Dear Miriam,

I am in my late 50s and have been happily married for the past 30 years. For the past few months, I have been feeling unwell and just before Christmas, I found out that I have type 2 diabetes. It was a relief to get answers and to know that what I have can be easily managed and I can go on to live a fairly normal life.

My problem is that my wife seems to be in total denial of the situation. She is an excellent cook and her baking skills are second to none. All through the years, she has created delicious meals, baked lovely brown bread, and lots of sweet confectionaries.

Sugar intake

Naturally, with diabetes I have to watch my diet and especially my sugar intake. She has become a little withdrawn now that I no longer eat her sweet cakes and other treats.

It seems like she is taking it personally and I cannot get through to her the importance of making ongoing healthy changes to my diet. She enters our local agricultural show every year and is sure to come home with a few first prizes, as well as winning qualifiers to All-Ireland baking competitions.

How do I get through to her that it is not about her, but about my health and well-being? The sudden change in her and the stress of trying to manage a healthy lifestyle without her support is really starting to get me down. Please help me.

Thank you,

Connaught Reader

Dear Connaught Reader,

Thank you for your letter. It is really important that you persist with your new diet, as your health and well-being so depend on it. I am sorry to hear that life has become so difficult for both of you. Having received a diagnosis with regards to your health is a relief, but can also make you feel vulnerable until you fully adjust to this new reality.

Your wife’s reaction is about her, and you are doing nothing wrong in continuing with your new lifestyle.


Perhaps her confidence has taken a dip, as she may have used her baking and cooking skills to validate her sense of self-worth over the years? Now that you can no longer indulge, this development has probably shaken her in more ways than one.

She has probably felt vulnerable as well following your diagnosis, and unsure about what the future holds now that she too has to make changes to a routine she lived by for so many years. Diabetes was given bad press in the past. She may be terrified of losing you, but unable to verbalise her fears.

I wonder if together you could explore ideas for different types of health breads and healthier meals? It might give her a boost to know that she is helping you in this way. This would also be a good opportunity for you to take a more hands-on approach to cooking, and perhaps treat your wife to some diabetic-friendly meals and treats, in return for her time and effort over the last 30 years.

It is important that you take responsibility for and ownership of these changes. It may be a good idea to make an appointment with a dietitian or nutritional adviser together for some advice.


Your diagnosis has been a shock to both of you. It can take time to adjust to this new style of living. Effective communication is necessary to help relationships function in a healthy way. Find time to sit down together and have a frank discussion about your individual thoughts and fears around the diabetes and what it entails going forward. Seek professional support if it becomes too much for you to manage alone.

Life as you knew it has changed because of your diagnosis. This can seem daunting for a while and speaking with a counsellor can help you move forward and embrace this new life with confidence.