Communication is essential so that diabetes does not affect the relationship
The diagnosis of a disease such as diabetes changes the life of a person as well as that of their loved ones. In the case of the couple, being united to accept that reality and cultivating together a new and healthier lifestyle will be decisive for the relationship and the future of both.
It is normal to feel fear or worry in imagining what may happen in the future, since having Diabetes means that there will be certain restrictions in terms of nutrition and social life, such as not drinking alcohol in excess or eating in a balanced way. The latter means not to abuse ice cream, chocolates and all those foods that the fact of having a partner seems to invite them to consume them.
However, to lead a normal life and a full social coexistence with this metabolic disorder, all that is needed is that diabetes is controlled.
You can lead a full social life, provided that diabetes is controlled
The therapeutic education to control diabetes is based mainly on four points, which are of interest to the patient as well as the couple and the family, these are:
- The management of the pharmacological treatment of diabetics (which consists of mastering the adjustment and administration of insulin or drugs orally).
- Correct self-analysis, for which it is essential to master the use of the glucometer and the test strips to measure glucose.
- Knowledge about the most common acute complications of diabetes, mainly knowing how to identify a hypoglycemia, how to resolve it and prevent it.
- The non-pharmacological treatment, that is, the practice of regular physical activity and a healthy diet, rituals that are easier to incorporate into daily life if they are shared with those close to them.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) people with diabetes mellitus have twice the risk of losing their lives than those who do not suffer from the disease, alarming data that generates anxiety or depression among those affected, which also impacts their relationships.
Specialized studies warn that after the diagnosis of the disease patients can experience anxiety or fear due to their concern about hypoglycemia as well as depression and hopelessness before the complications of the disease.
According to research from the Community of Diabetes in the United Kingdom, this condition affects interpersonal and couple relationships at various levels for various reasons, including variations in sugar levels or lack of control of the disease, which brings mental consequences and physiological.
Remind him that he should check his blood glucose level from time to time.
These specialists point out that high or low sugar levels cause mood swings such as irritability or confusion, which can provoke discussions in the relationship. In this sense, they recommend taking a time to stabilize the state of mind and if these situations are recurrent and generate difficult or violent driving scenarios, it is appropriate to seek medical and psychological guidance.
On the other hand, the lack of control of diabetes also causes low libido or sexual desire and can even be associated with erectile dysfunction. In addition, the damage to the nerves associated with this metabolic disorder (a phenomenon known as diabetic neuropathy) also affects the quality of erections.
Stacy Tessler Lindau, Director of the Comprehensive Sexual Medicine Program at the University of Chicago (United States), believes that the low testosterone level suffered by women and men with diabetes generates disinterest in sexual intercourse and, obviously, problems in the relationship. The problems in this area awaken in the partner feelings of lack of love, lack of desire for the other (or the other) and other problems that also affect self-esteem.
Another negative psychosocial effect noted by specialists is discrimination at work and misunderstanding among colleagues for having diabetes. To deal with these collateral problems, the person needs to develop their inner “I”, learn to be independent and of course, the support of specialists as well as of the family and the couple.
With the treatment, daily habits will necessarily be replaced by new and healthier routines in relation to food, physical exercise and medication for proper metabolic control.
Share the food in addition to being a support pairto the diabetic, it will help you to improve your health.
Diet, meal times and appointments with the doctor will be incorporated into the daily work to maintain the quality of life over the years. But that does not mean that the disease must control the patient’s life.
Then it is vital that you learn how to take care of your “average orange” and you to cope with diabetes.
First of all you must understand that being with a person with that health problem does not mean that you should take responsibility for him or her. Everyone is responsible for their own life and giving support does not mean becoming a policeman who controls him every moment, because over time that can damage the relationship. On the other hand, if by assuming new rituals of food and life, people who suffer from this illness feel that their partner does not support them at such times, feelings of rejection and frustration arise.
With these differences, although they seem inconsequential, it is likely that the couple distance themselves and stop sharing things that they previously had in common, which causes the relationship to eventually cool down and weaken.
Instead of criticizing the image, the weight, the new habits of the other person, a good way to give your support would be to prepare healthy meals together, play sports or exercise both. It is very important to let him know that he can count on you, because that will help him face his new condition. But Diabetes can not become the protagonist of the relationship, but in one more aspect of the person with whom you live.
When dealing with this disease it is very important to learn to communicate with the loved one in that condition, and create a climate of mutual trust without pity for the diabetic, and defining the responsibilities of one with the other.
Psychologist Jen Nash, a member of the British Psychological Society, who has lived with Diabetes for more than 20 years, recommends that the first step for the disease not affect the courtship or marriage is to have an honest and direct conversation with the other person. The expert points out that many situations in which this disease causes tension is due to the absence of a clear and open dialogue which breeds fights and resentments with the passage of time.
To practice some sport with the couple is very pleasant, at the same time that it allows them to be more time together.
The negative diagnosis always affects the well-being of the couple, so psychological therapy is important to overcome diabetes, because the help and guidance to improve communication between the spouses make the difference between a healthy or destructive relationship.
At this point you will be asking what can I do to help my partner?
The essential thing at the beginning is to inform you thoroughly about the disease, because the more information you have, you will be more prepared and trained to help your loved one.
Learn to recognize the symptoms of certain problems characteristic of diabetes such as hypoglycaemia or hyperglycemia, and even better if you were able to give an injection of glucagon or insulin if necessary.
You should also ask him if he wants to do some exercise with you. Going for a walk, taking a bike ride or swimming can be attractive activities. But if you receive a “no” answer, accept it and do not get angry since you can not force someone to do something they really do not want.
You could try to cook healthy dishes and avoid buying those foods that your partner can not eat, that is: no products high in cholesterol, fat, salt or sugar.
On the intimate level, be patient and understanding, and although it is good to worry about the health of your boyfriend / girlfriend or husband and take certain responsibilities, remember that controlling diabetes is after all, work of the sick.
Accompany him whenever you can to the specialist and help him to keep an agenda with all his medical appointments, because sometimes there are too many exams and consultations, and it is good that he feels that he is not alone in his obligations.
Get involved in their care, remind them to check their blood glucose level from time to time, but with a healthy, understanding, non-authoritarian posture. You should not notice that you are monitoring if you have good control of your diabetes, but you do have an interest in her or him and the way in which she takes care of herself.
It assumes – especially in the most complicated moments – the limitations of your partner and accepts his mood changes. It is fair that you understand that many times it must be very frustrating to want and not be able to control this disease well.
Understanding and love will not allow diabetes to affect the relationship.
Loving your partner and living with a disease like diabetes mellitus do not have to be separate things, it’s all a matter of organizing and adopting a healthy life and eating and understanding each other. Do not forget that nature is very wise, and what removes you on the one hand gives it to you for another. With a good attitude, and above all a lot of communication, this situation can greatly strengthen the relationship.