Am I Wrong For Wanting To Leave My Ill Husband?

April 12, 2013  |  

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From Essence

Dear Dr. Sherry,

I am a 49-year-old woman who has been married for 28 years. I have devoted my life to my husband and my daughter. The moon rose and set on the two of them, and I had great faith in my husband and believed everything he told me as gospel until about five years ago. My husband had a 2-year relationship that almost tore our marriage apart. I asked him to leave and he move out. After three months, he said he had made a mistake and we reconciled. Fast forward to after the affair. I began to analyze myself. I had really neglected myself, to the point, I had gained weight, neglected to finish school and stop going out with my friends because as I was just too busy with my family. I gave up all my power as a woman to my husband. It was not his fault.

In 2011, I decided I needed a change. I had gastric bypass surgery and I’ve lost almost 70 pounds so far. I enrolled in college at my job and I’m almost finished and looking forward to my new career. I have also made new friends and go out at least once a week. I am having the time of my life! However, there are problems: My husband has been extremely resistant to my changes, I know he does not like it, and at this point his opinion no longer matters. Dr. Sherry, for the past three years my husband has been in the hospital because he refuses to take care of himself. He has a host of illnesses; diabetes, HTN, eye-problems, hearing problems etc., which all came about after the affair. Just recently, he lost his job, and then, for no apparent reason, stopped taking all of his meds. Last Thanksgiving he had a mild stroke, and my husband is only 52 years old. Also because of my husband’s last stint in the hospital and job loss, we are now behind in the mortgage payments and in foreclosure.

My husband is recovering from the stroke and has found a full-time job. We are now negotiating with the mortgage company. I’m tired and at the end of my rope. I’m tired of always having to run behind him and to put out the fires. My daughter is going off to college, and I no longer want to be married. I refuse to leave because he needs me, since he is still recovering from the stroke. Please help. What do I do? I love my husband, but I don’t think I’m in love with him anymore.


Don’t Know What to Do

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  • She never dealt with the emotional business of his affair. She slowly withdrew her emotional support from the marriage and channeled ALL of it into herself. The key is balance here. She should have maintained her own life, and body, and career throughout the marriage. I’m glad she has the insight to acknowledge her own culpability in that regard.

    She’s at a crossroads and carries a lot of resentment towards her husband. It is possible to still love someone but not want to be married to them. She owes it to herself to put in the real emotional work to healing the damage of his infidelity and the years of neglect she dealt herself to see if there is way they can move-on with a stronger union. I suspect the husband is suffering from severe depression and probably has been for years. They both need to be on somebodies couch separately and together.

  • On_Point

    I would leave, he broke his vows by stepping out, so why keep up the end of yours. She should have left a longs times ago,. IMO he is probably doing this on purpose too try to get you to stay because he senses that you are a changed woman and are on a another level, soon will find a man equal to yours.

  • Amy

    If I was her I would still continue to love and support the man I spent half my life with, but not as his wife. (Lets have the heffa he was cheating with step in and take care of him… yea right)

    This lady deserves to spend the rest of her life happily. Isn’t happiness what we all strive for?

  • Candacey Doris

    I came into this article thinking she should stay, but to be honest i would have left after he cheated. I don’t think she loved him again after that and if she still had the rest wouldn’t have bothered her as much. Still, since she did stay she now has to try and make it work. Talk with him and give him a chance to get her to fall in love with him again, pick up his end of the marriage, etc. If he refuses to do so she can leave.

  • Lauren S. Clark

    Praying for you. I hope you make the right decision.

  • clue

    49-28= she got married at 21 or so. Drawback of marrying young, essentially giving up your 20’s and marriage fatigue probably sets in after awhile, making you feel like you missed out on a lot and wanting to experiencing it, hence the changes she is referring to.

    If her heart really isn’t in it then she shouldn’t stay married just because of some sense of obligation, that is only going to breed resentment towards the husband and both of them will be unhappy. But at the same time, she should be realistic about the point she is at in her life and where she is going, as well as why is she leaving. if its to go and have the “time of her life” she should realize that its not going to last forever, especially when you are basically 50 and should be past any midlife crisis’.

    To end, I would say people need to UNDERSTAND the vows they are taking and make sure that they are READY to take them. That “in sickness and in health” part wasn’t put in there for no reason.


    What happened to “in sickness and in health”?! I swear the wring set of people gets married

    • OliveValleydotnet

      Did you read the entire article? If so, how did you miss the fact that he had an affair and is not supportive of his wife’s positive changes? Vows should be upheld by BOTH parties. I think divorce is okay under this couple’s conditions regardless of his health.

      • TRUTH IS

        For better for worst?!

        • GeekMommaRants

          Unconditional love exists for children, never spouses.

          • Akiko

            Unconditional love exists for no one.

            • GeekMommaRants

              Perhaps, but children come very close.

          • Akiko

            Unconditional love exists for no one.

        • Candacey Doris

          Cheating is a deal breaker. I wouldn’t expect a man to stay if i cheated on him and i won’t do it.