My partner is his Mom's caregiver - I feel terrible.

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First of all, let me tell you I admire you for your efforts and your dedication towards the loved one you take care for.


Second, I ask you to be patient with me because english is not my main language and I may write something silly.


I've been in a relationship with my boyfriend for the past 5 years. When I met him he told me his mother had had a stroke the prior year and that she now had dementia as a sequel.


At that time she was living with my boyfriend's brother in another state, but after one year in our relationship he decided to bring him to live with him. We weren't -and aren't- living together, but things changed so much.


His mother is not in critical condition, she is not in imminent danger, so he leaves her in a nursing home while he's at work, and picks her up once he gets out. I'm the one who has to be driving aroud the city to see him, sometimes I pick him up from work, sometimes I go to his house, and whenever I ask him to go where i am (which is not very often, only when I'm sick or really busy), but he almost always finds an excuse to cancell the plans.


When we are together we can't even go to the store -literally- down the street without him asking her if she wants to join us, which bothers me because if she says no, he is OK with not taking her. This makes me feel she has an option, but I don't.


I really do understand the fact that he's willing to make his mom's life as comfortable as he can and that i'm not his first priorityHe has made it clear if we do not accept the house and live in it until he's dead he will never speak to me again. I am losing sleep over all of this and I have cried a thousand tears over the stress., I accept it and don't ask for something different, the problem is, I feel like when he tink's of our relationship, on us as a couple, he thinks of three people, not only two.


Whenever I try to talk to him about this, about how I feel, about what we could do to improve our relationship without him having to stop taking care of his mother, he tells me I dont understand and dismisses everything I say.


Now I feel I can't ask him for more attention because his mother's sickness really is a difficult task for him, but in the process, i've come to accept that my problems and my needs are less worthy of his attention. I've put myself aside for so long that when he does something to spend some time alone with me, even if it is only one hour, i feel like he's doing a hughe thing for me and I shoul be grateful for that.


I don't want to get tired of this, I really want to be with him. I've been patient and understanding, but I don't know for how long I will be able to keep on being so. I know many of you, as caregivers, will be able to give me some advise.


Thank you very very much.

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Read Oedipus Rex.

I think he's sending you a message but your receivers are turned off. If you're getting the impression there's an abnormal relationship from what he's said about their relationship when his mother was healthy, I really suspect he's telling you not only where you stand but that he has a relationship with his mother that will transcend any with a potential partner, GF, or wife.

He's giving you signals but you're not listening.

Now I really can't believe that this woman is healthier than you are and he's treating her like she's an invalid? That's even more of a message to you.

I'm sure there are others who've fallen for someone who isn't interested in them; it's hard to recognize that but the sooner you do the sooner you can move on.

And I really do think you need to examine, perhaps with the help of a therapist, why you "love" someone who isn't interested in you and is giving you strong signals that his healthy mother is more important.

Mama's boys sometimes never grow up.

That is, unless you want to be in a position of following around someone who doesn't reciprocate your feelings and seems to be giving off a lot of signals to let you know how he feels.

Redirect your attention before you make a fool of yourself.
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I don't want children. In fact, I have three cats who are like my children, s that's not the issue.

I've thought about the oedipal complex, becasue the way he acts with her now, and the things he has told me about their relationship when she wasn't sick.

She is slowly deteriorating, but phisically, she's healthier than I am.

I can see what all af you are telling me, I've thought about those things before. He's a good person, but I know I deserve better... is just that it is very hard to walk away from someone you love.
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You posted while I was writing my response, so, addressing your second post:

I think there are some more serious issues here, so you need to find out why you "love" this boy and need to be with him when he treats you as he does.

I'm almost choking as I read this:

"if I leave, he will be all by himself." I'm really speechless. Do you see him as your son who needs your care? He's managing quite well without your strong presence, and he's made it clear his mother comes first. So, why wouldn't you consider that he won't be alone - he has mommie to be with him.

If you really feel that you need to be with him so he won't be alone, I suggest you get some counseling as this is NOT a normal male/female relationship characteristic. I'm assuming you don't have children? If you do feel a mothering need, get a pet; they at least love you in return.

You're the only one who change this relationship but if you DON'T want to, no one here can help you.
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If you don't feel worthy of you boyfriend's attention, then he probably realizes this and thinks things are fine. You've been dealing with this arrangement for 4 years? That's pretty amazing. I'm not sure what you see in someone who doesn't get that you should be a priority. How many years are you willing to wait?

I would read comments on this site about care giving for people with dementia. It is a progressive illness and his mom will get worse. Patients lose the ability to walk, talk, chew and swallow. Any chance he will put her in the nursing home permanently? Or explore a Memory Care facility?

If you've been together for 5 years, I would think you could discuss his plans regarding his mom's care, since it is impacting you. If there was no sign that things are changing, I would have to move on. It's not just that he is neglecting your feelings due to caring for his mom, but that he has so little concern for your feelings. To me, that's a big red flag. Some people heed them and others run towards them.
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He won't be all by himself. He has mom.

Get yourself some girlfriends. You need face-to-face therapy. ;) A few girls' nights out, and you'll be asking yourself why it took so long. get busy, girlfriend!
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For someone for whom English is a second language, you write quite well. I am wondering though if the subordination to men is part of your country's male/female relationships. Some countries do still deal with those prejudices.

I totally agree with Maggie. It's not my intention to hurt your feelings, as I suspect you already have your doubts and suspicions. But he's not serious, he's using and exploiting you and doesn't have any intention of anything serious in the short or long run. If you're in the relationship just for companionship, change your behavior and willingness to be available for him.

I think you have to ask yourself what is so attractive about this man who clearly puts you in second place, and from your post, apparently has no serious interest in a relationship.

There have been at least 2 posters that I recall who were in a similar situation. Son took care of mother (and if I recall correctly it was in fact a mother/son relationship, not a father/son relationship). Same situation: the girlfriend was subordinate to the mother, but it was more than that. The boys (and I use that terms specifically as opposed to "men") were devoted to their mothers but enjoyed have the women be available and quite willing to just tag along or be brought into caregiving for the boys' mothers.

Most of the posters who responded gave the same responses as Maggie and I. As I recall, one even wrote a second time asking for advice and was told the same thing again.

Maybe there are Oedipal complexes involved. I don't know enough about your situation to infer that there is, but it's curious that women do find themselves in relationships with men who want a honey on the side while they're devoting themselves to their mothers.

Take Maggie's advice, distance yourself, find other activities and actively look for men in other situations, just as friends.
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I know, I have issues, I can't think of not being with him, and a big part in this -aside from the fact that I do love him- is the idea that, if I leave, he will be all by himself.

Recently I've been doing things for and by myself, and again, I feel guilty for "enjoying" doing things I like because that means not being able to be with him the little free time he has.
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Kick him to the curb. You are wasting YEARS of your life. You say you can accept that you aren't his first priority. I surrrre wish I knew why.

My advice to you is to begin distancing yourself from him. Oh, keep him in your life as long as it's convenient, but get busy meeting other people.

Open up your heart and find someone who puts you first. That's what every single one of us deserves.
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