Married to a type 1 diabetic/introvert

Hi everyone,

I have been married to a type 1 diabetic for 8 years. Over the 13 years that I have known him, he's been through a lot of ups and downs with his health . Also, not only does he suffer from type 1 diabetes, but he has sleep issues and generalized anxiety. He is also pretty introverted. I am more outgoing and enjoy meeting new people, but this tends to wear him out. I would like him to feel more comfortable in social settings but I know that concerns about his health get in the way of that, as well as the fact that these situations can be draining for him.

I would love to hear how those of you with Type 1 handle social gatherings and manage your health while staying active. Also, I would love to hear from spouses of diabetics on how to stay positive and provide support to their spouses as they are managing their health.


My husband and I, we’re both Type 2’s,… While I’m not a super social butterfly, I do socialize a lot more than him and enjoy going out a lot more. He has social anxiety disorder issues. Generally, we compromise on social setting situations and pick restaurants (or times of day) in which there may not be as much people, bright lights or a lot of excitement. We visit friends, in small gatherings or informal settings, and that way, when they have a party, it gets a lot easier for him to be around these folks… it just doesn’t catch him off guard as easily, and he actually can think of things to talk to them about. I guess I would suggest considering the size of the gathering, and is it worth dragging him through it? Is it people he’ll never see again? A dinner at a friend’s house sounds okay, a big Christmas party from your job where there’s hundreds of people… not so much. Does he like to plan fun evenings at home, with you and the family? Like, dinner and a movie rental? Maybe you can have some of those times, too, every once in a while… perhaps even have a friend or two over. That way, you get to socialize, and he’s in his own safety turf. :slight_smile:

Try doing things that are not around meal times. I prefer to go out, but not for dinner or lunch. Meeting at a teahouse is my ideal socialization :slight_smile: But we’re all different!

Oh, that sounds like a great idea, Kristin! :slight_smile:

Thans Lizmari! The reason that I like teahouses is that I can have almost anything on the menu!!! That doesn’t happen in very many places :slight_smile:

Hi Tom - thanks for your reply. I definitely cultivate a social life of my own and usually go out with my friends once a week. We have lived in a new area for over 4 years and I am trying hard to build a set of family friends for us and our kids since we don’t live near family. This is definitely more of a priority for me than for my husband. Given his health, the demands of work, and time spent with me and the kids, he doesn’t have a lot of energy left over for friends. He goes along with plans I make but gets uncomfortable when he has a health issue (which is normal of course) or when he isn’t feeling social. I have better luck when we’re at home, so I try to invite friends over a couple times a month. I know that we’ll always have differences with this and I’ll always want to do more social things than he does. I also know that some people won’t want to be friends with us, but I have to remember that true friendswill understand if my husband is not always chipper or wanting to be social. It’s just hard sometimes because some people don’t seem to want to be patient with someone who has health issues.

I can only respond to the type 1 diabetes portion, which I am. I am going to discuss a little, because the better control a diabetic has, the better they feel. There is a huge frustration that comes from lack of control, in addition to the physical strain.

I am sure someone is going to disagree, but here are some things that are true about me, and some others here. We are used to handling everything ourselves. We don’t want help, or input from someone who hasn’t been in our shoes, and we are stubborn. We don’t trust others because we know more than they do. I trust no nurse, because of multiple bad hospital interractions. We have been told by our doctors for years that we are not good enough, and no matter how well we manage our diabetes, we should do better. It gets really frustrating.

I recommend you buy “Think Like a Pancreas” by Gary Scheiner. My boyfriend bought it for me after looking for books on the ADA website, and then read it after I was through. That book changed my life. It told me that I didn’t have to be perfect. I just have to do the best I can. It tells you how to take small steps to work towards better control. Do one thing a week, or longer. When you get that one down, you go to the next week. If you try to correct everything at once, like we all tend to do, it is too hard to get good control that way.

If I go through a rough patch, I hate eating with other people. I just want to eat my food at my house so I can count the carbs and not have to try to figue how much insulin I need based on a restaurant meal or a friends meal. This book may help with that frustrationn as control improves. You know, every time you eat, you have to do math to figure the insulin needed, and there are too many variables sometimes.

I also recommend watching the youtube videos “my life as a pin cushion” series (totally g rated, so the kids can watch them). They are good for a laugh. And, if you can get him to watch them, even better. They are really good at puting things in perspective.

Thanks Tom -I just sent you a friend request so I can follow up with you. thanks!

It might not just be ‘concerns’ about his health that get in the way, there is nothing worse than going out and having a sudden high (put me in bed so I can sleep NOW) or a sudden low (get me away from people incase I punch someone NOW) in company that doesn’t understand. And to be quite honest unless you are type 1 diabetic, you wont understand. I get tired of explaining it over and over. All the constant questions if I have to test, run the script, over and over. It’s boring. And then if something does happen themn i must be having ‘one of those diabetic funny turns’. Bollocks to it. I handle it by Rarely going out and when I do it’s with really really close friends.

Oh and to let you know my diabetes is pretty well controlled but if I do go out on a Friday night I can kiss goodbye to saturday as I will be asleep for the vast majority of it.

Very true -my husband will have these issues sometimes when we go out and all he wants to do is to leave the situation and go home. I think I just need to learn to be ok with the fact that he won’t participate in the majority of my social activities. Sometimes it makes me sad though because our friends may never really get to know him because of this.

May I ask. What are your social activities? If they involve a lot of food and drink then maybe it’s the type of activities that you are doing that need to change. I don’t think it’s fair to expect a T1 to go out for dinner and drinks all the time as these are the sort of things that can really swing an otherwise stable blood sugar out of control. This can take a few days to remedy and most of us that work simply don’t have that luxury.

We have little kids so we don’t go out that much. Usually our activities involve getting together with friends for dinner and having the kids play. We invite folks to our house a lot since it is more comfortable for my husband to be in his own home if something goes wrong, and he can also better control what he eats. I’ve definitely seen the effects of eating out a lot and how that can throw his blood sugar out of whack, so we try to make sure to minimize those situations.

I’m the Type 1 in our marriage.

Far easier said than done, but keeping BG as level as possible helps with anxiety & with sleep. When low, I’m instantly depressed, tired & anxious. It’s a physiological reaction. High BG is also tiring & flipping between high & low is downright exhausting.

For parties where there’s no telling what I’ll be able to eat, I eat something before I go. Sometimes I also eat a little before going out with friends in case there are limited options. We also socialize with friends around activities that don’t involve food.

Maybe going to a movie, concert or sport event would be less stressful for your husband since it doesn’t require as much social interaction. My husband is shy. He feels more at ease in loud, crowded places where there’s not the burden of making small talk. That lost in a crowd thing. He also feels more comfortable in our house than going to other people’s homes. Fine with me because I enjoy cooking & having people over.