During this Valentine's Day week, a question: Does the vow "in sickness and health" still count if one spouse is too sick to remember the other? That’s an emphatic yes for me, but some see the marriage vows as, well, not so absolute. At least that is what I’m taking away from Dan Gasby, husband of former model, restaurateur and TV host B. Smith, so successful at one time she was dubbed "the black Martha Stewart." Now 69, Barbara, “B.” Smith suffers from early onset Alzheimer’s, diagnosed in 2013.

In the earlier stages of her illness, she and Dan went public to raise awareness about the disease. They wrote a book, “Before I Forget,” and went on tour touting their enduring love story. In a video to promote the book, we see the two of them snuggled close together. Both spoke candidly about the everyday realities of the memory-robbing condition. And Dan was passionate about the particular toll the disease takes on African-Americans and black women over 65. B is just as gorgeous as ever, a little slower, but vibrant and engaged. Reaching for her husband’s arm, she looks into the camera and says, “I have a true rock,” then, breaking into sobs, adds “my best friend.” That was then.

Two weeks ago, The Washington Post published a lengthy story about the couple’s new reality. Dan still cares for B in the East Hampton New York house they share. But one of the rooms in the house is reserved for his new love, Alex Lerner, who is 10 years younger and white. Alex stays over when she travels from her Manhattan home. In heartbreaking detail, the Post story describes the often-confused B. who doesn’t always know who Dan is and thinks new girlfriend Alex is a friend. This was not a Washington Post investigation — Gasby revealed it all on the couple’s Facebook page, ending with the hashtag #whylie.

His defiant declaration raced around the internet, reaching me through multiple emails and texts. Those who sought my feedback knew that early onset Alzheimer’s devastated my family, and especially my mother and father. My parents were a couple’s couple — they held hands, he called her "sweetheart," and she called him "darling." And when he reluctantly agreed with my sister and me that it was too much for him to care for her at home, he visited her in the nursing home every single day. So yes, I am appalled and angry by Dan Gasby’s actions. It’s bad enough that his trysts take place in the home of the woman who built the empire, which provided the house. And worse yet that he saw fit to shout his infidelity to the world. I don’t have enough words to articulate this gross disrespect.

Dan Gasby and B. Smith’s story not only struck close to home, but it also made me think about the millions of other marriages which will likely come apart because of Alzheimer’s. And as disgusted as I am with Gasby’s flagrant philandering, I understand that caretaking is hard, painful and lonely, and human emotions are what they are. But I also know mature men and women can control their behavior. Alzheimer’s is the long goodbye, sure enough, but the incapacitated B. Smith shouldn’t have to endure a publicly cruel ending to her love story.