Divorce More Likely When Couple Is Facing Medical Crisis
When couples get married, they vow to stay together “in sickness and in health.” However, a serious illness can either bring a couple closer or destroy the marriage. In many cases, the latter occurs.
A life-threatening medical issue like cancer can be draining for not just the patient but their spouse and any children as well. Dealing with constant doctor appointments and the financial issues that surround the medical issue can take up a lot of time and energy.
This can make divorce likely—especially when the wife is the patient. In fact, a woman is six times more likely to be divorced soon after being diagnosed with a serious illness such as cancer or multiple sclerosis than if a man is the patient. This is called partner abandonment and it is a very real issue.
Researchers studied 515 patients (half men, half women) who had cancer, a brain tumor, or multiple sclerosis. All were married at the time of diagnosis. In 4-5 years, researchers followed up to see if their marital status had changed. In close to 90% of divorces, the woman was the one with the medical issue, showing that gender is the strongest predictor of separation or divorce.
This is because not everyone is cut out to be a caregiver, and this is especially true for men. It can be challenging for them to care for someone with a serious illness. Managing stress and logistics are not their strong points. They are better equipped to be primary providers in terms of finances.
For some couples, a serious illness can bring them closer together. They feel more intimate as they face a serious challenge together, and the petty stuff goes away. For couples who are already having marital problems, a health issue can make matters even worse.
Deciding to divorce is ultimately up to the spouses, but it’s certainly not the desirable outcome. This can be a challenging situation when the patient has a terminal illness. Ideally, the caregiver spouse will do their best to provide support during this difficult time.
What Can Spouses Do?
There are several things spouses can do to support their marriage during a health crisis:
- Pay attention to the strengths of your relationship. What is each person good at?
- Improve communication and support during this difficult time. Couples should attend doctor appointments together.
- Get help from others. Allow friends, family members, and neighbors to support you and help you out with basic tasks.
Seek Help for Your Divorce
Crises such as health issues can negatively impact a marriage. It’s not easy for a person to be a caregiver to their spouse, especially for men. Divorce is common in these cases.
If your marriage is irretrievably broken, then a Dade City & Zephyrhills divorce attorney from Madonna Law Group can help you end your marriage with compassion and ease. schedule a consultation with our office today. Fill out the online form or call (800) 557-0411.