This has nothing to do with the feelings you may, or may not, have after first sex. That was the big concern when you were a kid. And for today’s kids, if they don’t have first sex pretty soon, they will, in fact, "not love you tomorrow."

For you who remember the tune by the same name, it’s not about the tune.
What we are concerned with here is a very serious and somewhat depressing thought: What will you, or your new mate, do if either of you become seriously ill? This is a dilemma that has been around before you ever were born and it was there when you were married if you were married.

A spouse has the biggest obligation to stay by your side “in sickness and in health, till death do us part.” Yet we all know someone who left before that death part. Plenty have left for reasons having nothing to do with health, but for those who leave when the other one is down and on the way out, that’s looked upon as immoral. If you take pledges seriously and believe in contracts (verbal or written) and if you are just a good soul, you should stand by your man/woman in most cases, but especially when they are ill.

In the case of dates, are we held to the same standard? As everything in life, it all depends. Things are relative. If you went out on one date and have plans for next Saturday night, your need to become a caretaker for this person should they become ill before Wednesday is limited to, “Gee, I’m sorry to hear you came down with Alzheimer’s disease, and I’ll be seeing you around.” You hang up and it’s all over. Hopefully they won’t remember you.

How about the case where you have dated for a year and set the date of your marriage? Now you have a tad more responsibility. However there are many, and I would even venture to say a whole lot of people in that situation who would jump ship.

If you’re in a committed relationship, and your mate becomes terribly ill, you have some soul searching to do, and it’s not going to be easy. You are in love, we would suspect, and as such, you are supposed to be there for this person and not be so concerned with your own personal needs. Yet there is no contract and you can walk away if you so desire.

I wish I had the answer and didn’t just give you a bad thought about a serious subject. When you fell in love with that other person (your ex) you never had any intention of leaving them nor they you, but life went along a path that had you at each other’s throats and one of you jumped ship, didn’t you.

Becoming a caregiver can be one of the most difficult challenges, yet also be a rewarding experience depending upon the way you handle the task.

The actual decision as to whether you will stick around has to do with several factors that determine how you respond to a calamity with your mate. It is a combination of the depth of your love, your capacity for dealing with adversity, your morality and sense of responsibility, your self-interests, the type of infirmity, your wealth or lack thereof that would allow you to provide care with less stress upon yourself, and the amount of time you have known your lover.

All of these foctors come in to play and it’s never easy to know how you would respond to a tragic infirmity. Many of you will be dealing with the likes of breast and prostate cancer, diseases that can be disfiguring and life altering. Some will have to contend with terminal illnesses that could can last for weeks or go on for years. Mental illness can drive you mad, and I’m not talking about the one afflicted with the mental illness.

These are just some things to consider. Don’t dwell on the subject as it can be depressing. And whatever you do, don’t bring up the subject with your lover unless you are going to tell them that no matter what ever happens to them, you will be by their side. If you can’t tell them that, you will ruin your relationship, it will end, and you won’t have to worry about this anymore.

One of the nice things about long term relationships, as in twenty year or longer especially when married, is that the mate usually stands by when an infirmity strikes.

• Observer (2012/07/24 11:24)
This is why "committed relationships" should progress to commitment or be of a more casual dating 'thing' so each person knows that if illness or other problems come up the expectations are not great. Maybe phone calls to offer support and an occasional visit but not the obliigation one would have to a spouse.
• Mystery Dater (2012/07/24 01:48)
Great comment on a difficult subject!

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