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How do you feel about a spouse leaving or cheating on their partner when they are diagnosed with a serious or terminal illness?

By Expert HERWriter March 3, 2018 - 12:00am
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sick spouse cheating

I would love to hear what you think about spouses who pull away, cheat and/or divorce their partner because of a serious or terminal illness …. Or if they’ve become disfigured.

Has this happened to someone you know?

It’s a subject that needs to be discussed.

I have very strong feelings on this subject and will blog on this topic in the next few days. But, would love to hear what your views.

Best in health,


BTW, here is another great thread on sick spouse you can follow on EmpowHER.

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EmpowHER Guest

I was diagnosed with stage iv anal cancer with it spreading to my lymph nodes my bf of 5 years that I lived with- slowly started pulling away. This is a painful cancer but there is hope I will make it. Through treatment chemo/radiation I couldn't have sex during radiation it burned all my girl parts/ sent me in to early forced menopause. Since we are both in our 30s it seems overwhelming. He stopped the loving and started rejecting me. Even when I tried to be sexual in any way I could he would tell me no.

Basically : I found out he was cheating on me with multiple women. He had locked his phone and was being unsupportive. I was able to look one day by figuring out the code. I found multiple women and he was disrespecting me to his friends saying how needy I was and discussing other women. He's a very good looking model and trainer to the wealthy. He was sending all sorts of pics and videos to women while I was at the doctors. I didn't loss my hair is just thinned and I tried to keep making an effort to take care of myself but he'd complain I only wore swear pants - not sexy stuff. No matter how hard I tried- he kept slowly checking out of our relationship. Even getting plastic surgery while I was in treatment. I started not feeling like I even knew who this man is that I loved.
This is a man who said he wanted to marry me, stay with me forever and the first several years we were together he went through a lot and I stood by him with loving support. I had even stopped working to build his company for him and got him doing well. I ran his social media, business and booked all his work. I put all my money into starting another fitness company with him. After all he talked as if we would grow old together.

When I confronted him- he yelled at me saying it was my fault. He moved out left me in his apartment- saying he'd move out let me stay for a few weeks- then I'm on my own. Mind you I am not employed because he was who I was working for, I am still waiting to see if I need more chemo etc. to see my future. I went bankrupt and am fighting for my life.

How did I love someone who would do this. Within an hour of dumping me- he left and on an email I had handling his social media- I saw several emails where he emailed girls to go out. Devastating.

I'm am an orphan I have no family. I live in Hollywood where friendships are surface and fleeting. So this man I loved was suppose to marry, just dis guarded me when things go tough. He cheated for months. Now I have to try to beat cancer knowing I have nowhere to go, no job, and was betrayed by the love I thought would last forever. I'm not sure what to do.

I have dreams everynight of him betraying me. I want to live but am so heartbroken. I heard he's dating 5 women and going out everynight. Wow. He has not checked on me or my health since he left me 2 weeks ago and the cable and other things have been shut off by him this week.

What do I do? - broken

February 17, 2015 - 9:34am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

My heart goes out to you. I am an orphan as well. My wife betrayed me after 14 years of marriage after I suffered a nearly fatal injury at work. I can imagine battling cancer through the pain as well. Sometimes I feel as though I was born in the wrong century. People treat everything as disposable including relationships. I think your boyfriend was a fucking idiot. Women like you come around once in a lifetime if you're lucky. I'm in San Diego and I would love to meet a woman like you .

June 13, 2017 - 11:26am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

My heart goes out to you. I am an orphan as well. My wife betrayed me after 14 years of marriage after I suffered a nearly fatal injury at work. I can imagine battling cancer through the pain as well. Sometimes I feel as though I was born in the wrong century. People treat everything as disposable including relationships. I think your boyfriend was a fucking idiot. Women like you come around once in a lifetime if you're lucky. I'm in San Diego and I would love to meet a woman like you .

June 13, 2017 - 10:43am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Hello there, I'm the guy in the the post before you (Pete) . I'm really sorry to hear of your plight. I know exactly how you feel, total devastation,shock,disbelief,and lonely to mention just a few.I like you can't understand how some one you loved and supported and planned your futures with can do such despicable thing's !! In my opinion I'm glad it's out in the open but seems totally unfair to us the one's left to face an uncertain future alone. when they just get on with their live's having got rid of the burden of an ill spouse/partner! How ever hard it is for you, you need to focus on your health , I'm not trying to suggest that it's easy ! As I know it's not, I still end up crying !
I really do hope that things get better for you. Pete

February 17, 2015 - 3:04pm
EmpowHER Guest

I'd been with my current wife for 12 years but only got married 4 years ago. We where soul mates, we had the same thoughts at the same time it was quite bizarre sometime's. We shared the same passions and belief's, I thought we'd be together for ever. In July 2013 I was diagnosed with carcenoid syndrome which had spread from my small intestine into my liver etc. A very scary time in my/our live's. |There is no cure just injections to ease symptoms and scans. I decided to take early retirement and we down sized on the house front so every thing would be more manageable for us both and for my wife as and when I die. My wife is quite a tough cookie and didn't really want to talk much about things. I began to feel that any warmth from her towards me seemed to be ebbing away. Anyway in November while away with my brother I got that feeling that things were not right. I asked many times but was made to feel paranoid, In the end I checked her phone for Facebook messages and there it was, plain to see she was carrying on with someone from work. To say I was and still am devastated would be an under statement. She left as I couldn't cope with what she had done. She'd been having an affair for nearly a year !!!!
I'm now seeking a divorce asap ! I'm gutted !!

January 16, 2015 - 5:15am

My mother is dying of a terminal illness (stage IV metastatic breast cancer). It has traveled to her brain & spine. In 2009 she found out it traveled to her brain and has been bedridden ever since. This past mother’s day I found out my step-dad has been cheating on my mother with a younger girl; she’s actually 5 years younger than me. He met this girl through the joint used car sales business they own together. A source of mine said she gloats to people acknowledging she exchanges sex for her monthly car payments. This is the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with besides taking care of my Alzheimer’s diseased grandmother at 12. After hearing from several witnesses confirming her husband’s infidelity and I have even confronted him about these allegations; he was too much of a coward to admit his adultery. Meanwhile my mother is unaware of any of this. I believe its best she doesn’t know. It will only make matters worse and her die quicker.
I just recently flew home to put her on hospice and take care of her funeral arrangements. The entire visit I felt uneasy around him and nervous for my safety. I don’t have it in my heart to put his name next to her on the tombstone. I’m beside myself by his actions. I cannot fathom why he couldn’t have waited.
My sister is 16 years old and she has to go to school with people telling her that her dad was with another woman repeatedly. My mother’s inheritance gave him everything he has today yet, blatantly he has continues to disrespected her. I am happy my mother will die still with her dignity intact however; my heart is broken for her as I look her in the eyes knowing this betrayal.
There much more but, I just felt like sharing.

August 16, 2013 - 8:14am
Guide (reply to cwcoulter)

Hello cwcoulter,

Sometimes, just venting your feelings can be cathartic. Sometimes, we need to have our feelings validated. If I don't accomplishing any thing else today, let me validate that you have every right to feel what you are feeling.

Only your step-father knows why he is being unfaithful to your mother. It is something that he will be accountable for when his judgement day comes.

You are doing the right thing by seeing that your mother has quality end of life care. All you can do is be supportive to your sister. This is a horrible situation for her to be dealing with, watching her mother die and hearing about her father's infidelity.

I have been diagnosed with brain and breast cancer. I have battled both to the point of no recurrence of tumor. I know the toll this disease can take on a family. I have a husband and three children who have stood by me through this battle. Sometimes, people cannot handle the stress and make stupid choices.

You, your mother and your sister will be in my prayers.


August 16, 2013 - 5:33pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Maryann Gromisch RN)

Thank you for your kind words. Unfortunately, 4 days after I wrote this my mother passed. I was able to fly home to be at her side when she died. It's a bittersweet to know she is gone. I am happy she's no longer in pain and sadden at the same time to see her go. I know, she is in a much better place though. After she died, I looked passed my step fathers disgressions and focused on what my mom would've wanted me to. I didn't mention a word of his infidelities. I comforted him, aided to my sister and remained strong. It is as God intended it to be. I wish you the best in your journey. I will pray for you and your family. Life is just. Leave your impression ....on the people around you, world and for all those fighting..Like my mom did. Stay strong and positive.

October 28, 2013 - 8:40pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am that person!! I am termally ill with a cronic lung condition
I am awaiting a life saving double lung transplant
My husband of 21 years walked out on me two weeks ago
after confessing to a afair

April 19, 2013 - 2:17pm
EmpowHER Guest

Well, as a woman who has terminal cancer I can say quite confidently that my fight of 4 years would be over if I knew for sure that my husband had cheated. My body couldn't tolerate the stress and I think I'd die fairly quickly.

Although I know all too well the strain a terminal illness puts on a marriage, there is NO EXCUSE to add the stress of infidelity into the mix. I don't care what reasoning studies give it's wrong and very, very selfish. Heck, terminal spouses die....the cheating one can't wait? Besides that, you're still married...duh.

It's the pits being in this position. My husband could cheat on me, and what can I do? I'm going to die anyway. Just earlier and a lot more unhappier.

August 25, 2012 - 11:17pm
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