My Husband of 25 Years Is Leaving Me After My Cancer Diagnosis

month ago

According to studies, women who are diagnosed with cancer are much more likely to be left by their spouses than men. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened to one Reddit user, whose husband suddenly decided to initiate divorce during the woman’s battle with the illness.

A woman had a heartbreaking surprise after more than 2 decades of marriage.

We have been married just shy of 26 years. I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma 2 years ago. At first, he was wonderful. Total helicopter husband.

The first couple of rounds of treatment were awful for me. I was so sick, I’m pretty sure I suffered from all of the possible side effects. In October of last year I got the bad news that another line of treatment had failed and started my 3rd line. So far I have tolerated it well.

My body has suffered, though. I have a large plasmacytoma on my chest as well as several collapsed vertebrae in my back. My back is hunched due to this and until I can get my bones strengthened up enough to hold the screws I can’t get the back surgery to straighten it. I have been on several pain meds, oral chemo etc.

I’m not sure when it started, but my husband stopped coming to bed and started sleeping on the couch. He wouldn’t go to doctor appointments unless I specifically asked him to go. He wouldn’t give me hugs or if he did, they were half-hearted. I started saying stuff to him, and it seemed like the more I explained I needed his love and affection, his support, the more he made a point of denying me. Finally, just before Christmas, I confronted him about it.

But he just shut down. Stonewalled me. The more I pushed for him to talk to me, the more nasty he got. Finally, he got pissed and told me, “Congratulations, your worst nightmare is going to come true. You’re going to die alone,” while I was crying for him to tell me what was going on. What was wrong? What had I done? He screamed at me that he didn’t want to be married to me anymore. That was New Year’s Eve.

He left that night and has only come home to pick up tools or stuff he needed for work. He stopped paying my car payment, and it got repossessed. He hasn’t made the mortgage payment. Thankfully, the power is still on and he hasn’t shut off my phone. I am on disability through my former employment, but it isn’t nearly enough to support me. We have 2 dogs and 5 cats that I have to take care of. I am not physically able to do most household chores, though I do the best I can.

The problem is that for better or worse only counted when he thought you would get better quickly, now that he knows that your illness & recovery may be long term & possibly fatal, he just doesn’t want to look after you.

You need to get to a Lawyer immediately, he still has financial responsibilities especially as you’re ill.

You need transport to get to your treatments & a stable roof over your head. Open a bank account in your name only, have your money paid into that &/transfer 50% of the balance of any joint account to it too.

You need to put yourself first.


He still has not told me what the problems are in our relationship. All of this has blindsided me. I knew because I was sick that neither of us was happy, but I didn’t think it was our relationship that was the problem. Up until he left he would call and chat multiple times a day, was still saying I love you, all the normal things. But almost subversively punishing me, too.

How does someone who has loved you for over half your life suddenly become so vicious and uncaring? He was a sweet, affectionate, protective husband until he wasn’t. I can’t wrap my mind around it. How does he justify it in his mind?

The distraught woman offered more details in the comments.

  • “I have no one close, unfortunately. I’m hoping I will be able to move closer to family and friends once the divorce is done. Depends on how much the courts award me in support, I guess. That’s part of why I am so scared.
    I’m used to working and making decent money, and now I can’t. I’m completely dependent on someone that I can no longer depend on. I’ve never been so scared and heartbroken, not even when they came into the room and announced I had cancer. I knew I’d be ok because I had him.” Outrageous-Peach27 / Reddit
  • “He is for sure the weak one and cowardly as well. Definitely not the man I married. I hope to go back to school while I’m doing treatment, get into remission and live my best life, and he can live with his karma.” Outrageous-Peach27 / Reddit
  • “I’m feeling a lot of anger as well. I’m trying my best to tap into it rather than feeling sorry for myself. It certainly helps a little bit. It’s easy to be angry because I know I haven’t done anything to deserve this. Whatever his melt down is about, finances, stress, I don’t know... but I know it’s not my fault.
    I am trying to find an attorney to help. I’m hopeful that I will find one soon. I just want it done and over with, so I can figure out where I’m going to live, how I’m going to afford it, etc. As for the house chores, I just pick away at what I can do. Luckily, with just me, it doesn’t get too dirty.” Outrageous-Peach27 / Reddit

Redditors tried their best to offer the poster virtual support.

  • “My ex-wife of 25 years did a similar thing. After my lung disease diagnosis, she did a slow fade and eventually (after a lot of unkindness towards me) left. Conversely, my dad was 100 percent there for my mom when she was deathly ill and is still there for her 14 years later.
    We don’t know who we (or our spouses) are until we’re tested. Sadly, your husband (and my ex-wife) was tested and has shown he’s not there (and is actually cruel) in sickness.” Proudlymediocre / Reddit
  • “It’s sad but very common that a man leaves his spouse after she has cancer. You can’t see it now, but you’re better off without him.” nonplussedenthusiast / Reddit
  • “It’s so bad that there are real, peer-reviewed studies on the subject. According to one I read, a woman has a 1 in 5 chance of being divorced after a cancer diagnosis. It’s really sad.” MoneyPranks / Reddit
  • “I would urge you to contact some local divorce attorneys ASAP. They can help you get access to money which you can use to relocate sooner. This is a crisis.
    He has a legal obligation to support you. (Source — I used to be a divorce lawyer). So sorry this happened. Wishing you the best.” Live_Alarm_8052 / Reddit
  • “I’m so sorry. Despite your medical issues, it sounds like you’re the strong one, and he’s the weak one. My dad did this to my mom. I could never see him the same way after that.
    There are a lot of selfish people in this world, and you can’t always see who they are until hardships come along. I hope you get well, surround yourself with friends and family, and let your husband regret this for the rest of his life while you go on to live the best of yours.” gl0c0_ / Reddit

Having to deal with illness in the family is one of the hardest tests someone can face. Unfortunately, not everyone can deal with this hardship. In our previous article, we wrote about a dad who no longer wanted to take care of his sick child after he had a new baby.


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