Does Having Diabetes Impact Your Marriage?

By DiabeticParents Latest Reply 2013-06-28 15:13:51 -0500
Started 2009-08-15 09:18:35 -0500

Do you think that having diabetes has an impact on your marriage?

Financially? Emotionally? Physically?

An article in Diabetes Care talks about a study that was performed on 50 adults ages 20-35. 37 women and 13 men were studied. Of those, 17 were single, 26 were married, and 7 were seperated or divorced. 22 spouses of the 26 married diabetic parents were also studied. Each person was given a set of 35 questions separately and asked to answer.

The results?

* 0 adults studied made a decision to stay unmarried due to their disease
* 14 of the 50 studied had decided not to have children
* Those who were diagnosed with diabetes before the age of 9 had a significantly higher rate of marriage than those who were diagnosed later.
* Those diagnosed after age 13 were most likely to choose to remain childless

What were the most surprising results of the study?

Almost everyone studied stated that diabetes played a role in their life and caused friction and financial burdens in their marriage at times. However, the surprising part was that spouses were most often the supportive ones while diabetics and their spouses disagreed as to how much of an impact the disease had on family activities and finances. The spouses often felt that it had a bigger impact on those aspects of their lives than their diabetic spouses.

Is this true?

I would have to say the findings are pretty consistent—at least for my husband and I. Diagnosed at 4 with Type 1, we have children. We also disagree on how much of an impact diabetes has on our marriage. But it's very rare that it has a major impact on our marriage. His lows or highs can be tough when I'm left to take care of children and clean up while he sleeps. I also find that particularily stressful weeks at work for him can cause him to be extra tired on the weekends. Sometimes I can get selfish and wish I was the one napping! I was up all night with the kids. Or I wish he had enough energy to spend with us. We've been away from him all week. We just want to spend time with him! Yes, it can cause me to get grouchy, but I also have to be understanding. When he gets sick it can get stressful too. I remember that one low from five years ago when he got the flu and lost too many fluids too fast and ended up in the hospital for two nights and it causes me to go into worry overdrive. He gets upset and starts calling me "Mom." These little fights can cause us to get upset at each other. Often I see that his diabetes plays a bigger role than he thinks it does. But I can't see it from his end, nor can he see it from mine. So I've got two choices: choose to let it affect our marriage, or choose to not let it affect our marriage and understand we can never step in each other's shoes so why get upset about something we'll never understand in the first place? (Although I am human and do still get upset at times).

What about you?

14 replies

tabby9146 2013-06-28 15:13:51 -0500 Report

so far since I am not on insulin there is no financial burden, and our insurance pays for most of my test strips but there has been a strain because he is no longer sympathetic toward me about this at all, only very briefly in the beginning, but I am learning to get over that. he went to 2 our of my 4 classes and learned a lot about it, so I thought he would always take it seriously, but I do so well that he does not!! he makes me angry when he says, oh eat some more of this or that, it won't hurt you!! how ignorant. you would think someone who went to two classes ,and heard me say so much about it in the beginning, would not make such comments. he is alwys saying for me to stop worrying and fussing over what I eat!!! so in that way, it has harmed my marriage. But not enough for us to separate or cause major problem, but to me, this is a problem. he does not understand, we can not expect our spouses to understand. we need to be our own advocates and nt depend on them , if we have one that is like mine, just need to get over it and do the best we can and make freinds who have diabetes that truly understand cause the spouse gets sick of it

Judimar 2010-02-27 03:38:33 -0600 Report

Diabetes like anything else in life has an impact on your marriage, yes. It is up to us as individuals to open up to our partners and allow them to see what we are going through. Some partners will be supportive while others may not. This is the case in almost anything that can impact a marriage. Diabetes effects our mood, intimacy, and finances, undoubtedly!

Many of us aren't mind readers and we shouldn't expect our significant others to be. No one can know how we think or feel unless we open up to them. We shouldn't assume how someone feels either. Instead we should just ask them what they think/feel. I know it's scary as hell to do this, but if you really want the answer, that's what you need to do… ask. Communication is one of the cornerstones to any good relationship.

I try to include my husband when it comes to decisions concerning my health and well being, but he knows in the long run the decision is mine to make. He doesn't criticize my food choices but once in a while he'll give me a look that seems to say or even ask "Are you sure about that?"

Yes, I realize that I am lucky enough to have a spouse who is supportive of me and who is willing to treat me like an adult and not his child, and I try to give that back to him.

TanyaG 2010-02-22 07:53:58 -0600 Report

It really does! My hsband and I have been together for 11 years, and married 5 years. We have 4 children together (one of them eight months ago). I was diagnosed 2 weeks before our wedding. Now I feel like he feels trapped. I have had 12 or more hospital stays in the last 5 years(three of them to make sure th baby was okay due to sugars). Our oldest is going into jr. high. The disease seems to be taking a bigger toll on her. My husband works 6 or 7 days a week. He still goes to bed before I do and wakes up atleast 2 hours after I do. But he is not the one who helps me out, she is. She seems to be growing up too quick, and that makes me resent him. I am going through the biggest rollercoaster of my life, with sugars and emotions out of control sometimes, and it feels like my only assistance comes from an 11 year old girl. I am not working, and don't have insurance. So anytime I need any supplies or specific foods, I need to give an itemized list to get money. I feel guilty for taking a nap on one of his rare days off, bacause he isn't here very much(four kids is alot to handle), or I just miss him.

I guess each situation is different. If you have complete support it can bring a family closer, but if you don't it can tear a family apart..

steely 2009-08-20 13:19:15 -0500 Report

Yes, it does. I am the consumate overachiever. I take care of everything and everybody, my family, his family. I can never be off for a minute. To add to this pressure you have him constantly telling me to eat, check blood, and do everything else that needs done. It's been 6 months and I've barely gotten used to the idea myself.

I feel like I'm being constantly monitored and I'm starting to resent it. Then he pulls the, it's because I love you. How do you respond to that? It would be different if I weren't taking care of myself but I really am. Better than I ever have.

beadmom 2009-08-20 12:55:13 -0500 Report

My husband was diagnosed only a couple of months before me. I don’t think he takes it very seriously. He eats crap, doesn’t exercise at all and then complains about his weight. That makes me nuts because I just came back from dealing with my Dad having a massive stroke that left him paralyzed on his right side and unable to speak….so now I look and see a guy about to leave me in the caretaker position because he is careless in taking care of his disease and that makes me wonder who would do that to someone they love?


SkipT 2009-08-17 19:08:21 -0500 Report

I am a type 2 diabetic. My wife is the unfortunate one as she has MS. Since I can control my disease, I have made sure to make all of the right decisions concerning it. My wife supports all of my choices as to food, diet, and exercise.

tholz 2009-08-16 21:34:37 -0500 Report

Oh yes it does. Hubby is the food police and I hate it at times.I dont eat right but I do try. I have had dibect for 2 years. And know he acts like he care.

wolfettia 2009-08-15 20:57:33 -0500 Report

Most definately. Just like earlier, I was packing some of my household things up for one of my step-sons to take to his apartment. I was shaking all over but did I stop and check bs…noooooo. Step-son said mom, i think your sugar has dropped you'd better check. Well, i did and it was.Husband looks at me and make me so mad when you ignore your signs. So, IT causes some arguements.
Money wise,travel wise,go out on a date wise. So many ways it affects a marriage.

Sparkleberry 2009-08-15 20:49:32 -0500 Report

Most definitely. I have always been the take charge sort of "leader" of the family and now that I was diagnosed and had to take time to get my health in order it was hard for both of us. My husband now found himself in the role of caretaker and he was worried about me. I'd get sick and be lightheaded or shaky or having an anxiety attack and he'd be just as scared because it was his job to take care of me and he had never had to do that before. I was always able to take care of myself and him and my teenage daughter. He's had to learn to cook and clean and be a taxi service for me and my daughter and I've had to learn to let go of things and let others help me. He's also had to learn to be supportive and nurturing which is not naturally a part of his genetic make-up. He's the strong silent type and I'm very emotional so between the two of us we've had to learn to deal with our differences. Now, when I need a hug I tell him and he responds. He's learned that he may not be able to "fix" the problem, but he can comfort me and make me feel safe and for me that's a big help. We both worry a lot about my health, but we try and keep to our daily routines and go about our business the best we can. Sometimes it's very frustrating when I don't feel well, but we just hang in there. I have even given him the option to leave, but he answered, "well, the deal was til death do us part right? So I'm not going anywhere." See why I married him!!!!!

mamaoak 2009-08-15 17:11:47 -0500 Report

It is an adjustmet but we are getting use to the packing snaks to take if we are going out for the day on long trips . we have been married for forty years and a new routeen had to be developed. but we are both ajusting.

Antique-Dave 2009-08-15 11:42:32 -0500 Report

I've only been living with the D beast for a short time, 5 months, but was probably over the sugar line for about 4 years.

We probably had more issues before dx because I was tired all of the time, not sleeping, moodier then normal.

But I met my wife when I was 8 years old (she was 5) so its not like there are many surprises or issues we haven't addressed in the last 45 years of which almost 30 being married.

Financially it has not been an issue for the D, meds are cheap, the cost of groceries is about the same we are just buying different things, we are adjusting recipes and there are some meals in which we make up 2 different things but not that often.

D is not the most financially, emotionally issue we have dealt with, and Physically it has not been a burden.

So I guess it depends on your experiences and frame of reference,

Jipwhip 2009-08-15 11:02:55 -0500 Report

Yes, having diabetes does effect a marriage. Financially most definitely, emotionally heck yes, physically yes also, Happy darn straight I am.
I am the diabetic one my husband not. We were married for 6 1/2 years when I got diagnosed with type 2. It has not been easy on either of us. When I am upbeat he isn't, when I am downbeat he isn't. We have learned to take the punches and roll with them as they come at us. And just do the best to weather the storm. I know I can't walk in his steps and he can't walk in mine, so we just do the best we can. Sure we have our fights then get over them and talk about it later when we are both calmed down. But by talking about the things that bother us has helped us understand each other a little better when dealing with diabetes. It isn't easy to do but worth it cause it keeps us from hating each other.
My husband is the best. He is the bright spot in my life no matter what happens. We have learned to take one day at a time, and deal with things as they come. No sense in getting upset by what has happened or what will happen, we can't change those. Do the best you can it is all we can do.

jafo654 2009-08-16 21:13:57 -0500 Report

hi I am Her husband. I try to understand how she feels but it is hard. So I just try to keep her happy. This can be hard when I am trying to get her to eat healthy and exercises. When she does not feel well. But no matter what you can NEVER GIVE UP!!!!!!

Harlen 2009-08-15 10:05:08 -0500 Report

Financially yep
Emotionlly yep
Physically yep
Happy yes
Life gose on and so shall I
My wife is the best and my best frend
We got together late in life
She had 2 kids grone and gone
I had 2 kids grone and gone
no need for more, We both sed no kids,
Now we are perm gardian of 7 year old grand baby. Fun fun fun
But all I do now for work is poker so its ok to be home full time lol. She has Mr ADHD and other problems but I love her she can be so sweet

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