My situation is this: We have a "family compound" out in the country. My husband and I have one house; my daughter, her husband and my grandchildren have another; and we built a "tiny house" for my mom and dad to live in when mom's Alzheimer's made it impossible for dad to handle her alone.

Back when it became plain that I was going to take on the role of caregiver for my parents, I had a family meeting with my husband and daughter and told them I had no intention of putting my parents into a nursing home because of the nightmare stories that keep coming out about the conditions there. I asked my husband and daughter, repeatedly, if they were all right with my parents moving out here, and outlined everything I could think of that this might entail. They were all supportive of the decision, so the decision was made and the move accomplished.

Mom died 9 months after we moved her out here. Dad is nearly 89, has congestive heart failure, diabetes, and his kidneys are failing. He still lives here and, as far I can see ahead, will live here until/unless I can no longer care for him. He doesn't really need all that much active care...he can feed himself, keeps his house himself, dresses himself, etc., so it's not all that much of a problem, as far as I'm concerned. I take him to bingo twice a week, to the store once a week, to doctor's visits, and out to eat periodically. I make sure my husband and I have occasionally "date days" or "date nights" or extended vacations just to have time alone, and while we're away, my daughter holds down the fort. In exchange, I occasionally "babysit" my grandchildren (both teenagers) while my daughter and her husband take off for a few days.

My difficulty is husband seems to be no longer okay with the fact that dad is here. He's acting like a spoiled brat, in my opinion. My dad is lonely, of course, now that mom is gone and he is no longer living in a place where he is surrounded by friends, so he comes up to our house occasionally to talk. Sometimes my husband is barely civil to him, and if I can see that, I'm sure dad can as well. I spend so much time as a "referee" between my husband and my father, just trying to avoid an open conflict and subsequent breech.

I am ENRAGED that my husband is, in my opinion, going back on his declaration that it is okay that my dad is here. Yes, I could find a facility for dad, but does my husband imagine for one second that I would forgive him for being such a jackass that I had to move dad into a facility?? Does he really think that everything will be rosy after dad is gone, with me remembering how my husband treated him? Again, dad is 89 and not in great health, so it isn't like he'll be here forever, and I make a definite point of spending time with my husband without dad being around, so in my opinion he really has no just cause for complaint.

It's hard enough being a caregiver for dad, but without the support of my husband, it's becoming nearly impossible. Ironically enough, my husband has had two surgeries in the past year that necessitated my being HIS caregiver as well, but apparently that didn't make him any more empathetic to my situation.

Suggestions and support would be most welcome.

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You need to have a calm, serious talk with hubby.

avoid recriminations, accusations, and anger. Just talk about why his feelings have evolved into open hostility and how that is making you feel.

You both need to be open about your feelings, and understanding of the point of view.

You cannot solve this by just going along like like you are or by pointing fingers.

It it sounds like you have a great family and good situation over all, just need to iron out this.
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Kathie333 Apr 2019
Katiekate, great reply!! Communication is always the answer. The sooner the better!
Your husband agreed that your parents could live on the property in their own house. That is MUCH different than having someone randomly "drop by" all the time. (And by "all the time" I mean more than once a month.)

I'm not saying he's handling it correctly, but I can totally see where he is coming from. He's probably introverted and needs alone time. Having someone else in the house when you need to re-charge is incredibly stressful.

I'm projecting -- your husband may have totally different reasons for being upset.

If you value your marriage, you're going to need to calmly discuss this and figure out what needs to change, then make a plan to get there. Maybe your father needs to call first, and limit the number of visits. Maybe you need to visit your father in his house more often. Maybe you need to hire some help if it's too much for you to manage both households.

Good luck and I hope you're able to find a solution.
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Time for a serious heart to heart with DH. Set aside some time when you don't have any other obligations or concerns - maybe a date night - and when you're both relaxed and feel like you're on the same wavelength, bring it up in the spirit of inquiry rather than problem solving. The first step is to fully learn what DH is feeling about all this. It could be that all he needs is to feel heard! Or that a slight adjustment to daily patterns would do the trick. But the key here is to delve into what he's feeling. It may be something he feels embarrassed about but still eats at him, like he wants more attention or to feel like the man of the house. Get him to talk, and listen carefully without judging. Convey that he's heard and not judged before you respond. Then you can be honest and tell him you've felt bad and resentful, but you're glad he told you everything, and that you're committed to making this all work. Tell him what you need, ask him what he needs, then get him to work with you on a solution.

Good luck! This is a trying situation, but could be a real growth opportunity. Unfortunately, it does seem up to you to break the impasse, but it might pay some real dividends.
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DILKimba Apr 2019
Excellent advice!
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I’m so sorry RedPondRanch
On the surface your husband is indeed behaving like a horse’s patootie.
Have you discussed this with him? That you are feeling trapped between two of the most important people in your life? And here at the end of your dad’s life when he is vulnerable and lonely you feel you are being asked to abandon him! I can certainly understand how you feel.

But let’s do some trouble shooting.
Did DH have anesthesia when he had his health problems? Does he have longevity in his family? Has he been diagnosed with diabetes or heart problemS or hypertension that put him on maintenance meds? Is he managing his own health care? Is he having to use pain meds? Does he need pain meds now and isn’t taking them?
On the surface it sounds like your DH is burned out or perhaps jealous of your dad.
At any rate his feelings have changed and he may be as surprised as you are about them.
So besides his health, what else has changed?
You said you knew dad was lonely since mom died. Maybe you could drill down on that abit. Perhaps you could arrange for dad to have a companion to drive him out to lunch a few times a week or come over and play cards with him.
Did dad have to come over when DH was recuperating and got into a new habit?
Is he on the teenagers radar? Could the grands spend a little time with your dad or your husband? What about SIL? Could he or your daughter show a bit more attention to DH or your dad?
Have the other family members noticed DH new behavior?
Your mom has left a void that your family feels. Things are out of balance since she died. How long ago was that by the way?
You are trying to fill that
void and perhaps your DH misses your focus and energy. I read what you said about the dates. So good that you have those bases covered but spend a moment to reflect on all the changes since your mom passed.
Even though people make commitments, the one thing we can count on is change. We know life events will happen. We don’t always know how we will feel when that happens.

i guess what I’m saying is that your mom has died but your husband hasn’t.
You feel responsible to take up the slack. To keep your family working together it might be time for all of you to have a family meeting and discuss how your mom’s passing has affected the family compound and what you collectively can do to work things out.
Your husband sounds like he needs help right now that won’t be solved by your dad being placed in a home. If you continue to be placed between your loved ones, it will erode your health and won’t help them.
Thats just my two cents. Maybe there is something in this long ramble that will give you another perspective to consider.
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shad250 Apr 2019
DH could have his eye on someone else and is causing conflict to be able to see that person.
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I think your husband is resenting all the time you are spending with your dad. Your husband should be first and not reduced to date nights. You need to find someone to do the caregiving for your dad including run him around for errands and take him to bingo. You need to put your husband and marriage first. If he really is to you. I know you love your dad so do the right thing and hire someone to take him to bingo and appointments. Unless you are choosing dad over husband and then who can blame your husband.
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TaylorUK Apr 2019
Absolutely - good idea
"Back when it became plain that I was going to take on the role of caregiver for my parents, I had a family meeting with my husband and daughter and told them I had no intention of putting my parents into a nursing home because of the nightmare stories that keep coming out about the conditions there. I asked my husband and daughter, repeatedly, if they were all right with my parents moving out here, and outlined everything I could think of that this might entail. They were all supportive of the decision, so the decision was made and the move accomplished."

It became clear to you but it wasn't clear to your husband. If you have siblings, your husband may have expected them to step up and care for their parents.

You didn't really give your husband and daughter much of a choice. Instead, you **told** them you weren't going to put your parents in a nursing home. I suspect that they both felt a bit bulldozed by you but wanted to make you happy and acquiesced.

You know as well as I do that most nursing homes today are much better than what they used to be. Here's a discussion about modern nursing homes:

Your husband may feel that he has no privacy, that he always has to be ready for you or your dad to want to talk, and that his life has been taken over by caregiving for your father. Occasional dates are not cutting it for your husband.

You're obviously angry at your husband. It seems like you think he has no right to feel the way he does. He himself endured two life-altering surgeries. Rather than acknowledge that those surgeries may have changed your husband's wishes for the future, you wanted them to make him more sympathetic toward you.

I know from personal experience that, during particularly long and intense stretches of my husband caring for his dad that I felt lonely and alone. My husband was preoccupied with "everything dad" and he was worn out.

Is it possible that you also are worn out? That no matter how much you do for your dad that he always seems to need more? Is it possible that your husband sees something that you don't? If you love your husband you owe it to him to work through this.

Caregiving must work for everyone involved.
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DILKimba Apr 2019
Excellent insights!! As the wife of the primary caregiver of my husbands parents I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment.
Two surgeries in the past year? What surgeries?

Your husband evidently does feel differently about your father's presence from how he felt originally, when he was no doubt genuinely supportive. What has changed, and what can be done about it now, is what you need to investigate. It isn't necessarily something that he can help; and if he can't help it, and you continue to ignore it and/or criticise him for it, he certainly will have just cause for complaint.

I should start by making one firm assumption, anyway: that your husband is not intentionally setting out to be selfish or spiteful. For some reason he can't cope with your father's being around, and I hope the reason(s) will turn out to be solvable.
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It’s easy to consent to care of a parent, however, until you’ve experienced it, you never know how difficult it can be. Your husband is probably feeling the burden of YOUR stress and also experiencing his own stress from the reality of how much it has taken over your lives and caused the loss of any spontaneity in your social lives with friends and travel. I think the suggestion of family counseling is a good one - where you can both emote and a professional can come up with suggestions that will ease the tension and negativity caused by your father’s presence. Accept that it IS an interruption and a distraction in your lives and be open to suggestions from a counselor as to how to improve the only becomes more difficult with time, so don’t put off dealing with it NOW.
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You stated that DH had two surgeries. When my dad had heart surgery he was never the same again. What change? Maybe it was the anaesthesia or some have said it was the operation on the heart itself. But it did matter what the cause was--my father just wasn't the same anymore. Sigh:(

Just a thought!
Helpful Answer (6)

My mom actually had a similar situation. She and my stepdad built a small house on their property for my grandfather to live in when it became apparent that living 40 miles away by himself no longer was feasible. Right after my grandpa moved in, we started noticing the beginning of dementia. All of us kids were grown and gone and my mom was stuck in a tug of war between my stepdad and grandpa, each trying to pull her their way. She nearly lost it. We both worked for the same company at the time and I urged her to get counseling through our employee assistance program. She saw a counselor once a week for about 3 years and said it helped tremendously just to have someone to talk to .
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