My fiancé is the main caregiver for his elderly mother. She’s lived in her own home, refuses to go into any kind of nursing home and refuses to have any in home care - she has fallen several times, but still refuses any help from anyone else but her son, my fiancé. He works fulltime in a very stressful & demanding job, so any free time goes to his mother. It always has, but now it’s worse because she’s 94 and needs a higher level of care and attention. I think she’s very selfish because she refuses any outside help - she’s vety manipulative and has always been able to guilt her son, my fiancé, into being her main caregiver, maintenance man, repair man, chauffeur and companion. It’s getting to the point I’m having a lot of resentment towards him and her. We can’t get anything done on our own home, it’s falling apart - let alone have time to do anything together. His siblings don’t help or live out of state. I’ve been in this relationship for 10 years now and have always felt I come 2nd. His mother has come 1st always. Her needs, her home, her wants, everything. I don’t think much will change, even after she passes. She has two properties that are hers, which he takes care of, her home and a summer home - which he refuses to sell, even after she is gone. He will most likely end up spending any free time he has, maintaining those two properties out of obligation to his parents, even with no one living there. At what point does this stop? As his future wife, isn’t our relationship supposed to come first? Our home? Our needs & dreams? My grandparents never put this kind of stuff on their kids (my parents). They were independent right to the end. My mom & dad put their marriage & family & home first. Why can’t I get my fiancé to see that he is wasting his life away - he’s not living - he just care takes of old people & old houses, & STUFF, while his siblings go on vacations, travel, spend time with family, they do nothing for their mother or the upkeep of her very old home. He does it all. I’m getting very tired of this. Saw it happen with his father, and now his mother. She fell again and is in the nursing home getting PT. Doctors are saying she’s going to need fulltime care when she goes home. Of course she’s refusing any outside help and only wants her son to help her. He’s been the one who’s had everything dumped on him. Should I say something to his siblings? Or stay out of it? I feel like someone needs to put their foot down and say enough is enough!

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That someone is you. You "put your foot down" by walking away.

Ten years?

You think he's going to change? Why are you still with him? What commitment does he show to your relationship?
Helpful Answer (19)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn

I agree, 10 years is way too long. After the 2 other posts you need to ask yourself are you better off with him or without him.
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Reply to MACinCT

You should say something. Not to his siblings -- none of your business. But to him. And what you should say is

"Good bye."
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Reply to jeannegibbs

If his mom goes home instead of staying at the nursing home for the care she needs then you will leave, get on with your life, get a life and live your life. Like Barb said, why after ten years do you think this will change? He has made his priorities well known and you have enabled that for a very long time.
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Reply to gladimhere

Wean yourself away from him by putting yourself first. If he is truly committed to your relationship, he will be willing to negotiate and start shifting some of the caregiving to his siblings or paid help. If not, maybe he needs some time apart to realize that his relationship with his mother is the only relationship with which he is committed.
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Reply to GAinPA

I doubt this will make you feel better but at least he’s not browbeating YOU into doing the caregiving. There are women who post on here that it appears to me that the son married them to be live in ‘slaves’ for mama or daddy or both.

I hope you have your own money. I hope you don’t have children with boyfriend. Because when you leave you’ll need the money but children complicate things. Do you have a friend or family member that can help you out when you leave him. Because you sound intelligent, you have things figured out. He’ll keep those properties as shrines to his parents. They did a number on him psychologically when he was growing up. The other kids fled for their lives.

I put my mom in assisted living. She cried and asked me wasn’t she a good mother to me? Of course she was, but that broke my heart. I think she realized pretty quickly she did need more care and my dad was clueless. Things had gotten out of control with my parents and their relationship. My mom wasn’t in her right mind and my father is spoiled!

Anyway, don’t waste your life with someone who doesn’t put you at least equal with his parent. And his mom sounds narcissistic. My dad is.
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Reply to HolidayEnd

I dont think he is going to fundamentally change either and at her age shes not going to much either. However 10 yrs is a long time. Cant he farm out some of the work ? Get groceries delivered, hire a lawn service, property management company . Why are the properties empty and not making money to pay for this stuff. At least get a maid in once a week . etc
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Reply to baskethill1


You have been in this relationship for ten years. Your latent MIL is 94. So your fiancé can't be less than ?55-60?

Bit of a late starter, was he, in the relationship stakes?

How long have you been engaged to be married? And, just feeling my way here, how much effort went into getting as far as the proposal?

I gave a little involuntary yelp when I got to "As his future wife..." Your faith that this will eventually come to pass has a certain pathos to it.

Look. You've invested irreplaceable time and care in this relationship. I can imagine that advice along the lines of "give up and find someone who's interested enough in you" is not going to be welcome.

But even when your fiancé's mother passes, it isn't likely to be the case that he will feel relieved of a burden and free at last to devote himself to cherishing you. If he cherished you, he would already have balanced your relationship's needs alongside those of his parents and come up with a better compromise. If his mother comes first in all things, every time, it's because that's what is important to him and those are the choices he has freely made. You're not even coming a terribly close second, are you?

How do you get on with the lady herself? Or... are you, and is the relationship, kept kind of low profile? Alternatively, how accepting have you been of her demands on her son?

Changing anything at this point, particularly as it is now that your fiancé's mother is in genuine need of help, is going to be quite some task. Only you know if it's worth it.
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Reply to Countrymouse

I don’t mean this to sound harsh, but he’s clearly shown you what his priorities are, both now and in the future, and they aren’t you, so why don’t you believe him? There’s nothing you can do to change him or his siblings, they’re all adults who make their own choices. Seems like time for you to evaluate your choices about staying in a relationship where you already know the position you’ll always be in. I hope you’ll want better for yourself.
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Reply to Daughterof1930

I think you know the answer, you just want validation. I don't think you are going to change years of conditioning. It seems there is one child that will aways "do". They feel some responsibility towards a parent the other children don't. Thats OK but...they also need to set boundries and looks like ur BF never did. And at 94 its kind of pointless. You aren't going to change her. I would not marry this man. You should never been second. By the time u met him he was already "a MaMa's boy". You see the writing on the wall. Take ur time. Are u willing to walk away from anything you have invested in? Have a plan. Find a place u can afford. Hopefully you have kept finances separate. If not open up ur own account. Once done, find a quiet place you can talk and tell him what you said here. If you combined your assets you are entitled to what u put in. If u bought the house together, have him buy you out or sell it. Or you can tell him why you feel its not going to work and walk away. Really, you may get along better being apart. But getting married will not improve ur situation. Time away from each other will be the test. Sometimes a relationship is one sided and we wake up one day realizing that our side has given 100%.
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Reply to JoAnn29

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