Supportive Spouse vs Nag

By msteacher Latest Reply 2013-12-03 17:59:34 -0600
Started 2013-11-24 09:22:13 -0600

My 51 year old husband was diagnosed with type 2 last week. He is somewhat undisciplined and I am finding that I am already feeling like I'm veering over into an uncomfortable place. He was 280 yesterday before breakfast. This morning he refused to check and asked for pancakes for breakfast. I made a whole wheat splenda version but was on the verge of tears the entire time. He has taken his meds but still no blood sugar check. I feel like he will resent me being the sugar police, but we have only been married a year and I desperately want to keep him healthy and with me for a long time! Advice…please?

19 replies

ck410 2013-12-03 08:24:45 -0600 Report

Everybody has seemed to have given great advice. You are in the right place to worry and have concern. Just keep in mind, this is his problem to handle, sadly it affects every close to him. My wife lost some one dear to her, not so much as the direct result of diabetes; she remembers the struggle with trying to keep her on the right path to no avail. When we found out I was "pre-diabetic" [I hate that term] She went nuts. To me I kind of liked that because I have a self distructive behavior. In this token I had to come to grips with my own issues because tried as shit might. I finally gave up on caring through my depression and ate and did what ever I wanted with no regard to my wife's feelings or any concern about the habits I was/am teaching my family. Everything changed for me when I cam home from work and my 4 year old walked up to me and called me "handsome". Melted my heart, thought I didn't feel it because I knew deep down inside I killing my self. So with a new found passion wanting to live the best that I can I went back to the doctors learned that even in two years of not caring I didn't that much damage to my surprise. I'm sorry I don't mean to rant this long. All in all what I am saying is; Be a cop, There is a such thing as good cop bad cop. Be a good cop. If you feel that you may hinder your relation ship watching him eat, checking his sugar then don't watch HIM eat. watch WHAT he eats. If you by the groceries find other alternatives. Just buy the things he should be eating and prepare that for him. You are going to take frustration and pissing and moaning until he can come to grips with it. Until then buckle in tight go along for the ride. When he comes around and has seen the big picture you will be there with him to enjoy it just them same.

Sorry to have rambled away I am new to the site and wanted to express my self . Hope that I have helped some.

dagger1234 2013-12-01 20:07:16 -0600 Report

My bf has a heart condition and now I have diabetes. He said I should not "punish" him just because he can eat what i "can't" doesn't mean that i can nag and yell and be bitter at him. He needs to lose just as much weight as I do and care about what he's putting into his body.

I don't want to sound mean but do you also eat healthy when you are pressuring him to eat healthy? If you did and he still doesn't want to, I suggest you tell his diabetes educator about it and maybe s/he can convince him that controlling his blood sugar level is serious and could worsen. Yesterday I was hungry and upset my boyfriend was going to make a pizza, so he was considerate and ate it in the kitchen while I was laying in bed. Also check his meal chart how much carbs he can get away with per meal and cook his meals according to that. I think every diabetic counselor would recommend other patients differently depending on how severe their blood sugar levels are or should be for a goal. Good luck.

Glucerna 2013-12-02 14:39:56 -0600 Report

It sounds like you and your bf are figuring out how to support each other with healthy eating. You have a great idea for couples to work with their diabetes educator to come up with a healthy eating plan that works for both people. ~Lynn @Glucerna

JSJB 2013-11-26 14:50:50 -0600 Report

Give him time. He had only 2 weeks to take in his condition but I am sure he will come around. You have to do what is necessary to keep him healthy even if it is being a nag or sugar police. He should talk to other people with this condition. Good Luck

GabbyPA 2013-11-25 10:58:02 -0600 Report

There are so many alternatives out there, and if you guys like to explore, make it an adventure. That is kind of what I did when I was first diagnosed. Food doesn't have to be our enemy, it can also be our friend and finding ways to work with old favorites and tweak them a little at a time can be fun.

Pancakes can be made with almond flour as half of the flour mixture. It adds a nutty flavor and you cut the carbs in half. I'm not a huge fan of the sugar free stuff, so pair up his hot cakes with some eggs or bacon. Less cakes on the plate that way, and he still feels like it's a "mans meal".

Since you have only been married a year, give yourself a year to work out this new dynamic. Don't feel you have to do it all at once. Denial is a big part of diabetes, specially in the beginning. Help him understand that you don't want to live without him. Not in a doom and gloom way, but just let him know that you are acting in love. Also let him know that he can tell you if you are going too far for him. That will change daily, but if he has that freedom, then you can have the freedom to share your loving concern.

It took me a while to realize that my husband was scared when I was diagnosed. He was scared of what would change, of what life would be like and what if I died before he did. Those fears were real to him, and sometimes when the person who has diabetes is so focused on themselves, they don't see the struggles of those around them that are also dealing with the diagnosis, just in a different way.

Most of all, have fun!! Try new things, go new places and realize that diabetes doesn't mess up everything. My diagnosis got me exercising and my husband was thrilled with that. It also allowed me to be brave enough to do some long camping trips with him, once I got things down a bit. There is so much more you CAN do with him than you CAN'T, and make sure you do that. Specially so young in your marriage.

msteacher 2013-11-24 20:39:26 -0600 Report

What great advice! He is trying hard and I'm sure it's only adjustment phase frustration on my part. He and all of his family have thanked me for being supportive…and I'm thankful that I found this site! Bless you all.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-11-25 13:36:03 -0600 Report

msteacher, the adjustment phase can be a week to never for some people. It is based on how soon the person comes to terms and accepts that diabetes will change his/her lifestyle to accomodate being diabetic. Give him as much time as he needs. In the mean time educate yourself. You can educate him but don't make it a daily thing and don't make diabetes the main focus of your lives. Thanksgiving is coming and this could make him feel worse because of all the foods he use to enjoy.

I was diagnosed in August and was frantic on my first Thanksgiving because I was not eating at home. I never ask anyone whose home I go to for dinner to prepare anything special for me I was raised that doing this is rude. I saw what was being served and knew I could eat the food. I had plenty of turkey and ham. Green veggies and used a dinner fork to serve myself mac and cheese ( I ate what was on the fork) used a teaspoon for mashed potatoes and gravy and a tablespoon for dressing. I was stuffed. This year don't monitor what he is eating and if you are with family ask them not to police his meal. It will make him miserable. After dinner if possible go for a walk with him. Let him enjoy the day and enjoy the day with him. He is lucky to have someone who loves him and cares about him.

correctionsnurse1 2013-11-25 16:01:58 -0600 Report

Great advice Just Joyce. Thanksgiving is meant to spend time with loved ones and just because someone is diabetic, don't nag them, let them enjoy what they want. Like you said, there is so much you can have and if you cheat a little, go for that romantic walk with your special one.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-11-25 19:10:24 -0600 Report

I think the supportive people worry too much which turns into nagging which drives the diabetic up the wall. A romantic walk burns off the carbs from the food you cheated on and it can be fun.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2013-11-24 20:25:36 -0600 Report

Hi msteacher,

Sorry to hear that you are trying so hard to help your husband be compliant and getting all of this resistance. I see you got some good advice from Joyce! I would add that it sounds like your husband is still in the denial stage. This is all new to him. It is normal for people who are newly-diagnosed with a condition like diabetes to not want to acknowledge or otherwise deal with it at first. A diagnosis like diabetes means making lots of changes, and humans aren't always so good with change. The initial reaction to a diagnosis is often similar to being in a state of shock, not really believing it, and hoping that if you just ignore it, it will go away on its own.

I suspect your husband is going through a lot right now, not wanting to feel his feelings, and not wanting to talk.

What I would encourage you to do is to be gently supportive. Remind him that you are here for him. Encourage you to talk when he is ready to. And let him know that you want to team up with him to help him stay as healthy as possible.

I know you feel helpless and that is a pretty uncomfortable feeling. But, on the other hand, you can't control how your husband decides to deal, or not deal, with his diabetes. Nagging him won't help, as you know. Your husband has to sit with this diagnosis for awhile and come to grips with it in his own time. Kind of like grieving a loss, and coming to a point of acceptance that life will never be the same. But it's only been a week. It's going to take some time to really sink in.

It might help to find some recipes for diabetic-friendly dishes that he might enjoy. We have some great recipes here on Diabetic Connect. And as Joyce suggested, offer to go to his next doctor's appointment with him, and take a class together. Stay upbeat, get educated. Your husband is fortunate to have such a supportive person in his life!

Get some support for yourself. Friends or family members who can listen when you need to talk, or vent. And stay in touch with us!

Take good care of yourself,


Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-11-24 12:28:14 -0600 Report

Welcome to the DC family.

Stop being the sugar and food police. When you do this you cause stress on the diabetic believe me, he will to resent you. Nagging isn't going to help at all. It is his diabetes and only he can take care of it. You can be supportive when he needs it.

This is his first week being diabetic and for some making a lifestyle change will take time. You cannot force that change because if you do you are giving him another reason to resent you. He has to make those changes himself. You can't control him so don't try. You can help him adjust by learning about carbs and carb counting and reading labels. There are all kinds of information on this site. I printed how to read labels and what to look for when I was first diagnosed and took it with me when I went to the grocery store.

Here are some helpful tips:
A. Self educate. Read everything you can about diabetes from reputable sites such as the Mayo Clinic, American Diabetes Association, WebMD.
B. Write down questions you have for his doctor. Ask if you can go in with him when he has his next doctors visit and take the questions with you.
C. Ask to see a nutritionist who can help you both come up with meal plans for both of you.
D. Attend a Diabetes Education class.
E. Diabetes is not a one size fits all disease. What works for one may not work for another.
F. All medical questions should be referred to your doctor. No one knows his medical condition but his doctor.

At the early stages he should test at least 2 hours after each meal. This is how I found out what spikes my blood sugar. Make sure you have glucose tablets or some kind of fast acting glucose available should he have lows. Get an extra meter to carry at all times. For christmas, get him a nice medical alert bracelet.

You have to get a grip and calm down. Crying isn't going to help him or you and if you are upset this could upset him. He could perceive it as his fault or that you may not want him now that he is diabetic. There is no cure for diabetes but that doesn't mean he can't live a healthy life and continue to do things he enjoyed. People who take proper care of themselves are living longer with diabetes and have all of their limbs and vision.

Glucerna 2013-11-24 15:29:19 -0600 Report

Joyce has spot-on suggestions. A new diagnosis of diabetes is an adjustment for you, your husband, and for how the two of you interact together. Open communication between both of you, as well as with your husband's physician and diabetes educator, is going to be really helpful. ~Lynn @Glucerna

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-11-25 13:17:57 -0600 Report

Exactly. Communication is always the key. Being overly supportive and nagging is only going to create problems down the road. It can also cause the person to become defensive and defiant.

From time to time my sister will ask if I can eat something or she will never fix a plate of food for me. She did by me a Cinnabon which has been cut into thin slices and frozen so I can have a piece with coffee on the mornings I don't feel like eating.

I always say learn to be self supportive. This prevents food police and cloying supportive people. At some point you won't have the support so you still have to be responsible enough to care for yourself.

Glucerna 2013-11-25 14:07:56 -0600 Report

I really like your idea for enjoying the Cinnabon one small slice at a time. What a clever idea! ~Lynn @Glucerna

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-11-25 14:30:39 -0600 Report

Don't think I didn't think about diving in head first…LOL.

Seriously though, when I got into control my doctor gave me a "free day" to use for special treats. I go to the Amish Market and buy sugar free choco. chip cookies and sugar free apple pie (cooked in its natural juices) I buy them and slice the pie and wrap them in freezer wrap and freeze them. I wrap the cookies individually and freeze them. When I want some of it, I take it out and pop it in my NuWave oven and eat with a scoop of No Sugar Added Ice Cream. I do the same thing with Chocolate Kisses. Take out 2 or three to satisfy my chocolate craving.