Husband with dementia had affair

SR70

Registered User
Aug 20, 2022
19
0
Hi and I’m wondering if anyone else has been in this situation…..I’ve been married (I thought happily and in a loyal marriage) until recently. My husband was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s in Sept 22 and the neurologist indicated he’d had it for 4-5 years previously. (There were definitely some warning signs and worries but covid lockdowns made it hard to know for sure at that time). I discovered him recently sending loving texts to a woman and looked deeper into it, discovering emails which indicated further this had been an affair 3-4 years ago, just before covid. I asked him 2 weeks ago and he told me this truth - yes he’d had a relationship with this woman. It is so out of his character - he says he has no idea why he did and it’s not something he’d ever imagined he’d do as he’s always been a safe, reliable and loyal person who loves his family. Has anyone who has a partner with dementia experienced something similar? This is something totally out of character. I am so hurt and angry but somehow want to attribute some of this to his Alzheimer’s???! The problem now is I’m totally trapped, I can’t leave him as that would be so heartless as he needs me, I never want my children to know as it would upset them and they are already dealing with his Alzheimer’s decline, yet I wish I could leave and start afresh. So …any similar situations?!
 

Jessbow

Registered User
Mar 1, 2013
5,620
0
Midlands
does he see this other woman?
Do you know her?
I am surprised he remembers - for someone who appears to have such a rational discussion about it,I dont think i'd attribute it to his illness

sorry x
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
24,699
0
South coast
Hello @SR70
That must have been heartbreaking

Unfortunately, this sort of thing is not unknown in people whose dementia starts in their frontal lobes. This is the area of the brain that deals with decision making, emotions and character rather than memory and if the dementia starts here then the first symptoms are these characteristics turning awry.

My OH did not have an affair, but he did develop an obsession with porn which I only found out about when I discovered that he had secretly obtained, and been using, viagra - not for use with me, I might add. I also discovered him openly masturbating around the house and garden (and we dont live in an isolated position...... ) and that his email account was stuffed with scam mail, many of them from people wanting to be his "girlfriend". It may be only the erectile dysfunction that prevented him from having an affair. I dont know. I just know it was unbelievably hurtful and destroyed our relationship. Like your husband, it was totally out of character.

Did your husband get "blunting" of his emotions? It is common with frontal lobe problems and its something that OH got. He appeared to me to be cold and distant, but he was convinced that it was me that was like that. I often wondered whether he thought that if he looked elsewhere for his pleasure then he would be able to feel something again. I sometimes read on here posts from people who marry their divorced "soulmate" and then discover within a very short time that they have EOA or FTD and it does make me wonder.

Do not doubt that his behaviour was due to the dementia. This sort of thing happens before anyone realises that they dementia and it just feels like they have morphed into a different person. OH has progressed since then. He is now very dependant on me and can no longer use a mobile, ipad or computer, so things have settled down, but the love has gone. I stay because I once loved him, because of the relationship we once had, from duty and financial constraints, but it is hard

((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
 

SherwoodSue

Registered User
Jun 18, 2022
402
0
This is so sad. You know your own children best but I would tell them. I would say this is 100 percent due to the dementia ( I know you are oscillating between believing this and not believing it yourself, which is natural)
I say this because it is a very lonely place to be as a carer. I think they need to know what you are wrestling with.
They will struggle with their own relationship with their dad moving forward. A picture of him as an unfaithful man won’t help.
I don’t think you should have to face this alone.
 

SR70

Registered User
Aug 20, 2022
19
0
Thank you to you all for your replies and advice. Hard, hard situation and canary really hit on the head, by saying about staying because of duty. My kids are 16 and 21, and this situation is hard enough as it is without adding his affair and shattering their (already) diminished memories/feelings of their dad. Plus he really can’t live / function without me anymore. My only way / the way I’m dealing with it by telling myself that is isn’t forever. One day, I know I will find happiness again. I do feel like I’m having to put love and happiness on hold for now for his sake and the sake of my kids, but i also know that this is a cruel condition and he will deteriorate as the next years go on. This may sound heartless but then again he broke my heart. He was the most loving, selfless and caring husband and this is so unbelievably out of character. But he did it. I’ll never forgive him even if Alzheimer’s is somewhat to blame for it but it’s good to hear other people’s experiences even just to normalise things for me. So Thankyou
 

SR70

Registered User
Aug 20, 2022
19
0
does he see this other woman?
Do you know her?
I am surprised he remembers - for someone who appears to have such a rational discussion about it,I dont think i'd attribute it to his illness

sorry x
No - she lives no where near us. I don’t think he’s seen her for at least a year. He’s not been intimidate with her since 2020, although he was texting her from
6 months ago which is how I found out about the affair
 

SR70

Registered User
Aug 20, 2022
19
0
Hello @SR70
That must have been heartbreaking

Unfortunately, this sort of thing is not unknown in people whose dementia starts in their frontal lobes. This is the area of the brain that deals with decision making, emotions and character rather than memory and if the dementia starts here then the first symptoms are these characteristics turning awry.

My OH did not have an affair, but he did develop an obsession with porn which I only found out about when I discovered that he had secretly obtained, and been using, viagra - not for use with me, I might add. I also discovered him openly masturbating around the house and garden (and we dont live in an isolated position...... ) and that his email account was stuffed with scam mail, many of them from people wanting to be his "girlfriend". It may be only the erectile dysfunction that prevented him from having an affair. I dont know. I just know it was unbelievably hurtful and destroyed our relationship. Like your husband, it was totally out of character.

Did your husband get "blunting" of his emotions? It is common with frontal lobe problems and its something that OH got. He appeared to me to be cold and distant, but he was convinced that it was me that was like that. I often wondered whether he thought that if he looked elsewhere for his pleasure then he would be able to feel something again. I sometimes read on here posts from people who marry their divorced "soulmate" and then discover within a very short time that they have EOA or FTD and it does make me wonder.

Do not doubt that his behaviour was due to the dementia. This sort of thing happens before anyone realises that they dementia and it just feels like they have morphed into a different person. OH has progressed since then. He is now very dependant on me and can no longer use a mobile, ipad or computer, so things have settled down, but the love has gone. I stay because I once loved him, because of the relationship we once had, from duty and financial constraints, but it is hard

((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
Thanks and thanks for sharing your experience - I relate to so much of it…….
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
4,238
0
Victoria, Australia
Thank you to you all for your replies and advice. Hard, hard situation and canary really hit on the head, by saying about staying because of duty. My kids are 16 and 21, and this situation is hard enough as it is without adding his affair and shattering their (already) diminished memories/feelings of their dad. Plus he really can’t live / function without me anymore. My only way / the way I’m dealing with it by telling myself that is isn’t forever. One day, I know I will find happiness again. I do feel like I’m having to put love and happiness on hold for now for his sake and the sake of my kids, but i also know that this is a cruel condition and he will deteriorate as the next years go on. This may sound heartless but then again he broke my heart. He was the most loving, selfless and caring husband and this is so unbelievably out of character. But he did it. I’ll never forgive him even if Alzheimer’s is somewhat to blame for it but it’s good to hear other people’s experiences even just to normalise things for me. So Thankyou
I think your first duty is to your children as they are still growing up and facing a difficult time in their lives. Whether you tell them about your husband’s affair is a decision you don’t have to make now. Should it seem necessary at some time in the future to tell them, do so then. He may let something slip but perhaps it would be kinder to them not to rock their already unsteady boat if it’s not necessary.
 

SR70

Registered User
Aug 20, 2022
19
0
I think your first duty is to your children as they are still growing up and facing a difficult time in their lives. Whether you tell them about your husband’s affair is a decision you don’t have to make now. Should it seem necessary at some time in the future to tell them, do so then. He may let something slip but perhaps it would be kinder to them not to rock their already unsteady boat if it’s not necessary.
Thanks for your message. Yep, my kids emotional state and welfare (and I suppose my husbands too ironically) has to be my priority. It’s a feeling of being totally trapped, but as I said, I tell myself it’s not my forever. Telling them now would change their view on their dad who had always been loving and hands-on, so I’ll sit it out, do my best Oscar performance and somehow get through it…
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
24,699
0
South coast
It’s a feeling of being totally trapped, but as I said, I tell myself it’s not my forever. .......... <snip> ............... I’ll sit it out, do my best Oscar performance and somehow get through it…
I understand. I did not lightly choose my avatar and signature.
((((((((((((((((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))))))))))))
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
4,238
0
Victoria, Australia
Thanks for your message. Yep, my kids emotional state and welfare (and I suppose my husbands too ironically) has to be my priority. It’s a feeling of being totally trapped, but as I said, I tell myself it’s not my forever. Telling them now would change their view on their dad who had always been loving and hands-on, so I’ll sit it out, do my best Oscar performance and somehow get through it…
My husband and I had been discussing separation during the months of his dementia testing when he had a cardiac arrest at home. That really did change everything and I knew that financially, it was in my own best interests to stay so we are still here. That was almost ten years ago.

Nobody expected him to survive ten years with the state of his heart but I understand perfectly what you say about feeling trapped. My guess is that you are also feeling a huge amount of resentment and that will take quite a while to resolve, if ever. Funnily enough, it was COVID lockdown that helped me come to terms with my situation as I no longer had any choice and I could no longer blame my husband for our predicament.

I know people talk about forgiveness being good for the soul but I don’t think I will ever understand that concept and I for one wouldn’t feel too forgiving of your husband either.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
81,208
0
Kent
It`s so hard to read of so much suffering by carers whose lives are so often overlooked.

Being a carer is difficult enough but when there is a historical betrayal either pre dementia or pre diagnosis there is no way any wrongs can be righted.

I know I`m not saying anything new.

My husband was awful with me leading up to diagnosis. There were words rather than actions but they were cruel and hurt.

It was only once he had lost all insight and paranoia we were able to resume a loving and caring relationship but I daren`t look back too much.
 

SR70

Registered User
Aug 20, 2022
19
0
It`s so hard to read of so much suffering by carers whose lives are so often overlooked.

Being a carer is difficult enough but when there is a historical betrayal either pre dementia or pre diagnosis there is no way any wrongs can be righted.

I know I`m not saying anything new.

My husband was awful with me leading up to diagnosis. There were words rather than actions but they were cruel and hurt.

It was only once he had lost all insight and paranoia we were able to resume a loving and caring relationship but I daren`t look back too much.
Thanks for your message. I know you’ll get me when I say, I feel like life is cheating me now. I’m 52 and I’m sadly wishing things to get worse quickly before I get too old to make my life number 2. (Not that I ever imagined in my wildest dreams I’d be thinking like this) thanks xxxxxx
 

Silversally

Registered User
Aug 18, 2022
71
0
It seems to me that dementia often changes a person’s basic character, so I do think it is the Alzheimer’s which has caused the change in your husband. My husband never lifted a finger around the house, has never cooked or used the washing machine, for example. Now he is over-grateful for everything, offers to help all the time but when he tries to help gets things wrong and makes more work for me. He had an affair a few years ago before he showed any symptoms and had had relationships with married women before I met him. I decided not to leave him when he ‘finished’ the relationship with the recent woman, just because it seemed easier for family and financially for myself (my father always told me I take the line of least resistance!). Now I find myself overwhelmed with resentment and have difficulty being sympathetic or even kind sometimes, I am ashamed to say.
 

SR70

Registered User
Aug 20, 2022
19
0
It seems to me that dementia often changes a person’s basic character, so I do think it is the Alzheimer’s which has caused the change in your husband. My husband never lifted a finger around the house, has never cooked or used the washing machine, for example. Now he is over-grateful for everything, offers to help all the time but when he tries to help gets things wrong and makes more work for me. He had an affair a few years ago before he showed any symptoms and had had relationships with married women before I met him. I decided not to leave him when he ‘finished’ the relationship with the recent woman, just because it seemed easier for family and financially for myself (my father always told me I take the line of least resistance!). Now I find myself overwhelmed with resentment and have difficulty being sympathetic or even kind sometimes, I am ashamed to say.
Thanks for your message. It’s definitely good and less isolating to know I’m not alone with the situation. I googled Alzheimer’s and affairs - the only results were to do with the carer having an affair! What a stage is your husband at now? And I agree with all you are saying, it’s sadly easier (family and financial )and less stress to just sit this out although I also agree it’s so hard to always show sympathy when I resent what he’s done (plus he has ruined us financially too with his poor decision making / or lack of financial ability over the last few years without me even knowing, although this is a result of his Alzheimer’s so I try to be less resentful about that ). Is it wrong that what gets me through is dreaming of what my future can be one day?
 

Silversally

Registered User
Aug 18, 2022
71
0
We are older, me 78 and my husband 74, it was the title of this thread which caught my eye. There is just a chance that some of my husband’s symptoms may be caused by Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus - we are seeing a neurologist this week for his opinion. Treatment may help some of his symptoms. But he seems to reject anything which might help - exercise, puzzles, drinking more water etc. so I am not hopeful.
I am so so sorry your husband has caused financial problems and made life even more difficult. That is one problem we don’t have as I was able to catch it early -he was ordering large amounts of wine, for some of which he was paying storage!
It is in no way wrong for you to dream of happier times, you must grasp anything which helps you through this.
 

SR70

Registered User
Aug 20, 2022
19
0
We are older, me 78 and my husband 74, it was the title of this thread which caught my eye. There is just a chance that some of my husband’s symptoms may be caused by Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus - we are seeing a neurologist this week for his opinion. Treatment may help some of his symptoms. But he seems to reject anything which might help - exercise, puzzles, drinking more water etc. so I am not hopeful.
I am so so sorry your husband has caused financial problems and made life even more difficult. That is one problem we don’t have as I was able to catch it early -he was ordering large amounts of wine, for some of which he was paying storage!
It is in no way wrong for you to dream of happier times, you must grasp anything which helps you through this.
Thanks for your kind words. He’s 55 and we were (I thought) at the point where financial freedom, kids about to leave school in a couple of years etc were the next stage of our lives. I’m sorry to hear what you’re also dealing with. Thanks for your support x
 

SR70

Registered User
Aug 20, 2022
19
0
This is so sad. You know your own children best but I would tell them. I would say this is 100 percent due to the dementia ( I know you are oscillating between believing this and not believing it yourself, which is natural)
I say this because it is a very lonely place to be as a carer. I think they need to know what you are wrestling with.
They will struggle with their own relationship with their dad moving forward. A picture of him as an unfaithful man won’t help.
I don’t think you should have to face this alone.
Thankyou for your message x
 

SR70

Registered User
Aug 20, 2022
19
0
It seems to me that dementia often changes a person’s basic character, so I do think it is the Alzheimer’s which has caused the change in your husband. My husband never lifted a finger around the house, has never cooked or used the washing machine, for example. Now he is over-grateful for everything, offers to help all the time but when he tries to help gets things wrong and makes more work for me. He had an affair a few years ago before he showed any symptoms and had had relationships with married women before I met him. I decided not to leave him when he ‘finished’ the relationship with the recent woman, just because it seemed easier for family and financially for myself (my father always told me I take the line of least resistance!). Now I find myself overwhelmed with resentment and have difficulty being sympathetic or even kind sometimes, I am ashamed to say.
Thanks again got sharing - it’s good to hear other people’s stories. Can I ask what stage if life you’re both at? (ie still kids at home etc). How long has your husband had Alzheimer’s for ?