Wife with debilitating illness gets little help from husband

Published 9:07 am Tuesday, October 27, 2020

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DEAR ABBY: I am a young woman who has battled rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome for the past eight years. My aunt passed away from complications of it at the age of 43, and I’m getting close to that age.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have become increasingly disabled. I can barely get out of bed without being in pain and cannot sleep. Household chores have become impossible, and I can get things done only near the end of the day when the swelling in my joints goes down.
I saw how this disease robbed my aunt of her livelihood, but I also saw how my uncle helped her with almost everything. I love my husband, but he seems to think that I can just take a pill and instantly and magically be fine, which is not true. He has unrealistic expectations of me that I cannot meet.
I have tried to get him to understand this is a chronic disease that will be with me for the rest of my life, and I have given him material to read, but he dismisses it. At this point, I feel like packing up and leaving because I’m a burden to him and I don’t know what else to do anymore. Advice? — FULL OF PAIN

DEAR FULL OF PAIN: Packing up and leaving right now is not advisable. When couples promise each other they will stick together “in sickness and in health,” situations like the one in which you find yourself is what’s meant.
Does your doctor know the degree to which your health has declined in the last several months? If not, put the person on notice! Schedule a consultation, if possible, and when you do, your husband should be with you so he can fully understand what’s going on and help you if you need it. If he isn’t capable of doing that, you will have to make other arrangements for your care and for the housework you can no longer manage.
Please stop beating yourself up over this. You have done nothing wrong. Your husband could just as easily be the unwell spouse, if fate hadn’t decided otherwise.
DEAR ABBY: My friend just ended a relationship with her boyfriend of over two years that had progressed to them moving in together. About eight months ago, she found out he was having an online relationship, but they talked it out and decided to give it another try. Now, after learning he has another woman on the line, she kicked him out.
Abby, he is working to get her back, and she seems to want to give him another chance. I think it’s a losing game for her and more disappointment down the line. My question is, how honest should I be about my unwillingness to go along with giving him a third chance? It seems like this leopard won’t change his spots. — CRYSTAL BALL IN MISSOURI

DEAR CRYSTAL BALL: If you haven’t already expressed your feelings to your friend, AND SHE ASKS YOU FOR YOUR OPINION, be fully honest regarding your concerns about her ex-boyfriend’s character. I agree that having cheated on her not once but twice, the likelihood of him doing it again is almost guaranteed. That said, you can’t live your friend’s life for her, and some people are slow to learn.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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