lcp

Love & Diabetes: Can Diabetes Affect Your Relationship?

Written by GHBY Team on Wed, 16 November 2022

Key Highlights

  • Managing diabetes alone is complex and can strain a relationship.
  • Hypoglycemia or hypo causes bizarre mood swings, leading to emotional turmoil.
  • Cooperation and support are necessary when you live with a person with diabetes.
  • A little compromise and a better understanding of your partner's needs can make diabetes management easier.
viewbox

Being diagnosed with diabetes can be an upsetting moment, and it may take some time for you to come to terms with yourself. It is natural for people to ask, "Why did this happen to me?" "What did I do wrong?" or "Is this going to be difficult for my loved ones who are now living with someone with diabetes?"

Though it may be challenging to accept the news of getting diagnosed with diabetes, the knowledge of having diabetes can benefit you one way or the other, especially for your interpersonal relationships.

Along with the physical symptoms, the emotional and social effects of diabetes can also be difficult to manage. One also needs to know how diabetes affects their health.

Communication and compromise are required in any committed relationship, and it is no different if your partner has diabetes. Getting diagnosed with diabetes ultimately becomes a big part of your life, so it's only natural if it plays a specific role in your partner's life.

But as they say, making things work with the right tools to pull through those rough days improves a relationship and your diabetes management.

Cooperation and Communication

"Teamwork makes the dream work." Just as this quote states, committed relationships require cooperation and partnership, especially if one of the partners has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Sometimes, you must work as a team to manage your relationship and diabetes.

At other times, you may need space to manage your diabetes alone.

A proper understanding between the partners and being honest about what helps is essential. A little communication with self-awareness can do wonders.

Let's dive into some examples:

Cooperation and Communication
 

  • When you feel like you're on edge, always remember your blood sugar may affect your mood. Make sure you know your blood sugar levels and communicate their impact to your partner. So, your partner will know how to support you, the next time you get short-tempered after experiencing a low.
     
  • You and your partner should be aware of the mood swings and how they affect your health and those around you. A helpful tip: During a heated discussion, it is best to step back and assess how your mood impacts the situation.
  • Avoid trying to conceal your inner emotions, pain, or frustrations. Communicating your physical and emotional feelings with your partner can help them understand your state of mind better and guide them to react accordingly.
  • The lesser the guesswork they need to do, the better the support you receive. Nurturing honest and open communication will also help your partner be more comfortable with sharing their feelings about diabetes.

Compromise

Every relationship requires some amount of give and take. You also need to understand how diabetes affects your body system, and how weight and food affect diabetes and your overall lifestyle. For example, if you meet your partner halfway, you can devise a strategy to find the most suitable mealtimes, exercise schedules, and more.

Making adjustments and occasional compromises is vital in all committed relationships. With diabetes, your partner may feel they are compromising more than you are. But communicating openly and having productive conversations with each other will help you find your rhythm and get used to managing diabetes together.

Set up a daily routine

Good diabetes management is possible when a daily routine is in place. There may be times when even the best routine for diabetes will have an unexpected or unavoidable conflict with the situation you may find yourself in.

For example, if you are planning to visit a restaurant, it may be essential to know when you'll be getting there. This will help you manage your food intake and explain the things you need to consider, to the people you are with, to help manage your diabetes, such as:

  1. Taking medications and insulin at the right time
  2. Keeping track of your total calorie intake
  3. Whether the food you order is as per your diet plan.

Sometimes, you may also need to remind or clarify your conditions to someone close to you. It is always good to be mindful of whether you may be making too much of an issue regarding your diabetes.

Food choices

Living with diabetes and making some difficult food choices can sometimes be prickly. For example, it may be a family get-together, a work lunch, a restaurant visit, or even a simple trip to the supermarket.

Different people can be affected in different ways. Some folks will expect people around them to pay attention and understand their situation, whereas others will just avoid discussing it altogether.

The tip here is not to let yourself fall into the trap of expecting others to understand your situation. You should speak up and let those around you know if you feel uncomfortable. But remember that they are unlikely to be aware of your inner thoughts. So, speak up!

Dealing with stress

Mood swings happen in people with diabetes due to varying blood sugar levels. It becomes challenging to control your emotions when you feel on the edge, making it harder to manage your condition, and putting stress on your loved ones and those around you.

The best way to deal with this stress is to take a break and disassociate yourself from the cause of stress. You can also review your situations and priorities. The best way to prevent stress from lurking in your personal life is to find a way to let go of some of the pressure.

Finding extra time for yourself can work wonders, even under time pressure. If you feel like you have been slacking recently, it's well worth getting back on track with your daily routine and diet plan and making it a higher priority. This will not only help you feel better but also reduce stress in other aspects of your life.

Diabetic complications and relationships

Diabetes, if left uncontrolled, can result in a variety of short-term and long-term health complications, including hypoglycemia, heart disease, nerve damage and amputation, and vision problems.

Most of these complications are caused by uncontrolled blood glucose levels over time.

People with diabetes must be aware of the complications that can arise due to the condition. It is, therefore, essential to detect the early signs of any potential sickness before it develops.

Your quality of life may be compromised by complications or the prospect of complications. You may feel vulnerable if you have problems or are in the early stages. It might be tempting to disconnect from reality, which can mean pushing others away. We're all getting older, and along with that comes the realization that our bodies aren't invincible.

Diabetic complications and relationships
 

Dealing with diabetes is challenging, and remaining strong in adversity requires great bravery. So, don't be too hard on yourself and allow yourself to embrace people who help you.

Hypoglycemia and relationships

Hypoglycemia or hypo occurs when the blood sugar levels drop below the normal range. Some people may be susceptible to it and do not know how to react. It may surprise you if a friend or a family member reacts more strongly to your hypo than you do.

For some people affected by diabetes, hypoglycemia can be the worst part.
 

Hypoglycemia may increase your emotional responses, making you sad, agitated, worried, frustrated, or angry.
 

Make concerted efforts to control your blood sugar levels since most of these bizarre reactions are due to a lack of hypo awareness. Your partner may feel shocked and may react against themselves. But make sure you recognize it as they may have a reason to be worried, even frightened, and reassure them.

Intimacy Gap

Hypoglycemia is, without a doubt, an unwanted inconvenience when finding joy in sex. It can be discouraging to put your love life on hold while you test and wait for your sugar levels to rise. However, depending on how you and your partner feel about it, it doesn't have to dampen your enthusiasm.

It's also a good idea to be open about your diabetes when it comes to sex. If you aren't honest and get low on sugar while in the act, it may come as a surprise to your partner and demand some awkward explanation and reassurance.

It could be down to your sugar levels if you feel you are underperforming. Hypos in males often cause short-term erection problems. However, this problem goes away once you know its reason and your blood sugar levels get normal.

Seek support

Couples counseling may be beneficial if you and your partner have trouble managing your diabetes. A counselor can help you communicate better so that your health becomes a shared goal, whether your diagnosis is new or you've had the condition for a long time.

You can also seek assistance from diabetes support groups that might make you feel less alone or strange by giving you guidance and tips. Some organizations cater to either women or men, while others are for couples, families, or even ethnic groups. Inquire with your doctor or a diabetes educator about local support groups.

Conclusion

Though an unlikely match, love and diabetes may have a deeper connection than is evident. But keep in mind that though anyone can be affected by your diabetes, you don't have to deal with it alone.

Remember, your partner is there for you and willing to help you along the way to handle the storm. Yes, it won't be as easy as it sounds, but cooperation and communication will work just fine.
 

viewbox

GHBY Team

GHBY Team comprises content writers and content editors who specialise in health and lifestyle writing. Always on the lookout for new trends in the health and lifestyle space, Team GHBY follows an audience-first approach. This ensures they bring the latest in the health space to your fingertips, so you can stay ahead in your wellness game. 
 

Did you like our Article?

Excited

0

Happy

0

Not Sure

0

Silly

0

Leave a Comment

  1. Trief, P. M., Sandberg, J. G., Dimmock, J. A., Forken, P. J., & Weinstock, R. S. (2013). Personal and relationship challenges of adults with type 1 diabetes: a qualitative focus group study. Diabetes Care, 36(9), 2483-2488.
  2. Tuncay, T., Musabak, I., Gok, D. E., & Kutlu, M. (2008). The relationship between anxiety, coping strategies and characteristics of patients with diabetes. Health and quality of life outcomes, 6(1), 1-9.
  3. Carlton, J., Elliott, J., Rowen, D., Stevens, K., Basarir, H., Meadows, K., & Brazier, J. (2017). Developing a questionnaire to determine the impact of self-management in diabetes: giving people with diabetes a voice. Health and quality of life outcomes, 15(1), 1-10.
  4. Gillibrand, R., & Stevenson, J. (2007). The role of partner relationships in the young person's adherence to the diabetes self-care regime. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 14(3), 151-155.
  5. Penckofer, S., Quinn, L., Byrn, M., Ferrans, C., Miller, M., & Strange, P. (2012). Does glycemic variability impact mood and quality of life?. Diabetes technology & therapeutics, 14(4), 303-310.
  6. Hermanns, N., Ehrmann, D., Finke‐Groene, K., & Kulzer, B. (2020). Trends in diabetes self‐management education: where are we coming from and where are we going? A narrative review. Diabetic Medicine, 37(3), 436-447.
  7. Shrimali, R., & Mehta, M. (2018). Mood fluctuations and coping pattern among diabetic patients. IAHRW International Journal of Social Sciences Review, 6(7), 1278-1283.
  8. Narita, Z., Inagawa, T., Stickley, A., & Sugawara, N. (2019). Physical activity for diabetes-related depression: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of psychiatric research, 113, 100-107.
  9. Joensen, L. E., Almdal, T. P., & Willaing, I. (2016). Associations between patient characteristics, social relations, diabetes management, quality of life, glycaemic control and emotional burden in type 1 diabetes. Primary care diabetes, 10(1), 41-50.
  10. . Polonsky, W. H., Fisher, L., Hessler, D., & Johnson, N. (2016). Emotional distress in the partners of type 1 diabetes adults: worries about hypoglycemia and other key concerns. Diabetes technology & therapeutics, 18(5), 292-297.
  11. Gardsten, C., Blomqvist, K., Rask, M., Larsson, Å., Lindberg, A., & Olsson, G. (2018). Challenges in everyday life among recently diagnosed and more experienced adults with type 2 diabetes: a multistage focus group study. Journal of clinical nursing, 27(19-20), 3666-3678.
  12. Lustman, P. J., & Clouse, R. E. (2005). Depression in diabetic patients: the relationship between mood and glycemic control. Journal of Diabetes and its Complications, 19(2), 113-122.
  13. Li, C., Xu, D., Hu, M., Tan, Y., Zhang, P., Li, G., & Chen, L. (2017). A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of cognitive behavior therapy for patients with diabetes and depression. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 95, 44-54.
  14. Nash, J. (2013). Diabetes and wellbeing: managing the psychological and emotional challenges of diabetes types 1 and 2. John Wiley & Sons.
  15. Yale, J. F., Paty, B., & Senior, P. A. (2018). Hypoglycemia. Canadian journal of diabetes, 42, S104-S108.
  16. Penckofer, S., Quinn, L., Byrn, M., Ferrans, C., Miller, M., & Strange, P. (2012). Does glycemic variability impact mood and quality of life?. Diabetes technology & therapeutics, 14(4), 303-310.
  17. Chu, B., Marwaha, K., Sanvictores, T., & Ayers, D. (2021). Physiology, stress reaction. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing.
  18. Walker, R. J., Garacci, E., Campbell, J. A., Harris, M., Mosley-Johnson, E., & Egede, L. E. (2021). Relationship between multiple measures of financial hardship and glycemic control in older adults with diabetes. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 40(2), 162-169.
  19. Trief, P. M., Jiang, Y., Beck, R., Huckfeldt, P. J., Knight, T., Miller, K. M., & Weinstock, R. S. (2017). Adults with type 1 diabetes: partner relationships and outcomes. Journal of Health Psychology, 22(4), 446-456.