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When Partners Get Sick, Women Less Likely to Split

Cementing the stereotypical image of woman as caretaker, a new study shows that a man is seven times more likely than a woman to leave his spouse if she becomes seriously ill.

The study, which included 500 couples coping with illnesses such as cancer or multiple sclerosis (MS), found that of marriages in which the wife was ill, 21 percent ended in divorce while only 3 percent of marriages in which the man was ill ended in divorce. The researchers hypothesized that perhaps men are less able to take on the burdens of maintaining the family and caring for a sick spouse.

Why do you think (at least in this study) that women are less likely to leave their ill partner?

Image Source: Getty
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GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
This is saddening, and I think there's some truth to it. Between me and my husband, I am a much better caretaker. Seriously, I have medicines and comfort, nourishing foods on STAND-BY in case he gets unexpectedly sick. That's just how I am. It's how I think. Does hubbie have that for me?? Nope. :) However, in all fairness, my husband has other good qualities. He makes a good living, and provides well. He does deserve some credit. :)
mix-tape mix-tape 7 years
My boyfriend of 4 years broke up with me after I fell off a horse and fractured 3 vertebrae. I couldn't walk and he called me too needy! The reason we were together so long was not only because I loved him, but his mom passed. How could I leave him then? I was left crippled and heart broken at the same time though... I just tell myself that it'll be a great story to tell later in life, but men are terrible care takers. I hope I end up marrying someone who will bring me soup when I'm sick and take care of other obligations if I become incapable.
kismekate kismekate 7 years
I believe this. My Mom wanted a divorce before my Dad was diagnosed with cancer. The cancer left him pretty debilitated and they are still together 12 years later.
MissSushi MissSushi 7 years
Yeah, one of the major things I plan on teaching my son if I have one is every single domestic and life need. My husband was, and still majorly is, completely clueless about everything that has to be taken care of around the house and with the finances. It's grating to say the least, he's willing to learn but doesn't take me explaining things to him very well, i have to make sure nothing could remotely come across as critical. If i had an accident right now, he couldn't function in my place. He could take excellent care of our daughter, but anything else would flounder. His mother didn't make him do ANYTHING. She did every single chore for him, he was even that guy who came home with his laundry while in college. GAG. No way in heck im doing that. My son will learn from an early age, with the rest of my kids, how to take care of himself and his house. The other day, my husband burnt the crap out of an eggo becuase he thought they were supposed to be "golden brown" after cooking.. lol.
heatherhas heatherhas 7 years
^Kia, my fiance has the same problem, which is really frustrating! I have been working on it with him, but he is incapable of even telling when the frozen pizza is done in the oven. Fortunately, he is willing to learn, but if I was ever put out of commission, he would probably go back to eating sushi/takeout every day. I can't help but think his mom set him up for failure, since he didn't lean these thing when he was young.
kia kia 7 years
I think women have instincts and are indirectly taught how to be caretakers. Men, like my husband, have no idea. He was never taught, he has no knowledge of how to care for someone. When I had a car wreck a few years ago we were both up sh*t creek because I had to rely on him to care for me and he was not able to do the day-to-day stuff like provide me with food, etc. unless I was was telling him what to do. It was a wake-up call for him to learn these skills since we plan to start a family.
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