Getting Pregnant By Another Man When Your Husband Is Dying Of Brain Cancer

November 11, 2015  |  

Being in love is an enthralling experience, so much so that people often forget one day that vow to love one another in sickness and in health may be challenged and saying “I do” in that moment won’t be as easy as it was on your wedding day.

One woman recently wrote to Slate’s Dear Prudence column asking if she was wrong for divorcing her husband who’s slowly dying from brain cancer because she’s found herself in another relationship.

The woman revealed, “Four years ago, my sweet and loving husband, the awesome father of our three children, was struck down by brain cancer and suffered brain trauma following emergency surgery. I’ve cared for him at home, dealing with the hassles of hospitals, insurance, family drama (his parents blame me for his health issues). He will never recover and he is declining. It is like being married to a 41-year-old Alzheimer’s patient. He does not remember me, our long marriage, or our kids. I’m trying to place him in a nursing home, but there are waiting lists.”

As the wife’s relationship with her husband continued to dissolve because of his health issues, she met a man a year ago whom she fell in love with. At first, the two were friends and the man would help her with errands, household chores, rearing her children, and even caring for her husband. As they spent more time together, the woman and man became exclusive and she decided to divorce her ailing husband. As these plans unfolded, life threw a miraculous curveball. “ My boyfriend and I recently found out that, despite using protection, I’m pregnant. We are excited, as once I am legally able, we want to marry. My family is not happy, as in their eyes this is not appropriate, and they have been icing me out.”

Slate’s Prudence assertively responded congratulating the woman for her pregnancy and finding a supportive man. She also told the woman to have a conversation with her family members about their behavior to help bridge the gap that is widening between them. “As for your family, they deserve nothing but scorn for their attitude, and for apparently not being there to help you provide care for your husband and your suffering children, but I understand you don’t want to create a breach that would be even worse for the kids. I suggest you try to arrange for them to visit the grandparents. Your children need their extended family, and they also need a break from their dying father. Maybe that visit will provide a bridge to better communication.”

Interestingly, Prudence didn’t say much about the woman’s new relationship except for her to be prepared to raise children with a man she’s not married to. Marriage aside, I don’t think the woman’s budding relationship is necessarily wrong, though it raises an interesting question: If your spouse is physically bedridden and their health is declining, do you get a pass to cheat on them?

I’m sure the woman had no ill intent towards her husband as she pursued her new relationship. I can understand how frustrated she must’ve felt watching him succumb to the disease while raising their children alone with no familial help. In my opinion, her boyfriend is a supportive godsend. Though their relationship didn’t begin at an ideal time, I don’t believe in prolonging your happiness when it comes to getting the love you think you deserve, no matter how it looks to outsiders.

Should the woman have waited until her husband died to start a new life?

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