Q: My mother lives with me and I care for her. This causes tension between my husband and me and has put a strain on our marriage. Can caregiving to lead to divorce?
A: Caregiving can be extremely stressful, so much so that full-time caregivers are actually at increased risk for depression, health problems and substance abuse. It can cause relationship conflict as well (especially when one member of a relationship feels neglected).
Keep in mind that any disruption in a longstanding family pattern—a disruption of the "family system"—can be difficult for everyone, including the care receiver.
It may be a good idea for you and your partner put aside time to talk about your relationship (the positives as well as the negatives), and get your difficulties out in the open. Sharing your concerns with a trusted friend or clergy can help as well. Arranging to see a marital therapist might also be helpful, if both partners are willing.
Dr. Mary A. Languirand, PhD is a clinical psychologist who co-authored "When Someone You Love Needs Nursing Home, Assisted Living, or In-Home Care."
Read her full biography