Supporting your partner who is living with diabetes

A supportive partner can ease feelings of fear and frustration caused by diabetes.

Two people around a dinner table.
Photo: Pexels/Kampus Production.

A diabetes diagnosis can affect every aspect of your life, including your relationship with your partner. A supportive partner can ease feelings of fear and frustration caused by diabetes. It is important to work as a team to build your relationship and improve your diabetes management.

Having a chronic disease like diabetes is hard. You must make many life changes, including watching what you eat, knowing your weight, monitoring your blood sugar, taking medications and visiting your healthcare provider regularly. On top of these changes, you often experience worry over the complications that may occur if you do not make these changes, which can lead to feelings of depression or anxiety. Michigan State University Extension offers many health programs to address some of these challenges

Unfortunately, a partner can also be a great source of stress if they are not supportive. A diagnosis of a chronic disease can strain a relationship. Both partners often fear what the future may bring. There may be concern about responsibilities, medical bills, and complications of the disease. Diabetes does put a unique strain on the relationship, but it can also bring couples closer together if they learn to work as a team.

What are some ways to support a partner living with diabetes?

  • Become educated about diabetes.
  • Attend any medical appointments or classes together so you both have the information. Encourage your partner to ask questions and seek answers together.
  • Communicate your needs to each other. Talk about what is working and what is not. Try to avoid being critical and keep the lines of communication open. Make sure you listen. Sometimes both of you may need to vent your frustration, without judgment.
  • Work on goals together, not only about living well with diabetes, but also about communication.
  • Finally, investigate other options for support. Lessen the stress on your partner and find other supports, such as Michigan State University Extension’s educational programs that address chronic disease and diabetes management.

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