In Sickness and In Health

Comments

1
Holy crap -- that's just completely awful. I wonder what the data for same-sex couples look like. That would be an interesting study.
2
My mother was diagnosed six years ago with breast cancer and my father still expected her to continue to do the housework and cooking. He was not supportive at all.

I was diagnosed with cancer two years ago. As a lesbian, who didn't have any support from her family, my partner was a godsend. She stayed with me day and night while I was in the hospital, left her job to take care of me, and dealt with the insurance companies. Without her, I doubt that I was have mentally survived the ordeal. The experience made our relationship stronger, and we've since then married (legally in CA when it was legal) and are still going strong. Her compassion and love was invaluable to me, and provided me with strength when I needed it the most.

3
Sadly, I have seen more than a couple gay guys abandon their partners in times of illness or financial trouble.

Men are just pigs; straight or gay.
4
No 'in sickness and health' in my marriage vows. I'm not ruining my financial health if he gets cancer. I'll get a new husband.
5
The answer is obviously rooted in 1950's-era evolutionary theory. a man with brain cancer can still impregnate many females and so remains desirable; a woman with brain cancer is unlikely to be able to bear more children and so men move on to more "fertile grounds". It's not like the men are supposed to stick around to raise the kids any way, that's women's work.

I should get a PhD.
6
No because according to these stats 79% of husbands are decent human beings who don't leave their cancer-ridden wives. Which is, last time I checked, still the majority, so "most" women probably wouldn't. Straight guys are just always getting painted as complete assholes when most of us aren't.
7
poor Dan
such a negative view of humanity-
he must not know any nice people at all...
8
Didn't Newt Gingrich divorce his wife while she was in the hospital recovering from cancer?
9
Or maybe only real bitches get cancer? Or maybe women turn into bitches when the get sick?
10
Homosexuality is a special evolutionary protective development to handle just this tragic circumstance-
the unmarried homos are supposed to care for these poor abandoned women.

Gay marriage would soak up the supply of available caregivers and thwart Darwin and put the species in grave danger.
11
Even with all this "support", men still die sooner on average. Maybe the women stay because the sick men don't lean on them?
12
Everybody needs a wife.

Especially women.

However, it's still amazing what people will put up with.
13
my dad stuck by my mom's side, catering to her every brain-tumor whim, bathing her, wiping her ass, and holding her hand until the day she died. fuck your conclusion.
14
Not surprised. Being a caretaker and primary provider of emotional support are the antithesis of masculinity.
15
@2: bless you and your partner!
16
@13: Your dad sounds like a hell of a guy. You and your mother have been fortunate indeed.
17
@14: But why? Why don't we define those quiet acts of courage as masculine as hell?
18
My father's stuck with my mother through 2 bouts with cancer.

The study shows that while the overwhelming majority of both male and female partners are supportive, it is more common for men to leave women—sadly isn't surprising to me.
19
@6 has a good point. A fraction of males will abandon their family while a much smaller fraction of females will do the same. While the male-female comparison on leaving a cancer mate might stand, it is still a fraction. Let's hope it also is generational, and that future couples will see fewer such assholes.
20
To be fair, I read this on BoingBoing and a lot of people pointed out that the study doesn't seem to track who initiates the separation/break-up. It's possible that women who become diagnosed with an illness are ones who decide to up and go and not live with an unsatisfying relationship.

Not *all* of them, but it's worth noting.
21
My step-dad—married to my mom for 20 years—was a loving, attentive caregiver and no doubt extended her life by years after she was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. God bless the good guys—and thank God they're the majority.
22
what on earth does this information have to do with anything gay? Dan, your argument is just plain silly, and no, it doesn't make a point, it's just a gratuitous shot at Christians. BTW, I am an atheist.

Not that it's necessarily relevant, but I've know quite a few fellow queers who just walked on the 'loved one' when a serious illness (or even something much less demanding) came along. Unless you can show otherwise, I'd guess shallowness and noncomittment is just as prevalent in the gay world as not.
23
@17 Patriarchy.
24
"wouldn't most women have chosen it by now?"

And with whatever percentage of African-Americans have been convicted of a felony wouldn't most employers refuse to hire one? A fucked up conclusion if ever there was.

You're on dangerous ground here, Mr. Spicoli.
25
Good men are harder and harder to find these days, reflective of the times, almost a dying breed, but when you find one that's worth it brand him like you would cattle lol
26
@22 - it doesn't have anything to do with "gay," it has to do with the definition/purpose of the institution of marriage. The reality of marriage is radically different from the fantasy, the vows, and the meaning as imposed by those who want to keep the gays out of game.
27
my sister jut threw her husband, who is dying of cancer, out on the street with no resources or network of support, because she is tired of taking care of him and wants to party. fucking tragic.

i'm so disgusted with her, if i am ever in the same room with her again i'm going to punch her in the face.

it's a hard thing to reconcile having someone in your family who lacks humanity.
28
Loveschild is into branding! Should have guessed the hardcore Xtians are disproportionately kinky :D
29
Good men are harder and harder to find these days...

And you know what constitutes good...how exactly?

30
Well, based on the content of this thread, "good" means any man who won't toss you out for a younger, healthier model if and when you get really sick. And when you find that man, you need to warm up your branding iron right quick or some other filly will come claim jumping.
31
Yeah, I got cancer and my husband bailed, but to be fair he had already decided to go a month before I got diagnosed, and let me stay in the house and on his insurance until after all my surgery. Still it was shitty sleeping alone with "The Lump" when the man who had "Real Love Is Forever" engraved on our wedding rings took the dogs and stayed at his girlfriend's house. Meh.
32
@29
she means men who don't cheat or leave their spouses when they're seriously ill.
33
@26 - but I thought the Church said that marriage was between a 10 to 19 year old woman and a 12 to 60 year old man like it was during most of Christianity in Europe?

Oh, you mean the 50s mythology of marriage from last century ... be more specific, please. Until WW II it mostly was for economic reasons, and most women died in childbirth.
34
If homosexuality were a choice, like conservative Christians insist, wouldn't most women have chosen it by now?


For some reason this reminds me of the way lesbians supported gay men through the AIDS crisis and went totally unrewarded for it as uninfected fags -- or infected ones who didn't get as sick -- abandoned their dying partners and lesbians stepped in to pick up the slack.

It also puts me in mind of the fact that women consistently out-perform men academically, and have been doing so for years now. If we're going to use the favored logic here -- that groups with lower test scores are, prima facie, being discriminated against -- it seems clear to me that our culture produces men who are broken in several important ways; empathy, intellectual self-esteem, and so on. This idea is hardly news, but these tangible manifestations of its effects seem to suggest that what has always been regarded as an existential problem ("men are closed off from their feelings") has meaningful socioeconomic consequences that critics of "macho" attitudes might not fully appreciate.
35
@31,

He "let" you stay in the house which (unless you had a very strict prenup) would have belonged to BOTH of you? What a mensch.
36
Jesus Christ! Sometimes it's pretty great to be a lesbian. All those emotions have got to be good for something!
37
This is surprising? I thought it conformed nicely to my stereotypes.

It pays to be a misandrist, I guess.
38
My BF's dad stayed and took care of his wife through a very long and sad 8 year decline. For the last 5 years of her life she was entirely bed-ridden, on a ventilator and had to have 24 hour supervision, which he provided between himself, my BF and a live-in home health care provider. Of course, it was a long marriage--40+ years, so the odds were in her favor. Fortunately, there are people who don't stop loving you in the face of difficulty.
39
Judah @34, I'm baffled by your last sentence. Feminists (ie "critics of "macho" attitudes") have been studying those very consequences for 40 years.
40
My dear mother has alzheimers and if something good could come out of a horrible curse is my father stepping into the breech and providing such care and tenderness that I would never have thought possible from him. My father is certianly one of the old school, ex military, the wife looks after sick kids etc. He always has been a charming lovely man but I would never have thought in a million years he would be able to cope with the situation fate has thrown. However, he has values and strength of character so that he steps up to keep the vows he made over half a century ago. I have always loved him and enjoyed his company but he is my hero now that he is 83!
41
If I were sick with a deadly illness I might try to isolate myself from those I love so as not to be a burden on them.
42
When my cousin got sick, his husband was absolutely amazing. He's one of the strongest, most caring individuals I've ever met.

That said, this still makes me really glad to be a lesbian.
43
That's depressing to read. Thank god my dad is one of the good guys and that he taught me to be a good guy too.
44
@ 41, that's kinda weird. Unless you just mean the feeling, because that's normal. But if you actually tried to isolate yourself, I'd guess you were being dramatic.
45
"If homosexuality were a choice, like conservative Christians insist, wouldn't most women have chosen it by now?"

And what's even more disheartening, you know that if that study was done on same sex couples, they wouldn't be abandoning each other, not after everything they've had to suffer through - alone, with their partner having to sit in the waiting room - for all these years.
46
Sounds like an intelligence test to me. I'd say the men win.
47
so, if men suck, should not they get fewer rights?

i mean we.

48
My husband started talking about having one foot out the door about six months after I was diagnosed with two different forms of cancer (unrelated) within two months. He claimed it was due to stuff prior to the cancer but prior to the cancer he had never expressed unhappiness. We went to counsleing but, partly because I think he could never aknowledge his feelings about the cancer and being a caretaker, it never seemed to really work. He moved out 3 months ago and is now saying he's ready to date "someone where all thelpieces mesh". Im sure he's say he meant "all the pieces" as a figure of speech but since some of my pieces are permanently injured, the double meaning didn't escape me. It sucks to survive a hard cancer battle and then lose the love of your life.
49
@ 48,

He doesn't sound like the love of anyone's life. If anyone would actually want a guy who dumped his wife the minute she got sick, I'd say let the fool have him. Though, to be perfectly honest, I don't see him being a 'hot property'.
50
I wonder how much of this is due to gender-based expectations. A man who leaves his sick wife will generally be considered a shithead, but he won't necessarily become persona non grata among his friends and acquaintances. (Sure didn't happen to my dad.) A woman who did the same thing would get the reaction @27, even from her own family. Can you imagine how Dana Reeves would've been treated if she had ditched Christopher?
51
45
no.
they would never let each other down.
ever.
and their shit even smells good, too.
52
If men are such total scum why on earth should society let two men, without the edifying presence of a woman, adopt and raise kids?
53
Calm down folks, this is just more fuel for all the angry womyn who still have Hillary bumperstickers. They occassionally need a recharge to justify their bitterness.
54
@53,

You can't even spell your own name. How sad.
55
How come I've never met a Seattle lesbian and thought "that's a shame"?
56
Feminists (ie "critics of "macho" attitudes") have been studying those very consequences for 40 years.


Feminists have been studying those consequences as they affect women. Your "baffled" line is a good example of why that study has been totally useless for men; feminists frame all their "studies" as critiques of a problem men have that affects women; it's all about you, and making sure you get what you think you deserve. In the context of Dan's post, that's fine. But I was suggesting a larger view in which the behavior of men produces results that men themselves would prefer to change.
57
I wish I'd seen this post earlier.

I worked with researchers on this very topic and we found again and again that when married women are diagnosed with terminal illnesses, they are far more likely to ask or demand that their male partner leave. Men diagnosed with illness almost never ask their female partner to leave.

@20 noticed this but no one else questioned it.
58
@25 - I can see why it would look that way from your point of view, Loveschild. These days, there are, indeed, fewer and fewer good men to be found amongst the religious, homophobic asswipes that are the only type of man your kind considers.
59
@56 - Please do 10 seconds of research before you make broad, sweeping generalizations about what "feminists" study. I'm a feminist, and the issue of how men are victimized by patriarchy is a huge passion of mine, one that, frankly, I wish to hell I could get more male feminists interested in. The general response I get from these guys is something along the lines of, "We're fine. Totally. It's all about how women are oppressed." There's a real fear of showing weakness, and that's just a prime example of the problem.

However, there are some fabulous feminist thinkers out there discussing the problems of patriarchy, especially as they relate to young men and boys.
60
#53 It appears that this post is a reason for you to get angry at fictitious angry women. I have always been perplexed by guys who get so nervous about women not being nice and nurturing at all times. Who gives a shit if they get mad from time to time. Don't we all. Complaining about ladies with Hillary bumper stickers is just a tad wussy.
61
@59 So true!

Feminists talk about the "larger view" all the time, as patriarchy shackles us all, but it rarely "produces results that men want to change" because it requires recognizing privilege and breaking that down. Anyone who studies feminism knows that this is a common thread, that we cannot pick and choose equality we want for ourselves w/o breaking down inequality as a whole, and for many it's not worth the cost. So men suffer in their prison of the masculine gender roles rather than give up the privileges their gender affords them.
62
Yeah, fucking heterosexual men and their evil ways.
63
Yeah, it sucks being an alpha male. Big time. You can't even imagine how badly it sucks. But you know, somebody's got to deal with the really hard, nasty shit in this world, and are you gonna begrudge me anything for dealing with it because you don't have the balls to deal with it? No, didn't think so.
64
@63 Jesus 52! Waaaaaay to miss the point. The pressure placed upon men to always either be, or strive to be "the alpha male" is unfair and detrimental to men. You shouldn't HAVE to "deal with the really hard, nasty shit in this world" all on your own. That is the point of Feminism. Equality. I want to step up too dude. Now some men, and by no means all men, are invested in the perks that sometimes come with the hardships, and are afraid that if women start shouldering their fair share of those hardships the perks will go along with that. These men tend to view gender issues as a zero sum game. Which they are not. I'm not after your balls. I have my own. Figuratively speaking of course.
65
"strive to be "the alpha male" is unfair and detrimental to men."

Does this explain why so many Seattle men are pussies and put up with their FUGLY girlfriend's bullshit? Seriously Seattle men, some of you are good looking but the womyn in this town? Fuck me....

Too many American womyn confuse feminism with simply having a big mouth. My Chinese wife can eat most American's womyn lunch professionally and academically but at least she knows how to dress and present herself in public and not look and behave like a fucking fishermen on a bender 90% of the time.
66
Hey ladies, being self-absorbed and neurotic does not make you independent.
67
Wow, lots of anger at women in this thread. I wish it surprised me.

@52 - ??? I'd begrudge you everything if you did what you think needs to be done without any regards to me. To borrow a Colbert word, most women have the Thatchers to handle tough decisions, and to deal with the consequences.
68
THe point is, except for a very very few, women are unwilling to sack up a fucking go deal with the shit the alpha males do. And that's GOOD. Because except for very few, men are unwilling to tits up and deal with the shit that strong women do, like actually manage a home.

All this bullshit about feminists studying how the patriarchy victimizes men too: that's a fucking bag of tard shit. If we men didn't like the way the patriarchy treats us, we'd fucking change it. We don't need help from a bunch of dry humorless cunts telling us how we ought to be expressing our feelings and communing together for a better world. Men don't fucking commune the way you do.

We do build communities of men that support each other. Usually they're called "platoons". It's how we are and we like it. The patriarchy only victimizes the imaginary version of us you'd like us to be, not who we really are.

Fuck off, bitches.
69
" lots of anger at women in this thread"

Not at women, at 'womyn'. THose humorless, sexless Seattle radical feminists who confuse being a blabbermouth with being a feminist and like their men castrated.

Now, go put on some makeup to cover that facial hair ladies.
70
How com so few radical feminists are good looking? Seriously, I took a women studies class in college and it was like hell in a dog park.
71
I think if women looked at the statistics of divorce and realised that in 70% percent of the cases it was the women who initiated them, (usually on some whim their going through) they would just shut the hell up and understand that they really don't have a leg to stand on argument wise. I think I've made this point on another slog entry before. I don't see why men are looked at like A$$holes when they leave but then again I'm not married and i sure as hell aint getting married.
72
Misogyny is so sad and pathetic.
73
@ 65, 66, 68, 69(heh heh heh 69) 70 and 71: Gentlemen. Thank you all for kindly providing me with examples, so perfect they are crystalline, of exactly what I was talking about. 68 in particular exemplifies that zero sum thinking I mentioned. Shout out to you 68! Woooo Hooo! Seriously dudes, couldn't have done it without ya!
74
@61 - What are you talking about? I know plenty of guys who do very good work at overcoming their male privilege. In fact, these are often the ones who produce the most conscious resistance to the idea of addressing the ways patriarchy harms them because they seem to worry that it's going to harm their feminist street cred or something. Or just because they have a good appreciation for the crap women put up with and don't want to discuss their own issues because they feel those problems pale in comparison. Or because that's just the patriarchal problem preserving itself: men are taught so strongly to never show any weakness that they won't express themselves when gender roles are truly unfair to them.

On a more mainstream level, the nice guys just kind of quietly take it and often are internally self-destructive, while assholes like #68 here proclaim everything to be grand and empowering for men while taking out their dissatisfaction on others in a variety of psychopathic ways.

Frankly, I don't give a shit about who's got it "worse" and I think it's a huge fucking immature waste of time to sit here and try to decide which gender is collectively more at fault. Any given fucked-up attitude that harms either or both genders is reinforced by both sexes.
75
Your a wicked card, Fifty-Two-Eighty.

You made me laugh. Make sure you have some W.T. around for your birthday. x.
76
@71 - That doesn't make anything irrelevant to me because I never looked at this statistic and thought, "Well, that proves that men are assholes." Whether men are choosing to leave partners because they aren't comfortable stepping into the caretaker role or women are electing to send their partners away because they feel guilty for asking their men to step into the caretaker role, the root problem is still a similar social pressure against this arrangement. The matter of which person ends up being stupid enough to cave in to it isn't really a concern to me unless I know the couple personally.
77
" I know plenty of guys who do very good work at overcoming their male privilege. "

What does that involve, promising in writing not to come in a feminist's mouth?
78
@74 Um, I never said no men work against patriarchy or that it's impossible for men to do so. I only said "rarely." Because it is rare. Working against institutionalized sexism is VERY HARD, esp for the privileged side who are 1. encouraged not to change the status quo 2. encouraged to see women as an enemy, as someone not to be like, as the other and 3. can flex their privilege and, with little detriment to themselves, ignore inequality.

Tell your friends to keep up the good work.
79
"their feminist street cred or something"

Does that mean fucking girls who haven't wrestled with a razor since they graduated from Evergreen with a degree in Womyn's Studies?
80
Catch-22, 52-80. For a man to be charming and attractively intelligent, his mom must have been super skilled at raising him despite the culture's traditional lack of help. Good luck escaping that.
81
@76 while i appreciate your frustration with my statement, It is essentially a fact. The stark realities of divorce paint a picture overwhelmingly tilted against a men in general.

In 2009 America there is every incentive in the world for a woman to divorce at the slightest pressure applied to her situation. Financial, legal, social, sexual, and sometimes Health issues. Marriage as it is currently constituted is the worst deal imaginable for men.

In a 2004 poll by the AARP, one in four men who were divorced (thats 25% if you cant do the math) in the previous year said they “never saw it coming.” (Only 14% percent of divorced women said they experienced the same unexpected broadside.) This may come as startling news to a public that has been led to believe that women are the ones who suffer financially postdivorce, not men.

Hell even the tax code favors women: Not only is child support not tax deductible for fathers, but a custodial mother can take a $1,000 per child tax credit; the father cannot, even if he’s paying. As “head of the household,” the mother gets a lower tax rate and can claim the children as exemptions.

Can anyone tell me that this isn't Misandry right in your face!

So why are women now the eager instigators of divorce? What changed in the culture? Four things, primarily: the pill, No Fault divorce, women’s economic independence, and rigged laws that make divorce a good financial prospect for women

Look I'm not going to lie I personally hate feminism. I personally equate it to a form of Fascism, and I really do personally believe It's destroying Western men as we know it.

So basically if your a man do yourself a big favour, One if you have to get married because your afraid of bedding different women here and there and going through the occasional dry spell here and there get a rock solid Prenup, without one you might as well be flipping a coin. Or two just don't get married.....

The choice is easy for me........

82
Yeah I wish I was gay often. Especially because I'm aging and not married. It seems like in lesbian culture there aren't as many creeps trying to date anything young. Also, I never used to thnk that I "should" get married but now I find myself thinking about it out of the fear that most men won't date someone over 35.
83
@81 - Actually, I misread your statement. I thought you referring to numbers of women initiating divorce after being diagnosed with cancer. My bad.

Regarding your other arguments, you can always selectively quote statistics and mix them with anecdotal generalizations to make it look like there's a Big Bad Matriarchal Misandrist Power controlling society, but I always how men can come to these sorts of conclusions in the face of the still overwhelming majority of political and economic power still in the hands of men.

The fact is, we're a society that's trying very hard to have some kind of reaction to the patriarchy that's been entrenched for centuries. Sometimes, that reaction lashes out too harshly at individual men and that sucks. Truly. But what, I ask you, is the fucking point of answering a statistic that shows men in a bad light with another, largely unrelated statistic that shows women in a bad light? A mature conversation about gender and equality in society has to something a bit more intelligent than slinging statistics and anecdotes as evidence that "your side sucks more."
84
@83 touche........
85
laurelgardner

Please do 10 seconds of research before you make broad, sweeping generalizations about what "feminists" study.


Dude, I went to Evergreen in the 80s. I have a women studies section in my personal library. I've read everything from bell hooks to Mary Wollstonecraft; Emma Goldman, Camille Paglia, and dozens of others, including some fairly abstruse work on cognitive development and brain function. And I was bored with the "big sweeping generalizations" argument 20 yeas ago. Every argument is based on generalizations. Claiming that your opponent has failed to make a valid argument just because you can cite exceptions to their premise is a form of false intellectual piety that is common, in my experience, among the young, and those who are just stupid enough to think they're being unconventional when all they really are is wrong.

Another lame dodge I see a lot? Anyone who criticizes feminism is accused of not understanding it. For example:

However, there are some fabulous feminist thinkers out there discussing the problems of patriarchy, especially as they relate to young men and boys.


Yes there are. And there are men who stay with their wives through all kinds of cancer. This isn't a post about all the wonderful people who live at the margin -- it's a post about (dum dum DUM) generalizations. Because, for every Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man, there's a Gyn/Ecology, but Elizabeth Wurtzel and Carol Gilligan are right there in the middle.

The main stream of feminism is about as interested in encouraging men to be caregivers as it is in making women eligible for the draft. Are there feminists who work for both of those things? Sure. Goldman probably would have, if she'd believed in the draft. But the main stream of popular feminism is about middle class white women pursuing their own privilege with a minimum of self-reflection -- and that means a resounding failure to discuss women's role in discouraging men from being nurturing caregivers. Mainstream feminism feels perfectly comfortable blaming men for women's eating disorders, but has demonstrated little or no capacity to address women's roles in encouraging self-destructive behavior in men (like, for example, generalized academic failure).

I sometimes think that trying to rebrand feminism to impute pure equality of the sexes and freedom from restrictive gender roles for men and women alike is like trying to rebrand the Spanish Inquisition as a community service organization; in addition to being nearly impossible, it's a complete waste of time. If you believe in the equality of the sexes, but you're tired of people calling you a humorless fascist whenever you call yourself a feminist, stop calling yourself a feminist. Feminists brought us Prohibition; there are good reasons why everyone thinks they're humorless fascists. Accusing anyone who does think feminists are humorless fascists of being ignorant only serves to ignores the history behind the criticism.

86
"It seems like in lesbian culture there aren't as many creeps trying to date anything young. "

Well that explains why I've never met a attractive lesbian and thought 'wow, that's a shame'.
87
@85 "But the main stream of popular feminism is about middle class white women pursuing their own privilege with a minimum of self-reflection"

"but has demonstrated little or no capacity to address women's roles in encouraging self-destructive behavior in men (like, for example, generalized academic failure). "

"Feminists brought us Prohibition; there are good reasons why everyone thinks they're humorless fascists."

Wow, aren't you full of generalizations. laurelgardner is right, do 10 seconds of research past 1920s and 1980s feminism.

as for feminist encouraging self destructive behavior in men, read this: http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/2526…

OMG! Feminists talking about how patriarchy undermines the success of men! Fucking incredible.
88
Actually, this article reminds me of a conversation I had with my own husband recently. We both have the same genetic predisposition to blood clots, and he was recently hospitalized for a few days with a pretty serious one. I was at the hospital every chance I could. I took time off work (it was my weekend to work at that time) from both my jobs, dropped my dog and kid off at his mother's, and stayed by his side, trying my best to comfort him. Trying hard to not let him see how scared I was that something might happen when I'm not there.

I asked him recently if he would take time off work and stay in the hospital with me if our situations were reversed, and he said no. "I hate hospitals" was his response when I asked why. That is NOT an excuse! If you love someone, you put your personal feelings aside and be there when she needs you. You absolutely DO NOT get to let your personal feelings about a hospital (for Pete's sake!) keep you from doing your job: comforting and being there for your mate. Those vows meant something to me when I said them. One would hope they meant something to him, as well.