What do you think about the B. Smith story?

It's the fact that it has deliberately been made public that I find so distasteful, as though they are trying to self righteously promote this as a good option. Yes, it happens, but I don't think the current "anything goes" mindset is anything to celebrate.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to cwillie

We have pretty much had this discussion when asked by a couple of men previously.

ALZ/Dementia is a horrible desease eventually stealing away who the person was/is. The diseases can go on for years leaving the spouse lonely. The person they are caring for doesn't even know who her/his spouse is. I think men find it harder than women. I have also wondered why friends aren't enough, why does it need to be someone of the opposite sex? Validation? Or just the natural order of things.

If you look at this from the marriage vows, its death do us part, sickness and in health. But what happens when the person is a shell. The memories are gone as is the mind. Dying little by little.

The first man who asked this question his wife was in a facility with ALZ. I think a little companionship was OK. Someone to have dinner with a movie or just talk.

The other guys wife I think had a debilitating desease and was still home. He wanted to date. My response was what excuse was he going to give her why he was out all night. I said no

Now you have a man with his ALZ wife still leaving home and he is bringing in another woman. NO! How disrespectful can you be to bring a woman into your wife's home when she is still there. There was no love in this marriage to begin with if he can treat his wife like this. Poor lady. Oh and the lady moving in, I have no respect for her either.
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Reply to JoAnn29

I find the B Smith story particularly insidious, far more than some others I’ve heard and known. Her husband is a beneficiary of B Smith’s very successful career, at some point in their relationship he became her manager and left behind whatever he previously did. So he’s living well from her talent and success. I don’t respect those who ride the coattails of others. Add to this that in his time of caregiving there was never a need to make his new living situation public, he could have easily continued to care for his wife and had his live in girlfriend all in private. But his ego wouldn’t allow it. He had to go public and loudly show off that he could snag a new, younger woman while still claiming to be altruistic in being devoted to his wife. He needed the world to know that while his wife was slipping away, all his needs were still being met. B Smith is being made a mockery of, her life and leagcy deserve better, especially from someone who was supposed to care the most
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Reply to Daughterof1930

I'm not unsympathetic to any spouse who finds themselves in this kind of relationship, what I don't like is the apparent assertion that this the ethically acceptable solution and should be promoted. This isn't about an inherent biological need for sex and companionship it's about choices - people can and do live celibate lives and find companionship in other ways.
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Reply to cwillie

The following was written by Patti Davis - daughter of Ronald Regan, who as you all are likely aware - suffered from Alzheimer’s the last several years of his life.

“The backlash against Gasby was quick, and some of it has been fierce, with people berating him for his new relationship and bringing Lerner into the couple’s home. I doubt many of those people have had experience with Alzheimer’s.

Imagine your partner, the person you have loved and been in love with for years, slipping backward through time until their capacity for comprehending and communicating is on a par with a small child’s. Imagine that as their mental faculties diminish, so do their physical abilities. They can’t bathe or dress themselves, they can’t eat on their own, they need help in the bathroom. One of the many things that Alzheimer’s steals is the romantic part of a relationship, the “in-love” part. You still love that person, your soul is still tied to theirs, but the man or woman you once made love to, held through the night, reached for at dawn, cried with and laughed with is no longer there. The loneliness is vast and deep.
One of the caregivers’ biggest challenges is to understand and accept that their lives can still have joy and fulfillment despite the grief and the loss that is inescapable. Gasby has said that he’s a better caregiver to his wife now because he’s happy. There is so much truth in that. People with Alzheimer’s pick up on every emotion — more so because they can’t reason or analyze, so nothing gets in the way of what they absorb emotionally. The best thing you can do as a caregiver for someone with dementia is show up in a joyful state.
Alzheimer’s is a cruel thief. It steals the past as well as the future. I watched my father’s eyes grow more and more distant as the disease progressed until he was somewhere so far away, I could only pray that he was content there. We need people such as Dan Gasby to show us that there can still be life, and joy, and promise in what appears to be a bleak, unforgiving landscape.”
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Reply to Rainmom

I have recently watched a 93 year old man, take care of his Alz wife, to the end. Even though everyday he had to convince her they were married and go through her sundowners and all that goes along with it. He loved her. He is greatly mourning her even though she was out of her mind for several years.
I believe it is a selfish act to think of fulfilling your own lusts, while what is supposed to be the Love of your life is suffering from a dreadful disease.
It just is not right,
People will always come up with many excuses to justify their actions. But truth still remains. If you have a LO and you don't love them anymore, move along. Because to do such a thing is not loving them.
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Reply to smeshque

My daughter told me about the B Smith story yesterday. We have talked through this type scenario many times the last few years.

She & her husband cared for his grandparents for almost a decade which allowed the seniors to remain in their home surrounded by their pets & gardens & cherished mementos of their decades long marriage. As the wife's health began a rapid decline, her husband sometimes became overwhelmed with grief & distanced himself from hands on caregiving by spending more time gardening & fostering stray cats. He found comfort & distraction in his hobbies.

I have been caregiver for my DH in various capacities for almost 40 years. He has suffered the effects of CTE from the late 1970's. CTE was basically unheard of & misunderstood & undiagnosable until the last few years. He had a left temporal lobe stroke 4 years ago which put us on the diagnosis merry-go-round. He has seizures related to that stroke damage. In the past year he was diagnosed with vascular disease of the small vessels in the brain which causes multiple mini- strokes. He has a laundry list of associated conditions. The last 20 years have been particularly rough as his health issues multiplied: temper outbursts, name calling, threats, attempts to harm me or get me out of the way so he could do what he wanted. He blamed me for all of his problems: I was stupid, I couldn't understand the complexity of his job, I wasn't supportive, I was a bad wife & mother.

Throughout all of this, I have (marginally at times) kept sane with my hobbies & friends. The last 5 years have been so hands on & time consuming that all my hobbies & friends have fallen to the wayside

While I have many times wished & prayed that DH was cured & cognitively healthy (mainly so I could divorce him, only slightly joking!) I never once thought to seek out a lover or even someone to date. What I miss most is adult conversation & time to myself.

For conversation I go to a therapist. We talk about anything & everything & for one hour a week I am a normal person! Priceless!!! I get some time to myself when DH is at daycare. I spend that time sleeping or cleaning house. Also priceless.

My daughter & I both believe that one can find comfort & joy in hobbies, friends & faith in the Lord. Many times I feel incredibly alone, but someone is always a phone call or text or prayer away.

B Smith's husband has opportunities for fulfilling work, play & social interactions most caregivers can only dream about. He chose to cross boundaries & bring another person into his emotional space & into the physical space occupied by his wife.

He is doing his thing, he wants acceptance, he wants others to validate his actions & choices. My words to him & his girlfriend: once a cheater always a cheater. When something newer, shinier, richer, younger or healthier comes along you too can be kicked to the curb with yesterday's trash.

Not judging, just sayin'
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Longears

B is getting the care she needs and is able to remain in her home. Now, what do you think B would want? For her husband to sacrifice all in order to keep her at home? Somehow, from what I have seen I think that B, being such a successful woman would want her husband to do what he needs to do to care for himself.

The courage it took Dan to make public the situation is unimaginable. He is bringing just one more aspect of the reality of caregiving to the forefront. People are talking about it, a good thing.

It is not our place to judge, especially another caregiver.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to gladimhere
Segoline Feb 2, 2019
Maybe someone else was going to make it public.
Plain and simple, "For better or worse, in sickness and in health, til death(physical death not mental death) do us part.
Everyone has their opinion, just giving mine. I think it sad, that this would be acceptable. Not surprising in the culture of this time. But sad that it would be acceptable.
If he thinks this in some way is honoring his wife, that is disturbing.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to smeshque

Situational ethics. It is not alright to commit adultery except in certain circumstances. For me, those circumstances, or for that matter, any circumstances, do not justify the ethics (or lack of them) shown here. To tout it as a plus for B Smith, as Dan Gasby is now happy, and therefore a better caregiver... uh...well...doesn't work for me. There are other ways to look after oneself.
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Reply to golden23

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