Dating when a spouse has advanced Alzheimer’s Disease

On Life and Love after 50 e-Newsletter – November 23, 2018

by Tom P Blake

Dating when a spouse has Alzheimer’s Disease

Larry, 76, Toronto, emailed, “Re last week’s eNewsletter about dating a deceased friend’s spouse, I’m in a similar  situation. My wife has advanced Alzheimer’s disease, and no longer knows me. She’s been in a nursing home the past few years, and so I’m living a single life.

I’ve reached a point, where I’m ready for a new relationship. I’m really missing female companionship, in all its forms, and need that to change. I’ve started reaching out (with the full blessings/support of family, friends, and professionals), and have dated several women, all of whom are aware of and ok with my situation.

By the same token, I’ve also been rejected by several other women who are uncomfortable with the situation. So, as the article concludes – there is no right or wrong answer. Each individual caregiver needs to do what feels right to him/her.

Tom’s response: On the Finding Love After 50 Website, there are three articles I previously published on this topic under the article categories. It’s the first category listed. Here is the link to those articles:

https://www.findingloveafter50.com/alzheimer-s-dating-when-a-spouse-is

Larry: “Great! I’m off to visit my wife in the nursing home, and will check the articles later this afternoon.”

And then later, Larry wrote: “I just finished reading the three articles, and what struck me immediately, is that I can relate to most of the content in all of them!

“To give you some context, my wife and I have been together for 29 years, and until she went into long term care more than two years ago, we had never spent one night apart. As a matter of fact, we were rarely apart at all, as we worked together. What was our work you might ask? We were relationship counselors, helping couples deal with relationship issues. So, believe me, I can fully understand the issues facing the people in these situations.

“The bottom line for me (and I know my wife would agree), is that one must be true to self, and do or not do what he/she believes to be right. Although input from friends, family, professionals, clergy, etc., may be welcomed, and of some use, ultimately, the decision rests with the individual(s)/couple.

“In my case, I do have the full support of family, friends, and professionals, to reach out/date/socialize, etc., and if I do find another ‘special one,’ then, a committed romantic relationship would be welcome. That new relationship would not preclude my love for my wife, nor impinge on my visiting her regularly.

“If Champs want to contact me, my email is anoldnorthender@gmail.com.”

Comments from Champs (readers) to this article on November 30, 2018

Last week’s topic, dating when a spouse has Alzheimer’s, was/is a controversial topic.

I am aware of that. A small number of Champs responded in horror that someone would venture out despite a spouse being in advanced stages of Alzheimer’s. They are sticking by their wedding vows forever. End of story. Regardless of what happens.

One person who feels that way was critical of others who feel differently.

Others, particularly, those who have experienced a similar situation, or are currently experiencing it now, take a much more understanding and empathetic point of view.

My thoughts: This is a topic that couples (not just married couples, but, any committed couple) might want to discuss “what if?” while they are both lucid, clear thinking, and far before the issue presents itself. What each couple decides is right for them is exactly that: right for them.

 

Author: tpblake

Tom Blake is a newspaper columnist in south Orange County, California. He has published four books. His primary topic is finding love after 50 and beyond, sometimes far beyond, for people 80 and older as well. He also blogs about travel at TravelAfter55.com.

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