Personal relationship suffering when you are caregiver.

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Mom had sudden critical illness in June. Lost my job, about to lose home and now my boyfriend tells me he is preparing for the end of our relationship bc he is convinced I will move in with my oarents( out of state) and he is not good with long distance relationships. I chose to take care of mom and understood I would lose my job, I just did not expect boyfriend of 6 years would let me down. Mom is getting better everyday and I have been home for visits since June. I am going home this week for a few days to see boyfriend and check on house. Boyfriend told me not getting his hopes up bc my life lately has been roller coaster. I do not expect to move in with parents, I am just here helping them get over the hump and get a care plan together and looking at possibility of them moving closer to me. Help, it's just been my dad and I providing 24/7 care, we have started getting sitters in and getting more help in soon. It's an honor to take care of my mom but I am burnt out need a break. I am not sure if I should even see boyfriend or just break it off. He was the only stable thing I had left and this has been hard in both of us. He has been supportive and also very worried about me, he took 10 days off work to come and see me, but due to moms illness and another stay in hospital , he did not come. Mom has altered mental status so she is never left alone in hospital. Help


This is total armchair quarterbacking, but it seems you have sacrificed far too much of your life for your mother. Your job, losing home, boyfriend? That's crazy. You have to place yourself first. You cannot sacrifice everthing in your life to care for Mom.

If she needs to be in care find a facility for here. If she does not have funds apply for medicaid. If you don't get help you will be going down with the ship very soon.

I'm not scolding here. Some people seem to make a conscious decision to devote their lives totally to the care of their elders. If you are one of those people then carry on as you are but understand that it will be a full time job and then some....
Thank you for the reply. This was a sudden critical illness and she has never been sick a day in her life. It is a big adjustment for all involved. My plan is to be here until everything in place which should not be much longer . I am devoted to my parents but they do not want me nor will they allow me devote my life to them as caregiver. My question is about boyfriend try to reassure him or just let him go bc I have not been away from that long and I am in a little shock that he said that
Oh, I see.....That's tough to answer. I guess you have to make some judgements as to your level of commitment, his character or lack thereof, and is the relationship worth the effort. He sounds like a decent guy, took time off work etc. but it can be difficult when one half the team is Mia often.

I'm a 60 yr old guy btw. There are lots of women active on this forum who will have better insight than me. Hang around and I'm sure you will get some good advice and disscussion.
Mookie, do you mind if I ask how old you are, and how serious are you about your BF? Six years is a long time to be dating; do you feel you want a long term relationship with him, or is it kind of a higher level of a best friend, good buddy relationship?

I ask because how you feel probably will govern how you discuss the situation with him, as well as the loss of stability which it seems he provides. After reading your post a few times, it seems as if he's in the triad of losses - job, home and BF.

You're facing some major crises and loss not only of economic support but of stability on several fronts. Any one of these losses is enough to destabilize anyone, but the loss of your BF is something that can be controlled on a more personal level, whereas the loss of income and a home are more complicated because of the employer, financial institution, etc. They're more bureaucratic and less responsive, in other words.

But BF may not be, so the question is what is he really thinking?

Thus I'm wondering if his potential departure could be a reflection of a few or mother of these issues:

1. He's serious about commitment but doesn't see how it could work if you moved, although you've stated you aren't going to. Thus, what's the issue with a long distance relationship, or is this some kind of cop-out?

2. He sees that he may lose your attention and companionship due to caregiving. Does he feel subordinate to your parents? No longer #1? Does he seem them as competition?

Frankly, I'm a bit concerned about his plans to end the relationship b/c it may turn into a long distance one. I can't help wondering if he's giving you a "gentle" ultimatum and a chance to make an effort to keep the relationship going. Maybe he's testing you? Is he that kind of guy? Does he need reassurance that he's important in your life? Does he want you to choose between him and your parents?

Even though he took time off to visit, I'm wondering if the sudden change in your relationship in your life and your mother's illness are too much for him to handle. This is one reason I'm wondering about your ages. A young man in his 20's might be overwhelmed with everything that's happening. Someone in his 30's might handle it better, and by the time a man is in his 40's or 50's he's probably had a few crises in his life as well.

I'm also wondering about the situation in his family. Are his parents stable? If not, has he helped to care for them? He might be seeing a repeat of something in his own family. OTOH, he might be someone who doesn't want to deal with the fragility of elderly people.

There's also the possibility that it pains him to see you in such a difficult situation, just as it's painful for you to see your mother in the situation she's in. Some people just can't handle these kinds of tragedies.

And he could also be thinking "there but for fortune go you or I".. some people are afraid that something dire can happen to them and they wouldn't be able to handle it.

It would help if you could elaborate a bit, without being too personal, on how you feel about him and the nature of your relationship. Then others can offer advice as well.

I do want to say that you're facing one of the most complicated, emotional and destabilizing situations a daughter can, but it seems to me that you have a good perspective and plans to address both you and your parents' welfare.

Mookie, if your boyfriend is grumbling about caregiving, ask him if his calendar is going in reverse.... I mean some day he will become older and will need help.

Or this is a good life lesson to see how your boyfriend can handle those dark clouds that pass over. In the 6 years you have dated, has he had to help you with any illnesses of your own? Was he there for you? Did he help? Or did he just stand there with his hands in the pockets waiting for others to help?

Depending on how he reacts, look into the future when the two of your are much older, how will he act towards you if you had a critical illness? If he sounds like he wants to run now, he will also run at that time.
Mookie, Listen to your instincts. I let my boyfriend go. I just couldn't take another person pulling at me. He must not have been the right one because I feel free now and don't miss him.
Garden Artist, thank you so much for your response..pure honesty with a gentle touch. I am 47 and he is 54. I was widowed at 38 and this man is my first relationship since my husband died. I love this man but deep down I know he is not right for me,if he was then why would I need to reach out for help ? I know his heart and I have understood why he acts they way he does but that is not healthy. I am bring selfish in trying to save relationship bc I am scared to death of losing one more thing. I went home briefly to get warmer clothes and saw him. It was great and it was hard when I had to come back to my parents. He had tears in his eyes. He told me that it hurts him to see me suffer and all that I am having to go through. He has a soft heart but guards it fiercely and forces feelings deep into his head/heart to protect himself. I do the same thing but not to his degree. His parents are deceased and he helped take care of them at night every night after work. However, they lived closer( about 1 hr away). And their passing was rather quickly ( within 3-6 mths) Around this time his ex wife was dying of cancer, they had a toxic marriage. Towards the end he moved closer to the ex to help with the care of their son and he took care of ex at night . All of these things happened within a 4 year span. In the end, he was left without his parents and had full time custody of his son who hated him.( again toxic marriage/divorce). He and his son had a falling out last year and have not spoken since then. It breaks my heart, bc my relationship with my parents is totally different than his was. His father was very stoic and his mother practically disowned him when he got a divorce. Which explains but does not excuse his behavior. I have been wrestling with our relationship before mom got sick. I truly love him but realize that our differences in the way we approach things will not work. He balances me out but all the fears and resentments from his past that he keeps locked away creep into our relationship. I've been ok with playing it safe since my husband died . I am an independent person, he has said anything I need he will provide I just have to ask, I am the type that I will not ask. I am not needy nor high maintenance. But right now I need a hug or simple kindness not aloof and not to feel pulled by him.I realize my own issues and they are many :-). Mom has been up and down since last post it's so hard to stay positive and upbeat for her and my dad , when I feel I don't have enough or the right kind of support I need from him. To answer fregflyer yes I was very ill twice while I was with him and he was very good but it scared him and his gruffness came out, he made sure I had everything I needed he watched over me like a hawk but at the same time it sorta freaked him out to see my pain at one point wanting to take me to the ER bc he could not handle seeing me in such pain, he paced watching me all night(ovarian cyst rupture , endometriosis flare up and accessed tooth all at the same time) I am familiar with the female and dental things and knew I just had to ride it out until I could see my doctor. He has said in the past he operates better alone. I say he is a coward who is scared to feel again... Trust me I know that feeling but that is now way to live your life. He is my best friend faults and all bc I know his heart. I just don't have the balls to let go and see where we end up. I am thinking about telling him exactly what I need as far as emotional support and let him know that I am sorry I can't give him my full attention right now and that by him saying things he did is hurtful and makes me feel that I am not worth the wait and that is the last thing I need. Doctors still are puzzled by my moms condition and we are taking steps to figure things out, what I do know is that she will never be my old mom again and that is he is ticking time bomb until we can figure out certain metobolic things to stabilize her. She is like one of those patients on the show "House" . We have gotten some help but need more so my dad and I can rest and clear our heads. Thanks for allowing my to ramble on any advice is appreciated. ~M
Good luck Mookie.. and take care of your self too
It sounds like you answered your own question about your boyfriend. Your last post says you know that he is not for you. I would follow what I think is right, regardless of the parental situation.

Your comments about her mom is confusing. Your profile says your mom has dementia, but your post seemed to indicate that she was getting better. Is your mom, who has dementia, taking care of your dad? Is this the arrangement you are making for them?
Mom in the past 3 months has had 2 complex bowel obstruction which required emergency surgery, she almost died bc at time if surgery she was malnourished, severely anemic, and had aspirated fecal matter into her lungs. We were in hospital 21 days. Then she fell broke hip and had to have partial hip replacement. Then another bowel obstruction in hospital 10 days. Since then her bowels have partial tried to close up. Up until June she has never been sick a day in her life and was not on any medications. All this trauma has ramped up her dementia. She hates having someone watch over her 24/7, and hates her lose of independence. It's been difficult she is getting stronger physically but her body and metabolic levels drop . She does not have cancer but her body keeps short circuiting. We have talked about putting her on medication but until we get complete Neuro work up it is not advised. They live in small town and there is not a good Neuro near them.

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