Hi everyone, this is going to be a pretty long post so, for those of you who make it to the end, I would like to thank you in advance.
I have been in a relationship for the past two years to a wonderful man, however, I think he might be too close to his mother and it has been negatively impacting our relationship from the start.
His mother has always been dependent on his father, in fact, although she went to school, she has never worked a day in her life, opting instead to be a stay at home mom. She once told my boyfriend that she never got a driver's license so that his father would have to come home and take her to the places she needed to get to.
His father passed away a few years ago, and so now his mother is alone. She is showing early signs of dementia, but for the most part, she is still very independent. She goes out every morning to socialize with her friends, she is able to manage the house with little help and is still capable of taking care of herself in terms of bathing etc.
Before I continue, I just want to say that I acknowledge that caregiving is a very trying thing, and I do realize that she has dementia and needs more help than the average parent. The caregiving is not the issue, their closeness is.
My boyfriend lives about 10 minutes away from his mother, and he and I live in the same condo building. He works fulltime but manages to visit his mom at least four times or more a week and they speak at least three times a day on the phone. Although we live just a couple of floors from each other, we have now settled into a once a week thing mostly because I don't want to pressure him for more time when I know he hardly gets time for himself. If he goes more than a couple days without seeing his mother, she gives him the cold shoulder and only stops after he has showered her with time and attention to make it up to her.
His brother and sister both live relatively close by, but they are not as close to their mom which I am now beginning to suspect is because of how close she is to my boyfriend. It is no secret that he is her favourite so I think there may be some resentment there. In addition, his brother and sister are both married with children - my boyfriend, at 52 has never been married, so I guess naturally it is easily assumable that he would have the most time to give. He has tried to take steps to free up more of his time, but he is always met with resistance. If he mentions having a caregiver come a few times a week, she becomes ornery. Last month he decided to try to have gourmet meals delivered to her place because she wasn't eating enough, and for the whole week, for every meal, he was bombarded with complaints so he has gone back to delivering dinner for her personally. She tells him she feels bad and she wants him to live his life, but any effort he tries to make that will help him to take care of her and still have a life is shot down but he doesn't seem to notice what is happening. I am not at all implying that his mother is an evil genius, but I do think as much as she says she feels bad, she enjoys having him there with her all the time.
I have never met his mother but the first thing she had to say when she learned of me is that I am with my boyfriend for his money. That was the first dig. We got into an argument early on in our relationship and he told her all about it do for months after, even though things were really good with us, she would remind him of the argument we had. I once poured my heart out to him in a letter which he promptly shared with his mother. It made me sick. I spent a month planning an evening for him for his birthday last year, and told him about it a month in advance because I didn't want his mom to get in the way and guess what? He took his mother on vacation with flights leaving on the very day of my plans for him. Our first summer together we decided to go away for a weekend and when he told his mom, she told him to refrain from having sex with me, and when we got back to the city she actually called to make sure he had listened to her. He lied to her to keep the peace but how and why would a mother of a 50-year-old son, feel comfortable enough to control her son's sex life?
When he needs advice, he asks his mom first before asking me, when I compliment him on a shirt, for example, it is not uncommon for his reply to be "thanks, mom likes this one too," when we go out to eat, every waitress asks for his mom because they have only ever seen him there with her, and even when I order dishes sometimes he'll say "you'll enjoy that, my mom likes it a lot."
I feel like there have always been three people in my relationship, and I have always felt like the mistress. I understand his mom's care comes before my wants, but when it doesn't have anything to do with her dementia care, am I being selfish as he's lead me to believe, am I wrong for being mad?
Much more has happened that I can't fit but I'm asking, is this normal for dementia care?
Have you met his siblings? I HAVE to know! Please answer....yet another red flag if you haven't. Wonder what that excuse is..he is just 1 BIG excuse isn't he?
So many red flags .....too little time to address them all!
I think you are well aware that a healthy relationship would have included meeting his Mother within 6 months so presumably 2 years down the road you would both be involved with supporting her. Any Caregiver would /should welcome that situation as it is so very taxing caring for a Dementia patient. A SO to call or stop by for short visits would be a God send. So for him to completely shut you out of that role is leading me to wonder what the truth really is.
Is there even a Mother & let's just say there is. She doesn't have Dementia to the extent he is leading you to believe as evidenced by so much alone time, dinners out,socializing with friends,plane trips,vacations etc etc.
I hope you are still on a time out with him............stay strong....this is not what you are looking for.
When his Mom does pass would you be able to forgive & forget? I know I couldn't.....
No I am not looking for a father figure. My father has always been a present person in my life. I have dated men my own age. I've just always believed that age doesn't matter as long as there is a connection and mutual maturity.
In most Indian/Asian cultures women go to live with their husbands' families on marriage. Sons remain more or less attached to their mothers' households. Your boyfriend's situation might get him affectionately mocked or pitied back in the sub-continent, but it wouldn't be considered at all abnormal.
You also don't know how many potential partners this mother has seen off, of course.
Look. If he is a 52 year old doctor who is comfortable in his own culture and you're not from it and you wouldn't know where to start with it, you haven't a prayer of making a successful relationship out of this. That doesn't mean you can't stay friends, but if you're looking for a partner in the meaningful sense of the word, look elsewhere.
If he took you to meet his mother, the chances are that she would be utterly vile to you and make you both miserable. If you retaliated... from his point of view, it doesn't even bear thinking about. It may be regrettable that he is so afraid of what might happen, but it's not without reason. You are not "A Suitable Girl." His mother is not going to be happy for him. Face facts.
And don't worry about him! - he'll be fine. Without even trying I can name three men in comparable situations - one married at 50 and now has three fine sons; one married at 46, went through merry H*ll with his mother over it even though he had chosen a wife who on paper met all her criteria, somehow survived and, now an orphan, is still married to the same lady 24 years later; and one never married, is widely assumed to be gay (he isn't), but on the plus side can enjoy all the material benefits of a comfortable home and generous pension with no one else's needs to consider. Worst case scenario for your b/f is that he ends up alone but very secure, with lots of godchildren, nieces and nephews, and everyone says what a wonderful son he was to his mother.
So he'll be happy. And so can you be - with someone else :)
He's 52. Doubt he's going to change. And another thing to think about - you're only 32. Do you want to end up taking care of HIM, since he's 20 years older?
Question -- you said he's in healthcare. Is he a doctor? Nurse?
Ease out of the relationship. Do your own thing on the weekends. Go out with your friends, take a yoga class or whatever to put yourself out there to meet people (not necessarily men) that share your interests and make you happy. Clearly you are not happy now. You are only 32! Don’t waste one of the best times of your life on this guy.
There is definitely something wrong with a man who would sleep in the same bed as his mother. Please look at this objectively. Their relationship is not healthy.
I hope you find your inner strength to extract yourself from this arrangement. You deserve so much more. You ARE worthy of the best. Maybe therapy will help you through this as well as help you understand your worth and that you deserve respect and acknowledgment of your needs especially in intimate relationships.
You can turn it around. It sounds as if he recognizes your self doubt about yourself and uses it to his advantage.
No you aren’t being selfish because he chooses to be a caregiver. His mother and her demands of him are not normal. Has she been diagnosed with dementia or is this just a rouse? You will never know as you haven’t even met the woman. Don’t allow them to manipulate you any more.
Begin to step away.
Just say you don't have time next weekend to visit with him if you've bugged him about it already, and let you two grow apart. It does not have to be big blow up thing to not see him anymore. Just don't see him. I bet he won't notice if you don't call.
I feel sad for you, but listen.
You came here seeking advice because you already felt something wasn't right.
Or you came here hoping someone would say its ok, this is normal, hang in there.
Truth is nothing about what you have told us is normal for behaviour of someone proclaiming love. If he loved you he would want you to be a part of his life, not keep you separated and held hostage with his words.
Please consider yourself, he is a selfish person when it comes to being a boyfriend. A relationship never works out well if both are not invested.
Oh, I wish I could give you a hug and tell you, you are worth more.
I will pray for you to see the light.
Best wishes. Keep us posted how you are.
You're just being too damned nice!
Quit giving him so many excuses and chances.
You're second guessing yourself.
You want a normal relationship (you know you're not in one) and subconsciously you know you're not going to get it with him. Mommy Dearest will always be first.
There is something wrong with a man that sleeps WITH his mother. That's great when they are 2 but not 52!!! Sorry, too weird for me.
You go on about how EVERYTHING is wonderful UNTIL it comes to his mother. Well then everything is NOT wonderful. He's glued to her like flies on p**p.
First suggestion-Get a partner near your own age. He's too old for you and is like a father figure.
Second suggestion-Go to a therapist. Ask if you are on the right track. Take into consideration the 59 responses you have received here.
You have compromised your values to be a "second rate" GF. Is that where you want to be?
You don't need to be sympathetic to his mother's condition. She may have beginning dementia but she's also a manipulative old battle ax. I would not try to "work it out". You've had 2 years to do that.
Just an, "I'm sorry, this isn't working out." should suffice. Don't look back, don't believe the empty promises. Look at the history of the last 2 years.
Let him "be nice" to his mommy. You are just a convenient distraction "with benefits" when he can pull away from her.
Get a (new) life.
Let’s say what he tells you is all true. It reminds me of when my daughter was a teenager and she would start seeing some guy that she was initially attracted to, but after some time he would start messing up, disappointing her, being unavailable, etc. When I would give my advice, she would tell me, “But Mom, he is so sweet, or kind or (fill in the blank for why she should stay with him). I would tell her that all those things were probably true. He’s funny and kind and helpful, etc., but he’s just not boyfriend material. On his own, at this time, he’s a great guy, but he’s not ready to be a boyfriend. It doesn’t sound as if your guy is boyfriend or husband material yet either, and at 52, it doesn’t look as if he will ever be. We can get blinded by the worthy qualities we see in another person, but that doesn’t mean they’d be a good boyfriend or husband. You will have to decide if the crumbs you are being given are enough or you deserve better.
Clearly, your gut told you early on that this was a bad situation. He argued you into thinking that you were being selfish.
Where do those "I am a selfish human being, not worthy of someone loving me and me alone come from?" However did your parents treat you? As thought you weren't worthy? Someone installed "I am not worthy" buttons. Figure out how they got there and tear them off. Proceed to live a full life.
Have you watched Moonstruck yet?
Don't sell yourself short and protect you dignity.
I'm sorry I will be blunt and rude, but it is sometimes necessary to jolt someone out of a trance.
You say he's a gentleman and you want to hang on to him because of that. Is he the only gentleman who would date you? Are there no other gentlemen who would? Can you not find another good man to date? Are you desperate to hang on to him so that you can have someone?
In a healthy relationship, the partners put each other FIRST. But in your case, your status is chopped liver. One last question. Why do you want to settle for that?
This is a conversation the two of you need to have. I also was in a relationship with a man who made everything about him. Anything that wasn't working (as far as he was concerned) was my fault. Anything I was not happy with was because of my failures as a woman, a wife, a human being. Anything I wanted different was because I didn't understand. I was too unintelligent. Too demanding. Too not willing to work to change my dismal self.
If you get even a hint that this kind of blame game will be part of your "relationship," leave now. You will be doing yourself a kindness. You deserve to have your needs met too. Meeting his needs, while dismissing yours as unimportant, will only hurt you. He is getting what he needs. You are not nearly as important to him as you deserve to be.
I left that relationship (it was a divorce) and have since married a wonderful man who is very close to his family. They are enormously important to him... but he never makes me feel anything but that I, and us, come first. When his father developed dementia, the old guy lived with us for a while. So I can say that dealing with a beloved parent with dementia does NOT mean a man will, or must, treat a woman/wife as less important. My husband shows me complete love and devotion.
I did wonder, when dating (he was in his late 40s and never married), if the very close family thing was going to be a problem --my family is nowhere near as close-- but it was him who made me feel like the most desired and necessary woman on Earth. He made the effort. So did I. But don't be the only one making the effort.
If you take away the dementia excuse (mild-an evil genius),
none of the relationship is normally healthy, but it is common.
A famous mistress, now the Queen's daughter-in-law. Took years, many years, to get what she wanted. It is not normal, but it is common.
Not saying that is you, or even that you are a mistress.
Are you positive they are jealous because he is the favorite child?
Oh how ironic that this seems to have led you to outgrow him!
It really is up to you, you know. You could try the "what would you say to a good friend if she was in this situation" approach, see if that highlights the rubs for you. You could mind map it, see what minimum has to change for you to be comfortable waiting for the next natural step. Or you can move on, no hard feelings.
Do stick around, anyway. B/f's mother may be a bit of a bunion on the foot of progress but compared to some of the lovelies on here..! AC is the best place I know of to get perspective (and hugs). Hugs :)
Whether he gives his Mother a shower or not, I am going to guess you did not miss the point of Veronica's post to you.
DO not beat yourself up for having had this relationship, look at all the good that has come out of it, you making plans, having goals...that is awesome. It does not make you indebted to this man. That you have offered all kinds of caring aid that has been rejected then you are made wrong and can not meet mom because you are not understanding or supportive, yikes, he is trying to emotionally manipulate you. I know you think he loves you and maybe he does but, are you really willing to settle for his love. You have told us all the hurtful things he has done, this is not a love to strive for. Maybe he does all the wonderful things, which by the way, don't sound like much to me, to keep you as his play thing. Cuz, lover that's how he treats you, he gets all of his needs met with very little effort on his part. You are a toy he takes out and plays with until his mommy hollers then you are tossed aside waiting for her to release him, so you can do it all over again and again and...
I know that it is hard to find a real man, to many dutiful little boys. That's what he is, a dutiful little boy, not a man. You are still young and have so much life ahead of you, please do not waste your time trying to please this person, he has already shown you that you can not do it. My friends get mad when I say, I don't listen, I watch because what you do is the reality of you, we can all say anything but, can we do it, do our actions show others are words are true? That for me is where the rubber meets the road. When I was around your age I had a BF that was so sorry, loved me so much, never gonna do it again, until next time. I have a jewel box full of bruises and black eyes that at the time proved what a great guy I had. I would not listen to anyone, they didn't understand him, he was so conflicted and on and on. Thankfully I came to my senses before he killed me. Not saying he hits you but through my recovery I learned abuse is abuse and is unacceptable, PERIOD. You say he is Indian, whether American Indian or India Indian both are cultures where it is accepted that the woman is chattel (property) can you live with not being a human being in his eyes for the rest of your life? He is showing how it is with him, like it or lump it are what his actions say. Is this the future you want? Speaking from experience, part-time love is not love at all.
You are a smart lady and will find happiness in your life once you get out of his circus.
So glad to have you here😙
At this stage, do not be surprised if he makes token gestures to keep you, steps up kind gestures towards you-an extra dinner out-so he can tell you how inadequate you are.
Or, sadly, if he abruptly replaces you! A therapist might say: "Dance away, make yourself less available" and he will likely come after you, therefore, confusing you.
If you see a therapist, it would be recommended to see a woman. But for you, I think a male could be very helpful and on your side, knowing right away the motivations of your neighbor, and you might believe a male therapist more than you have believed your girlfriends. ?????
He doesn't have to give her a shower, he has to shower her with attention. So if he's gone to see her four days in a row, and he cant on the fifth and sixth day, she sometimes will give him the cold shoulder, so his way of dealing with that is usually going there for the next five days in a row and taking her to breakfast and lunch etc until she is no longer upset.
They have property up north and a trailer. That's where they go for weekend trips. The trailer has a living room with leather couches and he has an air mattress, but his mom likes the company of him in the bed so she is not alone in the bedroom.