Cancer-Stricken Woman Leaves Husband After He Refuses to Help Her

Love & Learn 12

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

marriage, divorce


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This guy was extreme mental! I don't know kind of help she could have been expecting with a guy who was ocd and had extreme paranoia. I'm sorry she had to go through this alone but she knew that he was "sick" also.

cmjaz cmjaz

This is what the '300 sandwich' girl probably has to look forward to.

sandy... sandy201282

My husbnad is extremely supportive, thank god, but my step father is useless,my mom was diagnosed with MS 10 years ago and she has alot of trouble, and he has never went with her to the doctor or helped her in anyway. He recently told her he wants a divorce because he was tired of being married to a sick old woman..i told her good riddance.

nonmember avatar MaryAnne

I have fibromyalgia. When I married my ex, he was fully aware of my situation. A few weeks after we were married I was diagnosed with RA. I needed to sleep a lot. I would go to bed at 9:00 at night wake up at 5:30 in the morning, took the kids to school & went back to sleep until it was time to pick up the kids, etc. If he got off work early he would come home & deliberately turn the bedroom lights on & throw something on the bed to wake me up. This happened a lot, sometimes on a daily basis. He was very angry at me for not only sleeping a lot but being in too much pain to have sec with him at 2:00 in the morning every night. He also, come to find out after we were married, was a long standing alcoholic but was also addicted to computer lorn. His parents knew he was an alcoholic and didn't tell me prior to our marriage! At least he knew about my problems! That's why he's my ex.

Amanda Marie Mahrling

I remember once a few years ago being sick with tonsilitis. I had to go to the ER because I was having trouble breathing because of it, and being so weak because I hadn't been able to eat or drink for days. I wanted a shower before I went, but ended up sitting on the shower floor crying because I didn't have the strength. Hubby came in and bathed me, even the gross parts. And remembered to put conditioner in my hair. :) 

Sara B. Ware

Same, MaryAnne.  I appreciate you sharing, your experience mirrors mine, and many more than my ex-husband do not get it.  Ugh.  You have my sympathies and support from afar!

Nelli... NellieAthome

I feel sorry for the woman in the article but really, what did she expect? Her husband is seriously ill himself and it is more he is not capable of helping her rather than he just didn't want to.

Heath... HeatherMarieT88

His "sickness" could have been under control by medications. I don't see why she had to be the one who did absolutely everything for all 15 years. It seems that once he got married he just thought it was his ticket to lazy town. The woman said he didn't start exhibiting any of these signs until after their 4 year courtship that ended with marriage. He sounds like a self absorbed bum. It's just too bad that she had to endure 15 years of marriage and handling cancer by herself before she broke her belief about divorce.

Angel... AngelSinger

I was diagnosed with MS in 1998. My husband has been wonderful, every step of the way. I can't imagine what it would be like if I could not even talk to him about it!

She is better off without him. I wish her good health and a long, cancer-free future!

nonmember avatar mary

I was hospitolized on 2 occasions about 6 months apart with the diagnoses of PTSD, borderline personality disorder and severe depression and my husband has stood by me through the breakdowns the cutting and the other symptoms of my disorders. I am a very loved and lucky woman.

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