Managing Relationships & Diabetes

One of the biggest problems with diabetes, is being in a relationship when one’s blood sugar is high, there is a tendency to get in a depressed mood. High blood sugars cause a lot of issues in relationships.

If your partner doesn’t recognize that you are in a high blood sugar state, then she/he may think what you say in a negative way may be about her/him when it is due to the high blood sugar. Emotional issues caused by high blood sugar that leads to a lot of, “I’m so sorry! My blood sugar was high!”

Another piece that comes up with the diabetes is that it becomes a source of conversation. “Oh! You’re not taking care of your blood sugars! You’re not taking care of that! Oh! You’re blood sugars were off the other day!”

One of the problems, is because of the adverse impacts of fluctuating blood sugars, your significant other may be frustrated? She/he may start focusing on you, instead of recognizing that the ups and downs that go with having diabetes are just part of it.

“You can never be in perfect control.”

You’re going to be high, you’re going to be low, but one of the important things that you may want to work on is building communications, to resolve these issues.

Communication is one of the most important things in a relationship in general. When there is an illness like diabetes, constant communication is a healthy thing.

You might want to try something like an “I feel” statement. Where the person you are talking to has done something that bothers you; you ought to say “I feel bothered when you leave the cap off the toothpaste.”

It sounds silly, but it’s like, ok shouldn’t that person know that? But unless you are expressing your feelings, how is your significant other ever going to know when something is bothering you?

When it comes to diabetes in a relationship, there is an increased need for communication. Because, emotional issues due to diabetes, causes problems not just for you, but the people around you. For the significant others who are watching this, you need to be flexibility and allow your partner to be imperfect. 

With diabetes, there is no such thing as perfect control. You can have good management! You can have okay control, but there will always be some bad times when blood sugars are high. And, there will always be some times when you need to take a break. So, if you’re a significant other, please be flexible.

If your partner says, “Hey, I’m feeling week!” Say, “Hey, maybe we should check your blood sugar?”

That will help you (the person with diabetes) if your blood sugars are off, then the both of you know what’s going on. If you both realize that it’s a place of vulnerability, you could both watch out and protect each other.  You become a team to help the person living with diabetes, to make the relationship work, stronger & better.

To get help or for more information on Diabetes-Focused Psychotherapy go to Eliot’s website or set up a free 30-minute phone consultation.

Eliot LeBow, LCSW, CDE, is a diabetes-focused psychotherapist. His private practice, located in New York City and is also available via Skype. LeBow, who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1977, treats the many diverse cognitive, behavioral, and emotional needs of people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Medical Disclaimer:
All the advice included in this blog is therapeutic in nature and should not be considered medical advice. Before making any changes to your diabetes maintenance program, please consult with your primary physician or endocrinologist.

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