Background: The number of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients and related treatment costs are rapidly increasing. Consequentially, more cost-effective and efficient strategies for the treatment of T2DM are needed. One such strategy is improving patients' self-management. As patients are more and more expected to self-manage their disease, it is important to provide them with suitable self-management support. This way, success of self-management will increase and complications and related costs of T2DM can be reduced. Currently, self-management support is developed mainly from the perspective of health professionals and caregivers, rather than patients. This research focused on gaining a better understanding of patients' perspectives on self-management and support. Methods: Semi-structured interviews, preceded by preparatory assignments, were conducted with ten patients with T2DM treated in Dutch primary care. Results: We found that patients experience 'active' self-management when recently diagnosed. As time progresses and no problems occur, patients do not experience their disease-related behaviour as self-management. Diabetes has 'just' become part of their daily life, now including new routines taking diabetes into account. Conclusions: With this knowledge, support solutions can be designed and implemented that better fit the needs, preferences and abilities of patients with T2DM.