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When I first told one of my social workers that I was planning on starting a website devoted to spousal issues and Alzheimer’s Disease, she sent me an article she thought I could use – "The Emotional Divorce" by the psychologist, Dr. Marvin Fredman. At that time, the subject matter upset me so much, that I was unable to finish reading it. I listed it in the "Articles of Interest" section on the left side of the website, and did not return to it until last week.

Because we have engaged in so much discussion about AD’s destructiveness on the emotional bond between lovers; its expertise in robbing the essence from the spouse we loved; and its proficiency in leaving us lonely and hurting as we try to care for the body that once housed our vibrant, intelligent, warm, loving spouse, I thought it was time to revisit the article and discuss its controversial content. Click here to read the entire article.

To summarize, Dr. Fredman says that when Alzheimer’s Disease breaks the emotional bond between spouses, we, the caregiving spouses, must accept it. We must stop looking to our spouses for emotional support, because we will be continually hurt and disappointed. This emotional stress will hinder our ability to provide the care that they need. He advises us to Get A Life (Nov.6th Blog topic), separate from the one we had with our spouse. He advises us to look for support from others, or find it within ourselves.

We are all at different stations on this AD journey. A year ago, I did not understand what Dr. Fredman meant. I do now, but that does not mean my husband’s disease has yet broken that bond irreparably. It has sometimes stretched it to its limit, but it is not yet broken, and I will hang onto it for as long as it is possible.

Of all the anguish this disease brings to us, it is my feeling that accepting that final break must be more emotionally wrenching than the death of our loved one.

I know many of you have already been forced into the “emotional divorce” by AD.  Some of you have accepted it; some of you have not. I would like to hear your opinion on Dr. Fredman’s article, and tell us how you have handled this situation.

MESSAGE BOARD TOPIC:  The Emotional Divorce

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