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hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Could you bear the tension of loving someone who may not live very long?

Asked by hungryhungryhortence (12138points) February 16th, 2010

None of us is guaranteed a tomorrow, I know but if you knew up front a partner comes with health risks then how would you handle your fears, needs, desires and waking hours. Would it be like a threatening black cloud over your joys?

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26 Answers

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Whoa…
Honestly, I don’t think I could start an intimate relationship with a terminally ill partner.
I’d want to help still.

If it is someone with health problems you care about, I think you have to take the bad with the good.

I don’t have an absolute answer to this.

dpworkin's avatar

I think it’s a false dichotomy. In your OP you recognized that it’s the same for everyone, whether we know or not.

onesecondregrets's avatar

We wouldn’t have to bucket list route it, it could be spent just having time with that person, physical and conversational, and spiritual time or however they wanted it to be spent, but no way in hell would I keep myself at a distance or anything just because they were dying or anything like that, that’s pure selfishness. My heart would be breaking all the while either way.

wundayatta's avatar

If I loved someone, I would love them. I would be helpless not to. So their sickness wouldn’t make one bit of difference. I would be grateful to try to make the time they have left as happy as possible.

dpworkin's avatar

I have had the experience of having a beloved friend who was dying of a terminal illness, and then didn’t die. Ten years later, still not dead. Not “dying”, either.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t ever want to deal with this – it scares the living daylights out of me.

ducky_dnl's avatar

I have cancer and various other medical problems. I’m seventeen. I have been told even if my chemo and other medical treatments goes well, that I’ll only live about five years. And hey, I’m okay with that. I have one close best friend that means the world to me. She and I have known each other for six years and we never bring up death, dying, or any of that stuff. The only depressing talk we had was telling her that I was sick. I have a lot of friends and none of them treat me any “special.” I still have fun, I still laugh and I love every day. I hope that in these five years my life will be a total blast. But if it isn’t, I at least lived. So, don’t be afraid to get close to someone sick. You never know. The world could seem bad, but when it’s bad it only gets better.

Val123's avatar

O. Hard to answer…...having lived through the death of two parents, one of which was very long and lingering…..

ETpro's avatar

Yes, if I loved them then being close to them for the time they have, and making that time as meaningful as it could be would be sufficient pay to bear the price of tears to come. And as you noted, none of us knows our appointed hour. At the end of WWII a sailor checked into the Norfolk Naval Hospital complaining of stomach upset and pain. The doctors opened him up and found a massive cancer spread all through his vital organs. Rather than worry the young man, they sewed him up, gave him a prescription for the pain and nausea, and told him to come back for a checkup in 5 year.

He did!

rangerr's avatar

Love is love.
That’s why they use the phrase “in sickness and in health”.
I wouldn’t not love someone because of anything like that.
It would make the time spent together more meaningful to me.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ducky_dnl look, I know you might have heard this before but don’t let anyone place a number on how many years you can survive – I have seen incredible things happen when working with cancer patients and in 5 years there may be treatments that will prolong/save your life…

tragiclikebowie's avatar

I have a very close friend who has cancer and is HIV positive. I love him like a brother and will be there for him however long he is here. No, it’s not the same as what you are saying, but it never gets in the way of us having fun.

Cruiser's avatar

Everyone by now should now life is too short! Yours and theirs! Life is NOT a competition, it is a privilege to both live and share each and every moment of your day as you see fit and with others including the ones you love.

YARNLADY's avatar

I not only could, I did.

Val123's avatar

@YARNLADY You got into a serious relationship with someone you knew didn’t have long to live?

Darwin's avatar

I married a man that I loved, knowing that his health problems might only grant us a few years. He has in fact died several times and has been hospitalized many more, but we recently celebrated our 20th anniversary, and we still have fun. I must admit I know a whole bunch more about medical care than I ever wanted to learn, but it’s always good to learn new things.

OTOH, my mother has succumbed to dementia and my father has made the difficult decision this week to place her in a dementia unit. They have been married for almost 60 years, and it still isn’t enough time together.

Quite frankly, I would treasure every minute of the short time I might have with the right person, in favor of having many years with someone I like but do not love. And remember that from the moment we are born we begin to die. It just takes some of us much longer than others to accomplish it. May as well enjoy the ride, whether it is short or long.

Val123's avatar

@Darwin Oh God. My heart is with you…..

YARNLADY's avatar

@Val123 Sorry, I missed the ‘up front’ part. He didn’t develop the cancer until years after we married

Val123's avatar

@YARNLADY I know some of it….my heart out to you too….and to anyone who has to live through a loved one dying, for any reason…..

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Could you bear the tension of loving someone who may not live very long?

Looking at the issue in reverse, how could you stand not being willing to love someone because they may not live a long time? If you love them, you immerse yourself in loving them and making the most of the time you have together. It may be much longer than you expect!
You would learn to live as fully as possible in the ‘right now’, a valuable lesson regardless of the outcome facing your partner.

ChaosCross's avatar

I could easily, even though they are likely doomed to die at an earlier time, I am not really afraid of their death. If I was to enter a relationship with a terminally ill person I would love them all the more with what little time I have left.

Judi's avatar

It’s a little off topic, but my dad found out shortly after I was born that he was dieing of emphysema.
He lived way longer than expected, but I spent the first 10 years of my life knowing that my Dad could die at any time.
It was a really rough life, but it did teach me to embrace every moment as if it were your last. It taught me to never leave a living word unsaid and to live a life that is a testiment to what you want to leave the world.
For all the fear, heartache and pain the short time I had with my daddy brought me, I know that I would be less of a person without him and the lessons his life and death gave me.
I would never walk away from love out of fear of death. In doing so I could be denying myself some of lifes greatest blessings.

thriftymaid's avatar

I could and I would.

Darwin's avatar

@Judi – I hope that my daughter is learning those same things, and I see signs that she is. Unfortunately my son isn’t learning those lessons.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

It would be bittersweet. I’d want that person to try all they could in their power to be healthier and to not be in denial of precious time by taking it for granted.

Aster's avatar

Could I bear the tension? Barely. Would I stick around? Absolutely.
Would it change me? Completely. Would I recover? Somewhat.

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