By JUDITH KEELING
All too often, rather than bringing them closer, illness can wreak havoc in a couple's relationship and even cause it to break up (posed by models)
After suffering cancer at the age of 34, Bethann Siviter was struggling to come to terms with the illness, and the terrible toll it had taken on her body.
But at least she thought she could rely on the loving support of Jasper, her husband of 14 years, who had also been her teenage sweetheart.
Yet Bethann — a nurse who now lives near Birmingham — was sadly wrong.
Diagnosed with womb cancer, she had to undergo extensive surgery, which included a hysterectomy.
But Jasper was revolted by the sight of the surgery wound on her stomach, which became infected with MRSA, leaving a large scar stretching from hip to hip, and refused to care for her.
He insisted that she sleep in a reclining chair while she recovered from her operation because he was worried about the wound touching their bed.
Men seem to be much more likely than women to leave a relationship when their partner becomes seriously ill
‘He couldn’t stand to look at my wound. He would leave the room if I got undressed,’ she recalls.
Jasper, a warehouse manager, was incapable of keeping his revulsion private.
‘Even after I had healed, if we ever made love, it was on the condition that he never had to look at my scar.’
Jasper’s behaviour towards his ailing wife may seem callous and superficial to an outside observer, but experts say this couple’s experience is not an isolated case.
All too often, rather than bringing them closer, illness can wreak havoc in a couple’s relationship and even cause it to break up.
And studies show that men are far more likely to leave an ill partner than women.