This got me thinking...
It was a very interesting read, but made me feel like I'm being an awful wife. My view of intimacy with my husband has changed since the diagnosis of Dementia. It's not that I don't love him now - I do. It's not that I don't find him attractive anymore - I do. He is a handsome man and I'm not just saying that because he's mine, he really is. I still fancy him now, yet wanting to be intimate with him has disipated. It makes me feel like I'm taking advantage of him. There - said it. On some medication, before he was taken off it, he could appear to "not be there". I am fully functioning mentally (I think), he is not. How do I know if he's doing what he wants to do or if he's been coerced? His tastes in the bedroom have changed too. Things that I don't like. For all I feel like I'm taking advantage of him, I also feel like I'm doing things that I don't like just to keep the peace or to keep him happy but at my expense. This I find humiliating.
Don't get me wrong. For all we're not at it like rabbits, sometimes whilst being intimate it's amazing. The other times I'm racked with guilt for both of the reasons I've mentioned above.
Having read the article (mentioned above) I now feel guilty for not wanting to sleep with my husband. It's made me think of the other side of the coin - his side. Why shouldn't he want sex? He's 38 for God's sake (and for that matter, why shouldn't I want sex - I'm 37 for God's sake). Yet I just don't. This illness isn't physical. It's mental, but maybe I need to rethink my side of the coin. Do I want to? No. Is it wrong to not want to sleep with him - probably yes.
It's hard (no pun intended) when all you hear during the day is how awful you are, how much you're hated, how much the sight of you repulses him and then KABOOM, at bedtime you are the woman of his desires. The link between the two confuses and upsets me, but because he doesn't have these connections he doesn't understand why I might not want to be intimate with him. Not wanting to sleep with him then causes ructions because I'm not doing what he wants which then compounds the "I hate you", "the sight of you repulses me" etc, etc, which then makes me definitely not want to sleep with him.
I think that for me the role between wife and carer has blurred. It's hard to snap between one and the other. It's made me selfish. Maybe not selfish, but it's made me put walls up around myself so that the canon balls that are fired bounce off them, meaning that I might not get as hurt by him as I probably would have been before this illness interupted our lives.
I sometimes wondered (pre-reading this article) if I would object to hubby having a sex buddy (for want of a better word), and I honestly don't think that I would. I often feel like it's not my husband when we are being intimate so what would the difference be if he was sleeping with another person? It wouldn't be "him" cheating. It would also mean that he could do things that he's wanting to do or have done to him that just makes me uncomfortable (and no, I'm not a prude) without me feeling used.
Thank you Marina for your article. You've opened a Pandora's Box in my head and one, for me, where I don't think that there is a right or wrong answer.
Please don't judge my ramblings. I would never speak these thoughts out loud. Writing them down helps me, and I know that my ramblings might cause offence, this is not intention. It's not until you're enveloped in the cloak of Dementia that you realise just how much it robs you of. x