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