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You're right, In most societies, (that have had a chance to mature) the generational process is more refined and the children do play thier role in the caretaking of aging parents. Unfortunately, I believe OUR society, (America) is too young to have worked all this out yet.
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godhelpus: For most of the world, that IS why people have children, to help with the farm and chores and to take care of the parents when they age. In some countries, more traditionally spelled out. In China, traditional for the eldest son and his wife to move into his parents' house and he (right) takes care of the parents until they die...then he is the ONLY sibling to inherit the parents' home and estate. You know who actually does all the work and catches all the grief from the old lady's sharp tongue. Anyway, this sort of makes sense at least. The eldest son's family gets help from grandma and grandpa early on with babysitting, then the grandparents are cared for and the son rewarded with the estate. Heard that if no sons, then the eldest daughter is expected to do this.
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Were we born to be servants to our parents in their aging??? Is that why they had us???
My brother tells me that people used to have children for an extra "farm hand". I would like to think those days are gone.
Is this what GOD meant when he said:"Go forth and multiply"? I'm not buying into this whole personal servant mess. That is the wrong reason to have children!!!!!!
We are ALL entitled to a life!
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Timmy (sorry all I remember is it begins with a T) a man may want to date you for that very reason, that you are NOT readily available. I find at this age, for me 54, I don't want to be bothered all the time, just when I want to be bothered.

For the person that asked the question if you should tell your mom, NO at your age you don't owe your mom any explanations.

Tonight I'm having a party (BAR B Q), this evening to be exact. I've said not one word to my mom or sister about the party. I know my mom would start asking a whole bunch of questions and tell me how I should entertain and decorate. I've decorated my way outside, and invited whom I wanted to invite. Don't want to hear about who will be eating up all the food and trying to take some home with them, and don't want to be asked if I can bring her a plate, yeah right in the middle of the party everything must stop and I must bring her a plate.

Not this time, this time it's all me. It's taken a long time to get to the place I'm at now, but although moms life is coming to an end, mine must go on.

So as I do all the last minute dudads, I'm listening to my music while finishing up my inside cooking while my friend does his thing on the grill.

Here's hoping all us caregivers have a wonderful 4th of July!
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I think it's ok to define boundaries. You're an adult and are probably doing much more than the average person would. Your love is 24hrs a day, but that doesn't mean you have to suffer for 24hrs a day.

Explain to them that you have to take care of yourself so you can take care of them. Finding happiness with friends and dating is how you can do that. If they don't understand that, they'll have to get over it. You are in complete control of this situation.
Good luck,
SlimJim
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I, Crowemagnum, am 53 and I approve this mesage!
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Enjoy life now none of us are promised a tomarrow.
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Moonbeam, we haven't heard back from you but I hope you've read all these helpful, encouraging comments. You have the green light to get dressed and ready for your date!
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Tell it, Crowe!
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moonbeam,

To put it about as bluntly as I care to right now, remind yourself that you are a 66 year old adult woman, and adult daughter of your mother, but not a 6 year old little girl or your mother's 6 year old daughter.

Your social life is none of her _ business. Sometimes young people just like some older people don't think anyone else should have a romantic life at all which is sick. Live a little! Swing from the chandeliears if you want to, but you don't need mommy's approval, permission, nor does she need to know about it. Make it so and go for it!
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ya dont stop living- i am 48 and my husband and i took mom with alz /dementia camping with us on mem. day - we have a motor home- i bought a motion detector so when she went to be at 10 i turned it on and was able to sit 30 ft. away at the campfire. if she sits up it beeps- works great - got it at radio shack- we can also go in the hot tub- i bring the motin detector outside and have a video camera - if motin detector beeps i look at the monitor - she either has rolled over or is getting up - that way i dont go in there every time it beeps i can see what she is doing- these gadgets really help- i can even go out front on porch in the moring while she still sleeping- she 79 - dont give up your life!!!
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let me tell you something some elderly people over 80 think that younger people have not right to date because they are too old and that's wrong. I don't see why at age 66 you have to give explanations to your mother about your personal life about dating somebody. Don't tell her. If this relationship get more serious them you let her know, but if she tries to insult you or put you down, you have to stop her by telling her that you are old even to decide by yourself and that's is your life. PERIOD. I think that because some elderly ladies don't have the libido/interest anymore to date they think that all ladies have to do the same and even want to force others to do it. I know a lot of elderly ladies that call others elderly ladies B. just because they are still dating.
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What isn't mentioned much on these threads is the concept of codependency, which was so much the rage issue during the Bradshaw-sparked movement to really address alcoholism, family abuse, incest...and those who were attracted to fixing same. Addicted to, I guess one should say. Melody Beattie wrote "Codependent No More," and one could hardly volunteer to clean up after coffee hour without being branded a codependent.

It could be that some of these meddling mothers are the codependent type of personality, and since they can't do much to really help their children any more, nor even help themselves, offering opinions about boyfriends is one way they can still play the game. Just an idea... here's a definition about it, written by a therapist who admits she is a codependent therapist who will keep you in therapy just to continue to help you.

"Definition Of Codependency: Codependency is a condition that results in a dysfunctional relationship between the codependent and other people. A codependent is addicted to helping someone. They need to be needed. This addiction is sometimes so strong, the codependent will cause the other person to continue to be needy. This behavior is called enabling.

"The enabler will purposefully overlook someone abusing a child, will call in sick for someone suffering from addiction, will put roadblocks to prevent their child from becoming independent, or even keep a sick family member from getting the treatment that would make them well. These are behaviors common to codependents.

"A codependent often suffers from a 'Messiah Complex' where he sees problems with everyone and sees himself as the only person who can help. Here is where I need to work...trying to be 'Mr. Fixit' for everyone...even those who don't feel they need anything fixed."
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SUSAN & LILLIPUT:

Way to go ladies!

My mother moved in shortly after I left the Marine Corps in late 1993, and soon began to sabotage any kind of contact I could have with female friends or acquaintances -- especially if they asked me out on a date (whether just dinner or full service) . I became a widower in 1988 (age 28), so I concentrated on my twin boys and gave myself ample time to heal before I could love that way again.

Sometimes mom would pick up the kitchen phone while I was in the shower, and yell things like "booty call," or say "Otra cuero. ... Mujeres decentes no llaman a los hombres para salir. ... Esa lo que quiere son chavos". ("Another trick. ... Decent women don't ask men out. ... All she wants is money.") By the time I got to the phone the line was either dead or the caller would express her disappointment at my mother's "lengua sucia" (dirty tongue) and never call again. When I asked mom about it, she'd deny it by claiming that whoever called was simply trying to get her put out so she could move in. To her, they were all golddigging s__ts. I told mom never to pick up the phone -- which she always did when I wasn't around.

She continued playing the victim to cover up her lies, deceit, sabotage, and manipulation until I had her placed in a senior citizens home. During the admission interview, I said she was lonely, depressed, a spiteful handful, and "a danger to herself and others." I must have been blessed from above, because they took her in that same week.

Behaviors without consequences are apt to be repeated, and she seems to have learned her lesson. At least with me. She respects my boundaries and knows that when she drops by she's not my "protective" mother but my guest, in my house, under my rules. With some of my sisters who are in between part-time husbands, however, she hasn't missed a beat. She picks up their phone, and says things like "What do you want? ... She ain't here. ... You got the wrong number." When my sisters ask who called, Ms. McNasty says "Some low-down, dirty dog looking for p_____. Didn't give a name, so I hung up."

Mom is the primary reason why my sisters' relationships never last long and their children only have shadow fathers who don't bother to call or come by to see if the kids need anything. ... Mom is always there, stirring the pot, making sure none of these men do anything to then say they do nothing for their children. Until my sisters are able to see the forest for the trees, nothing will change. After all, misery loves company and moms knows best.

I'll sign off for now and get back to work.

-- ED
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I see this in the so called "helicopter parents" of today. They are living their lives entirely through their children. When the children leave, depression and/or "clinginess" sets in and sometimes spousal relationships and longtime friendships suffer.
At the end of the day, we are all responsible for our own happiness. To lay that burden on children (young or old) is not a loving gesture. It is controlling, manipulative, and selfish. It's like that old saying from the 70s: If you love some one, set them free - by "free" we mean spiritually and emotionally.
I agree with all above. Please do not become a victim of your Mom's fear. Stay calm and enjoy your life - you deserve happiness too.
Lilli
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My first guess is that she is a bit jealous, and intimidated that she will lose you to him..........The same thing happened to me with my NOW husband, when we first met, my mom even went so far as forbidding me to stay with her and continue to see him, I moved out! that was 6 years ago, now she loves him like her own son, she found out that she will never be replaced by anyone, just by continuously showing her affection, love and consistency...........Its a process.... but dont put your happiness off whatever u do! there was even a point that my mom offered to pay me 50 grand, if I left him, and came back home...............that of course didnt work either, that was just how desperate she was and afraid of losing me! I am still here and never will go away!!! she is stuck with US now, and she loves it! You are a big gurl and dont have to explain in any kind of detail what u are doing, where u are going etc.............if u must treat her like a child for now do it! remember this too shall pass............
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MOON:

I don't know why I didn't come up with this before: DOUBLE DATE. Your mom is only 88, she's not homebound, and I'm sure she quietly yearns for male companionship every now and then. After all, she's still breathing. If a double date isn't possible, hook her up with one of her trusted SINGLE acquaintances or friends. There might not be any "chaca chaca," but it'll certainly alleviate her depression if only for a few days.

Girls just want to have fun, don't they? If she can't beat you, she might as well join you ... or sign up at the nearest convent.

-- ED
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MOON:

Is she jealous because she can't have what you can, or that she wants you all to herself so you can serve her needs at the drop of a hat?

If you simply tell her you're going out but she's watching you get ready for a hot date, she'll know. So you might as well come straight out instead of concocting some lame story. If she doesn't like it, that's too bad. After "Don't hate mom," tell her to get used to the fact that you STILL look darn good at 66 and need your loving.

When you come back from your date, she'll probably try to make you feel guilty about "abandoning" her when she needed you the most. Don't fall for it; and don't apologize because that might give her the opportunity to sabotage your next date.

Have fun, and play it safe (you know what I mean).

-- ED
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I wrote something that I'd love to cut and paste here about marriage and taking care of parents from a biblical perspective vs the unhealthy biblical thinking that we have in our heads which sometimes came from our parents.

Making sure our elderly parents are taken care of is biblical, but now where does it say we have to do it personally. Now where does it say when your parent's get old you shall leave your spouse and cling to your parents as if you were their little child again although those like my MIL never do want their children to get married for they train them to be their mother type person when they get old and a spouse would just be in the way. My grandmother told my mother once, 'it is time for you to leave your husband and come live with me and take care of me." and she was a good Christian Presbyterian woman as least as churchianity religious standards go which an't very deep.

The most bitter people that I've met in nursing homes are old maids who did exactly what I read so many people here doing. Two who come to mind put their entire lives on hold while other siblings left and got a life. They stayed because they were told that was their duty and were promised to have the house and farm later on. Well, they did and by the time they were old themselves, they were some of the most bitter rich people one has ever met.

This "I promised them "For better or worse...till death us do part" " is part of a wedding vow. What is going to hold a man back is if he perceives that you are emotionally enmeshed with your parents; if you are so emotionally absorbed in them that you are not able or willing to make any emotional attachement to him. Now, I'm speaking as one with some experience about this very thing in my own marriage. Men don't like being married to a daddy's girl or a mommy's girl who is not their own person. Why? Because it creates an unhealthy triangle in the relationship. It is like you are married to more than one person which makes one feel very alone and betrayed much like an affair without what we usually think of on that subject. Women don't like the same sort of over attachment to his mother for the same reason unless they want to take over mom's job and treat their husband like a little boy.

Remember in situations like this that you are your parent's adult child and not their little child. As an adult and particularly at the ages shared here and others who are younger who have asked similar questions, you don't need your parent's permission do date nor do you have to tell them every part of your life. You are a human being and unless you are a nun, then get out there find yourself a man; enjoying dating and if it becomes serious fine and if not fine. You much chose a healthy path for yourself. If your aging parents like it fine and if they don't like it fine. You are not their slave, but an adult with normal human needs.
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I wrote something that I'd love to cut and paste here about marriage and taking care of parents from a biblical perspective vs the unhealthy biblical thinking that we have in our heads which sometimes came from our parents.

Making sure our elderly parents are taken care of is biblical, but now where does it say we have to do it personally. Now where does it say when your parent's get old you shall leave your spouse and cling to your parents as if you were their little child again although those like my MIL never do want their children to get married for they train them to be their mother type person when they get old and a spouse would just be in the way. My grandmother told my mother once, 'it is time for you to leave your husband and come live with me and take care of me." and she was a good Christian Presbyterian woman as least as churchianity religious standards go which an't very deep.

The most bitter people that I've met in nursing homes are old maids who did exactly what I read so many people here doing. Two who come to mind put their entire lives on hold while other siblings left and got a life. They stayed because they were told that was their duty and were promised to have the house and farm later on. Well, they did and by the time they were old themselves, they were some of the most bitter rich people one has ever met.

This "I promised them "For better or worse...till death us do part" " is part of a wedding vow. What is going to hold a man back is if he perceives that you are emotionally enmeshed with your parents; if you are so emotionally absorbed in them that you are not able or willing to make any emotional attachement to him. Now, I'm speaking as one with some experience about this very thing in my own marriage. Men don't like being married to a daddy's girl or a mommy's girl who is not their own person. Why? Because it creates an unhealthy triangle in the relationship. It is like you are married to more than one person which makes one feel very alone and betrayed much like an affair without what we usually think of on that subject. Women don't like the same sort of over attachment to his mother for the same reason unless they want to take over mom's job and treat their husband like a little boy.

Remember in situations like this that you are your parent's adult child and not their little child. As an adult and particularly at the ages shared here and others who are younger who have asked similar questions, you don't need your parent's permission do date nor do you have to tell them every part of your life. You are a human being and unless you are a nun, then get out there find yourself a man; enjoying dating and if it becomes serious fine and if not fine. You much chose a healthy path for yourself. If your aging parents like it fine and if they don't like it fine. You are not their slave, but an adult with normal human needs.
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To all the "singles" on this thread......You deserve to love and to be loved ((ie- by a significant other). By all means, go out on dates and take good care of yourselves. I agree with someone else here who said it's not really necessary that you tell your elderly parent where you are going and with whom. And as for the part about whether you would be attractive to someone-- being in the caregiving situation you are in-- I feel that that would make you even more attractive because it shows how compassionate and giving you are. Don't be afraid to give dating a try!
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I agree you deserve to have someone special in your life you will be a better caregiver if you have a life outside caregiving
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Moonbeam, I wonder if the "golddigger" aspect has something to do with your mother's anger at you looking at some guy. At Our Age, if you marry someone this late in life, it could be like handing your inheritance over to an almost complete stranger. I cringe to think that my mother's $ will be shared even one cent with my sister's husband...and good grief, wonder if he survives her and lives off Mom's money for the rest of his life. (He is an absolute creep and pathological liar, and is mean to my sis.) Luckily, sister #2 just divorced her drunken creep, but she just can't do without a drunk in her life, so waiting for the next stage on her.

So, it's none of my business really, but the thought of those guys getting any of Mom's money makes me fume. Perhaps that is what is going on in your mother's mind.
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Hi-Some very good reply's here

I personally think it is possible that your Mom would be jealous if you were to date,as it could possibly mean you would show her less attention--Or is she just being over-protective ` as a Mom?

As a former caregiver myself- I have come to realize that it is very important. that in order to remain affective-we also need some time for ourself-dating or othrwise. So, if possible, take this one step at a time, and do not forget about YOU!-your health, or your social life (whatever it may be)..And drop any guilt feelings to do so. For each minute-or hour we spend as just caregiving-is the time we can never get back-

Best,

Hap
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Moonbeam -
My mother had the same kind of misgivings when I started dating after 5 years of not seeing anyone. I did not make a big deal of it. I just started going out with my boyfriend and reassured her that I would be there for her. After a month or so I brought him home to dinner and we all played Crazy Eights. Yes – she was worried but I think that acting very matter-of-factly helped. I won’t say we didn’t have fights about it because she never came out and said she was worried about losing me; instead she latched on to any other little thing that she could to point out that he would not be right for me. But I found that keeping calm was my best bet and not letting her sidetrack the conversation. When you do get to the point where you want to talk about it – mention that just because you date someone doesn’t mean that the logical conclusion is marriage. Heck you might just want to get out of the house once in a while. Also my boyfriend and I have continued to do things with my mother so that she saw we could all benefit by the relationship. I know that some parents are more difficult than others but this is doable.

Ted and timmyk48 – Don’t count yourself out of dating before you even try! You never know who you might meet. My boyfriend (who now lives with us) has been so good and such a help. Sure you might meet someone who doesn’t want to deal with the fact that you can’t go out on a moment’s notice or who frankly doesn’t like old people – but if they really like you they will put up with it. I think as people get older that are much more willing to make sacrifices. So start slowly – introduce them to your parents in a setting you can all enjoy – and good luck!
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It seems so easy to put the people we love before ourselves, to me it just seems like a natural thing. It starts with having children. I don't know how many times my husband and I have put our son (only child) first when it came to what he wanted to do, over what we had planned already. Our son did NOT turn out to be a spoiled brat, but he did always come first with our attention. Then he got married and left the nest. A short time after he did, I started looking around at a few people our age who's kids were gone from home, and realized how alone and unhappy they were. They put their romantic lives on hold for so long, that they didn't know what to do anymore. Now it's again happening at my age, only this time it's being the parent to a parent. My husband and I re-lit the spark after our son left, but it was a pain to be honest. Having an aging ill parent is kinda like having children, they are gonna leave sooner or later. Question is, will you put your love lives on pause like the TV remote, or keep your foot in the game so that when you are alone finally, you don't feel like throwing in the towel and giving up the quest for love. We had enough time to get back the spark after our son left home because we were younger and I was DETERMINED, but to have to wait another 10 years or so now, it might not have happened. Short story long... don't wait. Go for it!
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Thank you, Elizza! Your aren't the first to tell me that I need to relax a little. I guess for a single man who's never been a father, it's a bit difficult to ease into this kind of responsibility.
I promise I'll try to take things a little less ....seriously.
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Are you both so sure it has to be either/or - all or nothing? Why can't you have a social life and care for your parents?
And - another perspective - going out on a date does not mean an ultimate, complete relationship. You can simply go out to dinner and have a good time! You don't have to decide before socializing if it is going to interrupt your whole life style! Relax - accept people's friendship and stay with the moment. You can have fun and still be a loving caregiver.
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You know, it's funny. After that last bit of advice I gave, I have to admit that I don't date either- not only because of how hard it would be to find someone willing to put up with my situation with mom, but also because i know that mom would do everything she can to make it all more difficult.
I'm 47 yrs old and have put my entire life, carreer, socialization, everything! on hold to keep mom at home for the duration. It's hard sometimes not to be resentful and to remember that this was ultimately my choice.
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This is a subject that I have been too embarrassed to ask about.
I am 62 single and care for both my parents in their condo in Florida.
I moved here 18 months ago to do this.

I would like to find a special man...but fear no one will want me because of my situation caring for them. I can get out with notice...have to make sure their needs are met before I leave. They get so excited when I go out a few hours with girlfriends to dinner or to dance...don't think they would be against me dating. They know I won't leave them...I promised them "For better or worse...till death us do part" Someday they know they will be going to a nursing home. They're in their 80's.
My concern is would a man avoid me because I am not free like most women my age? There I have said it....when is my turn for happiness.
Moonbeam, I am so happy for you!
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