Is my relationship with my caregiving boyfriend doomed?


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?

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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.....

You sound more connected to him than he does to you as connected as he is with his mother. Being connected to his mother as he is, I question his maturity.

CaregiverLvr1, you want mutual maturity with a 52-yo boy who sleeps in his mother's bed?

Hi cmagnum,

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.

Missed a lot of answers here but everyone seems to be of the same opinion, lose this perverted looser. Mommy can have him bedfellow and all. Just makes me shudder. you are worth more than that.

Why are you dating someone who is almost old enough to be your father? Are you looking for a father figure?

What strikes me is that the boyfriend has said terribly cruel things to you, again and again. I wonder if there's something wrong with him in addition to his enmeshment with his mother. Frankly, he sounds like an abuser. If you decide to end the relationship, I suggest you do it either by phone or in a public place, just in case. Sorry if this is too strong a comment --- the administrators should delete it if it isn't allowed.

What sort of Indian?

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 :)

I was going to ask if he and his mother sleep in the same room when they go away, but then you tell us he sleeps in the bed with his mother? ??? I can't get past that. This sounds like a dysfunctional relationship.

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?

Great suggestion Surprise!
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.

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