I want my husband to leave me and find someone else

Agony Aunt's picture

Dear Patricia Marie,

This is very hard for me to write.  I want my husband to leave me and find someone else.

Charles and I were childhood sweethearts.  I was 16 and he was 17.  We courted for some time and married on a glorious day back in 1974.  We had the most wonderful life together and have never spent one night apart since then. However when I was in my early fifties I suddenly became very clumsy, dropping things and tripping, then I found I kept feeling dizzy, was becoming tired very easily and also starting to have problems with my speech.  I went to the doctor and was shocked when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, which up to then I knew scarcely anything about. My first reaction was that I was not going to give in to it and that I would fight it and everything would be fine. The reality though has been quite different. 

Unfortunately over the following years my health deteriorated quite rapidly and now I am 61 and almost entirely bedbound.  Lately I have been feeling both angry and tearful, and these emotions appear to be worsening. I don't want my husband to see me constantly crying, as he has been amazing.  It brings tears to my eyes when I think about how caring and loving he has been to me.  He did not want me to have a carer to help me as he thought I would lose my dignity and feel embarrassed when I was washed and dressed by a stranger.  So he has, for the last 3 or 4 years, had to do absolutely everything for me - feed me, wash me, brush my hair, read to me, dress me, even help me into my wheelchair and take me out sometimes into the garden so I can feel the sun on my face and listen to the birds. 

I feel so desolately sad for him.  Such a wonderful man with such a burdened life cruelly thrust upon him.  I want him to have a life for himself while he still can.  To find a lovely lady who he can do the normal things with - go out for meals, walk along the beach, go on holidays etc, but he won't entertain the idea when I suggest it.  I also don't want him to have to deal with seeing me get any worse, and presumably die before him as I know it would totally break his heart.

How can I convince him that this would be the best thing?

Patricia Marie says...

Living with the physical difficulties associated with this crippling disease, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), can take its toll emotionally, causing unstable moods and depression, of which I feel you may be suffering. To have met and loved so closely for almost your whole lives, yet, for you to be so selfless in suggesting your husband leave you for another due to your perceived burden upon him with your health issues, particularly saddens me.

Your husband seems totally devoted to you in his uncomplaining attitude and readiness to attend to any of your needs. I feel that were you to push him to meet another, this would leave you both heartbroken, as I do believe this is not really what you are wanting, more that you are feeling overwhelmed by the situation you find yourself in. After all, if your current state was reversed, and he suggested the same, how would you react? Often, if we put ourselves in another's situation, it allows us to see things more clearly. Nevertheless, I do understand your concerns for his happiness. 

The Multiple Sclerosis Society offer outstanding advice and emotional help, including supportive listening, either on the telephone or in your home, which I feel you would greatly benefit from at this time. Their specialist counsellors could allow you to share your deepest concerns with regards to your deteriorating health, and help encourage you to live in the moment, rather than be fearful of the future. The Society can also organise practical help in your home, which would enable your husband to have time to pursue hobbies or pastimes that he may have found necessary to put aside whilst caring for you.  This would certainly make you feel less of a burden and thus bring you some peace of mind. 

As you love your husband dearly, let him continue with what he's doing best - caring for you - and waste no more time, but go ahead and utterly enjoy each and every precious moment with this selfless man who loves you unconditionally. You both deserve nothing less.  

 Multiple Sclerosis Society: (0808 800 8000). helpline@mssociety.org.uk