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My husband and I took care of his 96 year old mother for 16 months. 9 months in I was burnt out and depressed, yet my husband insisted we had to keep continuing to care for her. As of May 1st She's now in assisted living as the situation was affecting our marriage, and we were both burnt out to the point where we couldn't do it anymore and wanted to have our lives and freedom back. My husband works a job that has him leaving town a few days a week which left me on my own to take care of her. She was often times verbally abusive towards me, took advantage of me, and treated me like a slave. His sister was of no help unless we forced her to buy a plane ticket to take over for us so we could have a break. Fast forward to now our marriage is still being affected by this whole thing as she calls us several times a day, we can't get any peace. On top of it all my husband spends a pretty significant amount of time during the week at the assisted living facility with her, sometimes 4 days a week. I now often times feel like he's choosing his mother over me, help!!! We've barely been in a relationship for 4 years, married for almost 2 of those years.

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Hi Woodstock - Caregiving is the hardest thing I have ever done. I am not built to do it. Sometimes we have no choice of what confronts us in life. I rescued my mother from the state of MO in November. She now lives with my husband and I. Believe me......I did not want to do this; but I did not have a choice. It was either put mom in a home or bring her home. I couldn't let them take her. She has 4 children and I was the only on able to do this. Imagine how she would have felt. I thought for sure my husband would divorce me by now but he has stuck by my side and is very helpful and sweet to my mother. She loves him. I know it's hard for him too. He sometimes says "we need us time" and by golly I jump. I need to prioritize between mom and my husband. What I'm trying to say is that I love my husband so much more deeply than I ever have because even though it's very hard to have mom with us, he knows how much it means to me. He also knows that it's very hard on me so he's there for me even more. I hope your husband appreciates what you have sacrificed for him and his mother the whole time she lived with you. Please look at it as a blessing your MIL is now in a facility where she is well taken care of and your husband can visit as much as he can without "bringing it home" so to speak. Bless you and your husband. I love my husband but I also love my mother too. The thing is she requires more care so she gets more care and my husband lets me do it because he knows how important it is to "me". I am also telling him how much I appreciate "him". Again, it's still the hardest thing!!!!!!!
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I have a cheap prepaid cell phone and have Mom call that and if I don't answer, the message says something really upbeat like "HI Mom, It's Leslie... I love you and I'll call you back later" not a huge help, but a little help - esp if I know she's safe. I thinkt he caregiver idea is a good one. My husband feels like you and I am trying to make some special time where we do stuff just for us. Do you think your husband would agree to a date night? ANother thing that is helping me is having certain days and times I visit so I am not at her beck and calla and my DH can know when I will be there for him. Maybe your husband can try some of these.
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Hello Woodstock
My suggestion to you is to help and love his mother as much as he does. Sons are very attached to their mother and you won't change that ever. God, she is 96, be as kind as you can, do as much as you can for her and your husband will love you for it! What can be so difficult when she is not even living with you? If she's crabby, so what, she's 96! Treat her and your hubby like gold and it will all be okay. I have had my mom living with us for over five years. She is in stage 7 Alzheimer's. My wonderful husband helps me hoyer her into bed and change her diaper every night, he's the best! Hang in there, it's no where ner as bad as you think, and IF it is, your marriage problems go a lot deeper than this issue. Take it from me I am living it, and love my husband dearly for supporting me and we've
been married 38 years. Love is for better or worse, in good times and bad, support him and you'll be ok. Just my thoughts...
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Sorry I didn't mention the effects on my spouse. He cringes for me and is amazed that I can go over the same topic 4-5 times in 10 minutes! And since he is retired, with some hobbies, he still misses being with me more than he does.
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My mom is in AL. Wants me to come every day. I don't, but go 4-5 days a week. She's on the "you don't love me, never did". Not true either. If I say "yes, the dog ate, I fed her by hand, stop worrying now.". She says "you just HAVE to make a lier of me, don't you?". I am trying to assure her that I'm trying to make sure she and her dog are well. When I leave her she always says "thanks Sis for all you do for me". (like a broken record, yet I know deep down she does know that).
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The calling several times a day, is a common problem. Is it possible for you to phone her, check on her and state - "I am very busy today. I might not be able to answer if you call?" If she continues to call, do not answer. It is a form of control. Also, she is probably bored. At her age, most of her friends are gone and the grandkids aren't interested in talking to her.
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Married for two years and his mother is 96? You signed up for this Woodstock, and if you think you can break a bond between a mother and son, forget it! I would think you would be happy he is spending time with his mother in her last days. But, I am a nurse, and have seen too many family members fight over the dumbest issues. Why did you marry him in the first place? Ask yourself what you are needing from this relationship and if you don't feel like you can handle it, do something about it. No one can "take advantage of you" unless you allow them to. As far as his mother calling every day, limit answering the phone to once or twice, let the answering machine answer for you, do your things together with your husband, and then he can go visit for one hour. This is all about negotiating terms that you two need to work on together. Compromise, compromise, compromise. Ask the nursing home staff to get his mother involved in more activities so her mind and time will be diverted elsewhere. There is a solution, you just have to work finding it. Good luck!
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Woodstock, you don't indicate the nature of MIL's need for assisted living. Is there any dementia in play? That may be responsible for the behavior. Not answering the phone EVERY tome may work. Hiring a companion for a few hours a day at the AL may also work. I saw several families do this for their loved ones at the AL where my Mom was. It gave the person one on one care and attention. The companion played cards, did puzzles, read to the person, took them for walks (or rides in the wheel chairs)did mild stretch movements, etc. It takes pressure off the family and there are plenty of people who can do this well. One young woman came in for a few hours while her kids were in school and another was retired herself (70) and had a good sense of interests and how to pass time.

Don't begrudge your husband's time spent with his Mom. If that is the case, all of us caregivers would be in divorce courts. Just make sure there is time carved out for the two of you. All the best . . .
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I can certainly understand how you feel, particularly since you haven't been married that long. However, I don't think that you should assume that your husband's behavior means that he cares more for his mother than he does for you. Since she is 96 years old, it is likely that he feels that she doesn't have much time left and therefore wants to spend some extra time with her before it is too late. It is also likely that he feels some guilt about not being able to care for her at home. You and your husband will hopefully have many years ahead of you whereas his time with his mother is likely to be very short at this point. What could really damage your marriage in the long run would be if your husband later blamed you for not letting him spend enough time with his mother when she wasn't doing well at the end of her life. Consider yourself lucky that she no longer lives with you and try to remember that your current situation is a temporary one that isn't likely to last too much longer.
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I totally understand your anger and frustration. I don't think much is going to change until your MIL passes away. Your husband loves his mom and feels it is his duty to care for and see her, especially since his sister doesn't want to participate. You can either love him for it or hate him, it is your choice. Personally, I would kiss the ground that I no longer had to care for her all the time. Use your time to do something fun and just live life and enjoy your freedom. You can still be married to someone and each has individual time. He can go sit at the assisted living facility and you can have fun doing something for yourself.
My husband and I are in our 60s and have been married a year so I understand where your relationship is. Sometimes when we inherit a new family, we have learn to accept long standing relationships and how it can all fit together. I hope all this can get settled and you and hubby can go back to being happy and continue building on your new marriage.
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I would not be so fast to say that your husband is picking your mother over you, don't do that to yourself or him. This is new for him and he is more than likely trying to find himself through this whole new aspect of his life, it is an emotional wringer for sure, brings his own mortality front and center and he has to come to terms with his mother's decline. We here can fully relate to you and understand the hell it can be, the abuse, the rages, the entire gamut of emotions, pain and powerlessness. I am glad that she is in AL, that is good and be happy for that. Get an answering machine. Let him go as often as he needs to visit her, they both need to work through it, and you take care of you and be supportive of him. It is not easy for anyone, and this is one of those "for better or worse" moments. I often think wouldn't it be great to have someone to share this nightmare with me, but then again, we can never be sure how that someone is going to act, react or be during this kind of life altering times.
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As far as the Sister goes, you have to let that go, she's doesn't want to be involved..Your husband obviously feels his responsibility to his Mom is greater than his relationship to you...I have a feeling this was the way before you got married...Just continue to express to your husband that the AL is taking good care of his Mom and you would like him to spend his free time with you...

Also are you willing to go with him to AL, if she is abusive to you hopefully he'll see it for himself and his visits won't be so frequent..
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