Type 2 Diabetes and Failed Relationships

Jackie Smith Health Guide

    I am no longer coupled. After 15 years and countless issues, the one issue that finally broke us up was my, now 5 year old, type 2 diabetes.


    Well, that’s his take. I won’t reenact the same fight that we’ve had again and again but I’ll say this: as more time passed following the diagnosis and I continued to gain weight and high blood sugar levels, he developed resentment about how unhealthy and unromantic (a euphemism) I had become. Meanwhile, I was growing resentful about how angry, critical and unlikeable he had become.

    His constant battery of questions and not-so-subtle prodding had me starting to feel like his child, rather than his partner. Didn’t I need to get up now? Am I going to wear those shoes? Am I eating enough at lunch? Do I really need to eat that? Am I going to the gym tonight?  What am I doing to lose weight? I’m doing a push-up wrong – this is how it’s done. Did I remember to take my medicine? Why am I taking that medicine and not that one? And so on.

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    Before you ask, yes, I do “get it”. I understand that dealing with diabetes isn’t all about me. I realize that the management of the disease, and the disease itself affects those who love me. I get that even the household (and by household I mean just me and him) meals changed to accommodate me. I get that it can be scary for others when I’m not feeling well or when thinking of what could possibly happen as a result of the disease. I also agree that we with the disease should be open and helpful to our loved ones learning more about it. Yet I am sure you can tell the difference between when someone is asking a question and when they are questioning you, your judgment, your being. I’m a stubborn person and I don’t like being bullied – the more someone pushes me, the less I want to do whatever it is they want me to do.


    I ask you, what is the difference between being supportive and being critical?

    As I wrote earlier, his take on the demise of our relationship is that he was tired of me not taking responsibility for my disease and my current and future well being (not to mention, my career advancement, my finances, our house, our intimacy, our cats, the list goes on and on).

    What’s my take? Oh, but I am. I’m taking responsibility for gaining control of my life. The first step in doing that was finding my own apartment and moving. Sure, it’s only been 3 weeks but since the move I have leapt out of bed every morning, looking forward to a walk/jog at the nearby lake and getting to work before everyone else so I can have a few minutes to myself before the unexpected begins. I’m eating when I’m hungry, not because I’m bored or sad or because it’s conventionally the dinner hour. I’ve lost 7 pounds since May 30th!

    In the end, the truth of the matter is this: we were never a team. We never worked together. We never could openly and honestly discuss the diabetes issue or any other. For example, I wanted us to find and start seeing a couples counselor and he would have none of it. The problem was me, he said, I needed to be fixed and if I wanted to go see one that was fine but he wasn’t going to go. So, you know what? Now I am my team and I’m the best teammate I’ve ever had.

  • Question to you: How has diabetes affected your relationship? What changes have you experienced? What have you or your partner done to adapt? 

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Published On: June 18, 2010