What do you expect from your partner as a diabetic? How much should you rely on them and What are some things your partner should know about your diabetes? That is, having a partner who does not have diabetes. What are your relationships like? Has a relationship not worked out because of your T1D? I'm interested to hear your experiences!
I love that word...the "Betes".
I had already had D for more than 10 years when I met my husband and this summer we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. My husband has a double PhD in biochemistry and pharmacology and while he understands the mechanisms of action of glucose in the cell and counter regulatory action of glucagon, I am the one with D, and he has pretty much let me treat myself throughout our marriage. He has saved my life on 3 occasions with glucagon when a severe hypo has left me unconscious but has never given me a shot of insulin. He doesn't play food police and since he found out he is gluten sensitive, I am more likely to ask him "can you eat that ?" than the other way around. My husband has an uncanny ability to sense when I am low just from the way I am speaking and my son also has this ability but since I got a CGM I have not needed their input. I have never made D an issue so my husband doesn't either and after 25+ years it works for us.
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.
I think having poor control contributed to some poor decisions and the demise of previous relationships. Many more contributing factors; including youth and stupidity of course. Never dated another PWD.
Last serious relationship was with my MD. When I moved in with her, I decided to get a different Dr, so I wasn't too dependent. She got upset. It was a pattern of jealousy and strange time for me in general.
Now, I'm happily married and have a kid. Together 5 years. Earlier, my wife's saw me confused from being low a couple times, but BG is much more stable now, so it's not much of a factor. I've explained what to do in emergencies. She stopped eating carbs when I did. I wouldn't have asked her to. All in all, maybe D and the life experience that perspective that comes with it has been good for my marraige.
My boyfriend and Idon't really discuss my diabetes. He reminds me when we eat that I need to shoot and to take my Lantus at 11 every night but that's about it. I wish we would talk more about it and that he would learn more but there's two problems with it. 1) He's afraid of needles(won't even let me show him how to do it with the top still on the needle)and 2) He's Legally Blind, sohe can't see all the little notches on the syringe to give a correct dose or the tiny instructions on a glucagon syringe to be able to help. I've been trying to figure out what I can do to get him more interested but I'm at a loss. Any suggestions?
Hi Jenn. Maybe one of the pumps would be user friendly for someone legally blind; also possibly a pen would be easier for him to use in helping you.