Pat Robertson, who's clearly never seen The Notebook, said this week on his Christian Broadcasting Network program the 700 Club that it's acceptable to divorce your spouse if they're suffering from Alzheimer's. Robertson was responding to a caller who said a friend had started seeing another woman after his wife started suffering from the disorder. "I know it sounds cruel, but if he's going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her," Robertson said. When his cohost, Terry Meeuwsen asked about the vows "for better or for worse" and "in sickness and in health," Robertson replied, "If you respect that vow, you say `til death do us part ... This is a kind of death."
First of all, I have never seen the Notebook and have no idea what it is about. I also have absolutely no idea who this Pat Robertson (non-US resident here, obviously) is. Probably a "bad person" because this quote is presented in such a negative way.
I don't really see the problem in this quote. Of course, it is horrible, and tragical. But based on what I've been reading about cheating here, most jezzies think it's unacceptable, and that if it's gonna happen, one should divorce. Is it different because the spouse has alzheimer's disease? Emotionally yes, but technically, the other person isn't a guardian, and therefore not obliged to take care of the other person. And, once the disease takes over the person, it is absolutely not the spouse's task to take care of that person unless they want to.
I am aware that this sounds heartless and horrible, but it's just the theory laid out.
And yes, alzheimer's (developed) is almost like death. I worked three summers on a psych ward for old people/ house for old people. With alzheimer patients. I was only a teenager back then, but one thing was shockingly clear to me right away - if I'd ever get alzheimer's, I would probably commit suicide. It is such a horrible and sad illness. The pain it brings to close ones, relatives, is unbearable. I knew of several cases where the children of patients could simply not bear to visit their parents because the pain was too much. It might be easy to dismiss this as selfish, but try putting yourself in that position.