Conflicts between spouses related to a new diagnosis of diabetes
People with Diabetes (Type I or Type 2) receive extensive education about their lifestyle including their diet and exercise regimen. Sometimes the spouse is included in the education process, sometimes not. The spouse often struggles with having to treat his partner’s hypoglycemia, worries about complications and concern about his partner testing the sugar, following the diet and doing everything he or she can do to take care of him or herself. The dynamics of the conflict are often but now always different if it is the husband or the wife who has the diabetes.
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In some families where the wife assumes the responsibility for shopping and cooking, she may feel overwhelmed and unsure of her ability to follow the instructions, while her husband usually leaves responsibility for the meals to his wife. She needs to learn how to prepare meals for her husband that will satisfy the entire family and her husband and children may not appreciate her efforts. Her husband may feel hungry because of smaller portions or dissatisfied because he misses the food she used to provide. Children who also prefer the status quo will have mixed feelings because they are not enjoying their meals as much but they are also concerned about their father’s health. They may miss the pasta, the deserts, and her husband will try to cope with limited portions. If he tries to take second helpings or to snack after supper his wife may assume the role of the Diabetes police. He will become angry with her for questioning his right to do what he wants to in his own house. She will not understand that he is trying to deny having diabetes and the reasons for these changes. The conflicts often linger into other areas of their lives.
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