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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 August 17, 2008 - 8:56am
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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,


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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
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

Thank you for your post.

I am so sorry for your situation.  You will probably have to stay in Hollywood right now to continue you treatment. 

I honestly wonder if he was responsible for causing your cancer by cheating so much and giving you HPV. If so, I wish you could sue him.

Did you have a legal agreement in terms of your investment in his business? You may have some recourse in getting that back - legal aid could help you. 

Do you have any relatives or friends? Anyone who can help you at all? It's worth reaching out - you never know who will reach back. 

Your relationship with your boyfriend is over. He sounds sociopathic, using and abusing for his own gain, with no conscious at all about this effect on others.  

Reach out to charity if you can - there are many in the Hollywood/LA area. Do a search and spend lots of time calling and emailing. Ask for financial help, help with hospital visits or for somewhere to stay. Set up a GoFundMe account.  You have to be really aggressive about getting help and there is nothing wrong with this - you need help and you deserve it. 

Will you stay in contact with us? 


February 17, 2015 - 3:57pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Susan Cody)

Thank you both. I'm in a daze as you can imagine. He has been texting me the last 24 hours asking me when I'll be out of his place and what stuff he wants right now while he's away. Most everything has been shut off by him but I still have electricity. Not one question how my health is.

I find myself in a loop going over all the promises of love .... I guess I am feeling betrayed but stupid for always seeing the best and ignoring signs - I've been so distracted by cancer- I reached a new low of boundaries and he knew I was weak so he stopped pretending I guess.

I don't have family as I lost them as small child- but I'm trying to sort this. Sadly most places I contact have 8 week waiting lists or longer :( I guess that shows how much need there is - but unfortunately I can not get help for two months. I have a fund page and have been asking for help- hopefully I can rise above it.
His business is not in my name even though I ran it so I have no legal recourse - the 2nd one we started is in my name but I was 75% funding it- so when the money ran out- and he would not put his own money in any more or work on it- it's dead in the water. We just have to dissolve the LLC- and it's over.

I still feel completely in shock to the level he changed when I got sick .
It's as if the person he was pretending to be or the dream of me being so much to him - changed instantly when I got sick. I guess it is sociopathic. There is no other way to explain it. I can't tell you emotional I am. I am asking my life ins. To see if I can get a loan on that? I'm selling my belongings. I'm doing my best but I feel about as low as a human can feel. Unworthy. Unlovable. Scammed. I'll try to keep you posted. I'm not sure what email I used to post this my head is in such a cloud :( I don't want to stay in Hollywood but I'm living day to day in my grieving. Thanks for responding - it means a lot right now- sincerely, m

February 18, 2015 - 5:36pm
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
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Dear Anon

I am so sorry this has happened to you. Nobody deserves that, especially someone who is so ill. 

But your wife cheated - she may cheated while you were well - people cheat all the time, regardless of the health of the spouse so it may not have been due to your illness at all.  Maybe she's just a mean person, regardless. 

However, none of that takes away your pain. I can only imagine the betrayal you feel.  Make sure she has no access to your home or assets and get the divorce done as soon as possible so she has no claim on anything you own. Change your will. Since you are not working and are needing medical care, you will need all the money you have. 

Anon, do you have other people in your life who can see you through this very difficult time? Do you have a good support network?


January 16, 2015 - 6:01am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Susan Cody)

Thanks Susan for your comments, Yer I appreciate that she could of had an affair(s) whether I was ill or not. It's the whole betrayal and deceit that really hurts. The messages I found on her phone between him and her where very painful, discussing how she'd feel when I died and she was shocked to see how much my pension benefits would be, plus photos etc ! Apparently she's feeling quite bad about it and struggling to come to terms with it !! Bless, she's had a year to get her head round it, I've had 6 weeks of shear hell. I've altered my will etc and I'm divorcing on the grounds of adultery, she no doubt will be surprised to receive my petition next week hopefully ! etc, funny she didn't worry about my feelings before she got caught !! She's one cold hearted cookie !

January 16, 2015 - 10:04am
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi again Anon

Damn right she should be feeling bad about it. Sounds like she was (metaphorically) picking through your wallet while you lay sleeping. 

I'm glad you are making other financial arrangements. 

Anon, if you ever feel like talking, please chat here. Someone is always around other than in the middle of the night. 


January 16, 2015 - 4:21pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Susan Cody)

Hi Susan, sorry for not responding earlier but I've been having trouble with my laptop. I live in the UK so that might explain why my messages in the middle of our night. I've got a meeting with a mediator this week to try and get my wife to discuss a financial solution. See what happens, Not a lot I fear ! Thanks for your suport

January 18, 2015 - 4:46pm
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Well stay strong and keep us posted! 


January 20, 2015 - 6:09pm
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