Most couples view marriage as a contract to share their lives and care for each other when they are in need. After all, the common wedding vows include “in sickness and in health.” However, caring for a sick spouse is trying on your marriage if your spouse has a condition that is unlikely to improve. Especially for couples who have reached old age, there may be a point at which one spouse is physically or mentally incapable of functioning on their own. The caregiver spouse may feel conflicted between their commitment to their marriage and their feelings of unhappiness. Sometimes, the unhappiness wins and the couple divorces. Though this may seem disloyal to those who are outside of the marriage, there are several reasons why becoming a caretaker to your spouse can lead to divorce:
- Your Relationship Has Changed: Spouses often think of each other as lovers, friends, and/or partners – all of which ideally means they are equals. When you are a long-term caretaker for your spouse, your relationship loses its equality. It may feel like you are a servant to your spouse without them reciprocating. Outside of your caretaking responsibilities, you may be performing all of the other tasks that you once shared. An unbalanced workload puts stress on you, and it is understandable to feel some resentment towards your spouse.
- Your Spouse Has Changed: You may not recognize the person your spouse has become if they are sick or disabled. The change may be startling if your spouse is suffering from a cognitive disease such as dementia, which can cause memory loss and personality changes. A spouse who is physically disabled may become more irritable and depressed, which will strain your relationship.
- There May Be No Light at the End of the Tunnel: It is easier to endure these drastic changes to your marriage if you believe that your spouse will recover and your relationship will be closer to normal. When your spouse’s condition does not improve or grows worse, you may dread the idea of continuing your caretaker role for the rest of your spouse’s life. At that point, the idea of leaving your marriage may come to mind, even if you do not want to act on it.
Contact a St. Charles, Illinois, Divorce Lawyer
If you decide to divorce a sick or disabled spouse, you may be expected to continue financially supporting them with their living and health expenses. A Kane County divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group can explain how your spouse’s health could affect the division of property and spousal maintenance. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-584-4800.