I found an article the other day with the title Type 1 Diabetes Puts a Strain on Marriage. The study was done with small focus groups of Type 1 diabetics and their partners. Each were asked a these two questions:
· "What are the emotional and interpersonal challenges you have experienced because you have (your partner has) Type 1 diabetes?"
· "How does the fact that you have (your partner has) Type 1 diabetes affect your relationship with your partner, positively and/or negatively?"
Each person answered the questions and what they found were the two main complications of diabetes that puts strain on a marriage was low blood sugars and future complications.
The results surprised me. I definitely agree that future complications are a concern (thank you Steel Magnolias), but I also feel there are other concerns that bare more of a burden such as, costs of diabetes, the feeling of inadequacy, and the emotional roller coaster of living with a diabetic. The cost of diabetes still upsets me to this day. I have great health insurance, and yet it still costs $100 for my month’s worth of insulin and test strips. Then, there are the months where I have a doctor’s appointment to go along with that, and so on and so on. It never ends. Luckily my hubs has never made it into a big issue, but I feel the burden every time we have to pay a bill because my body decided to attack itself.
I also could see the feeling of inadequacy coming from the partner/spouse who does not have diabetes. I still don’t know or understand everything with my diabetes and I have been diabetic for almost 8 years. My husband knows signs of when things are off with my blood sugars, but has never had to give me injections, mess with my pump, or really do anything in regards to my diabetes without me coaching him through it (which is very rare). I think it would be frustrating to have a partner/spouse who has a chronic disease and not understand how to take care of it at all without them guiding you. It would leave you feeling helpless in certain situations.
Lastly, I think the emotional ups and downs of diabetes would be hard on any relationship. I’ve written before about diabetic mood swings. They do exist and are huge indicators of where my blood sugars are. But as much as I hate to admit this to you all, the one person in my life that deals with the majority of it is my hubs. No, I’m not emotionally damaging him, but there are days when I will be beyond snappy at him because I need to do a correction bolus. And then there are other days when I get agitated because I just need to eat something. Not only do our blood sugars affect our moods, really having diabetes itself is stressful. Going through the grieving process of becoming diabetic saying goodbye to your old life. Your partner/spouse has to deal with that and be understanding when I am sure all they want to do in some of those moments is punch you in the face. It’s emotionally draining to have diabetes, I also think it’s a little emotionally draining to live with one.
The article was very interesting. I just think that on top of the concerns of future complications and risks of low blood sugars could have been more in the middle. I would put these three closer to the top. Or I guess these would have been my answers to the two questions that each diabetic and partner/spouse were asked. Below is a link to the article I read if you were interested.