Dating Diabetes

I found myself arguing with my girlfriend a ways back, not realizing what we were arguing about.  She addressed a litany of small little issues that usually wouldn’t bother her, but she was in rare form that day.

womenleaningonmanFBBefore I knew what happened, I was on the defensive, trying to prove my value.  I took a step back during that moment and asked her what was going on? Why was she so upset with me?

I Hate your diabetes
Like most people living with diabetes, I was so focused on the litany of things I need to do to take care of my diabetes, on top of everything else, I never saw this coming.  I was so focused on how diabetes impacted me, that I never realized how much it affected the people I loved.

She repeated herself “I hate your diabetes!”  It felt like she said I hate you. After all, diabetes is a part of who I am, but she didn’t hate me. She was just expressing a normal feeling for someone who lives with a person who has diabetes. I told her, “Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do about that, if I could, trust me I would.”

She continued to tell me how scared and worried she was. Worried that something terrible would happen to me and that I would end up in the hospital or worse!

manwomanmovingdm-fb.jpgMy girlfriend was frustrated and sad that she couldn’t help me and angry that it keeps interfering with our daily activities. Scared that I wouldn’t always be there for her and mad that diabetes wouldn’t let me.

These were all valid feelings that happen when diabetes is part of a relationship. In the past, I have had needless arguments because of saying something insensitive while my blood sugars where high.

Since then, I developed ways to communicate and implement plans of action, that we worked on together to reduce arguing while my blood sugar is high. But, for our plan to work, it required healthy communication around diabetes, honesty, transparency, and teamwork.

Both parties needed to be able to express their feeling about the impact of diabetes on either of them in a safe space. This is paramount to the survival of the relationship.

I struggled for many years alone trying to manage my relationship in denial about the impact diabetes has on my relationships until therapy helped me see what my girlfriend was going through and the importance of healthy support and communication with her.

I remember how lonely it was and how therapy helped me and my relationships. I now talk openly and freely with my wife, and she does the same. Therapy has helped both of us cope and maneuver through the ins and outs of diabetes together.

It made such a profound impact on my life that I want to return that gift and help others living with diabetes and their partners express their feels and learn healthy personalized ways to support one another.

If your relationship is suffering due to the impact of diabetes, I can help. Please call me at (917) 272-4829 or email me at

My Private Practice provides that safe space for the couple to express their feelings and concerns to each other. There, couples learn new communication tools unique to diabetes to help them avoid the needless arguments that happen when blood sugars are high or low. During the therapeutic process, my clients learn healthier ways to support each other.

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.

Published by Eliot LeBow LCSW, CDE

Eliot LeBow, LCSW, CDE, is a diabetes-focused psychotherapist, diabetes-coach, presenter, and writer. 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. Diabetes-Focused Psychotherapy takes a holistic approach combining traditional talk therapy with diabetes education and management help. It addresses both the physical and emotional aspects of living life with diabetes while still addressing other non-diabetes related life problems to create a unique holistic approach to helping people with diabetes thrive.

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