Article originally published on Accu-Chek’s Life with Diabetes Blog
Whether you’re navigating a new relationship, enjoying a decades-long partnership or saying your vows this month (congratulations!), let’s turn our gaze toward the other person in the pair―the one who doesn’t have diabetes, but still lives with it every day.
Lows are scary. Know what else is scary? Watching someone you love go low. It’s awesome to have someone to worry about you. Sure, it can get frustrating, but a partner’s fear often comes from not knowing how to help. That’s pretty easy to fix.
Define “help.” We have a rule at our house that you can’t call it “helping” if you’re doing something the other person doesn’t actually want. Generally speaking, even the Diabetes Police think they’re helping. So, when everyone is cool-headed, talk about what drives you bananas―and more important, give them clear ways to actually help.
Let’s talk about sex, baby. Issues with erections. Mid-moment lows. Tangled tubing. Diabetes doesn’t exactly add to the movie-like romance anyway, so go ahead and laugh. Curse. Talk. Eat a snack in bed. Even in the movies, you get more than one shot at things.
It’s your diabetes, but you both get to feel stressed. Let your partner talk about how diabetes affects them, too, because it almost certainly does. Money? Long-term health? Lows? You may find that their concerns are different from your own, and you may be able to help put them to rest.
Diabetes isn’t going away. Might as well tell them now. You may not be sure if this relationship is going to last. But if it does, they’re going to find out sooner or later. Telling them sooner might head off some confusion about unexpected crankiness, extra trips to the bathroom or tiny dots of blood in random places around your home. Everyone has something, so get yours out in the open and be prepared for questions.
Try to be grateful. Can diabetes get in the way? Absolutely. But you make the decisions―not diabetes. And good control may come more easily with a champion on your side. Preparation, conversation, and kindness can help you share the load together.