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My husband and I have not been intimate in 4 years. He is like 8 yrs old. Totally incontinent. There is no passion or even touch any more. He sleeps in a hospital bed. I care for him 24/7. I can't help wanting to be held in a romantic manner by someone else. Some of my family are encouraging me to see someone else away from home. Others don"t care for that idea. I'm lonely. 56 years old should the the highlight of my life. He was robbed of his mind and I was robbed of my happiness. How do I fix this problem?

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First, you are not alone. I'd suggest you read "Jan's Story" by Barry Peterson. Peterson relates his own love story in a book that reads like a novel. His beloved wife developed early on-set dementia, and he went through exactly what you are going through. There are many people in your shoes. Counseling may help you figure out your way forward. Only you can make the decision, but please research it so you feel okay with whatever your choice is. There are other books, I'm sure, but this one is excellent. Good luck,
Carol
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Jeeze,
Jules, I feel for you big time and I just read this entire thread. Wow.
Sorry you had to hear some of this and I know that I am going to get smacked for this but hey....
find a nice man and become friends and when the time is right hit the hay with him and lay there after and be held. The tears will stream down your cheeks and you will know that you did the right thing even in the face of all of this judgement.

Life is for the living and in one of my favorite movies there's a line:
Get busy livin or get busy dyin.
Shawshank Redemption.

If I was the one drooling and crapping my diapers I could only pray that the one taking care of me was being taken care of herself.

lovbob
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I truly feel for you and want you to know my prayers are with you. With or without the romantic element, touch, tenderness and feeling loved are so essential to human wellbeing. I found myself in that position when only in my 20's because my husband at the time suffered from depression and wanted nothing to do with me.

One option may be to have the marriage desolved and for you to simply be his caretaker/Power of Attorney and so forth. Then you would be legally free to date and meet others also in need of affection, nurturing and love.

It may be untraditional to do something like this, but your sanity, well being and quality of life are just as important as your husband's. A compromise may be the way to go.

Best of luck,
Jenny
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What if Jules was 86 and seeking male companionship? Would that be OK?
What if she were 21? What if her husband had bashed his head on their honeymoon and was kept alive in a coma for the next 50 yrs? Would a puppy and bible class be the answer?
----
I believe in marriage AND the sanctity of the vows we make. I've been married nearly 30 yrs and we've been through most everything together. But I would never want my husband to quit living HIS life were I to become unable to live mine as his best friend, companion and lover. I would WANT him to find what happiness he could.
That doesn't mean he'd kick me to the corner - it means he would adjust his life to make room for someone else that could fulfill the needs I was no longer able to..

Its all situational. We each have to make the decision that is right for us, and that gives us the most peace. Life is short - we find happiness where we can.
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Okay, heres my opinion. First off, Jules you are living this situation everyday. No one has the right to condemn you to hell for feeling the way you do!! Some spouse caregivers may have or not have these feelings. But everyone is different. Alot of the time the spouse falls into the "caretaker" role and utlimately "forget" that they are a person who has needs too emotionally or physically. Yes, they took vows for "better or worse" but its not about turning your back on your spouse when they need you the most. Its about filling that void that your spouse can no longer provide due to health. Jules, I believe that you do love your husband and that you plan to stand by him. But now you feel the loss of the man you feel in love with romantically. And that is a void you do want filled... I don't blame you. that void doesn't have to be sexual or maybe it does. WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT!!!

Some suggested making a "legal" break with husband. If that works for you and makes YOU feel comfortable to allow yourself less guilt of finding outside intimancy. Than Okay!!

Don't let others make you feel that your committing Adultery. DO WHAT YOU KNOW YOUR HUSBAND WOULD WANT!!!!! I guess I am liberal on the subject being that I am only 32yrs old. Taking care of my mom 24/7 has opened my eyes ahead to the future with my husband and I! So, my hubby and I did have the "talk" about if one of us is become terminal. We both now know what each others wishes is in that circumstance. I think every marriage needs to have that sort of talk so when the time comes we know what our other partners wishes are. And we will have no sense of guilt.

There to me is no right or wrong answer. You will have to find the answer for yourself. Only you can make that call. Only you know what you need. Maybe finding outside companionship will help with you taking care of your husband. Giving you less stress and making you more "present" for him when he needs you the most.
My mother used to talk of a man and woman in the church who found companionship with each other due to there spouses suffering same illness. That bond helped them in a way that no one would understand filling that void. When both sick spouses passed they eventually they got married. NO ONE IN THE CHURCH TOLD THEM THEY WAS WRONG!

Make a list of things that you consider intimate to you. Most people see that word and think of sex. But that word is more than that. Find someone or something that makes you feel important and loved in the ways you need. That will help you decide where you stand.

You will find an answer that is best for your situation!
Good Luck!
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This woman Jules asked an honest question, many people probably fill this way but doesn't have the BALLS(yes I said BALLS) to openly ask. This is a caregiver site, where we should feel comfort in asking any questions that pertain to how the caregiver feels. And not be cruified if one is honest in asking a question like this. We are human and we are aloud to have feelings.
Jules, never said that she was planning to "whore" herself out. SEX, SEX, SEX is obviously all that you are thinking about. Maybe thats saying alot about you that you need it (sex)more than the rest of us. When did she say she needed a good F***king. She just wants to feel alive, when her life is in stress right now.
If you didn't like the womans question then why post. We all and including yourself answer for what we do in life. Whether its right or wrong.
And so what if a husband and wife decides ahead of time what each others wishes is when it comes to take care of a spouse who is ill.
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Jules;

I have read 30 of the comments so far, it's hard to read them all because only 5 show at a time. I don't know if you know, there is a support group for husbands, wives or partners of people with any chronic illness and/or disability -- Well Spouse Association, wellspouse organizational website .
I note that while many have urged you to get out and do things with your girl friends, and it's easy to do, but still may not be that satisfying. The problem is, unless one of your friends is also a spousal caregiver or is very good at being empathetic, you quickly learn that they inhabit a different universe than you.

I was a spousal caregiver for 29 years, and felt very alone in it, and in the end, I felt most at home with a few of my WSA friends, who had "been there, done that' and so really understood how I felt.

That would include the guilt you speak of. All spousal caregivers have thoughts about the loss of intimacy in their marriage/relationship. And handle it differently... there is no one way. The main thing is that it is normal to have the feelings you describe, and once you know that, whether you act upon them or not, if you know that you are not the only one having them, this lessens the guilt you feel over the way you feel.
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get a puppy. puppies likes to give kisses. read your bible. there are several love stories in there. AND there is Nothing wrong with going to movies or out to dinner with the girls, they give hugs. REMEMBER he is not dead. you gave your Marriage VOW. hang your Marriage Certificate on the Wall.
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Hey Jules, very tough feelings. We do tend to dwell on that which we don't have, then we become obsessed with the thoughts. You might be starting to feel a bit sorry for yourself:( I would, too. Don't be hard on yourself. I don't know about a puppy, but I'm not a dog person-- how much poop do you want to clean up every day? Haha-- kind of kidding! What do you think HE would want for you? What would you want HIM to do in the reverse situation? When we truly love someone, we release them. I don't care for the "fire and brimstone" attitude of some holier than thou individuals, and don't let anyone Shame you! That is primitive and ignorant. You can fantasize, you can read romance novels, etc.I think I would pray about it to your God, consider all your options, then do what makes you happy. Perhaps the love and relationship you once experienced with your
husband will sustain you when you dwell on that aspect, or maybe not. However you resolve your dilemma, I wish you much love and peace:) hugs, Christina
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jules5318 I'm new here but may as well start by expressing my honest opinion - and disagreeing with some of the other posts.

Sex is important. It is more important to some folks than to others, becoming an afterthought to many people once they reach a certain age. But not to all - and to those people it remains a very basic need in the grand scheme of things.

We are sexual beings. It is our biology and our nature and nothing to be ashamed of. And all the puppies and bible classes and meditation in the land won't substitute for a lover's touch. I notice no one mentioned masturbation . . . why not? It is a release of tension if nothing else, and not merely the purview of adolescent boys.

Meantime, if what you are looking for/missing/longing for is romantic love (and with that a sexual relationship), I agree with the poster who suggested you 'make it legal'. See a lawyer, make sure your caretaker arrangements are in order, and talk about a legal separation BEFORE you actively seek such a relationship.

You do owe a duty to your husband, and I have a great respect for marriage vows. (I've been married nearly 30 yrs), But I believe you also owe a duty to yourself to take happiness where you can find it in this life. Good luck to you. Hugs.
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