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Eric and also Tami Reeves pose because that a portrait in Germany. When they started dating, Eric"s wife, Gaye, to be living in a nursing house as a result of early-onset Alzheimer"s disease.Christoph Hardt/ugpix
It’s really complicated.

You are watching: Dating a married man whose wife has dementia

In December, Dan Gasby, the 64-year-old husband to previous model and also restaurateur B. Blacksmith ignited a firestorm as soon as he common a picture of himself through his girlfriend, Alex Lerner, on society media v the inscription “ ‘Hate that or Love it!’ You have the right to debate, yet for me I’m simply feelin’ great!”

Gasby, a former TV exec, has actually been caring because that Smith since she to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2013, and his revelation the he additionally has a girlfriend elicited harsh criticism from she fans. A Washington write-up piece published last mainly profiling the family and also their life in east Hampton, NY, sparked additional outrage, however Gasby defends his connection with Lerner.

“I to be doing what my mam asked me to do: living my life. I deserve to still treatment for B., and likewise have joy thanks come Alex,” that told “Today” top top Wednesday. That also detailed that not every one of the reactions have been critical. “For as many negative comments that I have actually received, I also have heard from people thanking me for shining a irradiate on a complex marriage v a partner as caregiver.”

Taking care of a spouse through Alzheimer’s or other species of dementia “can take it a major emotional, physical and also financial toll,” Ruth Drew, director of information and also support services for the alzheimer Association, speak The Post. “Compared v caregivers of civilization without dementia, double as numerous caregivers that those with dementia indicate considerable emotional, financial and physical difficulties.”

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Dan Gasby (right, in background) and also Alex Lerner (left) have actually sparked outrage v their relationship. Gasby’s mam B. Blacksmith (center) has actually dementia.Karsten Moran/The Washington Post/Getty Images

To cope, part caregivers uncover support in the form of a romantic companion — together Eric Reeves did v his now-wife, Tami, when they first started date in 2007. Eric’s wife at the time, Gaye, remained in a nursing home with alzheimer after gift diagnosed through the condition in her 40s. Eric to be depressed, drinking, riding his motorcycle recklessly and also not monitoring his diabetes. His daughter saw just how much ache he was in — for this reason she collection up an online dating profile for him.

“She hated see him prefer that,” Tami, 56, says.

A few minutes into their date at a Starbucks in Colorado, whereby they lived at the time, Eric, now 66, explained his situation to Tami. A nurse who thrived up through two deaf parents, she was sympathetic and also supportive.

“I was drawn in by his sadness,” she says. “There was an immediate attraction between us.”

Their relationship evolved as Gaye’s condition deteriorated. Tami frequently visited Gaye in the education home, frequently on she own, never explaining who she was. Gaye to be non-verbal and in a wheelchair at the point, however Tami says she refrained from reflecting Eric affection in former of his wife after she as soon as saw a glimmer of jealous recognition in her eye.

“When she looked up in ~ me, she acted prefer she wanted to acquire up and beat the crap the end of me,” Tami recalls. “I simply remember emotion like, ‘There’s other in over there that’s quiet recognizing miscellaneous here’ . . . From climate on i would never ever let her view me sitting beside .”

‘I to be doing what my wife asked me come do: living my life.’

Gaye passed far in early on 2010, and also Tami and Eric married six months later, in ~ his daughter’s urging. The pair now lives in Germany, whereby they moved in 2013 for Eric’s occupational as an electrical engineer top top a military base. Tami claims Gaye will always be a component of your lives, and also she wrote a publication she self-published about her experience referred to as “Bleeding Hearts.”

“I have actually a picture of her in the house right now. I’ve constantly included her,” she says. “I don’t feel choose she is separate from us.”

Nadine, a medical experienced caring for her husband v Alzheimer’s in north Carolina, to know some could criticize her decision to online date, yet she doesn’t care.

“You deserve to judge every you want, but until you’ve been in my shoes, ,” claims Nadine, who decreased to offer her last name for privacy reasons.

Her husband to be diagnosed v early-onset Alzheimer’s two years ago at age 64 v no family history. To process the devastating news, Nadine check out up top top the an illness and its assorted stages — and resolved that she i will not ~ let she husband’s diagnosis mean the finish of her life. Initially, the couple made take trip a priority, visiting Hawaii, new Orleans and also elsewhere. Yet this previous November, the became evident that his disease had progressed rapidly and also travel to be too much for him. So, Nadine took an additional step to preserve her happiness: She began online dating.

“I’m 56, I know my husband’s gonna die,” claims the mom of 3 sons in your 20s. “I really just sat down and said, ‘I require an adult relationship. I must talk to somebody.’ Girlfriends are an excellent . . . I need a real connection.”

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Portrait of B. Smith in the 1990s.Anthony Barboza/Getty Images

For the previous month, she been consistently seeing a gentleman in his 60s that she met online and also who lives around 45 minutes from her. They gain together in person once a week and text in between.

“He’s very supportive and understands my situation . . . Ns was faithful transparent my marriage up until point, so the wasn’t an easy decision, however for me to have actually a life, I essential ,” states Nadine, who’s found small comfort in support groups, as most civilization her age have parental — not spouses — with Alzheimer’s. “ is no the man I married in any kind of way, form or form. The is in ~ the point now whereby he phone call me ‘mom.’ ”

While her brand-new relationship is in its early stages, she’s hopeful about where things could go together she proceeds to treatment for she husband, whose problem is easily deteriorating.

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“We may obtain two years, 4 years, it’s just going to acquire worse,” she says. “Some job it’s difficult to it is in happy, but I try to always smile and also find the good in the situation. Part of that is looking after ~ me.”

If you, or a loved one, room struggling v Alzheimer’s disease, visit ALZ.org, or call the 24/7 helpline at (800) 272-3900.