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The average heart transplant recipient lives about 10 years on average. I'm 4 years in, and doing well so far. My question is kind of strange. Bear with me...

I was married for 25 years to a woman who was a wonderful mother to our kids, financially responsible with our money, and an overall decent woman. She never lied to me, and was extremely honest. My only complaint was she was not interested in any sex unless the lights were off, and in missionary position. I was willing to live with that, and would've died feeling I had a good marriage. My health struggles started in 2013, and ended up with the heart transplant in 2016. In and out of the hospital over that 3 year period, and living with an artificial heart pump until the transplant. To make a long story short, she started cheating on me when I was in the hospital. She had formed a relationship with a man at her gym, and they had been carrying on for about 3 years. The lies were showing up, and I was in Limbo for a year before I found out what was going on. When I found out, I felt relief and divorced her, 3 years ago. I don't regret that at all.

I didn't date much for a couple years, and finally found a woman I felt I could trust and love. She is half Vietnamese. A wonderful woman, very attractive, kind and supportive, honest, and anxious for a relationship. She likes the way I look and is very open sexually (which I've never had). She understood my health issues, and accepted that she would see me through to the end. Perfect for me, I thought. I was also perfect for her. She came from an abusive relationship, had no money or material things, and her mother passed away a couple years ago and she is very sad about that. I helped her with things she needed, and she was very appreciative. After about 8 months, I noticed some disturbing signs of jealousy, and her need to have everything in her life perfect. She began to get upset when I didn't wash my hands 10 times per day, didn't wear nice shirts to go grocery shopping, and she didn't care for my rescue dog I've had for years because she comes in from outside and I don't wash her feet. I can live with those things, and was ready to do that. But she gave me an ultimatum a month ago, and told me it was her or my dog. With everything adding up, I told her my dog wasn't going anywhere and she had to understand that. Then she left. I felt I did the right thing. There was no need for an ultimatum. She needed to love the man I am, and not the man she hoped I would become. She wasn't after my money, but I wasn't sure how she would treat it when my final days come. All the decisions in her life were made for her by an abusive husband. When she was angry, she became unreasonable. I honestly think she is bipolar. The most amazing, happy and fun woman one day, and the next she throws things and breaks them on the floor.

If I was in my 20's or 30's, I wouldn't be willing to put up with those things, but I'm 57 and and know I won't live to be an old man. But at my age and in my circumstances, I just need a partner and a lover. I've never been happier in my life than when I was with her. I may live another 20 years, I just don't know. I've never felt the love I feel, with any other woman, and can't stop thinking about her. Because of my failure in my marriage, I never knew if I would find a woman that I trust to be faithful, and could fall in love with again. She was who I hoped to find.

Most women aren't looking for a man who has my health issues, enjoys working in the garage, and has a hairy chest. I'll never be on the cover of GQ magazine. But she loved me anyways.

My question: Should I learn to deal with her issues like she is dealing with mine? Or do I walk away from a volatile relationship, and give up the wonderful things I love about her, and hope there's another woman out there who checks all those boxes?
 

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If I were in your shoes I personally would not put up with it as it would likely only get worse and worse. I would find something I enjoy, make new friends, find a fun local bar, and try some high quality hookers ....
 

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Unreasonable and volatile (at times) is not a good recipe for you as your health declines.

On a side note, I'm curious about something. Were there any ''changes'' to your personality after the transplant. Such as a sudden appreciation for a different style of music, or new favourite foods, etc. I read an interesting article about how, sometimes, the preferences/traits of the donor are instilled in the donee. But, I've never known a heart transplant recipient before to ask. No obligation to answer, of course.
 

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No, you should not learn to "deal with" her issues.

Here's the thing, you both have illnesses. Yours is with your heart and hers is with her brain (whether she's admitted that or not).

I assume that you are doing everything possible to maintain your health and get the most life out of your heart as you can, correct? By that I mean you are going to your appointments, taking your meds, not smoking a pack a day, or living off of potato chips and soda.

Your (ex)GF on the other hand, what is she doing about her illness? Is she in therapy? Is she taking medications? Is she actively working on her behavior every, single day? Or is she doing nothing?

Everyone has good and bad qualities and pros and cons. You need to find someone who compliments you and whose "bad qualities" you can live with. Considering you called this relationship "volatile" I'd say you cannot live with those qualities, rightfully so. Her having good qualities does not negate the bad.

No one will check all of the boxes, but you shouldn't settle regardless of how much time you have left. I think it would be better to be happy and alone than spending your remaining years in a volatile relationship. The last thing you need is more stress.
 

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I think you made the right decision. And here's the thing you haven't yet recognized about yourself - you ALWAYS settled. You settled with your wife and her hangup about vanilla sex in the dark, But hey, at least you got sex, right. Could have been worse, you supposed. And I agree, it could have been much worse considering how many people are on these boards because of their sexless marriages. You not only got sex, but you knew what to expect and accepted that.

But ex girlfriend wasn't one to settle for because she was only going to get worse. If she never got medication, which it doesn't seem she would have, then her neurosis was going to drive you crazy more and more, and her demands would never stop. The dog today and what next??? If she ever did get meds, then she wasn't ever going to want sex because that's what those types of medications do to people - awful side effect. So she was not only unpredictable and someone you shouldn't have to deal with in your condition (nobody should in any condition), but an important aspect of life would be missing almost completely.

I can understand how you must feel. It's hard to think you may only have x amount of time and really don't want to spend it alone, in which case the bird in hand is better than not knowing what the bush may or may not yield. So, I can imagine it may be hard. But I think you should have faith that you'll find someone else to settle for. I say that because nobody is perfect. We all settle for each other and hope the best of us is worth tolerating the worst of us. The most you can hope for is you'll know what to expect, and their expectations of you won't be unattainable. Just actively date and someone will come along.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi OnTheFly: I don't really believe there's any truth to personality traits following the heart to donors, but I have to admit there were some small changes that happened with my personality after the transplant. I used to love pizza, any pizza...now I don't care for it much. I have constant thoughts of things I've never thought about before, and some of the passions I used to have are not passions anymore. But I think those changes are the result of the new life I'm having to live, not a result of the new heart. Hope this makes sense.

To everyone else, thank you for your thoughts. I actually know you are right, but I was hoping a whole bunch of you came on to tell me that I should be prepared for the challenges, and that it is worth the extra effort to get a companion in place to solve the lonely issue. A normal 90% good and 10% bad will come with every potential partner, but the 10% in her case is a serious and unstable issue. Thanks again for your clear thinking and advice.
 

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Are either of you willing to compromise so that you still have a relationship but just don't live together under the same roof? Can you keep your dog and only wash your hands in your house when you feel like it but go out on dates with her and wash your hands when you go to her house?

Sounds like you two like each other but just don't see eye to eye as house mates.
 

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The average heart transplant recipient lives about 10 years on average. I'm 4 years in, and doing well so far. My question is kind of strange. Bear with me...
@BHB4408, my Dear Hubby passed away from heart failure in Sept. 2017...he was 59 years old. You may be one of the few who knows what this means: he didn't have congestive heart failure but rather left ventricular hypertrophy that lead to atrial fibrillation. In layman's terms, the muscle of his heart got so big and stiff that his heart couldn't pump correctly and eventually instead of pumping it fluttered and then stopped. We knew for about five years that he was not going to be long for this earth, but of course you never know when that day may be. So in a very unique way, I understand you dilemna and concern here.

I was married for 25 years to a woman who was a wonderful mother to our kids, financially responsible with our money, and an overall decent woman. She never lied to me, and was extremely honest. My only complaint was she was not interested in any sex unless the lights were off, and in missionary position. I was willing to live with that, and would've died feeling I had a good marriage. My health struggles started in 2013, and ended up with the heart transplant in 2016. In and out of the hospital over that 3 year period, and living with an artificial heart pump until the transplant. To make a long story short, she started cheating on me when I was in the hospital. She had formed a relationship with a man at her gym, and they had been carrying on for about 3 years. The lies were showing up, and I was in Limbo for a year before I found out what was going on. When I found out, I felt relief and divorced her, 3 years ago. I don't regret that at all.
I'm sorry she cheated on you, but I'm glad to hear you felt relief and don't regret the divorce. Onward and upward!

I didn't date much for a couple years, and finally found a woman I felt I could trust and love. She is half Vietnamese. A wonderful woman, very attractive, kind and supportive, honest, and anxious for a relationship. She likes the way I look and is very open sexually (which I've never had). She understood my health issues, and accepted that she would see me through to the end. Perfect for me, I thought. I was also perfect for her. She came from an abusive relationship, had no money or material things, and her mother passed away a couple years ago and she is very sad about that. I helped her with things she needed, and she was very appreciative.
See the bolded above? I think this may be where you are having difficulty. In real life, neither one of you was perfect, and although I'm sure you intended that as just a phrase, I think it is a clue. You see, mature life partners do not look at the other and think "They are perfect for me!" It's more like "I see his/her flaws and struggles and you know what? I choose to treat them in a loving way anyway." That's healthy acceptance. If you are searching for the one who will "meet all your needs" or viewing your partner as perfect for you, it may be that you are seeing them as an illusion of what you WANT them to be rather than what they truly are. Just something to get your mind spinning and think about.

...After about 8 months, I noticed some disturbing signs of jealousy, and her need to have everything in her life perfect. She began to get upset when I didn't wash my hands 10 times per day, didn't wear nice shirts to go grocery shopping, and she didn't care for my rescue dog I've had for years because she comes in from outside and I don't wash her feet. I can live with those things, and was ready to do that. But she gave me an ultimatum a month ago, and told me it was her or my dog. With everything adding up, I told her my dog wasn't going anywhere and she had to understand that. Then she left. I felt I did the right thing.
As is fairly typical, a person can be "what you want them to be" for a little while to get you interested, but as time goes by you begin to see their true self. She was showing you more and more of her true self, and I think you did the right thing too--not that a person isn't more valuable than a dog, but rather than she can't be obsessive and demanding to make you into who you are not. Good job!

...There was no need for an ultimatum. She needed to love the man I am, and not the man she hoped I would become. She wasn't after my money, but I wasn't sure how she would treat it when my final days come. All the decisions in her life were made for her by an abusive husband. When she was angry, she became unreasonable. I honestly think she is bipolar. The most amazing, happy and fun woman one day, and the next she throws things and breaks them on the floor.
Having mood swings isn't necessarily the diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder, but it does sound like there was some sort of mental health struggle occurring that would probably benefit from some individual counseling. If she was being demanding and obsessive now, it's likely she would be that way be even worse as your symptoms worsened, so I have a little rule: when someone shows you who they are...believe them! She may not have been a gold-digger but she instead might have resented the "mess" of having to care for a sick partner.

If I was in my 20's or 30's, I wouldn't be willing to put up with those things, but I'm 57 and and know I won't live to be an old man. But at my age and in my circumstances, I just need a partner and a lover. I've never been happier in my life than when I was with her. I may live another 20 years, I just don't know. I've never felt the love I feel, with any other woman, and can't stop thinking about her. Because of my failure in my marriage, I never knew if I would find a woman that I trust to be faithful, and could fall in love with again. She was who I hoped to find.
Nope. You hoped to find a woman who you felt you could trust and love, whom you thought was attractive, who was kind and supportive and honest and interested in relationship with you, who found you attractive and was a willing sexual partner. You hoped for a woman who understood your health issues and accepted you as you are for whatever days you may have left. BUT you also hoped for a woman wasn't jealous, wasn't an obsessive clean freak, let you wear a t-shirt and jeans now and then, and was a dog person.

See, @BHB4408, you are who you are--whether you are in your mid-20's and in perfect health, or you are in your later 50's in declining health. You are allowed to have boundaries about what you do and do not want in a life partner. In addition, you may have been happy with her, but could part of that happiness have been because you "looked past" her flaws and poor treatment, or justified it by saying to yourself that you deserve it? She was a very good lesson for you...a great life lesson. After a 25 year marriage, you felt like your marriage failed (you used that word), and you didn't know if you would ever love or trust again. NOW YOU KNOW! You CAN love again! You can feel that "butterflies in the stomach" feeling (although we all know that real Love is not a feeling, right?)! You can trust again! She taught you a lot and was a great encouragement because now you know! But she was not "life partner" material for you. And that is okay.

Most women aren't looking for a man who has my health issues, enjoys working in the garage, and has a hairy chest. I'll never be on the cover of GQ magazine. But she loved me anyways.
Most men aren't looking for a woman who's husband just recently passed away. Most men aren't looking for a little hobbit of a woman. Most men aren't looking for someone who had been unfaithful in the past. Most men aren't looking for a stubborn woman with a mind of her own. But here I am, a married lady. Because I'm not worried about "most men"--I found ONE MAN who was looking for a cuddly, funny, gentle-hearted, understanding lady and we found each other. Just because this one didn't match doesn't mean that someone else won't! Thankfully you learned she was not a good match before becoming married and legally entangled. Good job!

My question: Should I learn to deal with her issues like she is dealing with mine? Or do I walk away from a volatile relationship, and give up the wonderful things I love about her, and hope there's another woman out there who checks all those boxes?
Well...I think you are good as you are. You are a smart, intelligent, fairly good looking fella with a dog--what more could you ask for? :p No other woman is going to "check all the boxes"...but it is reasonable to say "I appreciate that she dealt with my issues, but there were some issues of hers that were dealbreakers for me." That is okay. I personally vote for staying "as is" and letting her go. Then, see if you can't have a wonderful life right now, as your own man, and enjoy your dog. Maybe you'll find another lady at a dog show for mutts.
 

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@BHB4408, my Dear Hubby passed away from heart failure in Sept. 2017...he was 59 years old. You may be one of the few who knows what this means: he didn't have congestive heart failure but rather left ventricular hypertrophy that lead to atrial fibrillation. In layman's terms, the muscle of his heart got so big and stiff that his heart couldn't pump correctly and eventually instead of pumping it fluttered and then stopped. We knew for about five years that he was not going to be long for this earth, but of course you never know when that day may be. So in a very unique way, I understand you dilemna and concern here.

I'm sorry she cheated on you, but I'm glad to hear you felt relief and don't regret the divorce. Onward and upward!

See the bolded above? I think this may be where you are having difficulty. In real life, neither one of you was perfect, and although I'm sure you intended that as just a phrase, I think it is a clue. You see, mature life partners do not look at the other and think "They are perfect for me!" It's more like "I see his/her flaws and struggles and you know what? I choose to treat them in a loving way anyway." That's healthy acceptance. If you are searching for the one who will "meet all your needs" or viewing your partner as perfect for you, it may be that you are seeing them as an illusion of what you WANT them to be rather than what they truly are. Just something to get your mind spinning and think about.

As is fairly typical, a person can be "what you want them to be" for a little while to get you interested, but as time goes by you begin to see their true self. She was showing you more and more of her true self, and I think you did the right thing too--not that a person isn't more valuable than a dog, but rather than she can't be obsessive and demanding to make you into who you are not. Good job!

Having mood swings isn't necessarily the diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder, but it does sound like there was some sort of mental health struggle occurring that would probably benefit from some individual counseling. If she was being demanding and obsessive now, it's likely she would be that way be even worse as your symptoms worsened, so I have a little rule: when someone shows you who they are...believe them! She may not have been a gold-digger but she instead might have resented the "mess" of having to care for a sick partner.

Nope. You hoped to find a woman who you felt you could trust and love, whom you thought was attractive, who was kind and supportive and honest and interested in relationship with you, who found you attractive and was a willing sexual partner. You hoped for a woman who understood your health issues and accepted you as you are for whatever days you may have left. BUT you also hoped for a woman wasn't jealous, wasn't an obsessive clean freak, let you wear a t-shirt and jeans now and then, and was a dog person.

See, @BHB4408, you are who you are--whether you are in your mid-20's and in perfect health, or you are in your later 50's in declining health. You are allowed to have boundaries about what you do and do not want in a life partner. In addition, you may have been happy with her, but could part of that happiness have been because you "looked past" her flaws and poor treatment, or justified it by saying to yourself that you deserve it? She was a very good lesson for you...a great life lesson. After a 25 year marriage, you felt like your marriage failed (you used that word), and you didn't know if you would ever love or trust again. NOW YOU KNOW! You CAN love again! You can feel that "butterflies in the stomach" feeling (although we all know that real Love is not a feeling, right?)! You can trust again! She taught you a lot and was a great encouragement because now you know! But she was not "life partner" material for you. And that is okay.

Most men aren't looking for a woman who's husband just recently passed away. Most men aren't looking for a little hobbit of a woman. Most men aren't looking for someone who had been unfaithful in the past. Most men aren't looking for a stubborn woman with a mind of her own. But here I am, a married lady. Because I'm not worried about "most men"--I found ONE MAN who was looking for a cuddly, funny, gentle-hearted, understanding lady and we found each other. Just because this one didn't match doesn't mean that someone else won't! Thankfully you learned she was not a good match before becoming married and legally entangled. Good job!

Well...I think you are good as you are. You are a smart, intelligent, fairly good looking fella with a dog--what more could you ask for? :p No other woman is going to "check all the boxes"...but it is reasonable to say "I appreciate that she dealt with my issues, but there were some issues of hers that were dealbreakers for me." That is okay. I personally vote for staying "as is" and letting her go. Then, see if you can't have a wonderful life right now, as your own man, and enjoy your dog. Maybe you'll find another lady at a dog show for mutts.
Well done and very thoughtful 👍
 

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I'm sorry to hear it didn't work out. It sounds like she didn't conquer her demons.

The people around us can be assets or liabilities. When you're in a situation like you are, it's natural to look for support but you have to be realistic about whether you're just collecting liabilities.

This will probably sound dumb to those who aren't dog people, but you rescued your dog and I bet were rewarded with absolute loyalty and love. She was likewise in a jam and you helped her out, and her reaction was to come between you and the dog.
 

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You are 57 year old. At that age - heart transplant or not - we all know that life can be cut short anytime. Try to do what you enjoy, find your own peace, and there still might be a great woman out there for you, who won't make you to throw away your dog.
 

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No, go be happy. She will continue to cause you surprise unhappiness. Whatever you do, don't get rid of the dog! You will regret that.

I am just a bit older than you. There are tons of women out there. Good women. Many of them are not looking for a big deep romance forever, they are just looking for a good person to spend time with now. I think you will find someone pretty quickly that you enjoy being with.

Don't sell yourself short. Don't settle with this crazy woman either!
 

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@BHB4408, i'm your age and while i think i am healthy and do all the right things there is no guarantee i will out live you, while you have a potential expiration date on your heart that you have been told the rest of us don't really know when ours will come up. Its not something i think about every day but i also realize that i am not going to live forever, and nor do i really want too. What i am saying is this we all have a finish line, when the race is over the race is over, what matters is the quality of life you have before you get there, don't accept table scraps, there are a lot of women who carry less baggage and woudl rather spend their life with some one who has a new heart that is warm and inviting.
like Tim Mcgraw says "live like you were dying" put together that bucket list and start checking them off, some you will do alone, some you will do with your dog and some you will do with someone who wants to be with you and your dog.
 

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Hi Affaircare; I'm so sorry for your loss, and so happy you found your man.

Thanks to everyone else too. I feel bad for leaving a woman who's had such a tragic life. I really felt good that I could be a man she's never had before. My parents loved her, and my dog loved her a lot. I do think she has minor mental issues, and I agree that asking me to give up my loyal dog was simply not right. My dog (a pit-mix named Kimmy) actually was there for me after my divorce, and she's a very sweet and loving partner. As you suggested, I told my GF that my dog was part of me and needed to be accepted. I'll finish by telling a funny (tragic) story. The night everything blew up, my GF cooked a very nice Chicken Curry dinner for us. We had a nice dinner, and decided we needed some ice cream to finish the night. We ran to the store to get it. She (we) left the Chicken Curry in a pot on the stove-top. While we were gone, Kimmy jumped up on the counter, lifted the lid off the pot, and ate the remaining meal. Chicken Curry was strung all over the kitchen. Kimmy had never done that before and it was surprise for both of us. My GF worked so hard to prepare the meal, and now it was dripping down the cupboard and on the floor. I felt terrible, and told her I would take her out to her favorite restaurant when they opened up again. She was Ok with that, and things settled down. Watching a movie, and she flipped it off and said we needed to talk. That's when the ultimatum came. The Chicken Curry incident will go down in history as the straw that broke the camel's back. I also feel bad about laughing at it now, but I think it happened for a reason. It allowed me to see that she was unable to handle a tragic incident. There will be more tragic things that happen in the future, and I don't want to crash her life any more than it is.

I've told her that I'm here anytime she needs encouragement or help. I truly did love her. I'll leave it at that, and pray she find a peace in her life.

Thanks again for all your kind words to me.
 

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You were seeing the real control-freak her by the time she left. Not much there to lose. And don’t be surprised if she tries to come back (that wouldn’t be a good idea at all — she would make your life Hell if you caved).

The obvious truth is that none of us know how much time we have left. Get out there and find someone who’s not a control freak — and loves your dog.
 

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OP, I get the impression that while your dog is probably a nice, loyal dog, she may be poorly behaved.

Could this be the case? Is there any chance Kimmy could get some training?

While I'd never ask a guy to give up his dog a poorly behaved dog would be problematic for me. Jumping on the counter and flipping a pot if food is poor behavior.

I just wanted to address that because while it does sound like this woman had other issues, a poorly behaved dog will not go over well with anyone. Sweet and loving doesn't mean well behaved.
 
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