Wedding Woes

Talk to your wife

Dear Prudence,
My wife has a serious medical condition that will eventually take her life. In addition to the stress of being a caregiver for her and our child and working full time, I also find myself increasingly lonely. She may live for years with this condition, though not fully as herself. Already I am more a caregiver than a husband. Sex ended a year and a half ago. I find myself wanting to be with someone but fearing it may never happen. I didn’t date that much before we married, and even if I could give myself permission to be with someone while she is still alive, it would get complicated with family and friends who would see it as not honoring our vows. I’m currently middle-aged, but I may be old by the time my wife dies. Am I doomed to years essentially alone with no prospects of sex or companionship?
—Lonely Caregiver
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Re: Talk to your wife

  • Ro041Ro041
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    You sound super selfish.  "My wife is dying and even though I took vows to love her in sickness and health, how will I get my rocks off?"  Poor wife.

    sparklepants41
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya
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    Um, did you marry her purely for sex? What happened to "in sickness and in health"? 

    Reacclimate yourself with your hand and be a good person.
    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
  • Ro041Ro041
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    @VarunaTT - Your first paragraph came across very condescending and I am not sure if that's how you meant it.  I am sure you can admit that you don't know what kind of marriages PPs have or have had/been a part of at any time in their lives.

  • Ro041Ro041
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    edited November 8
    So you meant it to be condescending?  That's unfortunate.  

    ETA - I don't disagree with the sentiment of your second comment, but I still take issue with your first post because of its tone.

  • Okay?  I'm not sure what you're really seeking here.  Your concern is noted, I suppose.
  • Ro041Ro041
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    edited November 8
    VarunaTT said:
    Okay?  I'm not sure what you're really seeking here.  Your concern is noted, I suppose.
    An acknowledgment that you didn't mean to be condescending when explaining why you viewed things differently?   *snort* I guess that was too tall of an order...

    Edited - since you don't know what kind of shitty trapped-in-a-situation-I-can't-get-out-relationship I was in long ago, I didn't really need to be told "try" it sometime.

  • VarunaTTVarunaTT
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    edited November 8
    I find it fascinating your hackles seem to be raised over my mild callout over your pretty gross statement, because "reacquaint yourself with your hand and be a good person" is not what I would consider perfectly polite.
    STARMOON44charlotte989875
  • VarunaTTVarunaTT
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    edited November 8
    Hm.  I was being sarcastic, not actually suggesting anyone try it.  I would think that was obvious but since it was not, i will make it clear:

    I think it's gross that comments about being selfish and masturbation were made about someone in obvious pain and anguish over an supremely unplanned for situation in life.

    The rest of my first comment should still be good.

    ETA:  I don't argue with people over tone vs. intent in writing, b/c it's impossible to control people's perceptions vs. my intent.  Which is why I didn't immediately say I wasn't attempting condescension.  B/c it will always seem like a kneejerk nu-unh, with no real way to prove it.
    STARMOON44charlotte989875eileenrob
  • Ro041Ro041
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    VarunaTT said:
    I find it fascinating your hackles seem to be raised over my mild callout over your pretty gross statement, because "reacquaint yourself with your hand and be a good person" is not what I would consider perfectly polite.
    MY pretty gross statement? I said nothing of the sort. I said he sounded selfish and expressed sympathy for his wife. But ok....

  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya
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    edited November 8
    I don't necessarily think that a loneliness in a failing marriage is the same as loneliness in a previously healthy (assuming) marriage where one partner now has a terminal illness. 

    Yes, a lot has changed for LW and I do feel for him. My original comment didn't express that and it should have. I'm not trying to say he doesn't or shouldn't have feelings of loneliness.

    But, IMHO, you don't get a pass on your vows and commitment because things aren't wonderful anymore. I don't think he gets to have his cake and eat it too, here. If he loves his wife and wants to be with her and care for her, he needs to do that. If that means therapy or hiring a caregiver or anything like that, fine.
    If he doesn't, then he needs to divorce, find a facility for her, etc. Having a girlfriend and a dying wife just seems insensitive and disrespectful to his wife.

    My childhood best friend's dad died when we were 18 after a long battle with lung cancer. He was in a hospital bed in the living room for months while his wife was in the bedroom with her boyfriend. So not only did he have to deal with the extremely painful thoughts of knowing he's not going to be at his kids' weddings or meet future grandchildren and that he's going to die, but he had to watch his wife of 30 years moving on before he was even gone. And I'd like to think that no matter what happens to my husband, I won't make him feel like that.

    ETA - I also know someone who left an ailing spouse, but didn't divorce her so she could stay on his insurance until she passed. I'm struggling to word this correctly but I really applaud his honesty with her and with himself. 
    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
    Ro041sparklepants41
  • Ro041 said:
    VarunaTT said:
    I find it fascinating your hackles seem to be raised over my mild callout over your pretty gross statement, because "reacquaint yourself with your hand and be a good person" is not what I would consider perfectly polite.
    MY pretty gross statement? I said nothing of the sort. I said he sounded selfish and expressed sympathy for his wife. But ok....
    Apologies, yours was about getting his rocks off. 
    Ro041
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya
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    Ro041 said:
    VarunaTT said:
    I find it fascinating your hackles seem to be raised over my mild callout over your pretty gross statement, because "reacquaint yourself with your hand and be a good person" is not what I would consider perfectly polite.
    MY pretty gross statement? I said nothing of the sort. I said he sounded selfish and expressed sympathy for his wife. But ok....
    Oh that was me, my comment. I admit it was insensitive. 
    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    edited November 8
    levioosa said:
    I think this is an impossibly painful situation. There is no winning here. Either LW will feel lonely and trapped, or he will feel guilty and unable to truly enjoy a relationship. If his wife is no longer mentally able to communicate or critically think, that further complicates things since he can no longer have an honest discussion with her about their future. How incredibly lonely. It doesn't mean cheating is the answer, or that sacrificing his life to care for her is the answer. Taking care of a loved one is one of the most difficult things to do. It's not like any other patient. I do think trying to connect with a support group of spousal caregivers is a good first step, and talking about it with his wife is important if she is mentally able to process the issue. 
    All of this. It should be totally reasonable and okay to feel sad and lonely when a loving relationship with a life partner becomes one of perpetual one-sided caregiving.

    While it would not be appropriate for him to start a new relationship while his wife is still alive, he's entitled to feel a sense of loss of the old relationship with her and frustration that his own needs aren't being met. If he actually cheated on her during what's left of her lifetime in order to fulfill those needs, then yes, that would be selfish. But to call him "selfish" solely for admitting to having those feelings, while he does nothing else about them, would come off as cold and dismissive.
    VarunaTT
  • I think he should talk to a social worker and eventually his wife. I don’t think his only reasonable options are stay in the marriage care for his wife never have sex or companionship or divorce. One of my friends mothers has Alzheimer’s. Got it at 60, was fully gone at 62. She’s 75 now and still in excellent physical health. Her father provides for her care, visits her, loves her, and lives with his girlfriend. Life is sad and hard and complicated and care givers deserve better than being told they are selfish for having needs. 
    I agree with all of this. 

    Also, we haven’t had a Prudie pop-off in a while. 
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya
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    levioosa said:
    I think this is an impossibly painful situation. There is no winning here. Either LW will feel lonely and trapped, or he will feel guilty and unable to truly enjoy a relationship. If his wife is no longer mentally able to communicate or critically think, that further complicates things since he can no longer have an honest discussion with her about their future. How incredibly lonely. It doesn't mean cheating is the answer, or that sacrificing his life to care for her is the answer. Taking care of a loved one is one of the most difficult things to do. It's not like any other patient. I do think trying to connect with a support group of spousal caregivers is a good first step, and talking about it with his wife is important if she is mentally able to process the issue. 
    This is very well put, thank you. 

    I was too harsh in my initial reaction and judgement of LW. I don't deny that he's in a terrible spot and that his feelings are valid. I'm learning that I'm prone to knee-jerk "get over it" reactions. 
    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
    VarunaTTSTARMOON44levioosa
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta
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    I think he should talk to a social worker and eventually his wife. I don’t think his only reasonable options are stay in the marriage care for his wife never have sex or companionship or divorce. One of my friends mothers has Alzheimer’s. Got it at 60, was fully gone at 62. She’s 75 now and still in excellent physical health. Her father provides for her care, visits her, loves her, and lives with his girlfriend. Life is sad and hard and complicated and care givers deserve better than being told they are selfish for having needs. 
    Late to the party, but agree with this. I have a co-worker who was in a similar situation. His wife was diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer's in her late 50's. Before she became incapacitated, they had some conversations about what that would mean in the long term, as she expected to be around physically for much longer than she would be mentally. 

    When I met him, she was in her late 60's, living in a facility, while he was dating a long term girlfriend. At first blush, it seemed so selfish and callous. But as I got to know him and learned more about the situation I understood that it really was the best option. He visited her every day, and really loved his wife. But together they decided that it wasn't doing anyone any good for him to be lonely and sad. 

    It's a sad, hard situation. He should talk to his wife, and they should together decide what this situation should look like from here. He doesn't deserve to be lonely for the rest of his wife, and it doesn't mean he has to leave her. 
    short+sassycharlotte989875eileenrobMesmrEwe
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