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Should We Stay Together?

Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2010

I have read some of the discussions with interest, particularly the one on separation. My story is not unlike others here: I was diagnosed with PH+ ALL in 2002 and was given a 10% chance of survival w/out a successful bone marrow transplant.No donor was found and I went on Gleevec after the usual rounds of chemo. Actually I was told I would be given an autologous transplant and I declined. Fortunately the Gleevec held me in remission for almost 5 years. I must have believed I was someone special. In Mar, 2008 I relapsed and spent 120 consecutive days in the hospital. I contracted a severe fungal infection which damaged my knee cartilege and left me unable to walk, and I lost kidney function secondary to the treatment for the infection which required dialysis. I lost 70 lbs and almost died several times.

Two years and two painful knee replacements later, I can walk and don't require dialysis at this time. As others can attest to, it's not just the physical toll cancer takes on you. I was forced to close my business and go on disability. The uncertainty of when my cancer will return became too great.Then I found out my wife was carrying on a long-distance "relationship" with a man via phone, text and e-mail.She met him when she took my son to a tennis camp, the weekend I had just come home from the hospital. I'll never forget some of the e-mails I stumbled upon between the two of them.I asked her to stop the contact and she agreed she would, but it continued for a long time. She said this man is old and only someone to talk to because I won't communicate with her.

My wife was there for me when I was sick the first time. She was there for me the second time. Now I know she is tired of dealing with me. She feels she has lost the past 8 years of her life. Now she has said she can't "save" me; she has to live for herself.Now before you beat up on her keep in mind that I'm probably not the same person. I guess the illness changes you. We are not intimate and I really have lost interest in her. We have a 17 and 14 year old so I don't want them affected, however I know they feel the tension between their mom and dad.

We have been to therapy but nothing has changed for either of us. I love my wife but I don't know if this is how I want to spend my remaining years.

grandmafay's picture
Posts: 1639
Joined: Aug 2009

Only you and your wife can make this decision. Cancer and the fight to survive it is life changing for all involved. Whatever decision you make, your children may need some counseling. Their lives have been and continue to be affected by both the cancer and the tension between you and your wife. Please make sure that they understand that none of this is their fault. Fay

Posts: 896
Joined: Jan 2010

I am trying to remember just how most wedding vows go....

Something about for better, or for worse, in Sickness or in health, I do take.....

This is the stuff that makes character, that can make a couple one indeed. And why would you assume that live would be better alone or with someone else who may not understand what wedding vows are for? when it gets to the sick part, staying power is worth a lot more than it has been properly valued at.

And romance can be rekindled. Many others who found themselves in the same emotional hum-drum you and your wife have fallen into have managed to climb back out and rekindle the spark- so see the deeper beauty of the person they are married to. You can quit, sure, but what happens the next time, with the next person when things get tough? Quit again? And what would be the cost of quitting now? Financially? Emotionally? And on your children?
Consider, you have an opportunity to share a great adventure together. It has all the components of a great movie epic- so why not live your roles well?

I thank God daily for a wife with staying power while I am struggling with a few cancer related issues.


bluerose's picture
Posts: 1102
Joined: Jul 2009

My marriage ended after 20 years and I know the stress of my cancer sure didn't help. Actually the more I learn of side effects from treatments and anger and stress issues not only from the cancer itself but from the medication side effects I can see more and more reasons why my marriage failed. Of course there were many other issues and I know that the foundation wasn't as strong as it could be before the hellish diagnosis was made.

I agree though with what was said about 'for better and for worse, sickness and health' and you have to ask yourself 'what would you do if she was the one with cancer?', would you stay or leave her - no matter how many times it happened? Having said that though we are all different people regardless of the bonds of marriage and relation to the other person and we all handle stressors nad life differently.

I agree that too many people simiply give up too soon on a marriage but like you said it's no life if both are miserable the rest of their lives either and the kids do suffer if Mommy and Daddy don't get along - mine did. Luckily though mine threw themselves into studies but it could have gone either way, try as hard as we did to save them from the stress they aren't stupid they know things are shakey with Mom and Dad.

I agree too that the kids may need counselling all the way through whatever the two of you decide as well as continuing counselling for you as well to deal with all you have on your plate, and it's alot.

I totally understand where you are as I have been there except my spouse wasn't honest with me at all even in the end and that has been hard to deal with, I was totally blindsided.

There is a high divorce rate amongst cancer survivors due to all of the things we have talked about and more, unfortunately. It's a rough road and it totally depends on the two people in the marriage being able to want to make it work and doing whatever it takes to make that happen.

I am not putting blame on either of you or judging you at all, you have to make your own decisions in this as to what is best for all concerned and I really hope that you will continue to include a counsellor to help you through the process - whatever that may be. I don't know what kind of a counsellor you have but it might be a good idea to try, instead of just a marriage counsellor, get in to see a grief counsellor as well - one who deals with cancer specifically and all the issues - it might be an eye opener for your spouse as well as you. I hope she considers going.

All the best, you are in my prayers.


Posts: 1416
Joined: Mar 2001

But it is true cancer does not keep people together rather it can often be too much of strain on the relationship. I have spent the last 14 years fighting for my relationship when in fact I might have been the only one fight for it at that time.
After all this time and not being truly happy I too began to wonder if this is truly how I want to live the rest of my life that I have to live. Not feeling LOVED, not feeling that they understand me, not having the intimacy we once shared. More often than not we both were better able to point out the flaws rather than consintrating on all that we have together as a couple, something we would not have had.
I finally this summer left my home to go back to my hometown something I often do but this time was different. I was truly wondering around trying to see if there was anything for me when in fact in a very short time I realized more than anything I only wanted this LOVE of mine.
I began to read The Dance with Intimicy and realized all I had been doing all those years truly might have been pushing my partner away. There is so much we need to understand about our past programming and how our fears truly do drive us.
We for the first time in 14 years have finally all the cards on the table something I am not sure was truly the case before. We finally decided together, to stay together and work this out only to be faced with more lumps and more fears. Cancer should not be our defining moments.


pattyanny's picture
Posts: 544
Joined: Jul 2009

I loved your post and only hope I too can get back what I had with my husband of 20 years.
I am glad it worked out for you both. I realize my separation has been going on way before
I was diagnosed & treated. I think there is too much water under the bridge, and will continue to go on.
Maybe one day, with Gods help, I can lay my cards on the table as you did. You were strong & brave! Congrats Tara, and may you share many happy times together!

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zinniemay's picture
Posts: 534
Joined: Mar 2009

I have loved my husband of 36 years more than life it self If I could trade places I would do it in a heart beat. After saying that. He is very angry and scare. I know this as I am scare for him too. He told me he always thought I would go first. So I am not sure how to take that. He has so much angry that I am worried what he might do to him self. Me I cry allot. Our children are much older yet they are hurting too . My heart is breaking he does not get that for me all our dreams are gone. All the plans we made he no longer wants to do. So do I set and slowly watch him die . Do I try to remember just how much we have been threw. Many things go threw my mind. It is not so easy on the ones you love.
I don't know what you should do , I can not say . All I can do is tell you remember what is good and keep that close. If you listen you said you lost interest in her. Maybe you should think about that. We can only give so much love before we realize you don't want it.
Please ask why you feel this way. I know this is not really a answer for you. But it is a small insight to the wife's side.

sillylilmizzy's picture
Posts: 10
Joined: Jun 2010

I am sorry I hope things get better

Posts: 710
Joined: Mar 2010

Ask yourself
Would you truely be happy without her, and her without you?
What's the pros and cons?
Would separation benefit you and/or her? or bring more problems and despair?
And do you still love her and she love you?

The best to you and your wife. Hope you can work thru this together.

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2010

Only you can decide what is most important to you for your marriage.
I had a double mastectomy in november of 2008 (this is my second go round of breast cancer i had the first episode in 97 married my now husband in 2002)
and found out in june of 2009 that he was cheating on me having casual sex for fun and or money with women on craiglist (he was out of work again and i was working at the time)
he blamed me when i found out saying that in order for him to get his libido up in order to be able to have a relationship with me (i am not candidate for reconstruction) he HAS to have these flings. It took months for me to be able to forgive him this and he claimed he wanted to work it out and try again, and i just found out he is doing this again (he is still out of work and unfortunately i am now also due to a few more minor health problems)
and i am not sure i want to try again. this is only my issue and it is still being decided, he tries one day then is horrible another day. if you love them you try to forgive but i believe that God will watch over me still even if i decide i can no longer handle this behavior and even though i am now a "freak" as he implies sometimes, i am better off alone with no spouse than to deal with his insecurities and lack of ego. I am only 48 and i feel somewhere out there while i am still on this earth someone is out there looking for me still... you must decide what to do in your own heart.

catwink22's picture
Posts: 276
Joined: Sep 2009

Hey TexasGirl, just like your name - you are a survivor and those are your battle scars from a war you didn't ask for. No one deserves to be treated in that way, don't let him make you a victim of his insecurities and indulgences. His "libido problem" is just an excuse to continue his behavior that he knows is wrong, but he can blame you and that makes it okay? Don't forget what a kind, giving, loving, beautiful person you are! You have so much to offer to someone who deserves it. I was on my own for four years after my divorce and I have to tell you that it WAS better than being with the man who only thought of himself and his needs. I was scared to go into another relationship because I started to really like being on my own, but I did meet a good guy. I'm not saying divorce is the answer to all of the problems and issues in a marriage. No relationship is perfect, but no one should be subjected to abuse whether it be physical, emotional or verbal. In the end it is your decision, I just want you to see that you are valuable and worthy! I wish you the best in your search for your answer, know you are loved.

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