Selfishness: Thy Name Is Married People / Married People Think Their Spouse Having Alzheimer’s Gives Them A Pass to Spouse Shop or to Divorce or Have Affairs / Christians Over-Sell Marriage but Under-Sell Adult Singleness
As a never-married lady, I get treated like garbage by evangelicals and Baptists – they assume anyone who hasn’t married past 25 or 30 (and yes, I am past the age of 30) is a man-hating feminist who worshipped career, or who is missing God’s design for women, and so on.
Yet, if I were married, I don’t think I’d start “spouse shopping” for Spouse #2 while still on spouse #1 because Spouse 1 has dementia.
But here are examples farther below of people who are thinking about it, or who have done so.
This belies the usual Christian and social conservative claim that marriage makes people more loving, mature, and giving.
(I am a social conservative myself, by the way – if you are a first time reader, you probably assume I am a secular, left wing feminist; not so! I am conservative but don’t always agree with how other conservatives go about things.)
Looks to me as though married people have a lower view of marriage than single (unmarried) people such as myself. Yet Christians keep making it out to be the reverse. Go figure.
One guy quoted below says before you judge him for wife shopping while his first wife was dying or sick, to walk a mile in his shoes.
I don’t think so, pal. I don’t think so.
Let me explain why I lack sympathy for that guy and find his argument uncompelling:
I’m a virgin, and I am over 40 years old. Yes, I have a normal sex drive. It’s not easy being celibate this long, but I’ve done it. (I grew up believing that sex prior to marriage is a sin, and I’ve never married, though I had wanted to be married).
If I can refrain from sex this long (and I was engaged in years past and had the chance to have sex with my ex and with other men who found me attractive before I met the ex), explain to me why you, guy with Alzheimer’s wife, cannot stay true to your wife while she has Alzheimer’s?
There is no excuse. You can stay true to your sick wife, yet you choose not to. It’s a matter of choice and selfishness. So no, I do not feel sorry for your plight.
As a never married, celibate adult, I sometimes get lonely. I would imagine the guy married to the lady with Alzheimer’s feels lonely at times too. Suck it up bub; you’re not the only one who experiences this, but not all of us are acting out and breaking vows or ethics.
While I am fine with people getting their needs met – Christians will shame people for trying to get their needs met, which I think is deplorable – in cases like this, I believe that the guy’s vows to his wife supercede his needs (I mean specifically, his desire to get a new wife because he is lonely and/or wants to have sex).
Letters like the one below also show that Christian teachings about sex and marriage are flawed.
Many conservative Christians usually emphasize marriage as being the only way a person can or should have companionship. Christians negate to mention or encourage platonic friendships.
If this married guy with the wife with Alzheimer’s gets lonely, rather than starting an affair before his wife is dead, he should be able to count on Christians at a local church for company. He should have a Christian neighbor who lives a few doors down who extends friendship to him.
Marriage is not the only way for companionship needs to be met, but our secular culture believes it is, and unfortunately, Christians back this thinking up in most of their sermons, books, blogs, and conferences about marriage.
Christians tend to over-sell marriage to people and to under-sell singleness. Christians sometimes go a step further and make singleness sound flawed or as though it’s “God’s second best” for people.
Perhaps if Christians began to speak highly of adult singleness and actually met the needs of adult singles, singles would not feel alone, unsupported, and would have a place to turn for support, rather than feeling they MUST marry or else be doomed to loneliness.
If Christians did all that, maybe married guys like the one in the letter below would realize he could turn to a church for support, rather than hunting for Wife 2, while Wife 1 is wasting away.
Here is a letter to an advice columnist where the spouse is asking if she can start husband shopping for husband 2 while hubs 1 is wasting away from Alzheimers
Ask Amy March 2015 Letter
Can wife pursue relationship while spouse has Alzheimer’s?
- DEAR AMY: My husband and I have been together for 27 years. It was love at first sight and I would not trade our happy time together for anything or anyone else.
- My husband has been stricken with Alzheimer’s disease. I am working full time trying to pay for his care, maintain our home and trying my best to maintain my sanity. About two years ago, I could no longer manage his care at home and found a facility for him. My husband always seems happy to see me when I visit, but he has no idea who I am.
- Words cannot describe the heartbreak of watching him slip away. It is becoming more and more difficult and I go through all the anger, sadness, grief and loss, every day.
- I recently met a man who knows about the situation with my husband. He is a perfect gentleman and I find myself attracted to him. I have thoroughly enjoyed our conversations and the idea that someone sees me as more than a caregiver.
- Am I wrong to want to pursue this relationship? I took my marriage vows seriously and I love my husband, but the man I married is no longer here. How do I go forward when I feel like my life is at a standstill?
- — Wife/Caregiver in limbo
- DEAR LIMBO: Your situation echoes that of journalist (and friend) Barry Petersen, whose vivacious wife Jan Chorlton had early-onset Alzheimer’s and ultimately died of the disease.
- Petersen writes honestly and lovingly about this challenging journey in his book: “Jan’s Story: Love Lost to the Long Goodbye of Alzheimer’s” (2010, Behler Publications). He also produced a story for “CBS Sunday Morning,” which you should watch. Petersen met his current wife Mary during the late stage of Jan’s disease and the two cared for her together “as a family of three” until the end — and later married.
- As Petersen says of his relationship, “Don’t judge until you walk a mile in my shoes.” No one should have to take those footsteps, but many will. An estimated 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s; by mid-century, that number is expected to triple.
- I hope this new friendship brings you happiness and that this man can assist you as a partner and friend while you continue to love and care for your husband.
- The Alzheimer’s Association is a helpful resource, offering message boards, a “caregiver center” and a 24-hour help line: alz.org.
This reminds me of Pat Robertson’s advice (these links are to other sites):
(Link): Robertson: Divorce Your Wife With Alzheimers (You Tube)
(Link): Pat Robertson Says Alzheimer’s Makes Divorce OK (ABC News)
(Link): Robertson Stirs Passions With Suggestion to Divorce an Alzheimer’s Patient (New York Times)
(Link): Why Christians Need to Uphold Lifelong Celibacy as an Option for All Instead of Merely Pressuring All to Marry – vis a vis Sexless Marriages, Counselors Who Tell Marrieds that Having Affairs Can Help their Marriages
(Link): Perverted Christian Married Couple Wants to “Wife Swap” (For Sex) With Other Christian Couple – Why Christians Need to Uphold Chastity / Celibacy For All People Even Married Couples Not Just Teens
(Link): How the Sexual Revolution Ruined Friendship – Also: If Christians Truly Believed in Celibacy and Virginity, they would stop adhering to certain sexual and gender stereotypes that work against both