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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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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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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, 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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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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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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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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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 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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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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When the behavior does not match the words, go by the behavior.
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