Man Wants to Leave His 'Soul Mate' After She Becomes Paralyzed

Would you stay with your partner under any circumstances? I think that's a question all of us in relationships ask ourselves. What would make us leave? What wouldn't? And yet we don't know how we'll truly react until it happens. One thing I've always asked myself is what would I do if someone I had just begun dating had a horrible accident and became paralyzed or lost his speech or eyesight or something? Okay, maybe that's just torturing myself -- and thank god I've never been tested in that particular regard. But I know others who have. And one man, who wrote into an advice columnist, is wrestling with this very dilemma. He had met a woman he considered his "soul mate," got engaged within six months, and then boom! she had a stroke that left her paralyzed and disabled.

Now the man wants to leave her. He writes:

This has created a future that I had not envisioned nor signed up for. Every day is a reminder of what once was, and so is a constant source of hurt and pain. I am committed for at least a year, which is how long I knew her before her stroke, to assist her in regaining as normal a life as possible. But I cannot envision going through the rest of my life like this. I know she will be devastated if I leave, but I will be devastated if I stay.

Yikes. When you get engaged, you think the guy is going to stick around if something happens -- but they weren't married yet either. The guy, who had a child, also finds the situation unfair to his kid.

The advice columnist, Prudence, advises him to stay through the period he's committed to and help her get back on track, but then to not feel guilty about leaving.

This is one of those things where you just don't know how someone is going to react until it happens. You might think your husband or boyfriend is a ROCK and would see you through no matter what, but this is really just an assumption (hope?).

Taking care of a disabled person certainly isn't what anyone "signs up for" when they get into a relationship, but does anyone ever get what they sign up for? Eventually we're all going to get sick and die (shocker, I know), and for most of us, there will be quite a few dramas inbetween.

I know myself, and I suspect I would stay if something like this happened to me. But I wouldn't judge those who felt they couldn't. We all have our own tolerance levels. And certainly he would be little help being there if he resented it and hated her for it. But I do wonder if he knows the true meaning of the words love and "soul mate."

What would you do?

Image via Shane Fox/Flickr

commitment, love


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Carme... Carmen8706

If he's going to cut and run at the first sign of trouble, then he's obviously not her "soul mate."  If he loved her like he claims, then he would cut the selfish bullshit, man up, and take care of her.  It would hurt him too much to leave her.  What a dick. 

nonmember avatar kaerae

@Carmen - A paralyzing stroke isn't exactly "the first sign of trouble," It's HUGE. Some people are equipped to be caregivers of an adult who requires tube feedings, diaper changes, and constant care, others are not.

BlueJane BlueJane

"In sickness and in health" Sorry buddy, but this is what you signed up for.

Craft... CraftyJenna

So much for "In sickness and in health". Some husband he would have been. 

early... earlybird11

I think leaving is the most fair thing to do. Sounds like he would be a crappy husband if he is resentful and unhappy from the get. Its not what i would do but obviously everyone is different. Its not fair to stay to her either he will eventually leave or cheat.

Teal Chastain Blacksten

People can be incredibly judgemental when they hear these types of stories. The bottom line is, no one truly knows how they'll react to something like this unless and until they are faced with it themselves. I think she might eventually sense his resentment of her, and release him of his "obligation." 

nonmember avatar Kristi

Having spent a number of years working with adults who were unable to care for themselves I can say without a doubt that not everyone is able to do it. Go ahead and tell yourself the in sickness and in health line, but until you've faced the reality of having to bathe, feed, diaper and tend to another adults every need day in and day out, you have no idea what you're talking about.

miss-... miss-so-curious

Alright, here what I think. He's a man with a child to support, right? Well, I don't know how big the kid is but I'm kinda with him, it's not fair for the kid. Some guys with kid are looking for partner because they -maybe, just maybe- need someone to take care of his kid together. And being with someone who is disabled would be really unfair for the kid coz -you know- she would need assistance constantly.

And if he stayed, could we imagine what kinda hell he get himself into, especially for the kid? Seriously, they're not married yet. He's a free man.

Cmon, if I were the woman I would understand why he left. She's got family, hasn't she? She could turn to her kin to care for her, I think.

nonmember avatar melancholicmess

Sure,he's a douchebag for doing so but at least he's honest about it. I don't think his fiancee would be too thrilled if he stuck around just because he pitied her. If it isn't real, honest, undivided love, then she's better off without him.

Disso... Dissolutions

if thats the way he felt then maybe it was for the best, what kind of care taker would he have been if he really didnt want to do it in the first place? thats how neglect and abuse starts. my heart breaks for this woman but she is much MUCH better off being taken care of by somebody who doesnt feel burdened to take care of her. 

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