A patient with a serious, life-threatening illness may be abandoned by a partner at some time during the course of the illness.


Abandonment is more likely:

(1) by a male

(2) if the underyling disease is serious and expected to have a prolonged and/or unpleasant course

(3) the relationship was suboptimal prior to the diagnosis

(4) if there is no economic incentive to stay

(5) if the partners were not married or married for only a short time

(6) if it is not condemned by the culture (no social stigma)


Some reasons why the partner may leave:

(1) Running away the only way that the partner knows how to deal with the intense emotions involved.

(2) The partner is selfish.

(3) The patient becomes extremely unpleasant to be around.


The impact on the patient's quality of life can be significant, with the patient:

(1) feeling rejected and lonely at a time of vulnerability

(2) feeling intense anger or depression

(3) facing significant economic loss

(4) having reduced options for physical assistance


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