I am been diabetic for 35 years and I grew up in a type 1 household. So when I got the disease I knew what was going on and frankly did not like the outcome very much. My wife of 35 years knew nothing about D when we started dating and we dated for one year before we got married. So to answer you questions:
What do you expect from your partner as a diabetic?
I am a male and my wife helps me a great deal, but she could not when first married. When first married, I expected her to get me juice when I said I needed it. Since when we married, I expected her to let me buy insulin when it was needed, and when test strips came out, she had to understand the economics of buying those as well.
As we have been married, she has learned to use a glucagon injection, watch for lows, remind me of checking my BS, and yes getting angry when I do not comply. That is not where we started, but where we are now.
How much should you rely on them?
Unless you are blind, on dialysis or very sick with a virus, diabetes is your gig, sure they might toss in and help in a variety of ways, but it is your gig. You have got to be responsible for it. Your job is to be as healthy as you can for your spouse. You must work to keep your health up, jut like she must as well. If the two things are in conflict, then both of you must negotiate.
What are some things your partner should know about your diabetes?
Really I wish we had enrolled in a diabetic education class before we got married. I always suggest it now to couples where one is T1D and the other is new to the disease. do that before you propose if you can. My wife would have gladly went, just as I went to child birth classes with her. T1D is a joint issue not yours or hers, but both of yours. One big thing, i get angry when I go low rapidly. I am liable to say some mighty mean things, and she has come to understand that treatment is first, then after I am no longer low we can discuss what I said or did. We never mark up my rudeness to diabetes, but thank goodness she understands an out of control low is tough to contro and talking about while low is like tossing gasoline on the fire.
What are your relationships like?
Good, I love her more now then ever. I am very very fortunate to have her. I am always amazed when I return home each evening and she is still here. I think she is amazed that I come home some nights, but she knows she keeps my insulin so she knows I will always show up sooner or later.
Has a relationship not worked out because of your T1D?
Of course. They have also not worked out because her father did not like me, I drove to fast, to slow, my car was not nice enough I did not like her, she really did not like me, her sister was very pretty, or very ahh not pretty. In short I was in HS when I met my wife, and she would not go out with me. So I asked another T1D out and she really did not like me. So I asked this young lady or that out and they all failed for various reasons. Or sometimes they would go out and decide my humor is / was an issue. Yes Diabetes cut into each of these things in some way. but I do not believe that expect for the T1D I went out with that diabetes was the issue. AZ year after I asked my wife out she called me and asked if I wanted to go on a date. I said yes of course and so we made a date. One year later we were marred. I was 19 she was 20 and the biggest issue was that my mom was scared to death for me. Would I finish college, Find career fulfillment? I am glad to say marrying my wife was a wonderful idea. Oh and yes, I am likely alive today because my wife has been with me.
Lawrence 'rick' Phillips Ed.D., MPA, BS
After 35 year I think she is too bossy and she thinks I am too casual about the disease. She is worried sick about lows, I am worried sick about highs. I get tired of her being scared all the time, she gets tired of calling the ambulance to recover my awful lows. She worries about me always, I worry about her being safe even more.