MS and marriage

Hello, I am new to this site but have been reading hundreds of posts on various sites. Does any of them address the problems when the husband doesn't stay, the physical and emotional support is gone? My husband of 42 years walked out two months ago with the woman he brought into my home to assist with my care. According to him, he started affair with her 3 months before he brought her to our home and thought she would be professional about it. Everybody writes feel good inspiring notes but where are the real feeling? By one source I found, the divorce/separation rate is 1 in 5 when the wife is diagnosed with MS and 3 in 100 when the husband is diagnosed. I am trying to work thru this but it would be nice to talk with some people who don't live in that magical, brave, inspiring world.

18 Replies

  • Dear Paula, I feel yout thoughts. I been married for 23years and been diagnosed for 13 of them. My thinking of your situation is that it was going to happen wether you have MS or not. This thing called MS is hard on any relationship married or not. We go through so many different emotions that our mate sometimes can not handle it. We get depressed, our memory isn't the best, we have a quick temper, we can't do the physical things we once was able to do (sexual or entertainment) and that's just a few things. I'm sure there is more I didn't mention. Women are just more supportive than men. Men sometimes are worst than children. This is coming from a male point of view so I know how we think.

    I know how you feel. Sometimes people don't have any thing to say that they feel will ease your pain so they write the "feel good" messages. Fortunately, my wife is very supportive but I'm lucky so far. I just think God I have my soul mate. Keep your head up and try to stay positive if you can, it'll work out.

  • Let me begin by saying how very sorry I am that your husband left you. I can only guess at how much pain and anger you must feel. I have a couple of MS friends who have gone through what you have. They (one is a man, the other a woman) believe it was the MS that caused their spouse to leave. And that may be true! But I like what Royjr said too--that your husband may have left regardless of your MS. We don't really know why he left, what his reasons were, but you are right-MS can put stress on even the best of marriages.

    I've been married 38 years. It's a good marriage--certainly not perfect, but good. But our marriage has changed over the years. Some of it is natural, and some of it is due to the MS.

    This has been a really rough year for me. I'm not the woman or wife I was 6 months ago. I mourn that loss and how it has changed my marriage and my relationship with my husband. And yes, I have days when I'm really angry about it all.

    I told my doctor that I am concerned about this recent moodiness (anger, critical spirit, and sorrow). I seem to have no control over it. I know my husband isn't happy about it. I'm not either. Some days I don't even recognize or like myself. I often regret and feel remorse for how I have taken my anger out on my husband.

    My doctor told me it is likely MS-related. She recommended I see a counselor--someone I can talk to about it. I am seriously considering it.

    Perhaps it would help you to speak with someone you could share your feelings of hurt, anger and rejection with? I know that won't make it all better or undo what has been done, but it may help you cope with it and your feelings.

    We may not have all the answers or be able to control or change how MS affects us physically, mentally or emotionally. And we certainly can't control how others feel toward or treat us. But we can choose to see good in even the worst day. I don't think that means I live in denial or sugar coat everything. I hope it means I am happy despite my losses. Some days just happen to be much happier than others.

  • I'm with you sister... I also was divorced post MS DX... my former husband came out as gay... It did help me to become a much stronger womyn, strength that I now need with the MonSter causing me all kinds of challenges. Best to reach deep inside and find your own strength--you going to need it! All hell broke loose after I turned 50...

  • I think the husbands are not able to handle how MS changes us. My husband has not walked out on me yet, but he says he can't take it and is about ready to leave. It is hard, and though that support is gone, you still have friends and family.

  • Hello Astrea, I agree about men in general. We just can't handle things like women. As I look at my own relationship I think that if he really really loved you nothin will come between you. I will jump in front of a moving car to protect my wife and I'm the one with MS. Love trumps everything. Sometimes you get bigger, more love and support from your close friends and/or family. Everything comes back around one day. So in essence Astrea, you're so right on this one.

  • Be strong MS sufferers.! Again what choice do we have. If you are in a relationship, many, many of us have spouses, partners, boyfriends or girlfriends that cannot begin to comprehend the depths that MS affects your day to day living, the fear it creates, or the depression that deepens as each new symptom appears, or as each new limitation slows your physical or mental capacity. We are in the toughest fight of our life, oftentimes alone. My husband and i have been together for over 30 years and more often than not I get the vibe from him that he is bored with it and tired of hearing about it. He seems to get almost mad or at the very least disgusted that I refuse to do things he wants to do because I know it will stress my MS, like going out in the heat or cold, etc.

    A very insightful doctor I go to monthly to help keep my MS from overly messing with me and my muscles, etc. asks continually how my husband is dealing with everything. He encourages me to bring books home about marriage and the effects that chronic illness has on it. Once again I point to the fact that information is our friend. I like to look for pamphlets and short reading material, not books. Because they are read a lot more voluntarily than thick books by my spouse. He is the only health care professional that ever asks about it. He has also encouraged that we go to counseling He is a very, very smart man. All I know for certain is both situations cause those of us dealing with MS a lot of stress, which then, for many of us, negatively impacts our disease. So the lack of support or total abandonment creates or accelerates the downward spiral centered around our MS.

    I don't believe there are any easy answers here. I think the best thing we can do here is support one another and be the listener our significant other cannot or will not be. I am in central Kentucky and if anyone knows of a counselor that specializes in dealing with relationships and chronic illness please post it. Remember information is our friend and together we are stronger!

  • I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. It does sound like he was going to cheat/leave no matter what. You need to find that support somewhere: family, friends, therapy. Both for the MS abs for the relationship ending. Prayers go out to you.

  • Ouch. I've done post-divorce relationship counseling and this is one of the awfullest situations I've heard of. You must be in shock. Anger, guilt, resentment, despair ... I suspect you're familiar with all that and more.

    I suggest you find the best counselor you can. Given the length of your marriage, I doubt you'll heal from this - typical in divorce - but you will be able to hack a new path for yourself through the jungle. You'll need help.

    Who knows? Maybe your husband will see the error of his way and want to return. Don't count on it, but if it happens he'll have to be willing to join you in couples therapy (and maybe individual as well). But I'd assume you're on your own now.

    In addition to working with a counselor/therapist, I suggest meditation. It can build the mindfulness skills you'll need for the rest of your life. The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program is widespread and popular. If there's one in your area that would be a good place to start. Yes, it's based in Buddhism, but never mind that. It offers tools for dealing with difficult situations.

    For something a little more immediate, you might check out the work of Kristin Neff and Tara Brach. Neff's focus is self-compassion, and Brach's is "radical acceptance." Some of their guided meditations are on my website, and they are freely accessible.

    My heart goes out to you.

  • Hello, I thought I was the only one. My husband walked out 6 months after I was diagnosed. He said that he believed that I knew I had MS before I met him. I found out a month after my wedding. He was my caregiver for 6 months, then he just left. It took me awhile to get over the divorce. But I did.

  • He's a selfish man child. Seems he feels like you wanted something from him, so you trapped him with your condition. Good ridden!

  • Your exhusband is a jackass! I'm pretty sure he was cheating on you long before your diagnosis, then used it as a reason to make you feel responsible for him cheating and walking out on you. The fact that he would bring his mistress into your family home, as your caretaker, shows the level of disrespect he had for the marriage. MS had nothing to do with him leaving. Don't let the condition give him permission to be so cruel. You are a Magnificent Soul! Enjoy your new freedom

  • Right on!!!!!!

  • OMG! WHAT A COUPLE OF ASSES! MY HEART GOES OUT TO YOU! This may be likened unto losing your spouse to death. During the divorce, take all you can get! Don't go soft! He didn't go easy on you when he brought that bitch into your house and then deserted you, his sick wife, for the fake caretaker bimbo! You have a hard road ahead. One day at a time, paula99, one day at a time! You will be in my thoughts. Keep us posted!

  • I got a divorce after 32 1/2 years after being diagnosed with Ms!!

  • It happens often. Friend me on facebook and you can join our group where women talk about it. I am Kit Minden

  • Hi paula99,

    What a terrible experience for you! And yet I've heard of quite a few marriage breakups like yours as I've read posts on MS boards for the last 15 years. Yes, the men who leave far outnumber the women who leave, very unfortunately.

    It sounds as if you've lost the caregiver, or maybe she is still there in spite of the relationship with your husband--? Either way, it's very tough on you. I hope that at least you can find a new caregiver,

  • have 2 other helpers. don't think I want her back in my house.

  • When our family first learned about PPMS (in late summer of 2015), none of us had any doubt that this diagnosis was my forthcoming lot (symptom onset had been roughly 8 years prior, and by this time, progression was in full bloom, without any remissions during the multi-year saga). We immediately began disability planning sessions with our accountant, and I started preparing for an extended absence from work.

    A few weeks later, I was at the Cleveland Clinic, being told what we already knew (but it was nevertheless a shock to hear, and especially, to see the images of your own deteriorating brain/spinal tissue).

    What was even more shocking, though, was to face all of this alone-- you see, the same week as my formal diagnosis, my wife abandoned me, and filed for divorce. The team at the Mellen Center said that it was very common in their experience-- particularly in cases of progressive MS. Some spouses, they explained, just cannot bear to watch their loved one go out that way. Others just don't want to take care of an incapacitated person for the next 10+ years.

    In my case, it appears to have been the latter. Not being able to cope with both traumas at the same time, I declined to participate in the court processes. Under orders that she drafted (yes, she's a lawyer) and handed up to the judge, she has taken every single thing that I own, and even went so far as to raid my HSA, and my retirement accounts. She also obtained orders compelling her broken (and now broke) husband to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in spousal support, etc., to her (despite the fact that I am 100% disabled, now homeless, and have absolutely no means to pay her anything).

    As friends from church have encountered her, she wildly tells each of them that I do NOT have MS, and that I have not even BEEN to the Cleveland Clinic (even though she's had all of my medical records and reports, for more than a year now). She's still playing this ridiculous denial charade today, even though I'm now in a wheelchair.

    Now, I am told that she has developed severe substance abuse problems. . . .

    I have PPMS, but I would not trade places with my wife, for all the money in the world-- that load of internal conviction and guilt to which she has been sentenced will be far more relentless, crushing, and inescapable than the very worst aspects of this disease.

    . . . and paula99, trust me, I know how you feel ;)

    Just getting my legs back underneath me now, by the way, and I'm so very excited to have found you all-- I already feel blessed to make the group's acquaintance.

    Your new friend,


You may also like...