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FIELD REPORTIn Sickness and in Health (self.RedPillWomen)

submitted by SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor

"...to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part."

These are standard marriage vows that we are all familiar with. But without years of experience or closely observing the marriages of relatives, many of us do not understand these vows beyond a theoretical level.

I am not married, but I have been with my boyfriend for 4.5 years and for a long time have treated the relationship like a marriage. I have never taken those vows, but I do approach my relationship with that seriousness. Some of you may know from my post history that my boyfriend has been extremely ill for the past two years. I will not get into the medical details, but this effectively meant that right after finishing his Master's, he had to move out of our apartment back in with his parents, was in unrelenting, excruciating pain, and was almost completely bedridden for the majority of that time. I decided from the beginning that I wanted to stick it out with him and that I had faith in his ability to pull through despite no diagnosis from the multitude of doctors he's seen. He has been improving significantly for probably six months, but this post is about the experience of staying with someone who is at their physical and spiritually most vulnerable and what it taught me.

  • You quickly learn how committed you are

Everyone around me expressed surprise and either serious judgement or praise at my staying with him, commenting that most girls would have left at the first sign that he wasn't getting better. This came as a surprise to me, because I had been approaching our relationship as a permanent fixture in my life. This also proved to him that I meant to stick by his side.

  • You learn how you both deal with stress

During this whole situation, usually he was far more composed than I was. He would have occasional flares of anger and impatience as well as a fair amount of detached suffering, but usually he tried to keep his mind off of the pain and act as normal as possible. I, on the other hand, was a wreck for a while, randomly bursting into tears and panicking, often leaning on him for emotional support (which he didn't always have to patience to give me). Eventually, I learned that I needed to develop stress-relief and coping mechanisms that didn't dump on him. I took daily walks, got a new hobby, called my friends and home more often, and even took to taking time alone to just cry and let it all out once a week. It was much easier to deal with the stress of watching someone you love suffer when I had these coping mechanisms.

  • You get a crash course in nurturing

I am not a mother nor do I have younger siblings, so a lot of this was new to me. His mom did help to take care of him, but I did most of the nursing during this entire time. I brought him food, made sure he took pills on time, brought him changes of clothes, emptied pee bottles (luckily he was always able to force himself out of bed to do the more serious business), took him to doctor's appointments, wrote letters to disability officers, and even gave him a sponge bath one time. I would sit by his side and scratch his head or back to calm his nerves for hours on end. I genuinely never minded doing any of this because I love him and knew he was doing his absolute best to make it through. I also had the challenge of not shaming him for needing these things, because of course his masculinity took a huge hit during this time.

  • You witness the sick person's level of perseverance and optimism (or lack thereof)

He has put on an insanely brave face this entire time. 95% of the time he simply withstood the pain and was convinced that he would beat it and not let it get the best of him. This encouraged all of us around him and let on to the vast levels of endurance and strength he has as a person. I truly believe that this allowed me to continue to respect him and hold him in the highest regard rather than losing respect for him like RP theory would probably have predicted.

  • You learn that ultimately your choices are up to you and that you don't have to justify yourself to anyone

As I mentioned before, I got both judgement and praise for staying with him. Many people thought I was far too young (23 when it began) to be dealing with this, and while I agreed at the untimeliness, I wasn't about to throw away the relationship because of it. I used to care a lot more about what others thought of my relationship, but through this process I learned that my choices were my own, and not everyone needs to understand or agree with them.

Side note: if any of you have read my post history, you might have been under the impression that we had broken up. At the time I was suffering from serious mental health issues and was not exactly in touch with reality. I will not get into the details, but that too has since been resolved.

Edit: Thank you to the overwhelmingly positive comments! I just wanted to share what I've learned, and y'all have been so supportive.


[–]loneliness-incEndorsed Contributor 18 points19 points  (2 children)

You're a hero!!!

I say that as someone who's been extremely sick in the past for long periods of time (mostly before marriage).

Most people really don't mean it when they take this vow. They're agreeing to the health and riches part, not the sickness and poverty part. That's reality.

This is aside from the fact that not all religions view marriage as a vow, some see it as a bond or maybe something else.

Your post is beautiful.

[–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Oh wow, thank you so much! As corny as it sounds, I was just following my heart. It hasn't been easy, but it has been worth it.

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Most people really don't mean it when they take this vow.

I do! I came to the USA from Australia in 2009, to be with and marry my then wife. I knew that she was will, with end stage renal disease, but I didn't care, I was driven to make her life better and build a life for all of us.

The next 6 years were an emotional roller-coaster to hell and back. In and out of hospital, dialysis clinics, many health crises and midnight rushes to the emergency room were part and parcel of our marriage. I just knuckled down and ploughed through the issues. All the while I was fighting to get my green card, so I could get my IT career back on track and support her financially, as her only income was disability.

Finally in 2014 after moving interstate to a new job, I was just on 6 figures and her health was stabilising, but... reality decided to come crashing in. My late wife had a major bout of medical complications, in and out of the ICU 4 times in early 2015, until she passed on the 28th March. Only after this time did I found out the cause was her addiction to opioid painkillers, as she was on major pain management medication, which she hid from me.

During all this time I was trying to hold down my software engineering job, manage the house, take care of her beloved fur-kids (Her Chihuahuas, and being there for her by her hospital bed side. So sleep was a luxury and I ended up of a host of anti-depression, anxiety and ADD medication just to cope.

Now... two years on and I'm back at the gym, advanced my career to significantly over 6 figures and maintaining the home we bought together. However as I'm now 46 I'm in that creepy old man category, so pretty much any women doesn't give me a second look. Oh, just ignore the fact that I'm 6'4", solid physique, descent job as previously noted with a LOT of assets that my late wife and I accumulated... nooooo, I'm not in that magic 22 to 38 age group so... sucks to be you!

[–]RedPillWonder 9 points10 points  (1 child)

You are a shining example of a woman that so many men are looking for!

And your boyfriend is incredibly blessed to have you in his life.

You've also given him a beautiful gift that will last a lifetime. A lot of men may wonder what happens if they were to lose it all...

No finances or hope for a future? ...will she leave? Health challenges that are so serious that can use up years and often at great personal sacrifice of time, stress and personal turmoil (even challenging her own personal health and sanity) ....how long before she takes off?

But sometimes, there's a woman who stays.

Imperfect in various ways? Sure.

But one who loves. Who made a commitment to a man and keeps it. One who's faithful and dedicated and does what needs to be done (and often it's the unsightly, unrewarding, uncomfortable stuff no one likes talking about) that can go on and on. Not just days and weeks, but months and years.

And your man truly and deeply knows what kind of woman he has. Not from head knowledge, or hoping you're like this, but from experience. Not one who only says the right things, but does them. Indefinitely. What a beautiful, and amazing gift you've given him.

In addition to all of the many actions (both small and great) that has made up this gift. He will never have to wonder if you're there for the money that is made in the future, or only if his health is superb, or any number of other what-if's.

You cannot put a price on this and I'd imagine the finest writers struggle to adequately express the beauty of such a woman.

You, SouthernAthena, are her.

Thank you for the post.

Thank you for inspiring and helping other women who may read this.

And thank you for the example you've set.

I mean no offense if you're not a believer, I pray and ask God's greatest blessings on you and your man and future family, and in all that you put your hand to or involve yourself in.

[–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Wow! Thank you so much!

[–]teaandtalk4 Stars 7 points8 points  (2 children)

This is an interesting field report, thanks for sharing!

Just a note, and please don't take this the wrong way:

At the time I was suffering from serious mental health issues and was not exactly in touch with reality. I will not get into the details, but that too has since been resolved.

If you were in anyway out of touch with reality, I'd caution you against considering anything 'resolved'. Serious mental illness, reality-bending mental illness, is a long-term proposition - it's almost like cancer, you can be in remission but you can't consider yourself cured until a long time after the fact. Make sure that, while you're being a carer for your partner, you're also taking care of yourself :)

[–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Yeah, I guess when I say "resolved" I meant "addressed and vastly improved." And this past year has been a serious wake-up call in terms of needing to care for myself! I ended up moving home for awhile myself to address this.

[–]teaandtalk4 Stars 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Okay, awesome! And happy cake day.

[–]Throttl 3 points4 points  (1 child)

You have an apparent mindfulness and compassion that is deeply moving to witness in your words. I remember reading your comments about your partner in the past. It is clear his improvement is significantly deserved. Felicitations to you.

[–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Oh my gosh, thank you! It is such an overwhelming relief how much better he's been getting.

[–]throwawayabay 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Really wonderful to read your relationship story.

It's unfortunate how so many men and women nowadays are unable to comprehend and cherish true commitment in marriage, much less in a dating relationship. I hope for a joyful future for you both going forward.

[–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thanks so much!

[–]natrahhh 2 points3 points  (3 children)

Everything aside , what is his condition? He's obviously still alive and there are methods to those who know what to do to heal rather than just prescribe pills.

I want to help if possible from my research and knowledge

[–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 1 point2 points  (2 children)

We still don't know what's wrong with him. We have our theories, but that's about it.

[–][deleted]  (1 child)

[deleted]

    [–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Wow! That is amazing. I'm so happy for you and your son. I will definitely look into that. Did you use crowdmed, and if so, did it help? We're still working on the doctor who will listen part, but his mom and he have been doing countless hours of research. That's the one department I haven't been much help in, but neither of them are working, so they had much more time to do so.

    [–]trumpolina 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    I have no words for this, it was simply beautiful and heartwarming to read! You are a lovely person!

    [–]perrierwoof 1 point2 points  (1 child)

    I loved reading this post, because my boyfriend suffered a job loss last year, and although he's not sick it's very similar. A lot of women would leave, and we both found out how we both deal with stress. He was similar to your boyfriend in that he was very stoic and put on a brave face. I feel like knowing we can both stick it out during a time of distress shows that our eventual marriage will be strong.

    Thank you for your post!

    [–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    You're more than welcome! And yes, losing a job takes a similar toll on a relationship and on a man's sense of his worth and masculinity. He will truly appreciate your commitment, and it will strengthen your relationship! Knowing that you can both cope and still support each other is huge.

    [–]lidlredridinghood 1 point2 points  (1 child)

    Wishing you health and balance.

    You're beautiful, and I hope I would be as loyal.

    [–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    For the right person, I'm sure you would be.

    [–]sd4c 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Keep a journal or write a long letter about what's happened. So that your bf can read it when things are rough and realize your devotion... and so can your kids/grandkids

    [–]OgusLaplop 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Having had to face my wife's health challenges over the last 8 years or so, I understand you perfectly.

    I will tell everyone however, that you do not know how you will react until you are actually tested. So I do not listen to other people's opinion one way or the other and I will not judge anyone else who cannot stay for the long-haul.

    For me and for you it seems, your reaction was visceral & innate.

    I hope you and yours good health and all happiness. You will have earned it the hard way

    [–]tempintheeastbayEndorsed Contributor 1 point2 points  (1 child)

    What an amazing beautiful inspiring post. I hope to show the same loyalty and resolve if illness ever strikes in our future. Your partner also sounds like an incredibly stoic individual.

    [–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Thank you! He is an amazing stoic, yet still manages to be sweet and empathetic. I feel very lucky to have him.

    [–]tuyguy 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Wishing you guys all the best. You sound like an absolute gem

    [–]MsVerleihnix 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Awesome.

    that too has since been resolved

    It shows through in your writing. And yes, resolved might not be 100% ok again - but it does not need to. It means it is no priority and all is running smoothly.

    [–]V1SoR 0 points1 point  (4 children)

    I'm curious to hear how TRP explains situations like these. According to AWALT, hypergamy is supposed to kick in and force the OP and other women like her to go and find something better (that's pretty easy when you're dealing with a seriously ill guy). Sometimes that doesn't happen. My best guess would be that it's maternal instinct, which is presumably stronger than hypergamous urges, but would be nice to hear what others think, and whether this contradicts AWALT (personally I don't believe in it, but for other reasons).

    Btw, OP, don't get me wrong, but since this isn't the most politically correct sub, may I ask: are you attractive? Do you actually have options? I just want to make sure that you're sticking around with your fella by choice.

    [–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 0 points1 point  (3 children)

    Haha no, I can understand your question. Yes, I am attractive (7.5 according to Hot or not if that means anything), I'm personable, I cook, I clean, I play the cello, I have an IQ well above average, and I've been told I'm funny (and by people who are definitely not trying to sleep with me). Not saying I'm perfect, but I could easily go out and find someone else without trouble. The thing is, it wouldn't be him, so I doubt I'd be satisfied. That has been a challenge of this situation though, because this whole experience has been very trying, so the times when he wasn't able to emotionally support me at all and we couldn't have sex for months on end, I was certainly tempted to take up offers I was getting. But I avoided any close calls by never being alone with other men. May seem extreme, but it works

    As for TRP theory: I guess you could say that for the most part, he "held frame" most of the time with the way he handled it. He also jokes that I'm "Alpha Widowed," though of course we are still together, so that's not entirely true. Also I have had good examples of loyalty set for me by my parents, as they went through a similar situation when I was very young, although they were married and it was my mom who was facing illness.

    [–]V1SoR 0 points1 point  (2 children)

    He also jokes that I'm "Alpha Widowed,"

    Does that mean he is also RP aware?

    And I'm struggling to imagine how you can hold your frame in such a state when you can't even have sex for months. I admire that he was able to do it with you though. I'm sure there's more than his attitude to it however, you're probably just more loyal/attached than an average girl. Undoubtedly a great and a rare quality in a woman.

    Most girls from our generation would dump a guy for much less than that. Your willingness to work on your relationship instead of cheating and nexting the guy shows a good power of will and, as you said, a higher than average intelligence.

    [–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    Yes, he is RP aware. We were both red pilled by life around the same time, and then he found the actual literature and introduced me to it.

    And I've sort of stopped trying to analyze too much why I'm staying, ya know? At the end of the day I want to stay, so whether this is pro RP or anti RP or makes me naive and stupid or makes me a saint, I don't really care.

    [–]V1SoR 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    And I've sort of stopped trying to analyze too much why I'm staying, ya know?

    I would advice against that. Never stop reminding yourself why you're there. Your mind works differently. Guys always remember the good memories when considering a break-up (or after it), girls do the opposite -- i.e. focus on bad memories (coping mechanism). So for guys it's easier to stay where they are and be grateful for what they have.

    If you stop reminding yourself, one day you might "realize" that you don't believe in soulmates and unicorns, or that you "missed out" etc. People change, you're not immune to that.

    [–][deleted]  (3 children)

    [deleted]

    [–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 0 points1 point  (2 children)

    Wow, Hashimoto's is an esoteric one! Did Crowdmed even get within the realm of the actual diagnosis?

    [–]gloopgloop22 -2 points-1 points  (1 child)

    I don't think you know what that word means, nor is it rare.

    [–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    I do in fact know what the word means, but I was under the impression Hashimoto's was very rare. Evidently it is not.

    [–]nonthaki 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Women don't rescue a sinking ship unless there is some gold in it. Thankfully, there is and was some gold in your ship.

    Anyway , nothing new to learn from this post.

    You can try and imagine if he would have done all this for you, if it was you who was in bed, and especially if you were whiny.

    [–][deleted]  (2 children)

    [deleted]

    [–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    Sounds very intriguing! I will definitely take a look. Thank you!

    [–]Tootenbacher 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Good luck to you and your boyfriend.

    [–]4skinlicker 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    My OBGYN is refusing to refill my birth control prescription unless I make an appointment. I'm over here like "I just saw you back in 2015". And the nurse is calmly explaining that I'm supposed to go every year?

    I'm in my early 20s and I don't have kids (not planning on it either). I just don't feel like my vagina is changing enough to go every year, but w/e.

    [–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Not sure how this is relevant to the post? But yes, you are supposed to go every year.