Marriage is supposed to be for better or worse. But, unfortunately, some spouses take that to mean their worse -- not yours! Yeah, they’re all, "Hey, marriage is all about in sickness and in health -- can you go to the drugstore for me?” but when the sniffles are turned, they run for the nearest exit. Or they don’t move at all. Or they say, "While you’re at the drugstore getting Sudafed, could you pick me up some ginger ale?" One woman’s husband brought this to the most callous extreme when his wife of 15 years was diagnosed with breast cancer -- and he refused to help at all.
Beth Gainer says:
I went through chemo and radiation alone and I did everything. I took care of myself alone and I had to work one full-time job and one part-time job.
Never mind that Beth had been supporting her husband emotionally and financially for years because of his mental health issues, when it came to her physical ones, he just completely checked out.
It’s definitely not the first time I’ve heard of this kind of thing -- and I’ve experienced a little bit of it myself too. Guys who are all about you bringing the chicken soup, giving them the backrub, and running to the pharmacy for them will tell you you’re "overreacting" or a "drama queen" when you’re sick or just refuse to help at all.
I had one friend who was married to a man for several years who just flat-out refused to set foot in a hospital or doctor's office, which meant she had to undergo every single medical procedure by herself. Oh, and then he didn’t want to even talk about anything either. Never mind that he had his own medical problems and she would faithfully accompany him when he needed it.
I think "in sickness" is one of the most important part of a couple’s marital vows. Sure, there are people who decided to leave a relationship after a catastrophic accident that leaves one person paralyzed or completely helpless -- and that is something I’m not going to judge.
But with any relationship -- whether it's short- or long-term -- there’s a pretty good chance one party will have, at least, a few colds. Maybe the flu. Possibly an iffy pap smear. Or a lump in the breast. Or something. A guy (or a woman) who refuses to help or acknowledge when you're sick is definitely going to be a difficult person to be with as you grow older. Either learn to accept it or get out.
As for Beth, she divorced her husband, saying: "I realized that I only had myself and so I decided since I'm alone through cancer ... I might as well be alone and I might as well enjoy life."
Right on, sister.
Have you ever had a spouse not help when you were sick?
Image via Richard Bowen/Flickr