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What kind of man thinks of leaving a sick spouse...?

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Old 15th April 2010, 6:51 PM   #1
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What kind of man thinks of leaving a sick spouse...?

Hello all,

I am really not sure I should be even doing this but I am running out of places to turn. I will try to keep it as brief as possible.

I have been married to my wife now for over 10 years, and at the beginning we were blissfully happy. Since the birth of our 2nd child 6 or so years ago my wifes health has deteriorated. She has a rare neurological disorder which gives her debilatating headaches, pretty much all the time. I have been supportive, loving, kind, just about everything I could be over the past 5-6 years but I am finally running out of juice.

I know that the vows state in sickness and in health, til death do us part, but I do not know how much longer I can go on. I still love my wife, or I love the woman she was, but now she is a shell of her former self. All of our conversations revolve around how crappy she feels, all I do is take care of her and our kids. To make things worse, my job takes me away from home for three to four days at a time, so my kids suffer from her inability to take proper care of them and herself when I am not there. When I return home exhausted for what should be relaxing family time, all I do is recover the family home to a livable state, before going back to work. It has put a huge financial strain on me also, medical bills I just cannot pay.

We have no physical realationship at all, its going on 16 months now, barring a very unfullfilling attempt (for both of us) at intimacy last July.

She tells me she still loves me, but I now think she is hoping that she doesn't lose me because she can't cope without me, not because she loves me. There is a lot more to the story, but in order to keep this brief I will add more hopefully later on.

My question is this. Do I stay and take care of her, at the risk of my own sanity? Or do I leave and face the undoubted guilt and wrath of family members who do not see what this has done to me. I am very probably depressed, although I maintain a positive attitude for my kids, but when I am on the road I tend to just sit and do nothing, revelling in the peace from "can you just, will you get for me..."

I feel bad even writing this down. I am a good person, and the guilt for even contemplating this decision is overwhelming.

I hope someone out there can offer some advice, and I will add more meat to the bones of the story soon.
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Old 15th April 2010, 7:48 PM   #2
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sounds like you've moved from your primary role as her husband and lover to that of her caregiver. And I can empathize with you, that's a hard one to have to come to grips with you.

a few questions for you: Have you spoken with your physician about the amount of stress you're under? Sometimes conditional depression resulting from stress can make you question something you've never been bugged by before, and treatment can help. (Yes, I speak from experience, and God love my doctor for being able to pick up on my body's cry for help when I didn't know how to vocalize what I was feeling).

do you have anyone who can help you with the caregiver role so that you can assume more of the daddy/husband role? Again, based on experience, I can tell you how sometimes, you become resentful of the situation when you don't have enough help to keep your world running somewhat smoothly. And yes, it just adds to the stress you're affected by.

I think that maybe if you get these two areas into order, you can reassess more fairly your primary questions of "Leaving a sick spouse" ... at least your brain isn't going to be consumed by how bad things appear to be because you aren't getting the support you need.

hugs to you,
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Old 15th April 2010, 8:14 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
My question is this. Do I stay and take care of her, at the risk of my own sanity?
IMO, we're not obligated to sacrifice our own sanity and life, regardless of anything else. Saving your Self would not make you a "bad" person.

I agree with Q, though -- see what you can do about getting yourself some respite and support. There may be community health services or volunteer organizations to help out in the home and/or a caregiver support group. Your family doctor or local hospital might be a place to start. You could also Google "care for the caregiver."

Hugs and very best of luck.
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Old 15th April 2010, 8:53 PM   #4
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Here is the thing. If you don't stay, who will? If you go, what of the kids? You might be able to pack up and take the kids, but you will still be working all the time to cover the cost of a sitter and recovering the house on your days off. So it will be pretty much the same only now your kids see less of their mom and she sees less of them.

So what of packing up and leaving the kids behind too? Are they not your responsibility because you don't like how things turned out?

Is there no family that can be called upon? Not social services your family qualifies for? A day nurse? Can you relocate closer to a family member?

I get that you're not getting all the needs you thought you would be getting met with this situation, but unless your wife willfully got sick and the whole deal - this is your family and the situation your family is in.
may your sons' wives rejoice as often as your own; may your daughters marry men of your worth.
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Old 17th May 2010, 5:45 PM   #5
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Arthur, just because you can't cope it doesn't make you a bad person. I could have written the exact same words as you with only a few differences last year. I moved out of our family home 6 months ago with our two daughters 7 and 14 to let 24 hour care in to give my wife the proper attention she needs. We visit every day - things are a mess compared to the early days of our marriage and I spend a lot of time wondering what to do for the best but slowly we are adapting. anything may happen but at least now I know I can be there for our daughters as the only able bodied person left in the family. You must look after yourself, how would your wife feel if you couldn't look after your children? You cannot do it all. Others can help but you have to carry the burden but we all have our limits. Sorry to ramble but I know what you are going through. I will try and stay in touch. You have my support, no matter what you decide to do.
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Old 17th May 2010, 6:39 PM   #6
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You stay. You get help for yourself and instead of asking what kind of a man thinks of leaving, you ask yourself what kind of a man stays? A hell of a man, thats what you are and that's what you will continue to be.
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