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My question is complex but I’m not sure where to ask this question. Better to ask a caregiver community. I’m having a relationship with a man who lives with his mother with Parkinson’s . We have been seeing each other for a year. We love each other but can’t move on in our relationship. He wants to marry me. However , idk how it’s possible. He wants to live with his mother until the end. He refuses to put her in assisted living and won’t hire a caregiver. I understand his concerns but how can he have a marriage if he can’t commit fully? I won’t move into his mother’s house. I’m 55 and this is so frustrating. Please help with suggestions.

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When the behavior does not match the words, go by the behavior.
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Reply to Sendhelp
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Another vote for not sticking around to wait until he's ready and also not become absorbed into a caregiving role. Nothing good will come of it for either of you. You won't be able to convince him, you'll just sound like a selfish shrew.

My friend's wife has ALZ. He was absolutely adamant that he was going to care for her by himself in their home Then she started shadowing him, overwhelming him with paranoid talk and accusations, and other exhausting ALZ behaviors. He fought it for a long time and finally came to his senses and hired help. This is your boyfriend. He needs to come to this conclusion on his own and in the meantime you should go on with your social life. Don't participate in the caregiving in any way, not even for a minute. If you stick around and help him it will just delay the inevitable and burn you both out. I wish you all the best as you move forward.
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HI Michele
Well, one thing about it at least you're not a young person that don't understand what they're getting into. I am not telling you what to do, but just making a comment to your question. My husband has Parkinson's and it's an awful sickness. I am only 59. I retired 8 years ago this month. I never dreamed I would be taking care of my husband like this. I applaud your boyfriend for wanting to take care of his mom, but it's not fair to you to want to be a caregiver to her. Being a caregiver is a 24 hr a day job with no pay when it's a loved one. I do everything for my husband. Here's a list of what I do: bathe him, brush his teeth, wipe his behind, feed him, put him to bed, get him out of bed, cathing him every 4 to 6 hrs, taking him to his dr appts, and when he exercised, I had to take him for those too, that's not counting having to push him in a wheelchair and struggling to get him in and out of a truck. So, with all that said please think careful before marrying this man. You will become a caregiver too if you marry him. Whatever, you decide may God bless you and guide you.
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You fully understand your boyfriend's position. You are 55 and a grownup. I trust you implicitly to make the right decision for your own life. There will be no changing your boyfriend's position, and I am glad that he is honorable enough to be honest with you, and not to make idle promises for the future that he has no intention of keeping. You have many choices. You can give up your boyfriend and seek someone who wishes to have a life more in keeping for what you want for some of the most free years of your life. Or you can stay with this boyfriend, be a support to him and to his Mom from your own home, and see him when he can spare the time for you. Or you can actually choose to move in with and share the care of the mother. That last is probably an unwise move for you, with your knowing already that this isn't a position you wish to be in. It isn't unusual today for seniors who are healthy and having good care they enjoy to live to 100. Take that into account. Only you can make decisions for your own life.
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You've got yourself a mommy's boy there, not a man. At 55 you need a man, not a little boy.

Be afraid

Be very afraid
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Michelle12 Jan 27, 2021
that’s so true !
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The fact that you're 55 and married before doesn't change what any potential bride should do before marrying someone: Look closely at the family dynamics, because that's what you're marrying into.

No, he will not change and be more attentive to you, because he's already told you who his priority will be. He's being very honest with you by telling you he will not put her in a nursing home nor will he hire a caregiver. That doesn't change the fact that a greater level of care will be required eventually, so guess who'll be providing that higher level of care?

You have your future right in front of you and easily seen. You get to decide whether to accept what you see, or to spend the rest of your life battling for position in someone else's house.
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Michelle12 Jan 27, 2021
That’s so true. Thank you , your absolutely right. Her care will be increasingly more as time goes on. I’ve explained a lot of what I’ve learned about home care nursing etc. I see his future and it’s going to be hard without help. Thank you again.
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"I understand his concerns but how can he have a marriage if he can’t commit fully?"

I think you answered your own question, he can't. And you have only known him a year, believe me, its not long enough. Him expecting you to care for his Mom if you moved in is a red flag. First year of marriage is hard enough without throwing a MIL into the mix. And really, what are his reasons to keep her home and in doing so won't hire aides, maybe saving his inheritance? My Aunt had 3 small children, one under a year old, and her husband thought she should care for his Mom a bedridden woman with brain tumor who needed everything done for her. That didn't last long, he had to place his Mom. The marriage ended not long after. He was trying to save Moms money for him.

I would not live in another woman's house. I would not make drastic changes to my life after only dating a year. With Mom in the mix how could you have even had a normal dating period? Not saying you still can't spend time together just saying I would be careful what I sacrifice for a man that may want it all his way.

I think you know what you need to do, you just needed some confirmation.
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Michelle12 Jan 27, 2021
Thank you And your right , I won’t live in another woman’s home and yes I do believe it has something to do with “ he inherits the house after she’s gone “ he has 2 other brothers but apparently they aren’t in the picture and he and his mom had a very close relationship . I definitely won’t make any drastic changes to my life for his mother. Thanks 🙏🏻
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Michelle, this issue is raised periodically, and it's always a basic or slightly adaptive version of the same situation:  Man cares for mother, wants GF/SO/fiancée to move in and take over caregiving.  

GF/SO loves or is at least very fond of the man and torn between becoming a Cinderella or moving on.   

These are some other threads similar to yours:

https://www.agingcare.com/search?term=caregiving+man+puts+parents+before+girlfriend
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I am so sorry that you are in this predicament.

My mom has Parkinson’s disease and lived with us for 15 years.

You have no idea how hard it is unless you have been through it.

Take it from me. You don’t want to go there!

I had extenuating circumstances that made my situation very challenging to place my mom.

After the dust settled I should have made an effort to move forward in a positive direction for all of us.

Mom lived with us for far too long. We can’t ever get that time back. It’s lost forever.

Please don’t place yourself in a situation where things become complicated and you are blindsided with complex emotions.

Not to mention creating an unhealthy codependency that develops in these circumstances.

I ended up in therapy.

You know the expression, “Can’t see the forest for the trees.” That’s where I was.

One of my good friends caved and moved into her MIL’s home. Her husband is devoted to his mom.

Her mother in law is leaving her home to them after her death. My friend could care less about an inheritance. She would rather have peace in their lives.

The mother in law never lets my friend forget that she is in charge and head of the house!

My friend wanted to hang a small picture on the living room wall and was told by her mother in law, “I am not dead yet! Don’t hang that picture. I don’t like it!”

My friend is in utter misery with this woman. Her MIL is 90! She may live until 100!

Her husband cooks for his mom. He is retired, home full time so he does everything else that she needs as well.

My friend will not assume responsibility for her MIL, yet doesn’t want to divorce her husband.

Her husband doesn’t ask her to help but he spends more time with his mom than his wife!

We can quickly find ourselves in situations that are over our head.

I regret spending so much time on my mother. I should have arranged for her care and not had the burden of being a full time caregiver.

My husband was very understanding but it definitely puts a strain on a marriage. Even good marriages take a hit!

Our marriage survived because he is a gem and I did my best not to completely neglect him but it was absolutely exhausting!

Bottom line, all of you deserve better!

This needs to be addressed now. Don’t marry, then expect it to magically resolve itself.

Your boyfriend’s mom deserves good care from a qualified staff.

You and your sweetheart deserve privacy to be able to express your love for one another.

If you don’t work it out, look at your separation as dodging a bullet!

Take care.
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Michelle12 Jan 27, 2021
Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me and telling me your story. It explains so much. Your right , we lose so much time and years we can’t replace. Sometimes I feel like I’m not compassionate enough to understand and to live this life with him and his mother. But Ive been a nurse caring for others my whole life. I’m older and wiser at my age and I’ve been married before so I guess Im Leary. Your so right about us needing privacy. Thank you so much
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When a couple marries, they become one, and must(if they want their marriage to work)put each other first. Well you already know that unfortunately that won't be the case if you were to marry him, as he has already made his choice to put his mother first. While it's honorable for him to want to take care of her, it's not fair to you to have to take second place. Your marriage will never work if you settle for second. Life is too short. Cut your losses now, while you're still young, and if love and marriage is what you're looking for, keep on your search. Wishing you the best.
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Reply to funkygrandma59
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It's totally unreasonable for a grown adult man to refuse to hire caregivers for his ill mother, or to place her in a lovely Assisted Living residence where she can get the care she needs on a daily basis. Totally & completely unreasonable.

You then go on to say your b/f suffers from depression, being the only sibling willing to take on this (unnecessary) responsibility alone. So he's also mentally unstable due to the choices he's made with regard to his mother's care.

You then say, in another comment, "At one point , he wanted me to sell my house and move in with him and his mother and be her caregiving ( I’ve been a nurse for 30 yrs ) and then he proposed that I buy a house down the street."

This man is clearly unstable & in an enmeshed relationship with his mother, looking for a wife to marry to take care of HER. It's quite obvious to third party readers. Pretend you are a third party reading this thread and giving advice to the poster. What would YOU tell HER?

Please run fast & far away from this 'relationship' because it's very unhealthy. You're looking for a man to love and spend your life with. He's looking for a nurse to take care of his mommy.

Wishing you strength & courage to make the best decision for YOU, not him.
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Michelle12 Jan 27, 2021
thank you , I did think the mother/ son relationship was different. I’ve explained how lovely assistant living is The meals , the socializing etc could help her. He says she wants to stay in their home. I’ve been a nurse for 3 decades and I also have a 30 yr old son , I don’t understand why it’s so difficult for him to make the choice to get some help for her. Thank you 🙏🏻
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Michelle, you say he proposed that you move in and become her caregiver?

He doesn't want a wife, he wants a caregiver for mom.

Have you ever seen the movie Moonstruck? It's a great example of a long engagement, waiting for Mama to die.
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AlvaDeer Jan 27, 2021
Just about my favorite movie of all time. I can just about do the script without them.
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My DH has put his mother first ahead of me for 46 years. It hasn't been horrible, as she does not live with us, but she has definitiely been the ONE serious challenge to a totally committed marriage. She always comes first. She divorced DH's father 30+ years ago and exected DH to step in to the role of her caregiver.

His attitude has been (until very recently) that as his mother, she needs him to do 'all the man stuff' for her. He doesn't do that for me!

We married when I was 20. Just a baby and it took me many, many years to realize I might very likely never come first with him.

She is 90 and not doing well and his depression over feeling like a failure as a son is pretty bad--he's seeking counseling to deal with his overhwelming feelings of guilt. Not about pretty much ignoring ME, but feeling like a terrible son, which he has NOT been.

At least you have age and wisdom behind you. I was warned, many times by many people that the mother-son dynamic wouldn't change and would be a challenge. At 20, I knew it all.

Last night DH said to me "I bet you wouldn't have married me if you had known how bad my mom is" to which I replied "No, I wouldn't have. But thank you for finally acknolwedging that."

Eyes wide open before marrige, eyes half shut following. Only you can make this decision.
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Michelle12 Jan 27, 2021
Thank you 🙏🏻. Yes , I’ve been married before and I’m 55. I was hoping this would be my last marriage and it would be “ the one “ I sometimes feel like he feels responsible or guilty for her being alone. Yet , he will be sacrificing a loving marriage. It’s so frustrating. Thank you for answering.
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Well, there is no good answer to this one. You already know that this isn't right for you. I will tell you that bad as you can imagine it to be it will be worse. There is a choice here and your boyfriend has made it for himself. I don't fault him in his choice. I could not ever do in home care giving, but others make the opposite choice and either choice is valid; it is a personal choice. You will read, if you stay on Forum long enough, the absolute abject desperation of spouses of those who make one choice while their spouse makes another to care give in the home.
You can be assured of one thing, and that is that the condition of the MIL would get worse and worse.
I will add that your boyfriend's choice to wish to marry a woman who is not on board with sharing her home with an aging elder is very unwise on his part; doesn't bode well for the future, either.
You are old enough now to know that love doesn't conquer all. My advice. Keep your relationship right where it is. You will find out soon enough that even without moving in, you will have less and less time with your boyfriend. His insistence on caregiving may end in an earlier death for him; his mother then would move into care in any case.
I think you already know the answer, but facing the loss is difficult. Stay as you are, or consider moving on. I am so sorry. This isn't anyone's fault. It is just one more difficult decision.
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Michelle12 Jan 27, 2021
Thank you so much for your advice. I’ve been wanting to reach out for advice for a long while. He’s a wonderful man that I’d hate to lose. At my age , it’s hard to find a loving caring man to marry . I commend him for his undying commitment to his mother but I would hate to see him alone after she’s gone . It’s a very hard decision but I also know the answer. Thank you 🙏🏻
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True story, my sister dated her boyfriend for 15 years. They waited as he took care of his mom. Once she departed this life, they married. They were so happy. Sadly, he died five months later in his sleep with a heart attack. She was never bitter about the wait time and was thankful he was such a loving, caring man. They lived an hour and a half from each other. She was in a very rural area and he lived in a good size city. During that 15 years, they only kissed and waited until they were married to be sexually active. They both knew if they got married earlier, it would be way too stressful. Looking back, I know she was the happiest married to him.
Her first husband was the father of her 4 children, but he was a mean drunk. Her boyfriend became a role model for them during their dating.

My sister had Parkinson and I know that it is very important to have family to assist. I don't know what is best but I wish you both well.
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Michelle12 Jan 27, 2021
Thank you so much. He already suffers with depression being the only sibling to take on the responsibility. I’m sure it’s only going to get worse for him as she declines. I pray he reaches out for help at some point . Thank you 🙏🏻
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This man has clearly shown you where his priorities are, and you’re not first among them. You’re wise not to move into this, you’ll always be a distant second. I’m sorry this isn’t working out the way you wished and hope you'll decide to want better for yourself and move on
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Michelle12 Jan 27, 2021
Thank you.🙏🏻 I realize this too. It’s very clear.
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Michelle - this issue does come up frequently on this site. It seems as if the boundaries are drawn - he will live with his mother until the end. You won't move into his mother's house. It doesn't seem like either one of you is willing to compromise. It seems as if  your relationship will continue as it has up until now until something changes. I do wish you the best.
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Michelle12 Jan 27, 2021
Thank you. That’s so true. At one point , he wanted me to sell my house and move in with him and his mother and be her caregiving ( I’ve been a nurse for 30 yrs ) and then he proposed that I buy a house down the street. None of it makes any sense.
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