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Men more likely to leave during serious illness

Many different things can contribute to prompting a divorce. One specific trend not only here in Louisiana but throughout the country is particularly troubling for outsiders looking in. Many husbands find themselves ditching their spouses in their greatest time of need: While battling a serious illness.

During a time in a marriage where the loving support of a spouse is greatly needed, many victims to illness find their husband or wife leaving them. While both men and women are guilty of this, studies show that men are far more likely to leave their spouse in this great time of need.

The big question is why does this happen and why are men most likely to be the ones that walk out? While each person has their own thought process and rationale, some experts have weighed in on the psychological issues those individuals with ill spouses face.

A psychologist at Middlesex University suggested that, because illness is a sign of weakness, many spouses are fearful to confront it. Instead of coping with it, they find it easier to leave. An author on the matter, a 47-year-old woman who went through this very thing, confirmed this idea. Her husband left her when she was struck with cancer. She speculated, and later confirmed with him, that his greatest fear in life was cancer. Furthermore, a spouse -- many times a man -- wants to feel in control and able to fix things. With an illness, a spouse is neither in control nor can fix the situation.

Often, too, these illnesses can cause serious changes to the victim's appearance. This can leave the victim feeling different. As a result, they might withdraw themselves from their spouse and appear uncaring.

This is a widespread trend, too. According to Macmillan Cancer Support, 25 percent of patients diagnosed with cancer said they broke up with their partner as a result of the illness. One third admitted to experiencing difficulties in their relationships after their diagnosis. Men were seven times more likely to leave their partner during a serious illness.

Source: Mail Online, "The men who walk out when their wives become ill," Judith Keeling, Dec. 20, 211

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