Last year, when we queried the diabetes community online about their love lives, almost everyone who wrote in had the same overall piece of advice for couples: communicate, communicate, communicate! Talking through problems has always been the No. 1 piece of advice for pushing through obstacles, but always in a calm, considerate way. Diabetes can cause stress anywhere, anytime — and in the bedroom it certainly doesn’t help to criticize.

Here are some of the specific comments that readers shared on dealing with diabetes as a couple:

  • “You can’t know what each other is thinking unless you talk about it.  Bring diabetes to the table.  It’s a valid factor in many things, so don’t just ignore it” – 26-year-old woman with type 1
  • “Be honest about what you need and hope for out of your partner.  You cannot assume that he/she will know everything that you know and you cannot expect them to read your mind” – 33-year-old woman with type 1
  • “Expect the mood swings and find support other than your significant other to help you cope with all the demands.  By taking the pressure off your partner,  it allows for your partner to become more supportive and not overwhelmed and to be there when you really need them” – 36-year-old woman with type 2 diabetes
  • “It says a lot about a person for good/bad if they choose to be actively involved/totally ignore your diabetes.  I’ve dated both, believe me, and I would never again settle for someone who doesn’t care to learn about it.  I realize that this is somewhat of a burden, and to a diabetic’s ‘significant other,’ this is a burden they can choose or not choose (unlike the diabetic themselves).  It is part of me that’s not going away, though, so take it or leave it” – 24-year-old woman with type 1
  • “Educating yourself makes some of the hard times you will face so much easier. For partners: Don’t nag. It’s not your diabetes, it’s there’s. Just be empathetic and volunteer to help with anything they need. Learn to carb-count, learn about their pump, learn what an A1C is, … learn how to check their blood and use a glucagon kit. While you may not ever have to know the information or use it, it’s best to know. Because when they do have a situation, you’re going to need to know. Because a lot of times even the medical staff itself doesn’t know” – wife of a 32-year-old husband with type 2 diabetes
  • “Take care of yourself – healthy is sexy!  Ask for help when you need it.  And if you’re not getting the support you need, be patient, but not too patient.  There shouldn’t be any question when it comes to your partner.   They need to be all in” – 36-year-old woman with type 1
  • “Be honest about it and all of the effects it can have.  Be open about fears.  Be sensitive to the shock your partner can feel when seeing what happens when we have low blood sugar.  Never take your partner for granted (that’s true in every relationship)” – 47-year-old man with type 1

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