Relationships are full of tricky rules that can make life complicated for both partners.
When is the right time to start dating after a breakup? How involved should your ex be in your life?
And here's a really tricky one: when your partner is living with a memory condition like Alzheimer's disease, is it acceptable to start a new relationship while caring for them?
That's the scenario B. Smith and her husband are caught in as the lifestyle guru lives with Alzheimer's. Now, her husband has defended his choice to start a new relationship while caring for B.
B. (whose full name is Barbara Smith), 69, once owned a chain of restaurants, published cookbooks, and hosted television shows. She has been living with Alzheimer’s disease since 2013.
While the memory condition can sometimes strike gradually, a new profile of Smith in The Washington Post says she can barely form a sentence six years after her diagnosis, does not recognize herself in old photographs, and relies on her caretakers for everyday tasks.
Last year, her husband Dan Gasby, 64, faced intense criticism from his wife’s fans after revealing on Facebook that he had a new girlfriend. Some accused Dan of bringing his "mistress" into their home, or said he was treating his wife as if she was already dead.
Some have even suggested that B. needs a court intervention to protect the earnings of her media empire from her longtime husband. But Dan has fired back at those accusers in angry Facebook posts about his life with B.
"To the idiots and ignorant people calling for my arrest and saying B is or has ever been abused I only wish someone in your immediate family has Alzheimer’s so you can see feel and experience the pain of millions of people across this country so you can know first hand what it’s like to care 24/7/365 for someone who can no longer care for themselves!" he wrote.
In the new profile, Dan defended his choice to bring the two women under the same roof, and offered a glimpse at his unusual relationship with B. and his new girlfriend, Alex Lerner, 53.
While Dan says he has told his wife about his new girlfriend, she appears not to understand. Today, Smith is familiar enough with Lerner to recognize her as a friend.
Dan also said that his daughter Dana, who was from a previous marriage but raised by him and B., has approved of their relationship.
Not everyone will agree with the couple’s view of their relationship, or the way Dan and Alex rationalize their love life. (After meeting B. at breakfast before her relationship with Dan was serious, Alex decided: "This is not a man cheating on his wife.") But it seems like the couple have genuine love for each other and B.
"What I admire about [Dan]," Alex told the Post, "is that he takes care of her."
And Alex seems to have B.’s best interests in mind.
"If I can be compassionate to her," she said, "if I can do anything for her, it makes me feel good. If it is giving her something to drink or making her something to eat — she loves to eat — I feel good."
[H/T: The Washington Post]