My 80 year old husband has endstage COPD and heart failure. He just sits all day and doesn't even try to do anything. Well before he got this bad he had an affair that devastated me. I was about to leave, then his health took a turn for the worse. I am only 63 and have had cancer twice and got zero help from him. Now I feel trapped taking care of him. I so want to move on with my life, but since we have been married 35 years responsibility is overwhelming me. I don't know what to do.

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Your husband is end stage COPD. In my opinion, it is time to help him complete the necessary end-of-life paperwork including will, living will/DNR. I also encourage you to have the difficult discussion with your husband about how his affair and lack of support while you were sick made you feel and get some closure.

You can start taking time for yourself every day. Just because he sits around doing nothing all day - which is what end stage COPDers do - does not, in my opinion, mean you have to keep him company. Find 2-3 hours each day at a time when he's napping or otherwise settled into doing nothing, and go do something. Getting out of the house is the first step toward living your life again. You are only 63, and there are many opportunities out there to enjoy.
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Dear Weaver, the way I see it, your husband is no longer in charge of ANYTHING regarding the care and maintenance of your home. If he would like you to stay with him until COPD claims his life, then YOU are now making the rules, buddy boy, including downsizing if that's what you'd like to do. Painting the house? Are you kidding me? You should not be lifting a finger to do ANY work at ALL in the large home or grounds, not even pulling the weeds or mowing the lawn. Hire people to do everything , including the majority of caregiving for him, and just write the checks. Insist on seeing his will and make sure you are the sole beneficiary of all the marital assets. If you stand to gain financially, stay, if you will be calling the shots. If not, leave, with no guilt and no looking back. He's treated you with pure disrespect and you owe him nothing. The rules of this game have just changed, and hubby will need to play by them if you're going to stick around.
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jacobsonbob Jul 2019
Has he ever expressed regret over having had the affair? If so, was this sincere or just "I need you to take care of me, so okay I'm sorry"? If it is the latter, I would say you have every right to figure out how to live your life without him.
How can you come out best from this? You'd probably be better off financially for the rest of your life if you stay until he passes away and become the widow. You deserve it after all you've been through. Could you take more time for yourself, distance yourself, and leave him more often with caregivers or relatives, or even on his own if he's able? If you can't bear to stay a moment longer it's okay to leave. He's been callous and you deserve to put yourself first.
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If he had an affair and if you no longer love him, then put him on notice that you will be leaving so that you can have some life. You do not owe him staying with him. Give him a timeline of when this will be done so that he can seek the help he needs to go on without him. Say a fair amount of time, like 2 months. Then seek your own advice about a divorce, and the unmarrying of your finances from his. Why would you owe someone who betrayed you? I see others below who would feel guilt. Personally I would not. Guess I am not a special person, after all, but for me it is that you can expect from me a return of how you treat me. That's just me. I have no pretence that I am the best person in the world, but I won't be a doormat, either.
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cherokeegrrl54 Jul 2019
Im right there with you, sister!!
I think you know the answer, but you want someone to say it for you. You are obviously still hurt by his affair and rightly so. I am in your corner there. If you no longer love him, walk away and live the remaining time of your life how you want it. You don’t have to divorce him; just find someone else to do it. Your children? Nursing home? Caregivers? Plenty of options.

Good luck.
Helpful Answer (19)

Hire professionals to do house repairs. Hire caregivers to look after him. Go on vacation, go to work, volunteer, etc. 🤗 hugs you deserve more
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cetude Jul 2019
Got the money?? I hired professionals to make repairs to the outside of my home and spent about $50,000. Nobody works for free.
Dear Weaver:
I am in same boat as you, pretty much. Hubby of 30 years cheated more than once, practiced control and emotional blackmail daily. Last 10+ years has been retired, living with Parkinson's and last 3 years dementia also. He has not helped with anything for about 8-10 years. Some days he can't think or do anything, some days are better and he can get by with assistance. Best thing is he is easier and more pIeasant to live with. I am 63 year's young and am planning for my life "after Bert". I still work full-time, have assumed all responsibilities of home and family life, see a counselor, pay in-home part time caregiver help, pay a once weekly housekeeper, attend 2 monthly care giver support groups, belong to this online caregiver support group, schedule a social life, foster dogs and volunteer with dog rescue, and am planning a big 2 week cruise and land tour package to Alaska and Canada. Hubby will be going to respite care in NH for the 2 weeks and two dog friends will live in my home and care for my and their own dogs (one week each). I must have a life balance and plan to survive this long term caregiver role. It is never easy, but you need a support circle and plan for your future when this role ends. I may be in this role for another 10 years, but I will feel good about my commitment to hubby and even better when I have the life insurance to pay off the mortgage and his SS benefits which pay higher than mine.
Hugs and good luck to you and your choice.
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sunshinelife Jul 2019
Great you are using your logic....and didn't let your emotions get the better of you :)
I admire how you have kept a structure & a routine....and living a full life.
You won't lose by doing the right thing by "Bert" either....
And this sickness & incapacity of the body has forced Bert to look at himself...I am sure he didn't like what he now he is sweeter to you...I am happy for you
I take care of my Grumpy Grandpa......its the most difficult thing I have ever done...somedays I can keep it you do...(you make it sound like ice skating....quick smooth & graceful :)'
Somedays when he's abusive I fall apart & scream & cry
I just keep us both as healthy as possible....and do my very best

"When you give, you are not the giver, but the witness of life giving to itself"
Kahil Gibran author
The Prophet
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Talk to an attorney. Maybe you can get a legal separation. Seems like you could get alimony. Move to a small apartment where you don't have to deal with house or yard maintenance and let him stay where he is. Does he have children from a previous marriage? If so, let them deal with his care. You've already done your time.
Helpful Answer (13)

How long has your husband been "this bad"?

The reason I ask is that you're feeling trapped, and from your tone of voice you are also plain exhausted. I'm guessing that this has been going on too long and some straw has just broken your back.

Forget the affair. Forget the payback. This is about what you want to do *now*.

Has your husband been evaluated for hospice? Would you consider transferring him to a hospice facility or a nursing home? When did you last get a real break?
Helpful Answer (12)

Since he’s endstage won’t you be able to move on with your life soon anyway? If it were me and I deserted my husband after 35 years of marriage I’d also feel guilt and shame so I’d avoid that and deal with it a bit longer. Always liking myself and feeling good about the choices I make/ actions I take are a priority for me.

It’s horrid feeling trapped so I get that.. why not take a vacation by yourself to get away for a bit? Come back refreshed, restored?
Helpful Answer (11)
weaver122484 Jul 2019
My Dad was end stage for over 5 years with heart failure. But he also made an effort to do something no matter how small. I think about waiting but am overwhelmed by having to do all the "man work" he used to do. We have a large property and house which is difficult to maintain. He won't even consider downsizing. I completely painted the outside of our 2 story 4 bedroom house last summer and he thought nothing of it.
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