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Coming home from my mom's. And seeing spouse with (single) neighbor. It flashed before me that I have been absent for too long. Running back and forth constantly for about two years now making sure my aging dementia parents were okay with 24/7 care but leaving free time for my spouse. How do you choose? Parents can live another 10 years. What is reasonable visiting time with parents? After all they are your mom and dad. I drive 45 min one way 3 days a week to make sure they get out and everything is okay. I'm getting tired also.

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ihave2 - I have seen my friends divorce over caregiving. What I usually see is this - the wife (daughter, or neice) is killing herself taking care of demanding parents or other relatives WHO EITHER HAVE ENOUGH CARE, or who could pay for /take advantage of services, WHO DO NOT WANT TO USE THEM. Husband is frustrated because wife's time gets more and more sucked up. Spouses need to be with each other to maintain their relationship.

If your parents already have 24/7 care - why are you going up so much? Start stepping back to once a week, then maybe once every other week. What are you doing that 24/7 care should be but is not? What are you doing that your parents could hire someone to do? (wash windows, clean house??). What are you doing that your parents could take advantage of community services to do? (meals, doctor rides, etc).

Your small nuclear family comes first.

This resonates right now because my best work friend has gradually had her time sucked up so that she spent every weekend with her parents (2 hour drive away) helping them stay in their house. The weekend she would clean the entire 2 story house plus basement, mow the lawn, hubby would be making repairs, they would buy groceries and cook meals for the week, make sure to get meds. Finally hubby and three kids (ages 11-16) sat her down and said as of Sept 1 this year - they quit. She was on her own. They were no longer going to give up every weekend to go out of town - they were going to participate in sports, work on hobbies, do repairs on their own house, see friends. No discussion. She was on her own.

She got mad then, and told her parents - no more as of Sept 1. She was done. They could hire services or finally move to assisted living - she was done. She has had them call and yell at her, the pastor yell at her, parents friends yell at her. She is strong and says "no".

Well - guess what? mom and dad have hired a cleaning service, have found a handy man for repairs, and use internet grocery shopping and mail services for meds. They just hadn't wanted to all these years.

Think about it - take your life back.
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In all these answers I meant my husband had free time.
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Oh, and maintaining intimacy, especially if they are living with you is very challenging! We all remember how dificult it was when we had kids still in the home, crashing through the bedroom door, right in the middle of "you know", but just knowing that your Dad is 2 befrooms and 2 bathrooms away, still does a number on your psyche! It often does kill the mood and you have to try to distract that part of your brain to really enjoy what's going on beneath the sheets, shall we say! Lol! Its hard enough that most men in their 50' and 60's are struggling with erectile dysfunction, but just knowing that there is another adult in the home and it's even more difficult! You do have to make time to for your spouse, and make your marriage the priority for sure, or you do stand the chance of losing everything, because the elders, most of the time, are only thinking about themselves!
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I can definitely see how even the strongest marriage might crumble while caring for our parents! I've been caregiving in one form or another going on 20 years, first with my own parents and now have my FIL living with us for these past 13 years, and it's difficult, especially because he is Narcissistic! Thankfully my husband has been very good, but now its more him, getting frustrated with his own Dad, and then him complaining to me about him, that puts the biggest strain on our marriage. Having my FIL with us this long is bad enough, but having hubby constantly complaining about it makes it 10 times harder! I know that we won't break over this, but my biggest hope is that we don't lose the US in all of this, and that we come out of it that much stronger! Caregiving, it ain't for sissy's!
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Well thank you all.
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I think a lot depends on how much care hubby given to your parents to help you free up some time. If hubby is right by your side helping out, that gives you more time to be together. You are both working as a team.

If the spouse/sig other acts like "they aren't my parents" then I couldn't give a flying fig that spouse/sig other is not getting any attention. Nothing worse than an able bodied person making excuses for not helping with your parents or helping around his/her own house to make life easier for the caregiver. Nothing worse then trying to maintain two houses.
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"It flashed before me that I have been absent for too long." It sounds like reality bit you just in the nick of time.

Restoring intimacy with your husband may take a while. I agree that you should cut back visits to once a week, however, first and foremost, I think you ought to consider taking a vacation from your parents for at least a few weeks. During that time if you must check in on them, do it by telephone.

Your husband needs to see some grand gestures on your part. Plan special weekends for the two of you. Establish a weekly date night. Fall is the perfect weather to get out and explore what's happening in your community. Most counties offer events that are free or modestly priced.

It is your job to make your husband feel important, special and secure in your marriage. Continuing as you are now - i.e. prioritizing your parents over your husband - may not land you in divorce court but it will sap the life out of you and your marriage. I wish you lots of wisdom during this difficult time.
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They have 24/7 care? Cut your visits back to once a week. You, and your marriage, you both need a break!
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After all he is your husband. Your first responsibility is to yourself, and your family. Stop the running back and forth. Once a week is plenty, if that works for you. Find a Geriatric Care Manager to look in on them more often if need be. Have the folks prepared POA's and other necessary documents.

After all they are your parents. Wouldn't they want you to be happy and live your life?

Yes, there are marriages that end because of caregiving, which for many is just the last straw. Your marriage is the most importanr, a partership and an investment that will crumble to nothing if you do not attend to it.
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