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Being diagnosed with diabetes and changing roles in a romantic relationship

Often in a romantic relationship, roles have been formed based on who takes responsibility for household chores, childcare, relations with relatives, or financial management. Becoming ill can disrupt this familiar and safe division of labour and role allocation.

When a person becomes ill, it often changes life in a comprehensive way. Although nowadays the management of diabetes can often be well integrated into one's daily life and routine, the new situation still requires adapting to a new order. It's possible that a romantic relationship may undergo several role changes with diabetes, initially during the phase of becoming ill and then as diabetes becomes part of everyday life. Particularly during the phase of becoming ill, the relationship might also transform into one of caregiving or concern. This change can be temporary or become permanent.

The changing roles within a romantic relationship can provoke a variety of thoughts, feelings, and experiences. For some, adapting to a new role is easy, while for others, it may take a long time and professional help. The changes and challenges brought about by illness can sometimes also raise the question of separation. It's very important to remember to discuss with your partner what one needs from the other. Whether it's care and nurture that's desired, or a more equal partnership and the opportunity to take responsibility for managing diabetes independently.