Dealing with side effects of diabetic partner

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I am quite concerned about my boyfriend's health. He has diabetes Type 1. I was not really worried about his illness when we first started dating, because he seemed to have it under control and I know that people with diabetes can have a long and healthy life, if they take good care of themselves.

However, things look a bit different in our relationship these days. We recently moved to a different city, so that he could pursue the career he wanted. Ever since we moved, he has completely stopped taking care of himself. He still eats somewhat healthy and takes his meds of course, but he has completely stopped going to the gym. We had numerous fights about him joining the gym in the last couple of months. He is fighting 100% against me, saying that he does not have time to go work out anymore, because he has too much work and has to focus on his studies. He won't even go jogging anymore. I even offered to pay for the gym membership and go work out together to motivate him. He refused the offer. Our whole relationship started going downhill because of all the arguments, and as a result I gave up on trying to convince him to stay healthy.

I know that stress makes it worst for his blood level, so that's another reason I stopped arguing about it.

He recently did some blood work tests at the doctor. His results came out highly negative. He is worried about the results and so am I.

Ever since he stopped working out, the side effects of his illness got much worse. He has really intense mood swings. I try to deal with them as much as I can, but he is randomely either very happy or very upset. I ask him what's wrong? And there are no real reasons why he randomely gets really mad at me for something insignificant I did.

I really try to be as supportive and as patient as I can.

Another side effect is that his libido is completely down and we never have intercourse, nor make out anymore. I tried to talk to him about it, because I believe communication is important in a healthy relationship, but he does not want to face the problem nor communicate with me. Instead, he finds endless excuses not to have sex or to avoid any kind of intimacy. He does not want to get any help whatsoever, because he says his priority is to finish his studies and be successful in his career. Everything else can wait. Unfortunately I tried to explain to him that health is more important than his studies, but he does not agree.

I am pretty desperate, also I am not sure who to talk to about this, because everybody I know doesn't know the first thing about diabetes.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated




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8 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Joy

    I can completely sympathise with what you are going through. My story is the other way around to yours. My partner has just started going to the gym and eating a more healthy diet. The change in him is unbelievable. His mood swings are a lot less severe. He still over-reacts about what I would call little things but that too is getting better. I find it easier to talk to him when we go to bed at night with a cup of tea. The lack of sex and hugs is also a problem and I have read that this is down to the meds. We go ages in between and I always start to blame myself or think that he just doesn't fancy me anymore! It's so difficult to encourage without sounding like you're nagging isn't it? What made the change in his attitude was when we found out that I am now diabetic as well. I wouldn't recommend this solution for you! I persueded him to come on a 'Living with Diabetes' course with me and it really focussed him. Also we visited someone in hospital and there were several diabetics on the ward who had had amputations. This was extremely scary. Neither of us wants to end up there! I am sure that your partner is very stressed with moving home and taking on new studies. Once he gets into a new routine and settles down, I bet he will start missing his regular exercise and remember how good it made him feel and how much better  things were between you when he was being sensible. It's taking him longer to connect the dots than you, but I'm sure he will get there eventually. Good luck and take care, Debbie 

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    • Posted

      Thanks Debbie. It feels really nice to have somebody understanding what we're going through. It's like a breeze of fresh air, you have no idea.

      I hope he will connect the dots soon. I keep hope it will be sooner rather than later.

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  • Posted

    I'm sorry that what I am about to say is very blunt but for Heaven's sake, stop nagging him. With the recent change to a different city and pressures of work and pressures of studying he doesn't need you going on at him to get "healthy".   I have had Type 2 diabetes for 20 years and I would hate it if someone kept on at me to do lots of exercise to keep me healthy.  I'm sure that not going to the gym or jogging won't make him unhealthy but talking AT him all the time won't help and will cause him stress which is just as bad, if not worse, than missing a bit of exercise.  I don't know what uou mean by the side effects of his illness making him worse, it just sounds like he's despressed or at least stressed.

    You say that you believe communication is important in a healthy relationship but it sounds to me as if you're going on at him far too much.  How many times do we hear of apparently "healthy" people who die of a heart attack, quite a lot lately so exercise isn't necessarily a good thing, especially as someone with diabetes has to make sure they don't go hypo and collapse because of it.  Just be happy with the fact that he is still eating healthily and taking his medication because that's far more important than flogging himself to death jogging and going to the gym when he has so much other stress in his life, maybe in a few months he will be back to his old self but just leave off with the "communication" for a while.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your comment. Although I am not sure why you are comparing yourself to him. He has Type 1 Diabetes and you have Type 2. My dad and my best friend have Type 2 Diabetes and I can assure you, it's not the same. The only person who died from a hart attack in my family was my aunt, and she was Type 1. Yes, we can all die from a hart attack, hit by a bus or in a car accident, but that's not the point. I don't believe I am nagging him all the time, in fact he nags at me too, like I said he suffers from mood swings. He said he has issues with his mood swings and would like to get it under control, because it's been bothering him. It's not because I am a woman that I am necessarely doing all the nagging in the relationship. Like I said, I am trying to help him and cooking him healthy meals several times a week so he doesn't have to take as much insulin.
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  • Posted

    Being a diabetic male I have to say I do completely understand where you are coming from.

    We males can get carried away with a project so easily, at which time we just cease to care about ourselves, and in this respect I am no different.

    Recently I have not been looking after myself very well at all because I have been pre-occupied (sidetracked if you like) by anything and everything else going on around me.

    My general health has been gradually sliding, but it was only today when I visited my Podiatrist for a routine checkup when it was pointed out to me that I had an ulcerated foot. This came to me like a bolt out of the blue, and suddenly here was the juddering realisation that I had a very close call indeed.

    I have been reassured that my foot can be successfully treated and that I will not lose it, but this simply illustrates how we males can get distracted.

    I think you need to explain your concerns to your boyfriend and tell him that unless he takes better care of his health he could find himself in very deep trouble.

    If he wion't listen to you then get someone else, maybe his own doctor to have a word. 

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    • Posted

      Thanks, that is really good advice. I am really glad you did not lose your foot, that's terrible!

      That's why I've been so concerned about my bf and trying to intervene. If something like this would happen to him and I did not warn him or at least try... I would feel terrible, knowing that I could have helped before it's too late. I will talk to him. I am sure he will listen. I actually also took Debbie's advice as well and offered to go to a diabetic course. To my surprise he had a really positive reaction to it and agreed right away.

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    • Posted

      Often our fears seem realistic, but the option is always open to us to deal with things that trouble us in one way or another, thereby relieving our anxiety.

      I hope that everything works out well for you and your boyfriend.

      Best wishes


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  • Posted

    Morning Joy

    I am so glad that your boyfriend has agreed to come on a course with you. Fingers crossed it gets the results that you are hoping for. BTW, I think your bf is very lucky that you care enough to go to all this trouble. You are not nagging, you are trying to prolong his active life. I hope I always have someone who loves me enough to keep me on the right path. Take care of yourself though won't you. If you make yourself ill with stress it won't do either of you any good. Great news so far. Let us know how you are getting on. Debbie

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