Not sure what to do.

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I have been caregiver to my mom for almost 3 years now. During the majority of that time my girlfriend has been living with me and assisting with exercise, bathing, meals, shopping, etc. Still I shouldered the lion's share of these chores and others because she is MY mom after all. In the course of our relationship we have had our share of ups and downs just like any other couple, however over the last 6 months or so, I have noticed that she tends to be less "involved", almost as though she is a guest. She used to clean up the kitchen after I cook, but that doesn't happen any more. The floors won't get swept or mopped unless I ask her to do it or I do it myself. Trash won't get emptied unless I empty it. As a matter of fact, she walked right past a bag of trash on her way out the door this past weekend!! I could go on about some other things but essentially, I feel as though she could be contributing more since she is practically living here with me. And when I say contributing more, I'm speaking of those daily/weekly things that keep a household going. Not to mention the work to be done outdoors! The things that she does do I am grateful for, but there is so much to do. When we have spoken about these things before, she swears that she is doing a lot more than I give credit for and that she is giving me her all. Unfortunately I'm at the point that I feel like I might as well be there alone and take care of mom by myself. I have no family here so I'm it.

On top of that, mom insists that I pay my girlfriend so I give her a stipend every month on behalf of mom.

Am I being fair? Am I expecting too much from someone who is supposed to be my significant other?

29 Comments

Sounds like you may soon be doing it all alone. Have you told your GF that you are thankful for her help.. or just pointed out the problems? It is not her Mom, and you are not married...so she may feel a bit taken advantage of.. A GF is not a fiancee, have you been clear about the future plans? Maybe she is feeling like unpaid help, even though you do pay her...
Personally, I can't IMAGINE why a girlfriend wouldn't want to care for your elderly mom for years on end.

Maybe you two need to sit down and clarify not only your roles but your relationship. Ya' think?
ralphellis, here's one thing to try... you make a list of all the things you do around the house.... have your girlfriend make a list of all the things she does around the house.... I bet her list is x4 as long as yours.

Women tend not to announce "I washed and ironed all the curtains", that chore gets done quietly and some men forget that is even a chore that happens every few months. Same with other behind the scene time consuming chores such as chasing cobwebs, dusting picture frames, cleaning the floorboards, vacuuming the stairs, washing the basement floor, cleaning the washer/dryer [yep], washing the windows, polishing the furniture [more than just dusting], dusting the light bulbs in lamps, etc... these things don't clean themselves but are overlooked by most men [not all].
Wash an iron curtains? People do that? FF, your message made me tired just thinking of doing all those things. I feel good if I clean the bathroom and kitchen.

Sorry to hijack the thread. I'll go away now. I have to ponder buying some new curtains so I won't need to wash the ones that are hanging.
I'll be a little bit more blunt. I think you have been taking advantage of your GF, even if she's spending a lot of time in the home. Since she's not living there completely, she apparently has her own home or apartment. And she has obligations there.

After 3 years of caring for someone's mother, I'd get my walking stick and leave.

It's difficult and offensive enough when a married man expects his wife to compromise to take care of his parent(s), but when someone who's your SO, that just seems so arbitrary and exploitive to me.

To put it another way, what are you doing for her?

And what exactly are you doing for your mother?

The Cinderella days are gone.

I find your attitude difficult to believe. No wonder your GF is backing off.

Your girlfriend bathes your mother? She does the shopping? Some of the meal prep? She gets a 'stipend', not $20 to $25 dollars an hour that a person from an agency would charge?

It sounds as though perhaps your girlfriend grew a backbone, sir.
If you continue to pay GF a stipend from mom's funds, you'd be well- advised to set up a legal caregiving contract so that this doesn't look like "gifting" down the road. You never know when you might end up having to apply for Medicaid.
Maybe your "lion's share" is too much like a real lion...laying about "protecting" the pride while the lionesses go hunting. Or maybe not. But clearly enough, she's mad as h*ll at you, she does not think you are pulling your fair share, and you are headed for a breakup if you don't get some counseling to help sort things out.
Maybe in the words of Beyonce she is waiting for you to "put a ring on it"

Excuse my pop culture quote :)
Dude, did you step into a pit of vipers here! But hey, Ya know what? They're right. Reverse the situation. Would you do all this stuff for her mother? H*ll, I wouldn't do it long term for my own mother. When it gets to that level we'll be discussing assisted living. I'm a guy BTW. Take a hard look at this if this gal is someone you want to keep around.

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