Guest wrote: I am being punished for marrying a man 15 years older than me and because I needed financial support. Now, 20 years later, he is still going strong and I am getting sicker. I was foolish not to think ahead to the fact that he would age and grow somewhat senile. God forgive me. I am so unhappy.
There seems to be a little bit of a contradiction here. Or else the nature of the problem is not 100% clear. If your husband is still going strong while you’re getting sicker, how is it that his aging and his growing senility is causing you so much unhappiness? Is it that by “still going strong” you mean he’s still alive? And that his still being alive is a hardship for you especially now while you’re not in the best of health?
You’re right about the fact that we don’t look ahead when we choose to marry people who are many years older than we are. But even if you and your husband had been similar in age there could be other issues that would place you in the same predicament of having to care for your spouse while you yourself are not in good health. I personally know a couple who are a great example. There is only a 4 year age difference between them. The husband has numerous ailments (some quite serious). His wife has her own health problems. But she has been taking care of her husband every day for the better part of the last decade. And she is doing this while still taking care of herself, taking care of their home, taking care of their pets and myriad other things. And somehow she finds time for her various hobbies.
The point is, you have a choice in how you look at your situation. And how you look at your situation determines what you do about it.
You could always leave your husband if you have the conscience to do it. But what if the roles were reversed. Would you be able to understand it if he left you when you needed him because he could not handle the stress and responsibility of caring for you while having to deal with his own stuff?
It’s a difficult situation for sure. I’m not trying to suggest your feelings are not valid. I myself am married to someone who is more than a decade older I am. He’s not at an age where senility is an issue so I can’t pretend to have an idea about that yet. But while I’m sure it will be difficult to deal with, I want to believe that I will treat it like another of life’s numerous hurdles that I’ll have to find a way to surmount or find a way to live with if it cannot be overcome. I’m sure it will sometimes be frustrating and I’ll want to blame him and treat him like he committed a crime against me by getting old. But I hope I will mostly be understanding and accepting of the fact that this is the way life works. People age and senility is one of the things that can happen when people age.
Your say you married your husband because you needed the financial support. The implication is that he has at some point been taking care of you, at least financially. He was there for you in some regard when you needed him. Unless your illness is such that you really cannot be left with the responsibility to care for yourself and also to care for your spouse, then try to accept your situation for what it is. Surrender your frustrations about your husband’s senility. Try to have more compassion for him. Try harder to be patient. Remember when he was there for you supporting you (even if it was only financially) and try to keep yourself in a mindset of gratitude. Seek wisdom in trying to figure out how you can keep yourself going strong so you can take care of yourself and take care of him. This is not your fault. But it’s also not your husband’s fault. It’s just life.