… but I can’t help wondering why some of them are such assholes when I read articles like this:
When Dr. Marc Chamberlain, a Seattle oncologist, was treating his brain cancer patients, he noticed an alarming pattern. His male patients were typically receiving much-needed support from their wives. But a number of his female patients were going it alone, ending up separated or divorced after receiving a brain tumor diagnosis.
Dr. Chamberlain, chief of the neuro-oncology division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, had heard similar stories from his colleagues. To find out if these observations were based in fact, he embarked on a study with Dr. Michael J. Glantz of the University of Utah Huntsman Cancer Institute and colleagues from three other institutions who began to collect data on 515 patients who received diagnoses of brain tumors or multiple sclerosis from 2001 through 2006.
The results were surprising. Women in the study who were told they had a serious illness were seven times as likely to become separated or divorced as men with similar health problems, according to the report published in the journal Cancer.
When I was diagnosed with cancer 10 years ago, my partner at the time couldn’t have been stronger or more supportive. He (and my family, of course) gave me the strength to zoom through an unexpected and hideous situation with a sunshiny-positive attitude.
However, as my treatment came to an end and it became apparent that the future looked bright (as in, I’d have one), my partner, who hadn’t even thought about such things for years before we even met, totally fell apart and went on an extended drug binge that led to our breakup. What the fuck? I wondered at the time. How can someone go from being the proverbial Rock and Tower of Strength to a pitiful puddle of insipid drug-addled decrepitude and weakness? What confused me most of all was that he knew me well enough to know his behaviour was slam-dunk grounds for breakup.
Whatever prompted my ex to spiral into self-destructiveness during my illness is probably similar to whatever it is that motivates guys to bail on their sick wives. Maybe the pressure of being strong in the caregiver role is more than they can hack because they’re so accustomed to being cared for themselves.
(h/t balloon juice)