Sick Husband

My husband has been sick for one a half years. We had the best marriage. We have not been sleeping in the same bed because he is still sick and I need my rest for work. This is not his fault. But I feel so guilty about my feeling sad and living in this marriage which no longer feels like the one I used to have. I also have many thoughts of leaving but could never do it out of guilt. Iam a caretaker only at the age of 33. Ihave dreams and feel so depressed by the life that's been thrown at me. I need some guidance in this really difficult situation and can't talk to many people about it. I cry many nights, wishing I could sleep woth my husband again. Thanks for listening
sicknnntired sicknnntired 31-35, F 10 Responses Jan 28, 2010

Your Response


I have been in the same situation as many people here and my love and strength goes out to all of you. You are amazing, brave and caring people. THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE and ALWAYS A REASON TO LOOK TO A BETTER DAY.

I was diagnosed with an incurable illness before I married my girlfriend; I was an athlete, and in my mid-thirties years - she was a beautiful young woman, full of life. She didnt realise what she was getting into. I recovered despite the doctors prediction and found perfect health after a difficult journey of a year. SEX IS ALWAYS VERY VERY IMPORTANT and even when I was going through chemotherapy, etc. and the worst days (when I could not perform at all and was in too much pain to be touched) I never thought it was wrong for her to want intimacy or tenderness or that it was a problem for her to ask for intimacy or sex. In fact, I needed intimacy which I could never find from her - the lack of conversation between us was very difficult to bear. All that resentment it created was very cruel on me.

When we enter a relationship with someone and things change, when there is illness, we go through Grief. We grieve the things we are losing, our dreams, our love for the other person, the relationship we might have once had, the good times. It is important to talk through HONESTLY all of the stages of our feelings at least with our selves (and if you have a good friend or a relative, its better).

My wife and I both felt all the stages of Grief and you should think very careful what you might be feeling:

- Shock and concern for the other person's suffering and losses,

- Denial that this could really be happening and then Denial that it could be so serious or bad

- Isolation (we couldnt see our old friends and do the things we used to, etc.)

- Anger (at God, at the world, at Destiny, at each other for not 'trying' more, at being ill when we want to play, you name it we felt it). Anger is the most difficult thing to live with especially if it comes from frustration and if you arent honest with yourself why you're feeling it (my wife was never honest about how angry she felt at the unfairness of this - she always wanted to be perfect and supportive, and this lack of self-honesty really hurt her and made her guilty)

- Guilt - at feeling angry and at still having dreams and her fear of a sexless marriage

- Depression

- Acceptance

It took a lot of wasted time, and sorrow and heartbreak and more guilt than I can tell you here, to finally be honest about what we were going through.

IF YOUR RELATIONSHIP IS TO SURVIVE then it is REALLY IMPORTANT that you look after yourself too. You cant help anyone else if you are lost in sorrow and regret and you dont examine the feelings. ITS BETTER TO LEAVE and leave with honesty and love, and self-respect. It takes a lot of real courage to confess these feelings, which society doesnt accept that we might have. If you are well but your husband or your wife is ill and they love you, they still will need your happiness. You are entitled to your feelings of loss, and they are very reasonable. If your partner or spouse doesnt feel the same love for you, its better to both be honest and say that the relationship has changed. Sometimes it changes so completely that it needs a huge change and evolution for you to adapt to that new situation; they also need to adapt - they can't deny it and expect you to be OK. Its insanity. Don't hesitate to insist that you discuss these things because you are also a human being who deserves to be appreciated and who deserves to have the right to happiness. Happiness is NOT a negotiable detail, its a critical element in bringing us closer to the people we most love and a HEALTHY relationship needs love. If your partner does not want a healthy relationship, and you do, then either they must evolve and adapt to be honest or you will waste time at cross purposes.

In the end, a trained Therapist was really critical to my own well-being and sanity. PLEASE please find someone to confide in, examine your own situation if its unhappy as part of the cycle of normal human cycle of grief and love, and embrace your own right to happiness too - you do deserve it and guilt is just a waste of your time.

I recovered from my illness, but if I had not I ABSOLUTELY WOULD HAVE WANTED THE PERSON I LOVED ENOUGH TO MARRY TO BE HAPPY. Talk it through. If they wont talk, its still your right to talk - see a therapist. Living your life grieving over someone who is still with you is a horrible burden for you and is not good for them. If they dont want to adapt to new realities or allow you to adapt, then they have ALREADY left the Relationship you have with them and they are trying to live in dreams or in the past or in a dream-relationship and I dont think anyone has a Time Machine which allows us to live in the past - if they wont join you in the real world and they prefer fantasy, then dont feel bad about leaving them to their fantasies. Maybe they NEED you to leave in order to make changes or they simply are too far lost in self-destruction to see that they are trying to force self-destruction on you too.

Finally, 2 thoughts.

a. Don't worry if people disapprove or dont understand you. YOU MUST LIVE A LIFE THAT YOU ARE SATISFIED IS THE RIGHT LIFE. If people disagree, they are deluded, and these are the WRONG people to be thinking about. Only you are in your specific situation. If they have other ideas, then perhaps they should take your place. PLEASE surround yourself with a new circle of friends and sympathetic ears. Human beings are social animals.

b. I'm not a Christian but I was very affected by St. Paul's Letter to the Corinthians, 13.1-13: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

Strength to all who go through this. I know how tough it can be.

But the world is beautiful and we dont need to live in fantasies or in a prison of other people's expectations, we need to embrace every day as a gift. Every day we spend with the people we love and who love us, and show them our appreciation, is a gift that noone else can give us but ourselves.

All these stories make me sad. I am in a similar situation particularly to vhead2003's. I married at 37 years old to my current husband who is 19 years older. Sex was pretty good when we just met perhaps due to long period of drought in our respective lives before that. However since then sex became more and more unsatisfying over time. My husband has curved penis disease as a result it was painful for me (not for him) at intercourse and I never had an ****** in the past 4 years (married for over 5 now). His condition was there before we were married but worsened afterwards. As a result we had sex very infrequently (maybe twice a month) and each time it was a quicky for him to relief himself while I tolerated the pain and no pleasure. Despite this I thought I could turn a blind eye to it and live the rest of my life like this as it was not exactly sexless life. Then came the last nail in the coffin. Last year he was diagnosed with prostate cancer (he also had shown signs of impotency before surgery). He had surgery early this year to remove prostate and of course what little was left in "my sex life" was completely gone since then, and will remain so perhaps for the rest of my and his life. It is this prospect that led me to wander in this website. At this point I know I must take care of him for as long as I know, but I am also afraid to lead a life without happiness. Night time is so difficult. During the middle of my cycle when my sex drive is high it is particularly difficult. Though I still love him, I am afraid to be only room mates with him and not true husband and wife. I have had lots of sex dreams. I guess I only get satisfied in my dreams. He has a large family with many brothers and also a few grown children from previous marriage. I am afraid they will all hate me if I choose to leave down the road just like vhead2003 experienced. My life will be just as she described "damned if you stay and damned if you leave". I feel so trapped. Not only because his conditions and illness, during the years he also "refused" to have children with me. By "refuse" I mean his attitude (due to his age and the fact he has children), despite we had sex unprotected. I finally forced him to get his ***** analyzed and it turned out his ***** was also having issues and that might very well be the reason for me to not be pregnant. So now I am in my 40s and childless (not by choice), facing a sexless and unfulfilled life. How can I not feel sad?

I married my second husband at age 39, he was 22 years older than me. We had a few good years traveling, entertaining, having sex. He started to become ill with first one issue, then another. Then my mother became ill with dementia, her husband became ill as well. I was the only child living in the same city and state with my mother, so I became responsible for her care, taking her to doctors, taking her husband to doctors, then finally had to settle both into a full time care facility. My husband no longer could have sex because he became impetent. At that point he would not even kiss me, touch me, or even assist me with my vibrator. He became sicker with more issues and I became a maid, nurse, secretary, cook, server, you name it. I didn't get any intimacy even through deep conversations. I started to drink more and find ways to escape and get with other people to go out and party with. When I went out, I felt like I had been let out of a cage. I was so sad and depressed not only for my husband, but for myself and my situation. So after 6 years of no sex, love, interaction except for being a caregiver I quit. I was damned if I stayed and damned if I left. I felt too young and vibrant to be trapped like that for the rest of my husbands life. I quit drinking, joined AA thinking I would get centered and healthier and it would help my marriage. Only problem then was that I couldn't escape my problems, they were staring me in the face. I finally decided I couldn't live like that anymore, so I told my husband I wanted a divorce. I left him.... I feel so guilty all the time. Now a year later he is really sick, in the hospital, perhaps dying. His children, sister and family clan all hate me and do not speak to me now. They loved me when I was with him and are so angry with me now. I feel sick to my stomach with anxiety every single day. I want to be of some support now to him, I still care about him. If he dies, I feel the whole community is going to hang me on a cross. So sad, in Alabama.

I thought you might want to check out this book. If you go to Amazon you can read the first few pages. I found it helped me look at things from a different view. It's a little shocking in the beginning but it tones down after you get into it. Let me know

The Tough & Tender Caregiver: A Handbook for the Well Spouse.

I am 34 years old. I have been with my wife 9 years. 6 of those years married and her caregiver. My wife had a stroke one month after we married and is in a wheelchair. I care for her 24/7. I also have many thoughts of leaving but could never do it out of guilt, or could I? At this point I feel I will never be happy. We have no sex life. We don't get along anymore. I feel my needs as a man, husband and person are not being met. I have definitely not been taking care of my self. I don't shave like I used to. I wear shorts and T-shirts every day LOL. I also want kids and this won't be happening either. I feel that I have done everything in my power to be a good husband but I think the marriage has run it's course..You are not alone. Feel free to look me up for a chat. I see were very close in age also. I'm glad I found this site.

My heart bleeds for you sweetheart. I am in your same situation. But I will be 50 in 3 weeks. I want to talk to you, I have been married to my husband for almost 17 years. He is 13 years older then I am. The 1st year we were married are sex life was ok. But it declined rapidly,at that time I also was in my 30's and use to cry myself to sleep everynight. It is a horrible feeling. I had 3 children that were still young and I kept pretty busy with them.Then he started to get sick, Then my parents got sick and passed away by now I was in my 40's. Well the kids are gone we have not had any intamcy in 12 or 14 years. I lost count. He now has metastisized cancer. I have told him please just kiss me touch me anything I just need to feel like more then a room mate. He will say sorry can not help you. I am so bitter. I am crying again . After 15 years of total faithfullness I have had 2 affairs. Just because. I was dieing inside. One of them was nor intercourse. That made it worse. Because. i was getting from another man what my husband refused to give me. I can tell you without a shadow of doubt I am staying out of guilt because he is ill and I am sacraficing my own happiness. I don't know how ill your husband is but at 30 if I knew that this was going to go on till I was 50 I think I would have done something sooner. I pray all the time. I am so sorry ..

You are so young for this situation and yet show great strength. Not knowing the nature of your husband's illness, I'm not sure what to advise. There are those in this group that are in your situation so I would suggest reading the stories. It helps to know that you are not alone and are quite “normal." I agree with VB, do not apologize or feel guilty for your sensual/sexual needs - these do not just vanish because your spouse is ill. I have been a caretaker for my husband for five years and understand your despair. While sex may be suddenly thrown out the window, intimacy does not have to follow. Can you talk with him about how you are feeling? He, better than anyone, understands his limitations. You are being neglected - you are a couple, a partnership and as such need to come to some sort of agreement. Do you have any support or help? Family or friends?

Take care of you.........

You have every right to a healthy sex life... I don't know how sick your husband is... and I don't know how you see things... maybe you can separate out sex from love... maybe you can see that as his caregiver you need to also take care of yourself... I know this isn't easy... because ultimately none of our spouses are not to blame for their lack of particularization in our sex lives...

You like the rest of us have to wrestle with staying or leaving... being celibate (************ doesn't count for sex) or finding a paramour.

Has he never broached the subject of your sexual happiness? Has he lost all interest in sex himself?

How do you relieve your horniness if and when it builds up?



Your situation is incredibly difficult. I think your future may be governed to some extent by your husband's prognosis - is he expected to make a recovery - or even to get "a bit better"?

If his situation is life threatening it puts a different complexion on the situation than if it is a temporary situation.

The sexless marriage situation is exceptionally hard even when there is NO illness involved. I feel very much for you as you cope with the added complexities in your situation. Please keep posting - you will find support and understanding here.

Thank you so much vegassbaby. I feel so alone sometimes and your comments were truly helpfull and soothing. I don't think anyone has been able to understand until now. Call me selfish but I miss the intimacy, would never share that infear that it would hurt him. It is at times very painful for me, especially when my girlfriends talk about the hot sex they are having. I just lie...