Marriage, Relationships and T1D

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!

First, I look at my diabetes as my burden, not my partner or families. All I really require is a modicum of patience and understanding. I can do what I need to do. Other than that, the personality trait that suits me the most is the ability not to be embarrassed by my diabetic predilections. I do what I have to do, when I have to do it, with as much respect as I can have for the people around me, but if I have to gulp down a roll of Smarties in one mouthful, that's what I have to do.

Second, there are things that I've just lucked out on, like the fact that my partner can sleep through just about anything. Pod alarms, Dexcom alerts, me getting up in the middle of the night with my beeping test kit, nothing rattles her.

Third, it really helps that, despite me taking on the burden, I have a partner who will willingly pick up whatever slack I need picked up, no questions asked. She definitely needs to know when I absolutely need to deal with a hypo and what to do if I can't. She needs to know where all my supplies are and have some idea how my support equipment operates, just in case. I think it really helps that I do not take any help I may get for granted. I am very very thankful for who she is and the fact that she is with me.

Other than that, business as usual I imagine. I still get yelled at for not picking up after myself, leaving dishes in the sink, playing too many computer games, and watching The Matrix every time it's on TNT.

Never had a previous relationship not work out because of diabetes, knowingly anyways.

I caught my Hubby when he was young and naive(17) the library, of course. :D He was also beside me in the ICU when I woke up from a 3 day coma when we were 19 years old. I had forgotten to take my Insulin in a rush to get to work. I figured if that didn't scare him away, nothing would.

I honestly didn't expect too much from a partner to help me with my Diabetes, as a Diabetic. But I thankfully lucked out with him.

He gives me shots where I cannot reach, he gives me a juice(etc)if I need one, he learned the numbers: 911, he drives me to some of my appointments when he is able, he looks for or makes me things that help me with my other disease, he worries about me and calls from work when he has time and more. He is not the Food Police, he knows that I look after my testing, most of my shots, my appointments,etc., so he doesn't need to bug me. I recently bought a trophy for him for saving my Life countless times, once even when a drunk driver almost ran over me when I was 18. I figured since I got an award then he certainly deserves one also.

I looked for a Man who was normal. As in, being kind and considerate, stable, had patience and was understanding. Someone who enjoyed employment, was smart in his own ways, had a sence of humour, someone who wouldn't mind living in a city, who I felt would make a Good Dad(he is) and so on.

We had about 2% in common, we both have our faults as everyone does but we love each other, work on our problems and are even willing to compromise sometimes. And to admit it when we are wrong. Life threw us hell on a platter and we fought it and prayed through it so far,like many others. We've been married over 30 years now and we still play with toys.:D

We are interested to hear what you expected and of your experiences in seeking/finding your mate also hk62. Let us know please.

Terrie, isn't it so wonderful to have a spouse who cares?

My husband is a saint. I handle my diabetes, but he is my partner, so there is no way he is not involved. My story is much like Terrie's, but I was in my mid-20s when we met.

When we got together, I had been Type 1 for over 10 years. Also, my mom was a Type 2 (diagnosed 5 years or so after me) and she struggled much more than I had at that point. My dad, God bless him, was soooo overprotective of her, and it took away a lot of her spirit. I told my husband before we married that I would divorce him if he ever tried to do that and true to his word, he keeps an eye on me, worries about me, but lets me do things I want to do. In my case it is travel, and he lets me go away on my own, although I think he also enjoys the quiet--no beeping, crisis, etc.

I am very lucky, and we will be married 37 years this May.

This has been something I think about from time to time. I know other people with diabetes in relationships where their spouses really understand the disease and participate in the day to day --at least from an awareness or interest perspective. I've observed in awe the T3s on the DHF board who are dedicated to DHF becuase their spouse's have it. That's not my husband. Don't get me wrong -- my husband is everything to me. But as for my diabetes -- he's pretty much oblivious to it. Of course, if I have a low and need some assistance correcting - I can ask him for help and he'll dart in response. But he really doesn't "get" the disease at all. Much of this is my doing. I am, as he puts it, fiercely independent in all aspects of my life. This holds true for my diabetes as well -- I have had BG as high as 600 and as low as 27 and am always lucid and functional. I feel my lows so I can usually self correct. I recently got a CGM because I travel so much alone on business. But it fascinates me that my CGM alarm will wake me right up out of a dead sleep and my husband doesn't miss a beat in his snoring. But the fact is that the disease is all mine and I don't really expect anything of hIm other than help with the rare super low.. But I confess it drives me a little buggy that on the rare occasion when I do ask him for help with a low he always responds "what do you need me to do." He definitely knows -- the question is bewildering. But it's no different then when he asks me where the scissors are when they are always in the same place, or when he is emptying the dishwasher and asks me where every other dish he pulls out goes. I chalk it up to the inane questions that husbands are taught to ask the moment after they say "I do." And I consider myself really lucky because I couldn't have a better partner in life. So if that means I have to ask for what I need some times or answer a few needless questions - that's ok with me.

I dated a guy when I was 20, who had to watch me being rushed to the ER when I was near coma. He was in the room when I was being hooked up to countless machines with doctors and nurses surrounding me, and I looked over and saw the horrified look on his face. He stuck with me, but he still had no clue. The day I got out of the hospital, he insisted on taking me to barbeque with tons of unhealthy food.

My next boyfriend also had diabetes. I found myself nagging at him alot about the unhealthy lifestyle he led, but it challenged me to take better care of myself.

My current boyfriend, a nondiabetic, told me he read alot about diabetes when we first started dating because he wanted to know more about it and how to help me. His intentions were good, but he still doesn't really get it. He expresses his impatience with me when I'm busy recording my food intake before I eat. He also doesn't understand that when my sugar is not perfect, I am very tired. I went through a period where my sugar was high all of the time and he criticized me for being tired all of the time. However, he is great about carrying emergancy food when we go somewhere and taking care of me when my sugar is so low that I can't get out of bed.
Still, I feel very much alone in this.

I don't really look for anything related to my diabetes from the husband. I have had this LONG before we were ever together, so it's my deal. I'm kinda of the thought, Im going to have this forever and THAT is guaranteed so I need to know how to deal with it, and be responsible for it, and deal with it. There are no guarantees to relationships. So better not become too dependent.

Thats kinda how things are in my relationship, the hub leaves it to me...but obviously if I was really acting off, or I asked he'd know what to do, and that for me works great. It would get on my nerves to no end if he wanted to go to appointments, or everytime I test, what it is.

34 years with my wife and 20 years T2. For all but the last 2 I was on oral meds and my wife never got involved. She knew it would do no good because I was too stubborn headed to listen.

When I became insulin dependant she knew how to handle my lows before I even knew. She had a T1 co-worker that had occasional lows. She had learned the signs of his lows and knew how to help him. I ask her once how she knew and what she did. She said he would come to her appearing to be drunk, she would then take him by the hand and lead him to the drugstore next door and buy him a coke. She was the person he trusted for help and is my go to also.

My wife still doesn't get involved in the day to day care of my D because she knows I'm still hard headed but she knows what to do if I need help.

I'd like to offer a little bit of a different take since neither my ex-wife or I live with Type 1. Instead, our son lives with Type 1. His mother is his primary caregiver. Thankfully, we get along very well, especially when it comes to our kids, but the differences in our life-views certainly contribute to disparate viewpoints. Since his mother and I were already separated when he was diagnosed, the disease did not have a significant effect on our relationship but did, I guess, contribute to a slightly more positive relationship (because we had to work together). That said, the disease unambiguously effects primary adult relationships. I'd love to hear from other people about their experiences in this context.

Ha Spock! I know my Hubby isn't a saint but it is Great to have a caring Hubby for sure. I appreciate and care for him in return.

I was married a few weeks before I came down with the Bete's. My wife has stood by me since day one...if the Bete's has a negative impact on your relationship then it was doomed from the very beginning. I expect my wife to be my partner we share everything including our faults and opinions good or bad it's a package deal, I have much more to offer besides diabetes...;-)

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.