Parents objecting to relationship

Hello everybody,

I am in a fairly new relationship with my girlfriend and we have made it a point to be absolutely transparent about her T1D condition. The problem is that my parents have wild misconceptions about the life of a diabetic - thinking that we will never be physically intimate or have kids, they think that the marriage will eventually end up in ruins with no child to anchor.

We have known each other for 12 years and I have had knowledge of her condition since almost right from the beginning when she got diagnosed. I want to be there to support her and she’s doing a stellar job with managing her blood glucose level. She has also been educating me on the complexities of living with T1D and we’re very very sure we want to spend our lives together.

To get to the point, I am rather lost at what to do. I am perhaps trying to reach out to see if any of you have been in similar situations with unreasonably ignorant parents of spouses. How do I help my girlfriend deal with this? I am working hard to dispel the misconceptions my parents have but they are super obstinate and are constantly losing their temper with me or claim that I am a liar.

Edit:
We’ve been talking at lengths about how to deal with this, it really does seem like the problem here is 1) my parents’ misconception/ prejudices.
2) my relationship with my parents’

Though we are at a stalemate here, because if we were to stop seeing each other in order for me to insulate my girlfriend from all these drama. My parents would be perfectly happy. My mom told me just two days ago to my face that she will live as long as she can to see me single - if i am determined to be with my girlfriend.

I haven’t had any experiences similar to yours, but from reading your post I’m guessing you are a young adult, early to mid 20s. I’m now 60 and always respected my parents no matter my age; but there comes a point where they need to back off and let you make your own decisions. You’ve done a great job about learning about her diabetes and supporting her in it; and I imagine you’ve learned quite a bit on your own. Your parents may be stuck in the dark ages of diabetes knowledge, unaware of the great strides that have been made in care. Or perhaps (if you will lead forgive my saying so) they are unwilling to accept anyone in less than perfect health, regardless of how well they are doing.Your girlfriend is aware of the possible complications, but if course the likelihood of those may decrease with good self care and support, and she may very well prove your parents wrong.
You could give them some of the most up to date research on diabetes and how we fare with it, or even see if they will go to an endo with you to hear from medical professionals, to disprove their claim that you are a liar. Hopefully that would break through. But unfortunately some people are determined to believe what they always have and won’t come around no matter how compelling the facts.
I hope they do come around, but as an adult (in assuming) you have the right to decide who you want to see, and to determine whether you are willing to accept the possible risks that might come.
Your mom’s animosity is concerning to say the least. Sometimes individuals who develop diabetes seek counseling to get help adjusting to the new reality; and it can help for families as well. Perhaps your parents could benefit too.

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Hi @szewee, Welcome to TypeOneNation. it would be very helpful to know if you are a minor, with parents responsible for you, or living with your parents or if your relationship with them is something else.

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Hi @joe Apologies -

I am in my late 20s, in my country the age to get your own apartment as a single, unmarried individual is 35. Unless I am super rich and can afford a private condo, moving out/ rent hasn’t really been a good option- so I am at the moment staying with them.

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Hi Dorie, thanks for your reply. I do agree that her animosity is on the extreme side, and it was getting increasingly frustrating to deal with.

I am her son and I need to deal with it. However what I am truly worried about is insulating my girlfriend from all these hurtful words aimed at her and her family. Saying that they are irresponsible for letting their daughter ‘run around and wrecking people’s homes’.

You are very right - I am in the process of trying to educate my parents and dispelling their misconceptions about T1D. They have only just started to voice their displeasure, so my hunch is that it would be a long drawn fight.

I guess what I am trying to find out is, how can I continue to support my girlfriend / let her know that my parents are a work in progress. I am also at the moment making preparations in my career that should take me overseas - a city where my girlfriend wants to relocate to as well.

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@szewee, Welcome to TypeONEnation. I am an older member of this community. As I read this thread I have several thoughts.

  1. I gather you do not live in the USA. Knowing where you live, if it is safe for your to share, would help community members attempt to include comments fitting your culture. Some of your replies have helped.
  2. Love is POWERFUL. There are a long lists of events outside and inside our bodies driving our decisions about the best person to be our spouse. Some of the brain chemistry is downright frightening in its power once you have found your special person.
  3. Your mother appears to be the vocal parent. You have said little about your father’s comments. In relationships without T1D, most mothers find their son’s love is unsuitable for a mountain of reasons. Again, safety is always in the forefront. Would it be possible culturally and logistically to have you and you love to have a meal with your parents?
  4. You have not given any words about how her parents view you. Is it possible safely and culturally for the two sets of parents to meet? My thought here is if your parents and hers can find common ground from which to build a deepening relationship with T1D falling by the wayside.

Again, I am older and have not walked the road you are walking. I am trying to pull from my life experiences and share what I have seen.

Keep us informed…

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Thank you for the additional information you provided to me and others who responded. I’m wondering if your mom is so adamant because you are planning to move away - with your girlfriend, who she sees as stealing her son - and is using diabetes to justify her reasoning? With the complication of Covid added to the mix she may rather have you nearby as well. Often anger is based on fear of a loss, and that can make it particularly irrational if you will pardon my saying so.
Since you have known each other for so long I imagine she has me your parents. Are these feelings something new for them?
As for how to support your girlfriend, if you know couples who are in interfaith or interracial marriages, they may have advice on speaking to get parents and supporting her: some families are fine with them, while others go kicking and screaming - in some cases they come around, but perhaps not.
I wish you all the best.

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Hello J, thank you for your response and thoughtful suggestions.

  1. Yes, I do not live in the USA. I am residing in Singapore now, the land area is small and therefore property prices high - this is why it has been so tough for young adults to even move out. I also do think that in my country, people are relatively uneducated about T1D, which then leads to these misconceptions.
  2. I really do agree with your statement, and I am so incredibly grateful to have found someone who is so understanding and patient with my parents’ growth and education. I just hope that our patience will pay off and we would be able to carry on with our lives without getting hurt.
  3. My father is actually Type 2 diabetic, due to old age. He understands the life of a diabetic but he thinks that it would be tough on me. To which I have said that, even a healthy person could have difficulties with their health anytime. It is all a process of taking good care of oneself. He agrees but I think at the end of the day - he’s unwilling to be overly vocal about his support. The last time they met my girlfriend, my mom became really confrontational and hostile. So for the time being, I think it is best to not try to force them to accept us.
  4. Her parents approves of me, and often invites me over to their place for meals on the weekends. I have not been able to attend because the last time I chose to spend my Saturday with my girlfriend, my mom was so mad she had a panic attack.

Like what @wadawabbit observed below, we think that there’s a multitude of reasons why there’s this objection - stigma, fear of losing control of their only son, as well as ignorance.

We are right now just trying to calm my mother down and hope that by educating her about the life of a diabetic, she will come to understand that with good diet control, an active lifestyle, there is nothing to fear.

I guess I am also trying to figure out what the community thinks i can do to continue to support my girlfriend.

Thank you all for your kind and thoughtful replies, they keep us going. :slight_smile:

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Thank you Dorie for your reply once again. We do suspect this might be one of the reasons why this conflict came about. And that T1D was just used as a convenient excuse for her to stop someone else from ‘stealing her son’.

Covid19 in my country is relatively under control, we are resuming life with a strictly control measure etc, but looking at the global situation - We’ll (my girlfriend and I ) would have to postpone our plans to move anyway.

And no, this happened on their first meeting because we had only just started seeing each other prior to the covid19 pandemic. We have had some talks about my love life in the past but they were mostly okay with me not getting married, which is why we thought that there is a strong reason that T1D was used merely as an excuse.

Coupled with their refusal to acknowledge the medical findings that I am trying to show them, it is unfortunate to think that the same people who raised me would actively refuse to take the first step to understanding T1D - seeing that my father has type 2 diabetes.

Thank you for your suggestion to speak to friends who are in interfaith or interracial marriages - I will try to talk to them. I have already spoken to one of my closest friend and even she was shocked. (They have been happily married for 3 years, British guy, Arab girl)

It definitely does not feel good to have her condition used against her and I am here to find ways that I can support her more, that I do not think her any less of a person just because of her T1D. I’d imagine that many of the members here would have had to deal with feeling terrible about T1D on bad days so any wisdom that you guys can impart to me is very much welcomed! :slight_smile:

Thank you all once again for all the kind replies, I understand that this issue has a multitude of layers and the crux of the problem might not be T1D in nature, but thank you all for your wisdom on the ways i can continue to support my girlfriend.

I will keep everyone posted here. Stay safe and healthy!

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Here in the US we have a number of famous people with diabetes: actors, musicians, professional and Olympic athletes, and a sitting Supreme Court Justice. Lots of work with diabetes - some on this forum - went through pregnancy with diabetes and are enjoying life with their child/ren. There are some posts on this site - I can’t put my finger on then right now - from people who write in concerned about their loved ones and their diabetes. They have been overwhelmingly supportive, wanting to know what more they can do to support their loved ones. If you do a search for “Support” you may find some ideas.
You shared that your dad had Type 2, and I don’t think he was mentioned much in your writings. Forgive me for asking this but I wonder of your dad’s diabetes caused issues for your mom which she is now projecting onto your girlfriend and your relationship? That’s a rhetorical question, not to mention a painful one and I how to will forgive me since I don’t even know you. I hope not, but if it is working through what’s going on - ideally with a counselor - can be beneficial.

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@szewee & @wadawabbit,

I believe Dorie may have found the ‘true problem’ with your mother’s leanings about T1D. She has seen your father with T2D and lived as his wife. As Dorie shared, your mother may be feeling the frustrations of being the spouse of a person with T2D.

You shared you and your young lady may emigrate else where as your relationship matures. Do you two have a plan to use technology to direct her management of T1D in the new country. Is the technology (pump or CGM - continuous glucose monitor) available now and in the new land?

If there are no issues with access to technology, etc., my idea might be to demonstrate to your mother you and your future bride have a working plan for her to live a long and active life with you, where ever you may go.

Wishing you two the best. Keep us informed.

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No one gives me too much trouble about being a T1D. Diagnosed as a child I decided then that I never wanted to marry or have children. Then “love” happened and my husband was with me a few decades before he died.

Your dear friend needs your emotional support. Rave to your disapproving mother when your friend conquers a problem relating to her T1D.
I.e.
___ (her name) felt lightheaded while ___ (activity) and knew she needed to take a blood test. Her glucose level was only a little low so she ate ___ (glucose food), then ___ (modest amount of normal food) 20 minutes (or her prefered lag time amount) later. This remedied the problem as within ___ (number) minutes she was back to ing (activity) again.
-or-
At
(location), ___ (her name) noticed she was getting a bit grumpy and tired. Suspecting a high glucose reading she did a blood test. It was a little high. To fix this number she took ___ (number) units of insulin. In about ___ minutes (or hours) (time needed for her system to metabolize some of a high glucose insulin bolus) ___ (her name) felt much better.

Informing your mother of how well your girlfriend is managing to deal with the issues associated with her T1D may gradually put small dents in her fear that this woman will be a drag on her son. Positive reinforcement helps ease negative fears in my female mind.
I recommend sharing some good decision or action your dear friend has recently made with your mother at least twice a week. More than once daily will blow her away. Giving your mother time for each tale to sink in will generate room for her confidence to expand. Ideally your decision to continue to care for (be emotionally fond of) this long term friend for an even longer time will not be questioned. Possibly some of the tales will remind your parents of episodes they shared in dealing with your father’s T2D condition over the years.

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Hi @wadawabbit, thank you for your suggestion and pointing me in the direction for more support. Yes my father has T2D but his condition has never been an issue for me or my mom - he manages his levels well and exercises on a regular basis. You can even say that he does it all on his own.

This is also one of the reasons why I couldn’t put my finger on why they would oppose the relationship based on misconceptions - since my father is clearly managing it really well.

From our conversation thus far it does seem like the issue could be beyond the fact that my girlfriend is diabetic - I am planning to see a counsellor to understand the issues at play here.

Thank you for all your support - it has given me great strength. :slight_smile: Stay safe!

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Hi @987jaj , thanks for your reply. I am not too sure about this - since my father has his condition managed really really well. So i do not understand why they are unable to recognise the facts about T1D that I have presented to them.

She is currently using a pump - and her hbA1c is almost always at 6.1%.

But you are right - we think the best way forward in the relationship is for us to show that we are resilient and we have a good working plan for the future to reassure my parents.

Thank you for your well wishes and support. Stay safe and healthy!

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6.1 - tell her I am impressed - well done! Wishing you both the very best.
Also - and this should have come first (please accept my apologies), I realized upon re-reading me earlier message that I may have made some assumptions about your parents relationship that were unkind to say the least, but to mention please unfair and downright wrong. Thank you for your gracious response. I really hope counseling helps you get to the root of the issue and that ladies in your life will be able to love each other as well as you. Please accept my apologies if I was too harsh or judgmental earlier, and take care.

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I am married to a T1 (43 years now). Back when we were dating in our late teens, my mother told me I would be a nursemaid by the time I was 30. She was a med assistant and aware of the issues diabetics had back then. However, advancing technologies have allowed T1’s to lead near-normal lives. If she were here today, she would be surprised. I will also say my hubby is very compliant and takes very good care of himself. Sounds like your girlfriend is doing the same. It is not a death sentence, but I do have one thing to add… Diabetics using modern technology will typically spend more insurance dollars on equipment and supplies. Be prepared to allow for this in your budget if you plan to marry. IMO, the money is well spent because it has kept my hubby healthy for a very long time. But I know three people whose family resented the extra dollars it took and ultimately all three parties caved and quit placing their health on the top of the priority list. All three tragically passed away in their early 50s because of poor care and attention to their failing health. It hit me very hard. I’m grateful to have been a part of my husband’s care decision-making and it was me who urged him to get a CGM, even though for years he resisted. He would now never go back, even though at times the CGMs have been a nuisance. Present your family with facts; don’t discount their concerns; do your research, and perhaps they will come around. Good luck to you both!

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Hello Karen, thank you so much for your advice. I definitely think that it’ll help. I will definitely try my best to do this - to give positive reinforcements to her so that her fears are alleviated.

I was trying this method before my parents met her and it seem to help a little but perhaps its because of the fact that they are seeing her face to face for the first time - this became a little too real too fast for them.

We intend to continue being in this relationship to care for one another while working to dispel any misconceptions they might have. Thank you for your suggestions - wishing you the best of health!

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Hello Stephanie, thank you for being so generous and sharing your story. My girlfriend and I are encouraged by all the responses that the community has given and we’re not allowing this small bump in the road undo everything that we’ve built - we won’t give up.

It’s great to hear that everyone it is entirely possible to have T1D and to lead near normal lives, it reinforces our belief that our research and readings are correct! We will continue to do our research and be ready to educate and dispel any misconceptions. I am still rather new to being a support system for someone with T1D but I am learning something new every other day.

Thank you so much for speaking about needing to spend money for equipment and supplies - I will look into the CGM vs the insulin pump that she is using at the moment.

We’re confident that with such a wonderful support system such as this community, and a good healthy lifestyle, we will have a great life ahead of us.

Thank you for your kind words of encouragement, it really keeps us going! Best of health to both you and your husband! :slight_smile:

Dear Dorie, I have relayed your message to her and she’s delighted to hear that! :slight_smile:
No to worry Dorie, no offence was taken at all, i assure you. Being in an asian household, the parental dynamics are very different - if they have had any difficulties with my father’s T2D, they never showed it. Asian household just hardly talk about feelings or have any open conversations like that of any kind.

Which is also why I feel like this is also part of the issue - that they are unwilling to let their misconceptions be dismantled by hard facts and research. And as you have correctly pointed out - that their only son is going to place his own happiness/ future above their concerns - that I am not totally obedient now. It will probably take some times for them to get used to it.

That is really my hope too, the best case scenario for us is that my mom will eventually come round and understand that her misconceptions with T1D are unfounded, and that my girlfriend and I are committed to putting her health a priority, and that we have a good sensible working plan for our future.

Once again, there is nothing to apologise, in fact, your questions have allowed to look at this from another stand point - that their objection come from the fear of uncertainty, and if we can work through that , perhaps this will all work out.

Thank you so much for your response, hope you are staying safe! :slight_smile:

Hi @szwee. Thank you for keeping us updated on how things are progressing. I do hope and pray that with your continued efforts your parents will open up.
You said “I will look into the CGM vs the insulin pump that she is using at the moment.” This should begin addition to" as many people use both; and while some function together, such as TSLIM’s pump and Dexcom’s CGM, they are separate devices. If I might add to what @Stephanie_Y advised about
said about spending more insurance dollars on equipment and supplies, there is the cost of insurance premiums to factor in as well, depending on where you go. I’m writing from the United States, where prices can be challenging even with government supplements. We lag behind other countries not in technology, but in enabling people to cover what they need. So be sure to research the health care system of whatever country you plan to go to.