Feeling all alone is one more layer to being a caregiver.

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When I occasionally go out to a bar or restaurant, I often engage someone next to me in conversation. Often I am with my girlfriend. She claims that I am rude and it appears that I ignore her. But with such a limited social circle as a caregiver, I often feel the need to connect with new people. How can I get her to understand. Or maybe I am rude and selfish.


Well, let's say you are rude. She loves you anyway, right? Or is this a more casual relationship, where your apparent rudeness might keep it from being more than casual?

At a bar or a social occasion where people mingle, I think engaging in conversations with strangers is suitable. But in a restaurant? What do you do, lean your chair over to the next table? Wave someone over? That seems over the line to me.

How about this? When you are sitting across the table from your girlfriend, pay attention to her. This is your chance to have a nice adult conversation with someone who knows and appreciates you. Good change of pace from home, huh? And when you are sitting at a lunch counter or bar with your sweetie next to you, include her in the conversation you strike up with the guy on your other side.

Why even bring the girlfriend if you are more interested in chatting with strangers?

Can you get in your quota of conversations with strangers when GF is not with you? In the produce aisle while you are shopping, maybe? In the checkout line? Selecting a book in the library or bookstore?

I can relate to the urge to talk to someone -- almost anyone -- after being cooped up in a caregiving situation. But if you want to continue the relationship with this woman (or any woman) I suggest you either restrain yourself or include her in the conversations when you are with her.
Dunwoody101 I just looked at your profile because in your question it wasn't mentioned about your care issues.
Perhaps you are expecting your GF to understand what you are in need of when you are out with her. Most of us here know exactly what it means to have "free time" even if it is a peaceful shower, or a phone conversation without worrying about what's happening in the next room with your Mom during your "peace time", LOL never at peace is more like it. Possibly your GF thinks...good, now he's got time for me, and he's talking to strangers???? I get on this site and see those in need and so many thoughts running through my head and want to help everyone. My BF is a quiet guy, a loner, but on weekends he wants my attention and I SsssuuuussssHH him and say "wait".... "I am in the middle of a thought, helping someone" . I think that he must think I have a boyfriend online......I'd rather spend my time helping other's???? I don't even like that this takes my attention away from him. My cat's even act up when I am not focusing on them. As I was typing that my cat put his head in my glass of water... I give them their own glass, it is full of fresh water, but no they want mine.... ATTENTION!!!! Just a thought for you.
Have you considered joining a Caregivers Support Group? I'm a volunteer facilitator for the Alzheimer's Assoc 's Support Group and I can tell you from experience how helpful it is to know you are not alone - that others are experiencing a lot of the same feelings you are. The group is all about listening, sharing, getting information, offering advice. You can check the Alzheimer's Website for support groups in your area, or check with your Local Area on Aging for information. Sometimes the websites for specific diseases will also list support groups in your area ... i.e. cancer.org. Take care and good luck,
arent cats SUPPOSED to have their own glass of water?
Interaction with others is very important, but maybe the time to do that isn't when you are with your girlfriend unless she is completely in tune with what you are going through. I completely understand your need to communicate with others when you are in the situation we are in. Maybe you could find another outlet...as suggested a support group or a church group or a singles group or something. "outsiders" might be sympathetic, but unless someone is living through or has lived through what we are dealing with, they cannot fully understand the need for reasonable, intelligent, adult interaction. Oh, by the way wuvsicecream, I have a bird who wants my constant attention, too, and finds any number of ways to be sure I give it to him! It's the comic relief in my busy, stressful day! Don't you know that Mom's water tastes better? It's the same way with little kids. Even if they have their own whatever it is you are both having, they want yours.
jeannegibbs nailed it on the head. My ex-husband and I had little time to go out and it be just the two of us. He is very type A personality and thinks everyone enjoys talking to him. Believe it or not, not everyone wants to engage in a conversation with a stranger. I believe it is rude to intrude on what may be someone elses valued private escape, not to mention ignoring your girlfriend. She could easily interpret your action as "he would rather be with strangers than with me."

I do not see what you are doing as rude at all. I understand completely how you feel and I realize that my viewpoint might be different as a woman. I am married, my husband is a full-time college student and we care for my mom. We are together all the time and just once in awhile I want to interact with other people. My husband walks our dog and runs errands so he is always meeting new people. It drives him crazy that I want to talk with my friends or just interact with others. He feels like it takes away from his time.

Personally, I see your girlfriend as being a bit selfish and uncaring. I am not trying to be mean, but if she cares about you, she too can interact in the conversation. If she cares she would be respectful of your needs as well, this is one thing my husband does not do well either. He gets paranoid if I talk to another woman or man, which drives me nuts.

I am sorry that others might disagree with me, but I believe as human beings we have become more about ourselves than caring about others. I spend all of my time caring about others and taking care of others, but then I have to take care of me.

As caregivers we have to remember we are no good to those we are caring for and about if we do not take some time for ourselves. If that means interacting with a stranger for 5 or 10 minutes for human contact, then I see nothing wrong with it. In fact, I have done it myself.

For those of you that are mother's your children always want your attention, but if you want to be the best mom possible you will remember to take a moment to take care of yourself.

No caregiver is good to anyone if they do not have a healthy mind, body and spirit so when you have that time for a few minutes you need to take it. For me it could be going to the grocery store on my own, it means quiet time or time to talk with an old friend.

No person can take care of everyone and not themselves and survive. Your loved ones, spouse, significant other, and children will be better off if you take care of yourself.
Good comment, dkjelander. I can relate to what you say, as my husband is gone a lot of the time interracting w/ others on a daily basis. He even admits that, and tells me he wishes I could get more free time. I almost never get a break, because wherever I go, Mom usually goes w/ me. It's not his fault, of course, and I'm glad he gets the escapes that he does. (and I'm working on getting some relief so I get a few more breaks as well.) But I have to say, in support of Dunwoody, it may be as dkj suggested, that the girlfriend is with you much of the time. Same conversations, same experiences, (and this is good, just like being w/ hubby all of time) BUT, when I get out infrequently, I just become immersed in the joy of being with other people. Conversing with new people about all kinds of subjects, listening to music, dancing a bit, is all great for the soul and makes one feel renewed. Husband is with me, but he, too, enjoys chatting with others. Usually it's with people we know who go out with us, but sometimes we get to talking to strangers in those situations, and it's fun and feels so free and such a getaway. So, I agree w/ dkj, you should just talk to girlfriend about it, and as some of the others suggested, just make sure to not turn your back on her during a conversation, and make sure that she is included....asking her questions or making comments directly to her, so that she isn't left out. Maybe she's not as out going as you are, so be careful that she doesn't become a "nobody." That would be unfair to her. She sticks with you with all of your caregiving duties and requirements, I assume. So she shouldn't be treated like a nobody, right? :)
dkjellander really made a very important point when she wrote "No person can take care of everyone and not themselves and survive. Your loved ones, spouse, significant other, and children will be better off if you take care of yourself."
I understand. Caregiving is so lonely at times that I get hungry for conversation from adults who are actually living in the world. I have tried to find support groups in my area with no luck. I guess we are busy taking care of our loved ones so who has time to attend a support group. There are some suggestions here but I am going to start a new thread regarding support groups. May not be the adult conversation that I am longing for but it would be great to have a cup of coffee and vent with others in similar situations. Hang in there...

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