Diabetes can be a challenging condition for those diagnosed, but the partners of diabetics can also be significantly affected.

There are certain things you can do help your diabetic spouse, and it is also important to share your own perspective and feelings relating to their diabetes.

Take interest, but don’t take control

It can be extremely welcome to have a partner that takes interest and helps with diabetes management, especially for somebody recently diagnosed.

Feeling alone because of diabetes can be common. Find a line that allows you to be there and comfort for your partner, but also lets them feel in control.

Everyone is different, and there is no strict line that can be drawn as to how much to help. Some people will appreciate the assistance, while others may be uncomfortable about their diabetes being micromanaged.

Your partner may not want you to keep asking about their blood sugar levels, whether they need to order supplies – such as lancets, insulin or needles – and if they are sticking to a prescribed diet.

At the same time, it is unrealistic to dedicate your life to your partner’s diabetes, which is why finding a compromise regarding your involvement is important.

Suggest new ideas and household habits

Incorporating new household habits can be very helpful, such as eating what your partner eats, exercising with them and buying cookbooks to support their diet.

You could also count carbohydrates together, or investigate any hidden sugars in a meal, such as a takeaway, that can raise glucose levels.

Ensure that you do not tempt your other half with foods that have excess sugar, and try to avoid eating any treats they shouldn’t have directly in front of them.

Simply providing a different viewpoint can also be useful if your partner is struggling with an aspect of their diabetes management. Researching all you can to improve your diabetes education will allow you to understand what your partner is going through.

Prepare for mood swings

If your partner is susceptible to hypoglycemia, you may find that their low blood sugar readings can lead to mood swings, which can be hard to prepare for. Mood changes can also arise from high blood sugar.

Among these moods can include anxiety, irritability, confusion and anger. While these can sometimes be due to blood sugar changes, it can be your partner may feel frustration at not being able to control their blood glucose levels.

Make some allowances if your partner is struggling to handle their emotions, but if these become violent, or prolonged over a period of time, your both may benefit from counselling or speaking to a healthcare professional.

Talk about sexual problems

Diabetes can result in complications regarding sex, and if your partner is having difficulties then it can affect your relationship.

If issues such as erectile dysfunction, vaginitis or a loss of sexual desire occur, your partner may withdraw from having sex, and perhaps from intimacy altogether.

This can be hard to accept, and you should discuss your feelings if you feel your sex life, and subsequently your relationship, is starting to suffer.

Counselling can help, while treatments for sexual dysfunction are available for men and women. There are also alternative ways in which intimacy can be achieved aside from sexual conventional intercourse.

You can discuss these with your doctor, as well as treatments for erectile dysfunction, vaginal dryness, low libido, and other medical problems.

Discuss your emotions

There are many ways in which you can feel affected by your loved one’s diabetes – and if you are feeling overwhelmed then you need to calmly talk through your emotions to move forward.

Worries about your partner’s health or their management can be common, while anger can arise if you feel you are being leaned on too much in supporting your partner.

You may also feel guilty that while your spouse did not ask to be diabetic, they are not realising the challenges that you are facing as a result. Diabetes is a condition that can greatly impact others – particularly close loved ones.