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?

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I'm not even going to tell you you're better off without him. After 12 years, there's only so much a spouse can take; especially when they're married to a ghost. Just put yourself in his shoes.
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Your first priority is yourself, your husband and children. Your responsibility to your Mom is to see she is safe, cared for and as comfortable as possible and none of those things require you doing them all.

How about home health care/companion for the weekdays when your siblings are not available? Perhaps it is time for an assisted living facility.

You need to be investing your energy in your family and your future.

After 2 years of having Mom in our home, it became time to take our life back. Now we are slowing getting back to normal. The stress level is back to zero and I am sleeping all night. My husband was not going to leave me but we were both suffering from stress-related illnesses. 24/7 caregiving can be very unhealthy. Good luck!
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Sounds to me like neither one are worthy of your consideration. Take care of yourself first and enjoy any freedom you wish to have without having to choose between anyone. Choose yourself!
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Thank you for sharing your insights from the "other side" of the fence. It's important to remember that we need those boundaries, and we made a commitment to our spouse - being "there" is hard when you "can't get there from here."

Still, things worth having are worth fighting for!

Tough words, but they needed to be said.
~FyreFly
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mam03 ,

Earlier you stated that you are in therapy and working on boundaries and see how you basically abandoned your husband. Marital problems are normally two way streets and it sounds like you are taking responsibility for your part, but how your husband chooses to respond from here on is his part.

Respect works both ways and I bet if he had gotten all wrapped up in work and his mom which left you in the dust like you weren't really marred then you would rightly complain and then probably tell him enough, I'm out of here. In that case, he would deserve to get blasted for driving you away from him and that is not like blaming the victim for the abuse because such emotional abandonment is abuse.

Sorry, but to wait 12 years for you to see the light of your poor boundaries and then leaving is not some male mid life crisis. Yes, you as the wife deserve to be treated with respect, but so does your husband and those past poor boundaries were not respectful. In that sense he was the victim and his response after 12 years is understandable. One we call adultery and the other we call emotional incest, but the dynamics are the same.

To leave after such abandonment for 12 years is a bold statement of "you don't even know that I exist and I've been patient for a hell of a long time, but I'm fed up with you being more married to your mama than to me" So, if you mama is who you want to grow old with then go to it." He would have felt the same way as if you had been having an affair for 12 years or had made a son or daughter an emotional substitute spouse instead of working on your relationship with him.

Frankly, mama's girls or no easier to be married to than mommy's boys for they both have the same problem of never having really left home.

Some adult children were trained from childhood to one day abandon all to take care of usually their mom. They don't realize that they've been emotionally programed to function as their mother's mom when she pushes the buttons of Fear, Obligation and Guilt which are the standard ones. Thus, it is easy to blindly get to the place where in spending basically all of your time at work or with mom nothing goes off that a spouse or children are being left out totally not just some and their complaints or suggestions just fall on deaf ears because what you are doing feels normal, but then one day when one finds themselves all alone ( divorced husband, destroyed relationships with children, etc.), they see their lack of healthy boundaries.

It appears that it is when our parents decline that the foundations of a marriage are shown for what they really are. If someone is still their parent's little boy or little girl, then that marriage is in deep trouble without some serious counseling that is beyond the virtual world of cyberspace. It's not your fault that you have poor boundaries for that's evidently how you were raised.

But now that you have insight about that and are working on boundaries, you can't use what your mom did nor whatever your husband does for an excuse or for a focus of blame for where you are now or where you may or may not end up.

All you can really control is you. You can't change how your mother is or your husband's past, present or future response to your new life with boundaries. Your mother might not even like you having healthy boundaries in your life and on some level might even be glad he is gone (which my MIL would love about me and my MIL). Some mothers really and truly want their daughters all to themselves. My grandmother told my mom when she got very old 'well it's time for you to leave ___ and come live with me now like you did after your first marriage."

I've seen marriages fall apart because of parent/child enmeshment with mush less than an older parent declining. The book, Boundaries in Marriage by Cloud and Townsend, is a very good book and even deals with the issues of older parents and your marriage.

Again, I wish you well and do stay in touch with your face to face therapist.
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Thank you so much - you have all been very helpful in validating thoughts that have been circling in my head for some time. Having uninterested 3rd party feedback has been enormous help.
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Spouses that are ready to stray always use excuses to make it look like it was the other's fault. If it wasn't providing caregiving for your Mom, it would be something else. It is the coward's way out and I have little patience with these people. If Mam's hub wanted to "talk things out" he wouldn't be living over a bar and trapsing around with 20-somethings. Sounds like a heavy-duty mid-life crisis. If it was your hub that needed medical care instead of your Mom, can you imagine a 20-something rising to the occasion? He'd be knocking on your door. Pathetic.
Also, the idea of "pushing someone too far," therefore, you deserve to be blasted is like blaming the victim for the abuse. I would give him a LOT of space and let him see how life is without you. Never grovel back...you are worth more than that.
Mam, you deserve someone who will respect you for the person you are, baggage and all. Your heart was in the right place by helping your Mom, but it looks like some balance is in order so that you can also have a life of your own. Find someone who can pitch in with your Mom. Can you pay for a caregiver a few days a week? Then get out there and carve out some serious "me" time....you may even find someone who would love to spend time with a kindhearted person like you.
And for heaven's sake, STOP blaming yourself for your husband's dalliances. We all have free will and your hub found a convienent excuse to sow some wild oats. Better that you find out now than wasting more years on the guy.
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This is not an issue I will probably ever know, but definitely open communication and not discounting one an-others feeling and trying to find fillers so it isn't all you would help I think. You married each other and said for better or worse this may be the worse part and temporary but shutting each other out wont help.
I can hardly imagine how torn you must feel, It is hard when people start "offering" ultimatums. I hope you can have this resolved and everyone can make sacrifices and the right decision for all of you.
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How many times have I seen 'the other woman' be just a 'plain Jane' looking woman as compared to the attractive good looking wife the husband leaves. Because 'plain Jane' listened to him, respects him, and values his opinions. That alone is VERY attractive to any husband, and every wife has that same ability. It's not rocket science, it's respect.
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naheaton ,

great post! What one wife of a troubled marriage could not get was that her extroverted 'talk to me, talk to me" demanding voice just shoved her introverted husband into deeper silence. Yes, both spouses needs to speak, but sometimes one needs to respect the other person's personality such that they can feel free to speak. As this couple's pastor, I'd worked with them together and individually for weeks but when a fight broke out one night at 3:30am and they called me up for help, I went over there and got extremely bold with them. Fortunately, I lived through that experience and they saw the light only to hear her complain later of why did I not tell her what a "b--h" she was being in how she related with her timid introverted husband. Introverts tend think about what they are going to say and think about it several times before they actually say it. Extroverts think by talking. He had done wrong with his affair, but she had done wrong with how she emotionally terrorized him with her communication style which helped drive him into the arms of a woman who was well known for destroying marriages. I'm glad to say they got their marriage back together and renewed their vows.
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