Earlier in the month, I shared how my partner and I handle living with my diabetes and I thought it would be nice to follow up. I have asked Steve to answer some questions people living with and without diabetes regularly ask me on social media. He shares his experience on being in a relationship with someone who is living with diabetes.
How did you feel when you found out Charlie had been diagnosed?
A few days before she was diagnosed, I noticed that Charlie was very thirsty which was more than normal and she was extremely tired. Amounts that seemed like something wasn’t right. I felt upset and worried for her. I didn’t want her to go through that especially without me and knowing that it would be a few months from then that we would see each other in person again. It hurt and I didn’t want to lose her just at the beginning of our relationship.
Did it change anything for you?
I don’t think it changed anything for me, I think that all I knew was that I would do whatever it took to be there for her in any capacity that she needed to help her through this day in day out.
Supporting your partner when it gets too much and future thinking:
What do you do to support Charlie when diabetes just gets too much?
For me, it isn’t too much, but when diabetes becomes harder for Charlie, I talk to her. I get her what she might need, like food, her snacks, a hot water bottle. A blanket, maybe put on a movie if she’s feeling very drained, a loving hug or 5. I try to think what she may need in any situation or condition and I try to listen and help her feel better as much as possible with this illness.
Did you know anything about t1d before you met Charlie?
I knew absolutely nothing about diabetes when I met Charlie.
What is your top tip for someone who has a partner also with t1d and is going through a hypo?
If you are with someone who is having a hypo, my top tip to do for them is to talk to them, assure them they are ok and you are right there with them helping them and that everything will be ok.
Are you worried about the future?
I do worry about the future and how diabetes will affect Charlie as time goes on, but I do know that she has a family that is there for her as well as myself to make the most of the time that we do have.
Navigating love, the long nights and supporting someone newly diagnosed with diabetes:
What advice would you give anyone who’s in a relationship and their partner is newly diagnosed?
Be there for them no matter what and communicate as much as humanly possible about everything. Let them know they are in safe hands.
Do you wake up to the alerts in the night?
I do wake up to night alerts, but I would rather that then not know what’s going on if Charlie needs my help.
How do you deal with the misconceptions around diabetes?
I just ask Charlie about anything I don’t know about and she keeps me informed and up to date.
How do you reassure your partner if/when they feel like their illness is a burden to you?
I tell her I’m not going anywhere, that she/her illness is not a burden and I will do my best to keep her going and help Charlie with whatever she needs.
How do you handle the mood swings?
I think anyone can have mood swings or ups and downs and you just talk to each other about it, communicate your feelings and figure out between you both how to best work with what and how they may be feeling.
Although you wouldn’t ask for Charlie to have diabetes, has it inadvertently made your relationship closer?
I think diabetes has in a way brought us a bit closer due to what is involved in not just taking care of this illness on a daily basis but what is involved in communicating about it, how it affects both of us, how we prepare for an adventure, attending appointments together and both our thoughts on it and how to best manage any situation that can be beneficial or more helpful.
That’s it on love and diabetes for now
There is no guide book that comes with chronic illness and how to deal with it, but over time you learn to adjust and adapt, communicating with loved ones and figuring it out together. I hope Steve’s answers were helpful, especially for anyone who is a partner of someone living with diabetes. If you want to know more about my personal experience living with diabetes, follow @charliesbusyinmagic on Instagram!