therapy, help with your blood sugar control, or coaching, take the step and seek help for the sake of your relationship! Nobody said diabetes is easy, but there are people out there who can help you. Save yourself and save your relationship.

Dating with diabetes is not easy, and it’s an extra challenge that non-diabetics may never understand, but it’s important to make sure your diabetes gets as much attention in your relationship as it needs. The more you hide it or neglect it, the more it will become a problem in your relationship. Take the time to educate and support your partner as they learn about your diabetes, so they can become an awesome and reliable part of your self-care. Your relationship will be better because of it!
By Ginger Vieira
with permission for clinidiabet.com
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