What would you do? Opening up a relationship due to health problems.

Contributor: GirlOnGirl GirlOnGirl
How do you feel about the following?

I know a couple that has been together for years and the one partner was diagnosed with a serious illness several years ago. It's a long term degenerative illness so the person's health is progressively getting worse although they are not terminal and could easily live many more years. In the years since the diagnosis the sexual aspect of their relationship disappeared and the husband took care of the wife's changing health needs, like taking to dr appts, taking care of things around the house, etc. After years of the the couple being celibate the wife that is ill gave the husband permission to have a sexual relationship with someone else. This includes sex but also some dating things like going out to dinner and stuff like that, so maybe friends with benefits. The new woman knew about the man's situation from the beginning and he made clear to her that he had no intention of leaving his sick wife or prioritizing the relationship with her over his wife's health needs and she was ok with that. It's been a couple years and it seems to be working for all three of them but has got me wondering about the issue in general.

For those that are in committed monogamous relationships or looking to be in one, would you give your partner that option in a similar situation or would you want that option yourself if you were the caregiver? Does the duration matter, for example, caring for an ill partner for 1 year as opposed to 8 years? Would it matter to you if what the healthy partner did with someone else was purely sexual or if they also did nonsexual activities together like going to dinner or the movies? Are there other situations in which you would consider giving your partner permission to become involved with someone else while you were still together?
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Contributor: bayosgirl bayosgirl
I'm an extremely jealous person and can't stand the thought of my partner being with anyone else, sexually or otherwise. Likewise I would feel uncomfortable carrying on a relationship while still involved with my sick partner. I guess personally I believe it's better to leave that person if you can't handle having very little to no sex life. But that's me.. It's certainly better to have the kind of arrangement you described, as long as both partners agree to it, than for one person to go cheating behind the other's back.
Contributor: Alan & Michele Alan & Michele
We've talked about this before and agreed that neither of us would have a problem with the other having an outside sexual partner, as long as it didn't interfere with the emotional intimacy between us.
That said, it would probably be very difficult for either of us to want to become involved with someone else if the other was sick. Even with minor illnesses we both tend to go into overprotective nursing mode with each other.
Contributor: butts butts
If for some reason I couldn't have sexual relations with my partner anymore, I'd definitely ask if he wanted to go to someone else for that. I'm not a very jealous person, and in the end I just want him to be healthy and happy. I don't know if he would even take me up on it, he's naturally very monogamous, he'd probably do anything he could to make sure I was happy and pleasured first.
Contributor: LilVBWifey LilVBWifey
Originally posted by GirlOnGirl
How do you feel about the following?

I know a couple that has been together for years and the one partner was diagnosed with a serious illness several years ago. It's a long term degenerative illness so the person's health is ... more
If I couldn't have sex with my husband, I totally would give him permission. I would just not want to know the details. I would also expect him to give me and his two sons priority. As long as it didn't affect us as a family, I think I would be cool with it. I just wouldn't be able to stand if it led to a real relationship...so maybe I would ask that he stick with hookers, lol. This would be the only instance it would be ok though.
Contributor: PropertyOfPotter PropertyOfPotter
If I was the sick one, I would leave my partner due to guilt and allow him to experience whatever he needed that I wasn't able to give him. If he was the sick one, I would be so consumed in trying to care for him and spend time with him that it wouldn't matter to me if I was unable to have sex. I have toys, my relationship with my husband is far deeper than the sexual intimacy we share. And since it wouldn't be his fault and wouldn't be a situation he wanted to be in, I would be that much more understanding about it.