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My marriage is falling apart

GemmaJones
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2012

I am so lost.

I was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia a few months ago. I don't have insurance, not much money at all. I have been married for over 20 years to a great guy. Only, I am now realizing that I overlooked a lot of things before, that I can't overlook now. I am pretty young, in my 40's.

He seems selfish, and unconcerned about the fact that I have cancer. I am SO afraid. He seems to worry more about what new toy he is going to get. He has just enrolled in college, so has student loans, only he feels like they are excuses to go out and buy things he has always wanted.

We have talked, and argued and talked and argued. He knows that stress is a huge factor that should be avoided when someone has cancer, but he does not care in the least if I am worried at all. He is not very nice to me, has a hard time being kind. I know I am not perfect, but I never imagined not having any support from him if I got really sick.

So what do I do now? I am lost and alone and confused and afraid. I wanted him to take care of me, to be there, to be solid. I wanted him to put his concerns aside and help me get well. But it looks as if that isn't going to be the case.

I cannot believe that this is my life :(

Helen321's picture
Helen321
Posts: 715
Joined: May 2012

That's such a hard one and I really don't have the answer. I am in the opposite position. I was getting divorced and this situation has made us put that on hold and my husband has stepped up to help me. That doesn't change the fact that he is a jerk. And with that thought, your husband's inability to help you doesn't change the fact that for 20 years he's been a good guy. Maybe he is in denial. Maybe he just doesn't know how to deal and doesn't want to admit he's afraid or maybe he just doesn't get it. I have an entire group of people around me who just don't get it. Heck until it happened to me, I didn't get it either. Have you considered going to a counselor? You may be able to get one free through the hospital since you don't have insurance. A counselor may help keep the conversation neutral. I know exactly what you're going through emotionally as do so many others. People who don't have cancer really don't get it. Think back to before you had it, you really had no idea this scary feeling existed. Meanwhile do you have anyone who can support you, ask for help from a sibling, a friend, a support group. Ideally your husband would be great but as we know, life is not always ideal. Hopefully he'll come around, meanwhile as backwards as it may seem, have patience and remain calm as much as possible. Since he's always been a great guy, my bet is on denial or fear.

Rague
Posts: 3257
Joined: Aug 2009

My first thought is to say do not expect you Hubby to what anyone else says theirs are.

Hubby has dealt with PTSD pretty much all his life from when his Mom died from Cervical Cancer when he was 9. He also lost my Mom 3 yrs after we were married to her anorexia. They were the best of 'buddies'. 30 yrs down the road IBC ( Inflammatory Breast Cancer) raised it's ugly head in Aug '09.

I can't begin to tell you what is 'right' for the 2 of you - no one can know. We are each so unique. Did my Hubby do all some claim Hubby have to do - NO WAY! However, he was there for me anytime I needs/wanted him. I am very different than many - I was raised as an USAF brat, was Army and 20 yrs a Navy wife - so I am a very strong woman. Just saying we are all so unique - do not expect what some may say they/Hubby/SO did - be true to yourself and your guy. Do not dwell on the negative - live each day in the positive. There are no guarantees for the next minute anyway.

Your Hubby is also going through what you are - in some ways worse because he has to see what it's doing to you.

Do Hubby and I argue - Ya betcha - just like we always have. Do we talk about my DX/TX - sometimes. He always knows my appt. So have to tell him.

It's hard on them too - and children, even adult ones. The same hard - no way but I'd much rather live through what I have than hVe to watch Hubby or Sons go through something similar.

Just how I think!

Winyan - The Power Within

Susan

jimwins's picture
jimwins
Posts: 1971
Joined: Aug 2011

I am so sorry you are having to go through this among everything else.

I may be way off base and I'm no expert but it sounds like your husband is
dealing with mid-life issues though I think going back to school is probably
a positive thing. I'm not defending your husband, merely observing.

Have you considered counseling for the both of you?

I truly hope things work out.

Hugs,

Jim

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jul 2009

There are a few phrases that are recurrent amongst many cancer survivors like 'I want my life back' and the one you wrote "I cannot believe that this is my life". People generally feel that things like cancer will happen to others, not them, - that's pretty common - and so is finding out that maybe your mate isn't who you thought they were when you married too. Combining cancer and a rocky marriage unfortunately doesn't seem uncommon either and it certainly is a hard road. I have been there too. The man I knew who I thought was totally devoted to me turned out quite differently when he got tired of the cancer side effects I had and it was even worse many years ago, I am a 23 year cancer survivor, because back then and til pretty recently really the support for us reporting side effects was pretty scarce so we despertately needed support at home which some didn't get.

I don't know what your situation is with friends and family and your spiritual beliefs but I hope you can lean on all of those for support elsewhere. We can't force someone to be with us, you wouldn't want that anyways, and so if you can't work things out with your husband and maybe get counselling to see if you can salvage the marriage then you might have to move forward and take care of yourself first and foremost which is not going to be easy but you can do it. I did and still am and I have many side effects of treatments long ago. Today things are looking better for survivors but back over 2 decades ago treatments were pretty rough. I don't know much about your cancer I had NHL.

The people on this site are for the most part very knowledgeable having been there like you with cancer and can help you through so you are not alone. In fact many survivors who even have supportive spouses still come here for total understanding because as I said before we have been there and know how you will feel through your journey with cancer and many are on their own as well. I hope you will come here often and ask as many questions as you want.

As they say tough times can either bring people closer together or tear them apart and the rate of separation with couples who are dealing with cancer is pretty high so you aren't alone there either.

I wish you all the best and do suggest that you do seek counselling as well, just for you what with going through all the issues you will face while going through cancer treatments. You have your health to think about first and foremost and you will need to destress yourself as much as you can to get through it all and you don't need a negative influence there causing you more grief than you already have. I know it's not easy, I'm not saying it is, but the sooner you begin to focus on yourself and getting well the better you will be and the quicker you can hopefully put the whole cancer experience behind you. One day at a time.

Let us know how you are doing and when you will be seeing the counsellor.

Blessings,
Bluerose

lsnider62
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2012

My husband is not supportive at all. I have days that I can hardly get out of bed let alone walk to the kitchen to fix his lunch. I don't know if this is his way of dealing with things or not. I do know that when I caught him with another woman it broke my heart.
Sometimes I think the only reason I am here is because he needs a maid, cook, babysitter, housekeeper, etc...
He does not go to my appointments with me, does not ask how I am, the only thing I remember is waking up from surgery to hear him say, "I wish your mom would wake up so we could go home"
Made me feel like a burden for sure...

I pray that things will get better for you.

I to can not believe this is my life...

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jul 2009

Sounded very familiar to have a mean and ignorant phrase coming out of a spouse right when we are at our most vulnerable fighting this disease. My heart broke for you when I read what he said as you were waking up from surgery. Just horrendous.

I remember many scenes from my last few months with my ex and when I found out he was seeing someone else seriously, in that conversation he said "well at least she does stuff" meaning that she was active and out there doing things" which of course at that point I couldn't do. I was in shock. I had lived that 20 year marriage thinking I was his only one and now to hear differently, how quick he was out looking around (or had he been out before I thought now?) just made me sick to my stomach.

I think, looking back, that when these marriages fail during illness you can trace back a breakdown coming regardless but that's really no help to you now is it? Just to know that you aren't alone in this all and that like you are surviving cancer you will survive this as well. I hope that you have close friends and family around you to support you and that you are thinking about seeing a good counsellor who has experience in cancer survivors, they can be very helpful.

I am glad that you have found this site and hope that you will keep us updated on how you are doing. Right now you need to focus on getting better for you and your children.

I am here to tell you that as a 23 year survivor and one whose marriage failed several years ago there is life after cancer and life after a bad marriage.

All the best.

Blessings,
Bluerose

RaineySkies's picture
RaineySkies
Posts: 10
Joined: Sep 2011

I have no advice, I am in the same position, my husband doesn't care either. I just wanted you to know you're not alone and if you need to talk I am here. The worst thing mine has done is, I had told him the dr had told him when first diagnosed, the dr estimated my life expectancy at 12- 24 months, well I guess that is the only thing that I told he must have listened to. He has never went to one appt and was at only one surgery. He wasn't working, he was home in bed. A couple months ago people started asking me how long I had apparently he has been counting down the months and told several people, including my children "oh well I guess she only has about 4 months left. I was so hurt and angry. I do know how you feel and am sending you hugs and I'm here if you need to talk

doug8it's picture
doug8it
Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2012

My wife was diagnosed with "Metastatic Adenocarcinoma of unknown primary" in June of this year- 2012.

The prognosis is grim...

We didn't have much money, or great insurance- but we got by as a family until this cancer.
Now we have no money and our family is falling apart.

After reading your heartbreaking story, I couldn't help but think about the recent abuse... yes- abuse that I put my own wife through over the weekend.

I don't know if this will help, or if it even applies to your situation- but it might give you some insight into what goes through an ordinary mans mind, when dealing with a spouse with cancer.

My opinion as a caregiver, from my point of view, and a man of fair intelligence in his early 50's - blessed with a wonderful wife and five wonderful young men that I'm proud to call my "sons"... I have to say that the fear of dreams and your loved one's dying too soon, is so unfathomable to me, that I often escape into a world of denial and self-pity.

It's as if everything, including her cancer, was just happening to me.
I know it's a selfish reaction and I'm cognizant of that fact while I'm being irrational.
It's like I'm observing my own self destruction and wishing it would just engulf me and rid me of this sorrow.
I've become socially withdrawn, clinically depressed and if you haven't noticed, all the feelings that I'm drawing attention to, has only to do with me- with no regard to what is happening to my wife or what it's emotionally doing to her...

I regard myself as a kind person and I love my wife dearly, but my actions towards her are abusive.

I'm still fighting though, to regain that person in me she loves and desperately needs.

If he's not willing to fight his own self for you, then surely he's not worth fighting for.

Ask him, if he would be willing to defeat himself to save you both.
If he doesn't understand- you have your answer...

God be with you and bless you

love4life
Posts: 33
Joined: May 2010

Doug8it, Your wife needs you and you need to be there for her. If things are as grim as they sound go get counseling, see a doctor and get some meds (if you don't already do these things), find a support group in your area that can help you cope. Just don't shut down and push your wife aside. When everything is said and done you will find comfort in knowing you have done all you can to help your wife through this process. If you can't afford the help there should be programs available to help pay for things. All hospitals have to offer financial assistance these days and the drug companies have programs to help people that can't afford the medicines they need. If your wife needs help with costs there are places that do that to. Check out cancercare.org or contact them to see if they can help you. Another great source for help could be a local church.

Bottom line is that you have a great family and you all need to get through this together. You didn't say what ages your sons are but they need to see how to handle a crisis and you are the model they will follow. Your wife needs you and by your post I can tell you love her and need her too. Pray, talk to someone that can help you deal with this and maybe even include your wife in those talks so she can understand what you're feeling during these difficult times. She's as worried about you and her sons as much(if not more)than she is about herself.

I will pray for you, your wife, and family that you can find a way to get through all of this together.

doug8it's picture
doug8it
Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2012

Thank you love4life...

You're exactly right, and my wife and I have started talking to a counselor.
We're also talking to a social worker, at our Cancer Center, for financial assistance.

Our biggest battle, at this moment, is myself.

Our son's were so concerned watching their Dad change, as a result of my depression, that they took matters into their own hands by having a family intervention.

It was a real eye-opener- a lot of tears and heart break, but it broke down my barriers that I think a lot of spouses, in the same situation, use as a defense mechanism.

Our boy's- Phillip-22, Gabe-17, (Brandon-15, Jordan-15 - twins) and David 24.
David just recently graduated college and is continuing his education- fully paid for through an academic scholarship from St Thomas in Minneapolis to obtain his Ph.D at Maryland State.
We're so very proud of him and the the rest of the boys/young men.
They have been our oasis in this desert of doubt and fear.

The stress is overwhelming, Chris and I fight to keep our faith and hope strong while having to maintain a rational state of mind- that our family will most likely have to face a certain eventuality.

This is the hardest thing our family or any family’s have to comprehend and deal with.

We have a strong foundation within our spiritual beliefs, but to say we haven't became angry, doubtful or fearful of the situation would be untrue.

The smallest detail becomes more pronounced when you watch a loved one come to grips their own mortality.

Just having people acknowledge our family's heart break gives me a very profound sense of hope and a general feeling of well-being that no matter what happens, we’re not forsaken.

"worrying will never change the outcome"

damageddude
Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2012

My wife and I are 44/41 respectively. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in May, had a lumpectomy in June (Stage I), and began chemotherapy in July (tumor was aggressive). Since then, even though her prognosis is very good, my life and our marriage seem to have fallen apart.

Every horrible thing that she perceives I have done in the almost 20 years since we started dating has come out. She wishes she had left me before we were married. I have been verbally abused her forever. She has never felt joy in our relationship, even when our children were born. She no longer loves me. I'm mad at her for getting cancer. She didn't get a mastectomy because this family (our children are 11 and 7) could not take it. I don't want to buy a new car now because I think she won't be here in 5 years. She wants a divorce -- NOW! I have taken so many body blows that I have become punch drunk. I have been wondering if I will still be married this time next year. I have been feeling very sad and lonely. I began to understand how Newt Gingrich could ask his wife for a divorce while she was fighting cancer.

Some of these accusations totally blindsided me. I had no idea she had been so unhappy for so long. She told me she had been willing to float along but, since her diagnosis, that has changed. And a part of me, while devastated, can accept that -- she now sees that her life can end much sooner then expected. But the misconceptions, such as I have no faith in her surviving or angry at her for getting sick, are baseless. I can't believe she really thinks that about me.

I thought our marriage was in much better shape. It's almost like I've been sleeping next to a stranger all these years. When I agreed with her when she said I must think she's crazy (mistake 1), she accused me of verbal abusive and emotional blackmail (mistake 2, I asked her if she thought what a divorce would do to our young children, especially as we otherwise get along very well).

All these blows have been devastating to me and finally, at work, my director, who knew about my wife's illness, asked how I was doing and I unloaded on him. Before that I had not told anyone how bad things had gotten, partially from shame, partially from sadness. Basically he reminded me that my wife is undergoing a lot of stress and these things are not uncommon.

Since then I have spoken to several people and each has given me a similar story, including one whose parents had been married 35 years when his mother got sicked and flipped out on his father. He told me to get a therapist. I have now been put on an anti-depressant and have just started seeing a therapist. My outlook is improving and I am now doing everything I can to make life as easy as possible for my wife while she goes through this.

I realize that part of my wife's anger is just her venting, although some is legitimate. She is mad and hurt. Many of the things angering her about me stem from a long time ago that we let fester for too long. I don't know if our marriage will ultimately survive this, I do love her and want her to live long and prosper, hopefully with me but if not, then that will be my loss. So no matter what happens, I at least hope to become a better man, husband (hopefully) and father when this is all over.

shannonbobannon's picture
shannonbobannon
Posts: 24
Joined: Dec 2011

I'm so sorry to hear about your sickness. I've only had to deal with my dad's for a little over a year, but I do know my parents have been married for almost 19 years. I know it was really hard on my mom when my dad was diagnosed, but she manages to stay strong for him and everyone else.

I'm not saying that your husband doesn't love you, and I'm not taking his side at all, but maybe being in school and buying new things is his way of coping with you getting sick? I know when I found out my dad was sick I was so angry because he told my now ex-boyfriend a few weeks before he told me and I didn't talk to him for about a week. I think somehow that was my way of coping with it. Everyone has a different way of coping with these kinds of things and maybe this is your husbands way.
Keep us updated, and your in my thoughts.

Shannon

smbrand158's picture
smbrand158
Posts: 20
Joined: Oct 2011

I didn't get support from my husband throughout much of the 9 months of my surgeries and treatments. When I told him that I had cancer 11 months ago he told me that he wasn't happy with our marriage and wanted to move out. Great timing buddy! My friends took me to surgeries, treatments and supported me instead of him. He didn't move out, but I think that it was because he didn't want people to think badly of him.

Then for some reason, 4 months into treatment he rallied, started asking me how I was feeling and seemed to care. we began making plans for our future and our retirement. I've now learned that he had been seeing someone and his girlfriend had called off the relationship and that is why he hung in there with me. She is now back in his life and they are making plans to be together.

I've been sitting on a lot of information about their plans and now that I am feeling strong, and mad as hell, I am taking action because I know that I will be totally fine! I beat cancer without him and I don't need someone like him in my life. She and him truly deserve each other.

katenorwood
Posts: 1802
Joined: May 2012

I know this is an older post....but I read each of your posts. I think that support has to come from inside ourselves. Being sick and dealing with cancer issues plainly stinks. I also have decided that if my hubby stands beside me great if not too bad for him ! I have lived with his indescrestions (words...he was a jack rabbit plain and simple !) But also has a disabling condition himself. I was always the strong one, taking care of him. I think over the years it was his way of rebelling (denial...of what was coming). We stuck it out, and now have settled in to more of a best friend relationship. I am getting to old to worry if he's gonna run on me. Man I'll pack your bags, and leave them at the doorstep. And we are brutely honest with one another. It works for us, maybe it will kick my butt down the road. But he truely is my best friend and has stood by me through this trip I'm on. I am heart sick, with what the survivors and spouses and family and friends go through with this rotten dx. I wish the world was a better place for everyone ! You are all in my prayers. And I wish everyone of you the best in life. Katie

ailuj33
Posts: 8
Joined: Aug 2012

I had colon cancer tumor remove on May 25th, i was being married for 7 years after the surgery went back home on Jun 1st or something like that, my mom came here to stay here with me and take care of me i have a 6 year old daughter, it was really hard to bathe and do the normal stuff but my mom was there for me, my husband never even once help or offer to help...
On jun 21th we have a fight i dont even remember what it was for, but he ask me to leave his house so i was in shock, i left and stayed with his sister for a week, on Jun 29th people at work that really care for me, and about everything that is going on in my life helped me to get a place to live with my mom, my daughter and me, I started chemo on Jul 12th it wasnt being easy, if somebody doesnt care or want help you will find somebody else that does it, i find my angels that care for me.
He never even once asked me how am i doing? If i need any help? How is my chemo doing after 7 years, never even once stayed at the hospital with me and i stayed at the hospital for 10 days.
I hope for the best for you, god always show us that we are not alone, that is why he send this angels to help us, you dont need that stress right now, you need to focus on get better...

Hey my life is like yours, but now i am in a better place and you will be too :)

BBShipbuilder's picture
BBShipbuilder
Posts: 7
Joined: Sep 2012

Always remember that God loves you. Even when we don't understand why things happen to us, they happen for a reason. Years from now, you'll look back and realize you learned from this experience and came out of it smarter and stronger. As you get further into your chemo, you'll feel weak and depressed. Just remember,this is only temporary and will pass. You deserve better companionship. Try to connect with a support group. You're very lucky to have a mom who loves you. I'm sure she's very scared too. You are not alone!

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