My partner is diabetic, help!

by Mark Benson on November 7, 2012

My partner is diabetic, help!

While there is no doubt that diabetes is a very difficult condition to live with, to control and can often lead to do bouts of depression and similar situations, do we do enough for those who have diabetic partners? This is in many ways a subject that is swept under the carpet because while those who are suffering from diabetes need as much help and support as possible are we forgetting the millions of people around the world who are not diabetic but have a diabetic partner?

We will now look at the various elements of everyday life which can be impacted by diabetes and what we can do to help.

Initial diagnosis

Whether or not you secretly believe that you may have diabetes there is no doubt that the point of diagnosis will be a monumental period in your life. It will tip your world upside down, it may well lead to bouts of depression and there will obviously be confusion and concern about the immediate future and the long-term consequences. Even though many diabetics will have a very supportive and a very understanding partner to hand it is not just those who are directly impacted by the condition who need assistance.

The degree of support for partners of diabetics, or indeed parents of diabetics, does vary from country to country and from city to city. Much of the initial funding for diabetes seems to be targeted towards treatments and frontline services but perhaps we now need to look at supporting those who are indirectly impacted by the condition.

Initial understanding

Anybody who is diagnosed with diabetes, whether it is type I diabetes, Type II diabetes or even gestational diabetes, will have concerns about the future. It is vital that partners and parents of those diagnosed with diabetes have access to the same level of information and education about the condition from a very early stage. Some people may like to tackle the condition on their own while others would prefer to have help to hand. Whatever the situation, it is imperative that all parties who are directly and indirectly involved in this situation are given the same level of information and advice.


A number of diabetics have stepped forward to confirm that depression is one of the major challenges when first diagnosed with the condition. Indeed, if the condition does worsen as the months and years go by there is every chance that the bouts of depression may become more frequent and these will have an impact on everyday family life. Very often we strike out in a verbal way at those closest to us if we are struggling and if we are frightened. It is difficult to find a balance between concern and understanding for those suffering from diabetes and watching their partners or their children suffer from a distance.

Marriage difficulties

While in this day and age there is no real reason why the diagnosis of diabetes should have any material impact upon marriages in some circumstances it will. Diabetics, and their partners and parents, will be more anxious and potentially more stressed out on a regular basis and this can often lead to flashpoints and arguments. If the correct advice is sought and the correct treatment is available then, as we suggested above, there is no real reason why in theory the condition should impact upon family life. It would be interesting to gather some comments and some experiences from those who are married to diabetics and indeed those who have children diagnosed with diabetes. It is all good and well in theory suggesting that everything should be okay but everyday life and the reality of diabetes is in many ways very different.

Changing your way of life

To some extent the vast majority of us are set in our ways and prefer certain types of food, certain activities and a certain overall lifestyle. This is perfectly understandable although if diagnosed with diabetes there is every chance that the sufferer, and indeed their partner or their family, may well need to make significant adjustments to their everyday life. This may involve changes in diet, changes in exercise and can in some circumstances lead to arguments between the various parties due in the main to frustration and concern about the future. Sometimes it is easy for people to suggest that you should “bite your lip and count to 10” when in reality it is not quite as simple as that.


It would be foolish to suggest that anybody will ever fully come to terms with a diagnosis of diabetes but over the years sufferers and their immediate family should be able to come to terms with the situation. There will always be concern in the back of your mind regarding potential side-effects and while this will in many cases stop you from carrying out particular activities perhaps we need to take a step back and look at the situation from a distance.

The reality of diabetes

The reality of diabetes type I and diabetes type II is that it can have a material impact upon your short, medium and long-term health if you let it. Perhaps more importantly, it can also have a material impact upon your everyday life, your family life and your relationship with your partner. In theory there is nothing to stop you from enjoying a relatively normal life and in many cases it is perhaps the mental pressure rather than the physical concerns which can lead to uncomfortable situations.

Time and time again diabetes charities around the world have been calling on governments to educate the public and indeed diabetics, and their immediate family, about the impact this can have on their lives. It is better to know the overall situation rather than pick and choose the elements which you take in and effectively think the worst of the elements which you may sometimes wish to avoid. Perhaps we can take some comments from those who have been there and done it, from a sufferer’s point of view, a child’s point of view and perhaps a partner’s point of view?

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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