Tips for a Healthy Relationship
4 steps to make you a better partner with diabetes
Whenever she dresses for a date, Donna's mind quickly runs through the "deal-breaker list" she has compiled in her brain. This is a list of expectations she requires in a relationship partner. The top four are weight (not obese), his hair (must have some), his job (must have one!), and his attitude toward her diabetes (must be positive). But what about Donna? What can she do to become a great partner? If you have diabetes, here are four tips for a healthy relationship.
Step 1 - Make peace with your diabetes.
Susie knows little about diabetes. She recently went out with Jeff, a man with type 1 diabetes: "I really liked him. He seemed like such a lovely person. Then dinner was served and he started griping about his diabetes. He told me how much he hated the disease, what a pain it was to count carbs, and how he would never date someone with diabetes. If he doesn't want it, why should I?" His negative attitude scared her off. Jeff asked Susie out again, but she declined.
How you relate to your diabetes communicates a great deal to others. If you are comfortable with it, your potential partner is more likely to feel that way too. You set the tone. If you and your diabetes are at odds, try to repair the relationship. Ask your healthcare team to recommend a therapist who can help you perceive your diabetes in a more positive way.
Step 2 - Remember the rest of you.
Bring all of yourself to each relationship, not just your diabetes. If it has been a while since you considered the other parts of your personality, take time to appreciate who you really are. Consider your interests, sense of humor, hobbies, etc. You are more than medications and blood glucose tests!
Step 3 - Ask for help.
If you want an intimate partner to support your diabetes needs, ask for help. Don't assume that those who love you will automatically know what you need. Be clear about the request. Asking for help doesn't mean that you are needy or incapable. It gives your loved one an opportunity to better understand what you go through each day. It also helps him or her share a very important area of your life. If you aren't in a relationship right now, practice asking for help from friends and relatives. See how well you communicate your needs and wants.
Step 4 - Give positive feedback.
When others help you, let them know how much you appreciate their efforts. If you do, they are more likely to help you again in the future. When you start a new relationship, create a culture of gratitude and say thank you for the things you do for one another.
When you work on each of the above four tips for a healthy relationship, you help bring your best self to all of your relationships. Remember these four steps and go for it!
NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.
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