No, "Dr." Phil #100outof100

My husband and I met online in 2005.  I sold him no soft lies during our courtship:  I'm disabled and need help with every day stuff like bathrooming and showering.  He wouldn't have to be my caretaker, I assured him, he could just be my partner.

But, he wouldn't hear of me having a worker come into our home and assist me.  My care was his job.  From the minute we moved in together, he took on that role.  Thirteen years hasn't changed his mind.
Dr. Phil recently had an episode with a disabled man and his wife (who is his caretaker).  The couple was unhappy.  Good ol' Phil said "One hundred out of one hundred relationships that involve caregiving fail" and told the wife she could either be her husband's caretaker or spouse... not both.

Every relationship involves caregiving at some point.  Sure, the majority of couples only need to help one another in a caretaking capacity for short-term stretches, but everyone gets ill or injured in the decades they hope a marriage will last.  We swear to be there in sickness and in health.

And, when we get old, our bodies begin to fail us on a more permanent basis.  Do we all get divorced when we hit 70?  Dr. Phil says our relationships just can't survive if we have to assist our partners!  I guess anyone needing help for more than a month should either move into a nursing home or set their spouse free.
There is a different undertone to the #100outof100 sentiment if you're disabled at a young age.  It says:  Make sure you have a good amount of caregivers before you look for love or your "happily ever after" is doomed.  It says:  No one will want you if they need to care for you.  It says:  You aren't deserving of love as you are unless conditions are met.

It is difficult enough to put yourself into the dating pool as a disabled person without so-called experts peeing their toxic "advice" into the shallow end.

Not only that, but insisting caregiving is an unenviable burden flowing one way also proclaims disabled people can't be caretakers ourselves.  We can't assist our lovers in different (but just as important) aspects.  A person in a wheelchair can't calm their boyfriend's anxiety.  A father on crutches can't need help from his wife while simultaneously being a stay-at-home dad.
No couple is exactly the same.  For some inter-abled couples, it is best to keep caregiving entirely separate due to uneven dynamics, time requirements, or intention.  But, for others, it is the best decision ever made and never regretted.

"Dr." Phil is an ableist quack whose rhetoric could mess up people's lives.  Shame on the bald little buzzard.


  1. There's no such thing as 100% in this world and using all-or-nothing terminology is a sure way to get me to discount whatever you're selling. Asshole.

    I'm glad you've found someone who cares for you and helps take care of you at the same time.

    1. You know, I've just never liked the guy the few times I've seen his show. There are times he's condescending and rude and just plain nasty. Just because he can't comprehend being a caretaker (and that's his choice) doesn't mean he can dictate what others should do.

      He could really mess up young, intra-abled couples or make disabled people even more gunshy about dating. Ick.

    2. Well, neither you nor I seem to the be the kind of people to value advice from some dude on TV as a basis for making life decisions. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who do :-(

    3. I just hate when people have a position of "authority" and spew nonsense.

      How are things with you?

    4. I'm doing pretty well. Made a transition to a new publisher after getting my rights back, and am very excited to be getting hardback books and audiobooks as part of the new contract. The day job (middle school teaching) is still 80% good (the other 20% is adults). And my family is doing well. If I complain, it's only because I'm spoiled enough to think an already good life should be even better. I'm very lucky.

      How about you?

    5. New publisher?! Who (or can't you tell yet)? Sounds awesome (expanding into different formats)!

      Do you not like teaching adults?

      I'm... okay. Chemo kicks my butt a lot. But, it's necessary.
      I've received nothing but rejections so far this year for my writing. Like chemo side effects, it's something that is supposed to happen. I just wish it would happen less. lol

    6. I'm with Falstaff Books now. I wrote about what happened with the old one on my blog if you want details ( )

      I do like teaching adults, but unless you're a full professor somewhere, it doesn't even pay as well as teaching middle school. The adults I was complaining about in that 20% were parents of my students, colleagues, and administrators. If I were left with just me and the kiddos, we'd be golden most of the time.

      Chemo would kick anyone's butt. But I'm glad you're getting treatment you need. I'm with you on both rejections and side effects. Can we jump to the "happy now afterwards" part?