Lifestyle B. Smith’s husband is proudly dating another woman while caring for his wife, 69, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Dan Gasby, 64, has been his wife’s primary caretaker since 2013, when she was first diagnosed with the disease. He also is now in a relationship with girlfriend Alex Lerner, 53, he tells The Washington Post.
“If This Is Us and Modern Family came together, it would be us,” he said, adding that the three also live together in the couple’s East Hampton home when Lerner is visiting from Manhattan. Gasby and Lerner first went public in December, to the shock of Smith’s many fans.
“This is really selfish. There are plenty of women who have taken care of their husbands as they have become paralyzed, had a stroke, had Alzheimer’s, and never was it cool for them to take a man and move him into their home so they could be happy [for] the rest of their lives. You obviously are going to do what you’re going to do. The problem is, you want us to agree and clear your conscious [sic]. Nope. But you go ahead and enjoy your side piece on B. Smith’s money,” writes one woman on Gasby’s Facebook page.
Another writes: “Please someone get B. Smith adequate legal guardianship and remove him and the mistress from that house and her banks accounts. This is not the way to honor your wife or marriage. If he’s doing this, he never truly loved her. This is not the lifestyle she would chose for herself. Now that she’s unable to defend herself, he flaunts his resentment towards her after all these years on social media.”
Gasby defended himself, writing: “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! 5-10 years from now when many of you who will have an almost predestined meeting with Alzheimer’s because of genetics, obesity, and a myriad of inflammatory diseases. You’ll be wishing for someone to share moments with and ease the pain of loneliness and despair. I love my wife but I can’t let her take away my life!”
According to The Washington Post report, Alzheimer’s “struck B. Smith at her prime; it ravaged her brain, jumbling her memories, turning her sentences into alphabet soup.
“Not long after, B.’s restaurants shuttered. Her appearances dried up. With Dan Gasby, her husband and business partner of more than two decades, she turned her efforts to speaking about Alzheimer’s and advocating for research. Then, she didn’t do much talking at all.”
Gasby then took over — he took over their Facebook page, updating fans about the daily struggles of caring for his wife. Then, in December, he posted a pic of himself with Lerner out to dinner. He captioned it with a 50 Cent lyric, writing, “Hate it or love it. You can debate, but for me, I’m feelin’ great.”
Smith has come to know Lerner as her friend. Gasby has explained they are in a relationship, but she doesn’t understand.
New York City-based therapist Liz Lasky told Personal Space that people want this to be cut and dry, but the situation is complicated.
“The question that bothers people is ’Is this husband cheating or abandoning his wife during illness?’ Does this have to be so black and white?” she said. “I think some people, depending on their own worldview and values would answer this differently. Some may believe that his wife is not her real self anymore so the answer is no. Some may say that ‘in sickness and health’ includes every single scenario and there is no gray area.”
It raises the question of whether a caregiver should give up all personal desires.
“Does a caregiver deserve to have a life too, beyond the scope of caring for a partner?” Lasky mused. “This is an ethical dilemma. Do you care for a spouse to the detriment of your own sanity and happiness? Do you chose your own well-being over the care of someone else's? The decision is based purely in personal values.”
She said ultimately, people shouldn't judge.
“I urge people to never judge someone else's decisions. We have no idea what it's like until we've been in their shoes,” she explained. “Ultimately, this woman is not abandoned and seems to be well-cared for. If anything, much of his new relationship centers around caring for his wife.”
Credit: Karsten Moran for The Washington Post via Getty Images
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