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what are my responsibilities for an ill spouse?

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mattg1958 posted 5/26/2013 07:00 AM

A quick review: She had a 4 month affair, including moving in with him for 6 weeks. She came back vowing to reconcile. She remained in contact with him after promising to stop. She tried individual counseling that didn't help her. When I pressed for discussions, she got severely depressed.

I backed off to let her mentally strengthen. We hadn't had a serious relationship discussion in over a month. Then, she was diagnosed with an "urgent" heart ailment and had open heart surgery last Monday. I was with her for more than every visiting hour.

Yesterday morning, I arrived to find her in a video chat with the other man. She did her best to hide it from me. After a very brief 15 minute stay, rather than the 12 hour constant visits and satisfying every on-demand need and want, I left.

She is facing a 2 to 3 month recovery. She can't drive for at least a month. She needs to avoid stress.

What are my moral responsibilities, both if I decide to try to reconcile and if I simply want to end the marriage? This other man lives 275 miles away. She needs significant follow up care with her doctors. Her moving 275 miles away isn't a realistic option for her. I can't think of anyone else that could take her in and care for her during this period.

I've been through this emotional cheating so many times over the past 6 months that this time, I just feel numb.

jadasae posted 5/26/2013 07:22 AM

what do you want to do? do you have children? How would they view it if you chose not to care for her? My Ex Husband had a great many health problems all through I marriage and I cared and sacrificed a great deal during that time..he repaid that by cheating (multiple PA'a and EA's) and his current girlfriend (last OW) does NOTHING to care for him when he is ill and he simply does as he it told. Do I feel cheated about all the time I cared for him...sure but the way my kids view me is worth that time....but I don't think you have any moral obligation, you didn't cause her illness, you're not trying to make it worse....she has clearly shown that she wants to live her life to suit herself (like my ex) so part of that is taking care of yourself if you are sick....but be prepared if you step back, she will lash out and blame you, try to guilt you, etc. Is there anysort of middle ground? Family you could take her to stay with? assist with home care/food delivery but stay at arms length? There is no easy solution I but at the end of the day do what will let you look in the mirror each morning and like yourself. I wish you all the best for a tough decision either way.

LadyQ posted 5/26/2013 07:48 AM

Wow, bless your heart! I can't imagine what I would do in that circumstance. X was diagnosed with a mild form of MS right before we split. He doesn't need any care from anyone, but I still felt guilt about calling it quits. I'm sure he told people how I left him when/because of his illness, but I know that's not the truth, so I just blow it off.

Is there anyway you can make arrangements for family or her friends to come help her? What about home health nurses? How much actual hands on care will she need? Obviously she will need help driving. But she should be able to bathe and feed herself. What does the doctor expect her to be capable of?

As to a moral obligation, I think you have to decide what your own code is regarding that. I felt no moral obligation to stay with x just because he was diagnosed with an illness. He too had maintained contact through reconciliation. At that point, I suppose you could say I acted selfishly and opted out to "save myself", but I don't see it that way. I realize the situation is different in that she will need care, but I don't think you are morally obligated to anything.

Now having said that, what would *I* do? I'd probably accept the guilt and nurse the patient back to health. Resentfully, if he/she was still acting out.

njgal480 posted 5/26/2013 08:34 AM

She is obviously still 'in the fog' of the affair.

Does she have any family near by?

I would contact them and tell them the whole sordid story and ask them for their help in caring for her.

I would not be able to be the main healthcare provider in a situation like this.

My guess, since most betrayed men seem to react this way, is that you have not told any of her family members about the infidelity.

I did the opposite. After finding out about my FWH's LTA-I told everyone.

It's really hard to deal with this without support. Please don't keep her secrets for her.
Tell someone. Get advise in real life as well as on SI.

I went to IC for 4 years and that was crucial for my health and well being and recovery from the trauma of the infidelity.
I also leaned on friends and family for support.

gerrygirl posted 5/26/2013 08:47 AM

From how you described her actions pre-surgery it seems as if she never stopped her A. She just took it underground. **snark alert** What possible reason could she have had to move back to the marital home? It couldn't have had anything to do with health insurance, could it? **end snark** You didn't cause this "urgent" medical condition. It seems to me that her actions have shown she was not in R even though you were. The video chat with the OM just was just the latest action showing that.

What would you have done if she didn't have this health issue? Had you made a decision on what you would do if she didn't stay NC? Would you have given her another chance at R? Or would have you have proceeded with D? What were your boundaries for R? Even though she didn't give you the chance to talk about it with her, you don't have compromise your boundaries even in this situation.

Knowing posted 5/26/2013 08:47 AM

Sorry for your situation mattg. It is quite the dilemma. I would be wary of codependency rearing its ugly head here. Your WS being sick gives you an opportunity to feel good about yourself should you decide to help take care of her, but could lead to a whole new world of confusion and pain if you don't get help for yourself during that time. Taking care of her woukd have to be done without expectation. You cannot expect to win her back through your actions, you cannot even expect your actions to bring her out of the fog (she's not thinking straight if she thinks it's ok to be M and have a boyfriend). You cannot expect anything from a WS in that situation except, hopefully, her physical recovery.

You could set boundaries while you care for her since her continuing to talk with her AP would be beyond disrespectful to you while you care for her. She's unlikely to agree or comply, though, since she's still deep in the fog, so how do you manage your feelings around that? Are you good at putting your feelings on hold?

Most human beings who would undertake caring for their WS under these circumstances would experience tremendous frustration, disappointment and resentment unless they were saints. Are you a saint? if not, are you able to do this consciously and work through tremendous emotions around continued betrayal and frustration and put those feelings on hold for the time it takes for her to recover fully? Are you in IC? Do you have many people IRL who support you?

You're right this is the "in sickness and in health" part we sign up for, but yours are unique circumstances. The real downside is that this is a tremendous opportunity for your WS to continue to abuse her vows and you. How do you handle that?

NeverAgain2013 posted 5/26/2013 09:33 AM

Maybe her OM needs to get off his lazy ass and drive 275 miles and help her for a couple months. Funny how he has no problem turning on his video camera but can't be bothered to actually make an EFFORT on behalf of his 'lady love.'

I think your wife's INCREDIBLE show of disrespect to the ONE person whose been there for her time and time again, is beyond disgusting.

You don't owe her squat.

I supposed I would perform all the perfunctory chores that need to be done while she's healing, but as soon as she was well, I'd kick her to the curb so fast her head would spin.

StillGoing posted 5/26/2013 09:54 AM

If you are concerned about moral obligations then put in the basic 15 minutes of necessary care but talk to a lawyer and find out what your legal options are there. Getting stuck with her medical bills and nursing her back to health just so she can trot off to this other guy should not be your only option, but you don't want to get stuck with being blindsided by some kind of abandonment bullshit either.

luv_lost posted 5/26/2013 09:57 AM

I'm with NeverAgain. She is still in the A in her mind. She is a user and you don't owe her nothing!

Plus they have nurses who can come out and help or she could hire an aide/assistant/neighborhood kid depending on the level of care she requires... Yes its expensive but...consequences to her actions ya know?!

LivinginLimbo posted 5/26/2013 11:19 AM

What a mess.

Is she eligible for assistance from an Aide when she's released? Does the hospital have someone you can discuss the situation with as far as getting aftercare?

One thing I would definitely not do is give her the care she needs in the hope of it fixing your marriage. There's a possibility that she will go back to the OM once she's healthy.

Like I said, it's a mess. I am so sorry you're caught in this dilemma.

BeyondBreaking posted 5/26/2013 11:27 AM

Do you have small children?

If yes, I say fine, drive her to her appointments, that's it though. I would do the very bare minimum needed- in a month when she can drive herself, she can drive herself. Don't stay at her appointments with her- drop her off, go get a cup of coffee, have her call you and wait for her to come get you when she is done.

Better yet, if she has any family/friends who could drive her, make them do it.

You can't start to R before she is ready. I think that the fact that you were at her side despite how much she hurt you...and then no sooner does she open her eyes after surgery does she start cheating again is a very good indication that she isn't even in a place where she is ready to ask to R because she isn't do even cheating!

sisoon posted 5/26/2013 11:46 AM

mattg1958, What a terrible dilemma to be in! Especially since it's very possible your W's cheating contributes to her health problem.

Logically, I'd say your responsibilities are minimal, but logic will probably take a back seat now. Among other things, if it were me, every contact would be stressful, and she needs to reduce stress. In other words, contact probably will hurt both of you, and so will reducing contact.

Her family is probably the best bet. If you keep money separate, in this sitch I'd want costs to come from my W's funds, but I'm not too forgiving of unremorseful and/or manipulative WSes.

There's no right way here. No matter what you do, you lose a lot, so whatever you do, congratulate yourself for the choice you make; don't beat yourself up. Right - easier said than done.

[This message edited by sisoon at 11:47 AM, May 26th (Sunday)]

SisterMilkshake posted 5/26/2013 11:47 AM

I agree with StillGoing. I would use her rehabilitation time to get your ducks in a row and then leave her as soon as you can. For your own mental health. She is emotionally abusing you, mattg1958. You don't deserve that.

Dare2Trust posted 5/26/2013 20:17 PM


Your WW appears to be well enough to continue her adulterous affair. She's 49 years old, and she had grown kids and a family.
Personally I'd count my losses and let her family and boyfriend take care of her.

That's how I'd view my "responsibilities" if my WH was conducting his ongoing affair from a hospital bed, but that's just me.

honesttoafault posted 5/27/2013 00:13 AM

I went through exactly the same as you this past December. I brought WS for his tests, was there for the operation (triple bypass) and when I checked the phone records, he was busy talking to OW for an hour while I was at the class in the hospital about how to care for the patient at home.

I sold my soul.

The only thing I can say, is try to be as emotionally detached as possible. You will NOT win over your WW with your kindness and goodheartedness.

Do the bare minimum , business of taking care of WW when she comes home.

Go to IC for YOU.

Line up your ducks and contact a lawyer.

She will NOT appreciate what you are doing. If you decide to take care of her because you feel you should, then do it, but you are doing it because she's a human being who needs help. She will not be grateful. My WH got angry at me and gave me the silent treatment for a week while I was taking care of him. And then accused ME of ignoring him!!!

Take care of yourself as much as possible and tell everyone IRL of the sitch. Get her family to help her too.

Post here as often as you need to for support!!

ArkLaMiss posted 5/27/2013 00:25 AM

You owe her nothing. If it were you, would she take care of YOU?

5454real posted 5/27/2013 01:01 AM

Brother, sorry for this latest incident. If I may ask, why is moving back in with the OM not feasible? Seems that she has already made the choice of who she wants to be with.

Don't let the KISA tendencies overwhelm you. She does not deserve you in her life. Hell, her actions show that, at best she wants you to nurse her back to health for his benefit.

At worst, expose her affair to her family. Explain the whole situation and the inform them that you cannot be expected to play nursemaid.

See a lawyer, find out what your exposure here is. File for D. You can always stop the process.


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