What do I do if my husband is leaving me because he wants a normal life and doesn’t want me to run back and forth taking care of my mother?

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my mother is a widow and lives by herself. I have taken care of her for the last 12 years since my father died. I also work full time. In March my husband told my that we are done as he wants a "normal" life vs. me running back and forth taking care of my mother. He moved out the end of March. Has anyone dealt with a spouse leaving and if yes, what did you do?

Answers 1 to 10 of 22
Save your marriage. My husband had a big, long talk with me. When my mom was first widowed I went over every time she called - this went on for almost 5 years. Then he said we needed family time and I was also neglecting the youngest who still lived at home (she is a teen). I woke up. We help out if it is a true emergency. We take her to church and back home. Once a month we go shopping, run errands, etc. for no more than 4 hours. If she is lonely, she is to call my siblings. Good luck!
Caregiving takes its toll on every aspect of your life: relationships, health, jobs, friendships. As Emerald said above, you need to pace yourself. Decide which things your Mom really needs and do those first...the rest comes if you have extra time.
I am so sorry that the hub has decided to "check out." I wonder how he would feel if it were he that needed the care and you decided that you just wanted your "normal life" back. No blame game here, but I thought marriage was for better or worse.
Have you had an honest discussion with him? Have you tried counseling? Were there other issues that did not involve the care of your Mom?
I guess I find it hard to believe that a spouse would leave because you were caring for a loved one in need. I am so sorry this is happening to you. I hope you two can work on a good compromise and then stick to it.
take care,
If that all it takes to make him leave then you are probably well rid of him. There is most likely something more underlying his desire for a "normal" life. Which, traditionally, has not been just the so-called nuclear family. Given that, however, you should probably see what kinds of changes you can make to ease the running back and forth for YOUR OWN mental health and peace of mind. When I was growing up my mother's father lived with us (after he was widowed). Later my other grandparents stayed with my parents (when necessary). Now, I am staying with my mother so that she can stay in her own home.

There are so many ways to adapt a situation that I am sure you will be able to come up with something. Since you are working, maybe you can afford some help in the form of a Visiting Nurse? Or something similar. It all depends, of course, on how much help you mother needs. If she's just lonely maybe there is a senior center nearby where she can make friends and have something of a social life.
Thank you for your great advise. I agree with you that there has to be something more than my mother driving my husband away. I will look into any senior centers in the area as I believe that would do her good.
Top Answer
I agree with Emerald4Me but not with the other two statements above.

How would you feel as a wife if for the past 12 years he had been all busy taking care of his mom plus working a full time job as well as try to talk with him, but he would not listen, on top of suggest getting some professional help,but getting no response, after which going into the martyr phase where you try to tough it out for something to change, but after 12 years he's more mama's boy than he is his wife's husband?

He's been there for 12 years and your inability to have some boundaries in your marriage so that he would not feel like you were more married to your mom than to you and someone says if that's all it took 12 years of feeling like he did not have a wife and he left 5 months ago. I think you need some serious therapy. Ya mama did not drive your husband away, your lack of boundaries did.

I get so tired of reading on this site about such divorces, but even worse views such as spouses and children come and go but you only have one mom. Sorry folks, but mom an't God and if you believe in God, it don't say in the Bible that when your elderly parents come into hard times that you leave your spouse (there are more ways to leave than just physically) and then cleave to your mom or dad until death do you part.

Have you had any communication with your husband over the last 5 months since he left? If not, then I'd say he is gone. Consider yourself blessed that he did not leave earlier.

I'm coming down hard on this issues because I've had to deal with it in my own marriage, but not in relationship to carrying for a parent. My wife was in such psychological F.O.G. (Fear, Obligation and Guilt) to her mother that after the birth of our first child, she was not fully present at home with us as a family, me as her husband, or the child and next child as their mom. She said she wanted to be free from her bondage to her mother but she was afraid. Well, she ended up in the mental hospital and after 10 years of therapy she finally stood up to her mother and now is more fully present with me and with us. So, I can empathize with your husband, but sad to say that you may have just learned a very hard lesson.
Thank you for your straight talk. I am in therapy and I am trying to set boundaries - I actually only spend time with my mother now for specific things she needs. I see that I wasn't being fair but I was stuck in knowing what to do. His leaving was like cold water being poured over my head as each day that goes by I realize how much he and my marriage meant to me. We do talk every week but he has indicated he only wants to be friends. He has moved into an apartment over a bar/restaurant down in an area where alot of 20-30 year olds hand out. He just turned 49. He also meets many women friends after work - he did this before he left as well. Several people say he left for another woman - others say he left because of my mom. I'm coming to believe he left for many reasons but mainly because I didn't put him first in the marriage.
Mam, I have had problems with my husband too. I am 59 and he is 62. He still works and is gone 60 hours a week. It's only fair that he should want me to be here when he gets home and on weekends. We have been married for 37 long years, and have always lived in my family's 4 apartment house. We have always been in the mix with my family and he has taken that well. But I feel that at this stage in our lives, we deserve time together without the family drama. I have 6 siblings and get very little help with Mom from them. I have given up expecting them to help and don't count on them for anything now.
Mom's long term care insurance has finally come through and I have someone coming in 5 days a week to help out. She is here all weekend and we can now get out if we want to. The last 2 years took their toll and things were getting worse. You do need to put yourself in your husband's shoes. It couldn't have been pleasant for him to watch what was happening to you either. It doesn't matter what reason finally made him leave. We all have to remember that this doesn't just affect us. It hurts everyone in your immediate family and it is a terrible balancing act we have to do to keep everyone happy, and take care of ourselves too.
I wish you luck and much happiness!
mam03 ,

I'm glad to hear you are in therapy and I can understand your husband only wanting to be friends right now, but it is good that at least you two are talking. With the intimacy breakdown between you two, rebuilding his trust is going to be a major mountain. I'm glad to hear your taking responsibility for your life and your part in the marriage. This thread really hit a nerve with me plus I had not taken my bi-polar meds for a day and a half so I may have gotten a bit manic. I have seen cases where the way one spouse relates to the other sends them into the arms or the ears of someone who seems '"to actually listen." and their are pros out their who look to prey on such spouses. At the same time, he is responsible for how he chooses to handle his pain. I wish you the best in traveling this tough and painful road. I suggest buyiing the book "Boundaries in Marriage"

First of all congratulations for staying married for 37 years in that family ecology in which many a spouse unless they are either codependent or the passive/nurturing type would have left long ago. Have you ever wondered why he works such long hours? It may well be his conscious or unconscious ways of dealing with his frustrations over ya'lls marriage. I have such strong feelings on this subject that I think it is emotional unfaithfulness for a spouse to put a family member ahead of their marriage. This can take place between an spouse and their usually mom or sometimes instead of dealing with marital issues, between a spouse and a child in which that child becomes an emotional substitute spouse of which I've been on the back end of and spent years in therapy to recover from. However you cut it, to me as a man it's no different from an affair regardless of if one's wife runs off, even if it's just emotionally, with another man or another woman.
Crowemagnum, I agree with most of what you said. It is a two way street and both can get caught up in the situation! My husband actually has a job at a car dealership and is the dispatcher in the garage. He leaves the house at 6:15 Am and gets home 12 hours later. He has 1 1/2 hours of traveling time each day, thus the long hours. He also only takes a half hour lunch, so that he can keep up with his paperwork. That being said, he is very needy, and has never really helped around the house, even when I was gone 45 hours a week for my job. I always say his mom spoiled him, and I took over doing that job! I handle all the bills, repairs , and yard work, besides caring for my mom. I can't tell him how frustrated I am, because he gets angry with me. He has a short fuse and no patience. It's been a long 37 years, but he provides, doesn't drink, and doesn't chase women. I wish he would go out with friends, but has always expected me to be available for him. Thus, the fact that I have had very little girlfriend time over the years. I'm not complaining mind you, as I know I could have done something about our situation. It was just easier to agree with him and let him have his way. He can be a brooder and a sulker, which can make life very unpleasant sometimes, but I have learn (with age) to go with the flow!!!
Glad to see you have been through therapy and finally finding some peace in your life. I enjoy your comments and hope to hear more. Take care!

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