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15 years ago my mother suffered her first seizure which has left her with short term memory loss, anxiety and depression. Her medications have helped with controlling these things, but she cannot handle taking care of her affairs alone. My mother and I relocated to SC about 19 yrs ago with my son who was then 1. I am the only child and my father died many years ago, so its just us and we've been a pretty happy family. A couple years after relocating my mom got sick. The years passed and I reconnected with an ex about 4 years ago. We dated long distance for 1 year and then he moved in with me, my mother and son. Last year we decided we wanted to move back to FL to be closer to my son who is in college and my fiancée's children. We made the move and a few months later brought my mom down (which was the plan). Now that my mother is here my fiancée is not happy with her living with us. She pretty much stays in her room and gives him/us space which makes me feel guilty because I want her to feel at home and not restricted to a certain area of the house. This has not been enough for him because he wants our house to be "our" house. I understand, that's what any couple would want, but he knew I was my mothers' caregiver from the beginning. What do I do to save my relationship? I can't abandon my mother. Please help.

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"We made the move and a few months later brought my mom down..." Your mother was able to live without you for a few months back in South Carolina before you brought her to live with you in Florida. That suggests to me that she could live in a senior community that's close to your home.

Your fiancee has decided that living with your mother is not right for him. What more information do you need? He's been honest with you and that took courage and integrity. You owe him the same. It will take courage on your part to move your mother to a senior community and courage to end the relationship.

Recognize that you are not abandoning your mother should you choose to find her a senior community. Seniors need to be around other seniors and usually thrive once they make new acquaintances.

Another great thing about senior communities is that they have events for families to gather together and enjoy being a family again.
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danserfri Dec 17, 2019
Thank you for the response.. the months that she was there my grandparents who are elderly had to take care of her because her depression got really bad, being so far from me took a toll on her. I will look into senior living facilities here, maybe that's what she needs :)
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I honestly don't think you can. Perhaps keep the relationship "long distance" while you can, but likely you will move on. It comes down now to a choice. You say your Mom has done all she can. Clearly he doesn't want to live caring for an elder. In all truth I am not certain I would be up to it either, and I think honesty about it is the best policy. You seem to enjoy being with/caring for your Mom. I would just acknowledge to him you understand that it isn't his choice, nor a choice for everyone. Tell him you will miss him, love him, and then move on. I don't see that you can save it. I can see you TRYING and him TRYING, but I think if this is the case it is the case, and so much better this, than marrying and trying and failing and all the disruption, with your Mom feeling guilty. It is a life choice. Not everything can be fixed. So sorry for this loss.
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I would wonder how it was OK to live with u in NC, no complaints. But you move to Fla bring Mom down, which he knew about, and now he can't live with her.

Seems you and Mom were OK till this "glitch". You know what they say, be with someone for a year before making any decisions. Because, they can only hide their true selves so long. He knew what he was getting into when this all started. He knew you took care of Mom and for years.

I would ask him why the change of heart just out of curiosity. Then explain that you r not going to abandon Mom. He knew how things were. So if he needs to leave than thats his decision.


Mom is not an elder she is only 72. (I'm 70).
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worriedinCali Dec 17, 2019
I don’t wonder. I’m sure he enjoyed those mom-free months and now that he’s had a normal life with his partner, he wants it to stay that way.
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Your post doesn't really say WHY he doesn't want her there, and you need to know the why, so you can even see if there is a fix for it.

I think the first step is an honest conversation with your Fiancée. Go out to dinner, so you have privacy from mom and any other family -- plus it's a neutral space. Your job at this dinner is to listen to him, to really hear his concerns. Let him talk, don't necessarily try to "fix" what he brings up, or explain about things that he brings up, let him keep talking. Maybe at the end, you say, "You've given me a lot to think about, I didn't realize how you were feeling. Let's take a few days to think about all this, and then come back together to see if we have any ideas about what could make this better for you."

Sad to say, but it might be, that as your mom's health has declined, he sees that this is just something he is not able to handle -- or that he WANTS to handle. It certainly is his choice to make. I would say, better to have him be honest and upfront, and then maybe lose the relationship, than to have him grudgingly living there and growing resentful, then making everyone miserable. You have already said that the relationship with your mom is more important, so he has the right to choose if that's ok with him.
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danserfri Dec 17, 2019
Thank you for the response...He doesn't want her there because he wants it to be just he and I. He says he loves her but he just doesn't want to live with her. If my fiancée could be with just me 24 hours a day he would, he has stated it. He has an additive personality, it almost borders on obsession. I know this doesn't sound good and that is a red flag in itself..sigh. He states that in this stage of our lives(we're both 51) that we should be living care free. I wish I could, but I have responsibilities, his kids live in another city so he doesn't handle the day to day with them. My moms health isn't declining but I know she is happier with companionship and I love to see her happy, I love to see everyone happy and I'm trying to make that happen but I'm failing, and  I am stressed all the time. I have been trying to find social groups that my mom could join but they mostly meet in the day time and I work and she doesn't drive.
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I'm curious about something you wrote about "abandoning" your mom.

Is he asking you to turn your back on her completely? Or is he saying that he would like to have a relationship in which you have privacy and the ability to schedule your lives around what you and he want to do, not needing to take into consideration your mother's immediate care needs.

It may be that he sees her care needs starting to overwhelm you.

Have you looked into facilities near where you live?
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danserfri Dec 17, 2019
Thank you for the response... Caring for my mother is not overwhelming me, she is able to take care herself (grooming, bathing, housework). Its the tension that I feel from my fiancée that is causing me so much stress. His desire is for it to be just us living alone. My fiancée and I are together 95% of the time when we are not working, the other 5% is split between my mom and my son(he is in college). In my fiancées perfect world he would love to have 100% of my time. Oh and I have 2 small dogs so 5% three ways. We just moved to a new area 2 weeks ago so I am in the process of finding some sort of senior activities or social clubs for her, the problem is they mostly meet during the day and I work and she doesn't drive.
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Your problem is that mother-free interval of a few months. Like taking your shoes off after you've had a really hard day, and then you just can't face putting them back on again.

What was the understanding between you and him about what would happen to mother after you moved back to FL? If it was clearly understood that she would follow in due course, then he's changed his mind. Which isn't quite fair (especially not if he's now handing out ultimata about it), but isn't necessarily something he can help, either.

What do YOU feel about sharing the house with your mother? Would you too be happier and more comfortable if she were living well somewhere else, as long as she was safe and content?
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worriedinCali Dec 17, 2019
Yep came here to say exactly this.
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Danserfri, you've expressed concern about some aspects of his personality. Please don't ignore this flag. Coupled with his u-turn on living with your mother after all the effort, it's not adding up for long-term relational success . That being said I think you need to move your mom on to more "independence" during the day as much as possible, like outside programs. You are not responsible for her happiness, regardless of her unfortunate health issues.

My mother lives next door to us and my husband sometimes gets bugged by the easy access and proximity. Men are generally not as communal as women, so I think it's a bigger adjustment for them. Plus, your mom is only in her early 70's, so he's reading the fine print that this co-habitation will go on for maybe 15+ years and with increasing commitment. I think he sees your commitment as an anchor as time goes on, not the "carefree" retirement he is romanticizing.
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danserfri Dec 17, 2019
Thank you for your response, its a tough situation to be in.
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This home care thing is not for everyone, me included. Perhaps he did not realize how his privacy would be invaded, sometimes we need to live it before we understand what it entails.

I would imagine that you can still have a relationship without living together.

I don't know your mothers age but this could go on for many more years, so I do understand his position, as she gets older she will need more and more care.

It appears that he clearly understands that this is a life sentence for him, your mother will be with you until she dies, if he were to marry you he would be marrying both of you.

Placing her in IL/AL is not abandoning her, it is allowing you to have a life of your own. No need for all this guilt, it is keeping you stuck.

There are always trade offs in life, in this one you are choosing your mother, so now I doubt that anything can be done regarding your fiancée.
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It sounds like you're all living in a house in which she has her own room and you have yours, but the rest of the house is common space. Maybe you could think of getting a place where there is more separation, like a MIL suite or even a duplex.
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There are many posts here from people who are in relationships with care givers who find they are playing second fiddle.

Your fellow had a taste of what life is like without her in the home and although he may have known you were her caregiver he has decided he does not want to live with your Mum.

I was a single parent many years ago. When I married my hubby was jealous of my parenting time. A child comes before an adult. He knew I was a package deal, but unlike your mother who has options I needed to raise my son.

In your case you have put your mother before your fellow. Think back to the few months it was just the two of you, how was life different?

I may be misreading your post, but it appears you were living with your mother prior to her illness. You have been living with her since you were 30 or so. Perhaps the two of you are too set in your routines to imagine any other living situation. Although you are used to living with your Mum, your fellow had a few brief weeks without her and realized that he cannot live with the two of you.
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lkdrymom Dec 17, 2019
I think you are exactly right. He may have agreed to having mom live with you but then found out what it was like not having her around and really liked that. I also don't buy that the OP only spends 5% of her time on mom. Living with mom for 20+ years means that she is 100% of you life.

I was in the same situation as a single mom marrying. My husband was also jealous of the time I needed/wanted to spend with my kids. But he knew going in that he was not going to come first. Children are different than parents. It is a tough balancing act. My husband would jokingly ask when the 6 year old was moving out. He was devastated when she moved out last month at 23.
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