DEAR ABBY: I'm a 72-year-old married woman. My husband has atypical Parkinson's and can no longer talk or walk.
I exercise six days a week, but I need someone to talk to, to share life with. I tell my husband what I do each day, but of course, there is no feedback. He's at home, and we have 24-hour care.
Can I date? If I explained to him how I need companionship, he might agree. But am I being selfish? This has been going on for six years. I figure I have only 10 productive years left -- maybe fewer. I feel like my life is over. Please help me. I feel like I'm dying. -- REQUIRES COMPANIONSHIP
DEAR REQUIRES COMPANIONSHIP: I think it would be not only selfish but cruel to tell your husband you need companionship and want to seek another relationship. How would you feel if you were in his position, unable to walk or talk, and he said that to you?
If ever I heard of a person who needs to join a support group, it is you. The American Parkinson Disease Association (apdaparkinson.org) can help you locate one. The toll-free phone number is (800) 223-2732.
As to my giving you permission to date, that's something that should be between you and your conscience or higher power, not Dear Abby.
P.S. Couples who face this kind of diagnosis should have this conversation in advance.