Life is anything but black and white; rather, it is complex, sometimes messy and sometimes reaches into depths that require the right kind of illumination to see and understand. One question: is she coherent and able to communicate in any way?
The other woman is not the other woman, necessarily.
She might be the loving presence that strengthens the caregiver to give more to his wife, not less, to love his wife out of an abundance rather than stick with her because of a long-ago vow.
I hated the other "women" in his life, and could never understand how they could do what they did knowing he was married. I am still happy but have recently become involved with a married man (go figure) who has a wife in a nursing home.
She has had repeated strokes and is not in the best shape in the world. He has begged me not to let anything happen to what we have. He can't take me places he wants to because he is afraid it will get back to his wife.
I hope your friend can find a local caregivers group so he can share his challenges with others who understand; they may have some valuable advice to share with him.
This sounds like a very difficult situation; I wish you all the best of luck.Each has a different role, the person who suffers the sickness, the mate, the friends, the caregivers, the grown children and sometimes even the consort if that consideration is permitted.With love and communication the often frozen dynamic that often comes with long illness can be be infused with energy and love and move forward to the benefit of all.She has worked in all facets of the medical establishment, including primary care, research, and policy settings at UCSF, Stanford, and Kaiser Permanente.Her current focus at Pathfinders includes crisis management, mediation, and advocacy. I can appreciate what a difficult situation this must be for everyone involved.What deeply thoughtful considerate responses to the other woman's question re: being involved with a married man.