Legally Blind and Married – The Sighted Spouse

by Maurie Hill on August 17, 2011

Picture of a couple getting married and the groom placing the ring on his bride's fingerHere on the Ai Squared blog, we spend an awful lot of time discussing living life as a visually impaired person with all of its struggles, strategies, and successes.  And with organizations such as the NFB , AFB, and local blind agencies, we certainly have a lot of information and support at our disposal.  But what about our spouses?  They drive us around, read us restaurant menus, act as our unpaid personal travel agents, and get interrupted to fix our computers among other things.

I often complain (even if it’s just to myself) of how incredibly long it takes me to do simple things because of my poor vision.  But I never gave much thought to the added burden, responsibilities, and time taken from our respective spouses as they coordinate their extra transportation and grocery shopping duties.  We have our cool techno-gadgets and information sharing blogs like this to keep us on track, but is there any emotional support for our spouses when they get discouraged and overwhelmed?

I Googled away, not expecting much results on this subject and was delighted to discover how wrong I was.  AFB started a message board a few years ago called Help for Sighted Spouses which is simply flooded with heart-wrenching tales from the sighted spouses’ perspectives. The words “overwhelmed” and “guilty” were pervasive.  It even spawned another blog, Support Group for Spouses & Partners of the Legally Blind where sighted spouses can compare notes and give each other helpful ideas and encouragement.  So I’m calling on all sighted partners and spouses to share your thoughts here of what it’s like to live with us!  Or start making your own connections to others from the links above where you are allowed to vent a little.  I’ll try not to be nosy and look to see what my husband has to say about me.

  • Cgettel

    I’m telling your hubby to use an alias!

  • Tamborsharon

    It is good to know that fully sighted people can accept and love those of us with severe vision problems.  Sadly, I have found that too many pre-judge us, and therefore stay away.  In different cultures those of us with disabilities lack the opportunities for love, romance and career, that exist in the USA.

  • Bob

    I am a sighted spouse and my wife of 37 years is totally blind. I have never felt overwhelmed or guilty and I am not sure what I would feel guilty of.  After 37 years we still walk hand in hand and if she had sight we would probably not hold hands as we walk. We have 4 children and she quit work and stayed home for 10 years until the youngest one started school, then she went back to work full time. During the day, she looked after the children by herself and we never had a nanny and grandparents lived too far away to help.  We go shopping together and that meant the six of us going shopping until the oldest one was old enough to babysit.  My mother had good vision but never learned to drive, so my dad took her shopping every week so it seems normal to me that I take my wife shopping.  I do help around the house and it is a lot easier for me to sweep the floor than her because she took the long handle of the broom and got down on her hands and knees to make sure she swept the whole floor and didn’t miss any spots.  As we walk around the neighbourhood I see lots of women cutting the grass and if my wife cut the grass, I would be deprived of the exercise and just sit and watch more tv.
    When  my daughter was in grade seven, a classmate asked her what it was like having a blind mother.  Her answer was that she didn’t know because she never had a different mother to compare her to.  My wife was a member of the PTA and president of the PTA for several years as well as president of the local horticultural society and she also volunteers for the local Garden Club, the crochet club and the local fair.
    Now I realize that I should feel guilty because I never worked as hard as my wife either in the home, at work or in the community.

  • Gail Desnarais

    This discussion is just what I need right now! My husband, who is quite a bit older than me, is dealing with Macular Degeneration. I feel that depression is also getting in the way of his continuing to lead somewhat of a normal life.
    Is anyone dealing with this elderly attitude? By this I mean, rude, selfish, and downright nasty? I know his world is changing daily, but I am at wits ends!

  • Tamborsharon

    I understand your feelings and those of your husband.  I was diagnosed with MD in my mid 40s.  I became very dispondent, depressed. angry … not very nice.  Only after I started attending rehab in Colorado did I begin to understand that there is life after blindness.  Sixteen years later I still miss some of the things I used to do.  But I am OK.  I live independently with my dog guides.  Life could be a lot worse. 

  • Alvinraycole

    In 2002 i was told that i was legally blind i was about 40 yyear old and i was the best at what i did on my job.in wish i had been on for 27 years but my hole world just seen like it did not exist anymore i took everything out on my wife because she was the one working now and i thought that my working day were gone.but there was light at the end of my darkness i am now owner of my business and work to built.

  • aflyte

    I would like to get in touch with aflyte i read your comment just today which you posted on 2/2/2009 and boy do i feel like you i tried to look at your 69 replies but couldnt find them if you get this message then please contact me on my email address treetree51@hotmail.co.uk theresa xxx

  • Mike Svensson

    Hello everyone, i have a friend who was also blind but after prophet dibia prayed for him, he received his sight. He has his life back. You can contact prophet dibia via his mail. prophetdibiayesufu@outlook.com. Goodluck

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