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I have been married for 30 years. For the last 5 years my husband has been taking care of his parents who live close by. His mother passed away about 3 years ago. This time had been very stressful on our marriage due to the amount of time my husband spends with his parents. For 2 years we never went away. I was feeling neglected in our marriage. I was thinking things would change after my mother-in-laws passing. Now my husband's father is suffering dementia and other poor health issues. Although there has been live-in help at the house, often 2 caregivers at once, my husband still spends a lot of time at his father's house. He visits him DAILY staying for hours each visit. I wait for him to come home. I have dinner ready, we eat, watch tv and then bed. Go to work the next day and the same routine every weekday. He often works on the weekend and spends time with his father. In defiance I sparingly go and visit my father-in-law myself. There is also other family members around. His father is not short of visitors. When I have my own family events, my husband complains and often says alienating things to my family which is embarrassing. I think we are now starting year 6 of this eldercare odyessy. Believe me, my time is coming with my parents, as they are in their 80's and live close by. Who knows what their care is going to be. We are lucky that my father-in-law has the means for paid caregivers. I know we are luckier than most.


Because of my feelings of not being a priority in my husband's life our relationship is on a precipice. I have suggested counseling but he wants nothing to do with it. We are always angry at each other, and rarely do anything spontaneous. I'm feeling that his Dad gets the best of him and I get what is left over, which is a husband who is tired and stuck in a routine. In 30 years of marriage we've had disputes but the most recent was one that I'm not sure I can forgive. I've pretty much shutdown after this last fight and feel that nothing is going to change. He thinks I'm making too big of an issue about my feelings and thinks the status quo is fine. Is your marriage suppose to take 2nd place to eldercare? Am I being selfish and should just grin and bare these eldercare years? I'm tired of crying in the shower. Any advice.

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Sorry to say that I think this husband has to a great degree already left the marriage. I would talk to an attorney to see how to protect yourself financially to the highest degree you can. Maybe, as others have suggested, you need to make a surprise visit to FIL's home when you husband is supposed to be there, and check out those caregivers. Even if the issue is not another woman (either a caregiver or a woman at another location), your husband for some reason is not there for you. Even if you can't find out why, you need to make sure you are protected in case he decides he wants a divorce. Do not leave your marital home. Sorry to be so pessimistic.
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disgustedtoo Mar 4, 2020
In case you missed it:

LizBeth213
Mar 2, 2020
elaineSC, things are much better. Yes I took BlubirdKYs advice. We seem to be in a better place in our relationship. We are actually going out of town for a mini-vacation. Life is good.
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No LizBeth you are not being selfish at all, your feelings are very normal and understandable, but notice how attentive your Husband is to His Father and the love and Care of His Mother until death then when old age creeps up on your Husband & You this is the way your Husband will Care for you. Love and support your Husband for the fine Caring Gentleman that He is. A Man like that is as rare as hens teeth. You & Husband will have years of happy times together but right now it is so important to take Care of your Parents.
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Lizbeth, I noticed that you are taking BluebirdKY’s advice. It is wonderful advice and I admire her greatly and you too for taking the high road and having the patience and temperament to do so. It really is the smart thing to do and her methods are step by step. This will end soon because we all know about age and dementia. My hat’s off to you. Good luck.
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LizBeth213 Mar 2, 2020
elaineSC, things are much better. Yes I took BlubirdKYs advice. We seem to be in a better place in our relationship. We are actually going out of town for a mini-vacation. Life is good.
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I'm in a somewhat similar circumstance. My DH has been retired for years from a disability. When I retired the first time (after 35 years), I would go see his 92-yr mother when she called us for a medical issue. Eventually he had to take more action as I returned to working full time 5 years later (needing health insurance). His mom is in a memory care facility now after breaking a hip. The emotional stress is taking a toll on both of us. Neither of us has voiced the D word, but I'm sure it has crossed both are mines. His mom's not going to live forever, this rough patch will pass.
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I was married 40 years and helping to take care of my mother who had Alz. the night she died I went home and told my husband.....he kicked me out of the house and started divorce proceedings. I think it happens to many people. I think I'm better off without him.
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disgustedtoo Jan 13, 2020
What a piece of work... yes, you are better off without him. Sad that you spent 40 years together only to find out what a jerk he is/was.
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A year ago I was running over to my mothers house constantly and taking her out to dinner. My husband was supportive up to a point. We were both working full time and I would run to my mothers. Not anymore. I found this site. My mother is competent and can do things for herself. My husband retired this past November so now we see each other all the time and I have backed off seeing my mother. No, my mother does not come first. My husband does. I married my husband not my mother!! I work the overnight shift and have 4 more years till retirement. My husband is happy. Happy that he is retired and happy that I am seeing my mother less. Now I am working on my own happiness. Nobody can make us happy Except Ourselves!
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Isthisreallyreal,,I would hardly call Lizbeth a SPOILED BRAT!!!!! She’s been married for 30 years!!!! Calling her a SPOILED BRAT is not helpful. Would you say this to her face if you met her??? She needs our help not hurtful comments. I would suggest counseling for yourself Lizbeth. Your husband doesn’t need to go. I would hate to see you throw 30 years of marriage away. But is you find out through counseling that you want out of the marriage, you are free to divorce. You will at least know that in your heart you tried everything to save your marriage, even if it’s without his help. Hugs to you Lizbeth!!
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Isthisrealyreal Jan 14, 2020
Elaine, why don't you read the post before you go off.

You are welcome not to read my post and frankly I wish you would not if you are going to be ugly without actually reading what I wrote.
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When my MIL was ailing, my husband did spend quite a lot of time with her, however, I was able to go should I care to. I was never left out of the loop and I came before his mother. While I cannot say that your husband is having some kind of extra-marital fling, it does raise suspicion with his being gone so long. While visiting with your parent on a daily basis is not unusual to ensure that they are receiving the care they are supposed to receive and if for some reason your husband is Representative payee or person who physically has to make sure he is cared for properly, this does mean your husband needs to be gone more than 1-1.5 hours on a daily basis, but with care providers, you still need to have vacation time, I like to call it Date Night and remember that your spouse and children should not be put on the back burner for your parents.
I would seek counseling for yourself and children if they are also feeling emotionally strained due to their father being gone or because of seeing you so sad. Many men however, feel that there is nothing wrong and that you don't need a counselling sessions.
Best wishes
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LizBeth,
I think you should talk to a divorce attorney. Most will see you for free the first time for about 30 min. Maybe even talk to 2 or 3. Just to see what are your rights in the state in which you live. Don't tell anyone that you are going.
Second, make an appointment with a marriage counselor. Hopefully hubby will go too, but even if he doesn't you can go alone.
And third, join an elder-care support group in your area. It does not matter if you are not the primary caregiver. Just being with others who are in the same or similar boat can be a "buoyancy" to your spirits.
I hope you get help with this ((prayers))
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My husband and I divorced after only six years of marriage because he couldn’t accept the amount of time I had to give my mom who has dementia. I feel he was selfish in that he wanted all of my time. He never supported me or tried to assist me in caring for Mom. I think he was insensitive too because his parents died when he was in his thirties. In the end he had me so stressed I was relieved when he finally moved out. I don’t really have any ill feelings towards him. In the end each person including the caregiver has to do what they feel is best for them.
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Reading these answers, I'm almost afraid to jump in here. Geesh, people. Breathe. I am in a very similar situation except that prior to my in-laws decline in health (and continuing on since), they were not very nice to me. I'm not making this about me, so we won't go into those details, but lets just say this - there is no good answer. You can't help but feel lonely, hurt, abandoned, pushed-aside or whatever you are feeling. You also can never "win". This is his father who he is watching decline, Nobody but he can know what he is going through. All you can control is your reaction to what is happening. Keep yourself well. Keep your home well. Find things and friends to fill your time so you are not lonely. Give him all the time he needs with his father and bite your tongue off if you have to instead of bitching to him about anything when he comes home. Know that you are doing YOURSELF a huge favor by just letting it go and waiting it out. Do little nice things for him and his father and then NEVER expect to be appreciated for it and you'll never be disappointed or angry. This advice comes from my own experience. You can't make someone love you but you can love yourself enough to react differently so you aren't always angry and upset. Trust me on this one. I learned the hard way. My own daughter told me "He is dealing with hell over there and then catches hell from you when he comes home - no wonder you two are always mad at each other." That hit home. I stopped reacting. He spends as much time as he feels he needs to or wants to with his parents and when he comes home I ask how his day was and how they are doing and if there is anything he needs me to do. At first his answers were obnoxious: "You could clean out your car so I can use it to pick up their new television." Really? I can empty my work stuff out of MY care so YOU can go pick up a gift for YOUR parents? That is what I WANTED to say. What I said instead, was "Okay, I'll take care of that." Was I seething? Yes. Did I want to tell him to go to hell? Yes. That would have only lead to more angry exchanges and ugly fighting, so why bother? He ended up having the damn television delivered anyway. FYI: The $2,000, 75-inch flat screen for his parent's den was MY idea for their Christmas gift because his father is losing his eyesight and couldn't see the channel guide on the screen of their much smaller, older set. Did I get credit for this idea or the amazing gift? Nope. Did it bother me? Yes. Did I say anything? No. They will find something about the television to complain about and I will say: "Sorry about that." and move on. You have to move on or you will just be torn up all the time. You can choose to be hurt and angry all the time or you can say screw it and move on and wait it out. Be supportive, be pleasant - be pissed if you want to be on the inside and talk to friends or keep a journal, but don't be reactive. Life will be much easier for you if you aren't reactive. Best of everything to you. God bless you.
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LizBeth213 Jan 8, 2020
Thank you BluebirdKY. This is my new way of thinking in 2020.
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I agree with Mary Kathleen. Cut out a new life for you cause this isn't a dress rehearsal. You won't get a "do-over." I've been in a loveless marriage for 48 year and now my husband has dementia. Wish I had been smarter with my time. Don't make the same mistake
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I am praying for you dear person. This situation sounds VERY, VERY challenging, to say the least. Dear Heavenly Father: please help LizBeth. Amen.
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NeedHelpWithMom Jan 8, 2020
Amen.
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My opinion. Wait till its your parents. You will see the dilemma he is in. If his Father has dementia we all know there will be an end soon an he might be wanting to care for him as long as he has him cause he knows its prob not long. The other " visitors" may not be carring for his Father properly. Have you gone over an seen whats involved carring for him? Really caregiving? Or is it he is trying to connect with him before he passes. Im not saying u r not important but its a hard position to be in. One day, shoe will be on other foot. Im currently at endish of same journey. For 7 yrs both my parents I was caregiver. Each yr it took more an more an only me with 1 older sibling coming once a month for 24 hrs. This took me into caregiver burnout an compassion fatigue even though I loved my parents dearly. But my marriage has suffered an my sons did not get my full attention but I DID BEST I KNEW TO DO. I got home health which is option poss. Medicare pays for that ordered by M.D. bath aid, p.t. an o.t. if available with home health. All I can say is there is NO good nursing home anywhere in our city an non a normal person could afford. All good ones r over 6,000$ mnth. My Dad passed Sept 2019. An Mom broke ankle in his hospice room. Then Mom invalid basically till started walking some on walker but with supervision an couldnt be alone. So I basically had to live with her in her an Dads apartment fr Oct 29th till Dec 28th of 2019. We moved her next door state to my siblings to live with her an husband who have extra room but she has never caregived before an knows only 10% of whats wrong or what to do. Home health coming with a nurse, p.t. bath aid. I wrote "Health Book" for her to read about Mom an all her ailments an what to do. Im helping all I can without stepping on toes. It will take a month prob to situate everything. New M.D. New rx insurance. Etc.. But it was a very tough road for the one caregiving an watching your own parent disappear rt in front of u esp if close to that parent. Just ask if u can help or maybe look for respite care an let him relaxe a bit. I had to see psychiatrist in 2017. Now just able to grieve my Daddy. Both were married 63 yrs. Mom an I were not present when Daddy drew his last breath. She was in hospital with broke ankle an I with her cause she was vomiting an out of it an I had to defend her against dumb nurses, cna's etc..NEVER leave ur loved one alone, if u can, in a hospital or rehab. If they say u cant spend night, thats a lie. Esp if ur Med POA an Durable POA. You can also check their med drawer that they DID recieve their correct meds. If u have probs with either call a Ombudsmen or Health an Human Services an State board of Nursing an the D.O.N. an Dr in charge. an complain. An report or make complaints on paper of improper conduct. Now my journey is over. My Father is gone. My Mother has moved. Now its me. Who am I? My identity was "caregiver". Now Im just me. My sons are 22 an 17. Not babies. Dont want Mom around. An my husband an I had issues long before I started really caregiving where it was 70% of my life. Yes I lost friends. I lost hobbies. I lost interest in alot. But now Im just looking back an realizing... i did it. I took care if them. For 7 yrs. Without me they prob would have really suffered an had died. I knew it was getting to the end. It was my duty I felt to do this but your Husband needs help to help his Father. He may need to talk to someone an prob not you. Area on Aging can help prob. See whats available. If end is close I hope Hospice is looked into so he does not suffer.But he may think he needs to do it for some reason. But remember your time may be coming. An its not one size fits all. Anything can happen. An everything can chg in a second. Goodluck. An remember how many children abandon their elderly parents an dont help. Maybe tell him you are proud of him an what can u do to help. Stay strong thrue diff journey. Esp when death comes. Not meaning this mean
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LizBeth213- my heart goes out to you. There have been some really good suggestions here. I don't know if you are much of a self help bookish sort of person but in a similar situation in my relationship my counselor suggested a book to me to read called "The Dance of Anger" by Harriet Lerner. I found a lot of good practical advice and perspective in it. My hubs and I are frequently at odds anymore. There are more issues in my marriage than caregiving but it seems to be the straw that is breaking our camel's back. I'm an only child that just couldn't say no to mom. In the beginning he was a big help, but with his own health issues he grew less and less able to particpate so more was left to me. I changed my work situation to have 2 part-time very flexible jobs to be available for both of them and their healthcare situations. For awhile we were helping out with his mom in MN and mine in Iowa, driving all over hell and driving us crazy. We moved my mom to our state in 2013. Gone were the Saturday's that he and I used to spend hopping in the car with our pups to go for day trip adventures, shopping at estate and garage sales, going to movies, etc. Every Saturday for me was shopping, cleaning, laundry and cooking for her.For the past 6 years! And many doctor appointments during the week as well. She lived on the opposite end of town from us so I was always driving, driving, driving. And although I have "flex" hours at my jobs, the work still has to be done so I had to make up all my missed time and that took over evenings and weekends as well.
But I wish he would have handled my absence in a less passive aggressive manner than he did- which was to seek out companionship elsewhere. It's pretty crappy what he did, but I was an exhausted, irritable heap at the end of some days and a screaming banshee on others. What I would not have given to have someone cook for me or wait up. He said he got tired of waiting for me and I guess he did. Not sure our 37 year union will survive this. But it was a real dance of anger for both of us, I didn't hear him and I felt like he didn't see me and all I was going through with mom. He told me he felt like he was at the bottom of my list and that there was just nothing left of me at the end of the day and he was right. At least he was on my list, hell I wasn't even on my own list.
Mom's in AL now and it's getting better for me, I can exhale a bit. Not sure the marriage will survive. We're going to start counseling.
Please go on your own and find a therapist you can relate to. If you don't like the first one, just go until you find one you mesh with. You deserve a life he does too. He may be operating out of FOG, like I was ( Fear, Obligation, Guilt). I wish you both the best.
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Pasa18 Jan 9, 2020
Thanks for sharing Siouxann. Therapy for the FOG. Yes.
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Don’t have any real solutions for the OP, unfortunately, but do want to point out how important it is to distinguish true end-of-life caregiving (weeks to a few months) with day-in, day-out YEARS of caregiving.

Most relatively healthy marriages can weather the emergency, rally together end-of-life stuff. But when a someone is ignoring the needs of their spouse to provide care for someone for hours who already HAS care, that does raise a warning flag of some kind.

Making him dinner, waiting on him to eat... none of these things sound like selfishness. Not showing up now doesn’t mean she didn’t for years prior... I can’t really get a sense of that from the post.

Years of day to day habit, after being asked to go to counseling, sorry but acting like men are stupid doesn’t help this situation. They aren’t dumb. He knows there is a problem. What we can’t determine on the internet is where it is coming from. But if he is going to turn a deaf ear to his wife, then I agree that she may want to just start doing her own thing. Truly, you can love someone and show kindness without enabling them or letting them walk all over you.

His dad has care. He is not alone.
My guy had a very hard time saying no to his parents, so I know it is challenging... but he still managed to hear me when I needed him to. She isn’t expecting the moon... especially because DAD HAS CARE.
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Isthisrealyreal Jan 7, 2020
Not experiencing emotions the same way that the opposite sex does, does not make men stupid.

That is one of the biggest problems in our society, women wanting MEN to act like women and when they don't they get lambasted. Men are different and they process information different, fact, not fiction.
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Isthisrealyreal -

Perhaps you are the one who hasn't been listening:

"For 2 years we never went away."

"He visits him DAILY staying for hours each visit."

"There is also other family members around. His father is not short of visitors."

"When I have my own family events, my husband complains and often says alienating things to my family"

"I have suggested counseling but he wants nothing to do with it."

She HAS been making his home a castle. She has tried to be his ROCK. Yet you are scolding her that none of what she does is good enough so try harder. And if you believe marriage is a sacred covenant then it's not okay to abandon your spouse:

"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Genesis 2:24

"For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh." Ephesians 5:31

"For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Mark 10:7

Old Testament or New, it's pretty darn clear.
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Isthisrealyreal Jan 7, 2020
So she says, what about all the anger and fighting that was conveniently left out of your post that she said is going on?

I would not want to go home either knowing I was going to be b*tched at for not bowing to my spouses wishes. It is self fulfilling, when you make your man wrong for what he is doing, he stays further away. Not stupid, how men are built. They stay away from drama as much as possible.
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Lizbeth, please read my entire answer, even if you don't want to.

My first was reaction reading your post was that you are a spoiled brat and you don't deserve a man that is willing to give so much to the ones he loves. I am sorry if that seems harsh, but I realized that you are or have been spoiled because you have a husband that cares and they do spoil us. It is whether we can not be brats that makes the difference.

One thing that I know from conversations with my precious husband when we were facing family crisis' that took him away from home, both physically and mentally. Men DO NOT process emotions nor do they have the same type of emotions that women have, that's why he said that you are making to much about your feelings. He doesn't get that you are hurting, he is only seeing you in the light of your actions, you are not visiting his dad out of spitefulness, you are angry about the time he is and you are having verbal confrontations in front of your family, he is seeing that you don't have his back in one of the hardest situations he has ever faced in his life. He sees that he is doing what he feels like he has to and you are threatening to divorce him, he is in a position of seeing that he can't win and be true to himself. That is never a good place to be, or to put someone in.

Have you tried engaging with the care for his dad?

I can't imagine that your husband would not appreciate you saying, hey, Saturday let's go have breakfast with your dad, I will make a breakfast casserole or dads favorite dish and then the 2 of us can go (fill in the blank.)

You are being unfair to him, he is in a difficult situation, lost his mom and is staring the fact that he is losing his dad in the face and his wife is making noises about divorce. I think that everyone of us, if we were honest would feel a bit angry, resentful and hopeless in this situation.

Have you planned a vacation and told the rest of the family that you guys will be gone and enlist them in more visits? You need to take the initiative right now, your husband is holding things together the best way he can, he needs to get out of the forest to see the trees.

Another thing that I know is that none of us want to go home when we know it will just be more stress and arguing over the same thing.

Make him want to come home, make it safe and stress free. Make it his castle and make him feel like a king.

If after 30 years you can't see how hard this is on your husband you haven't been paying much attention.

You haven't faced the parental caregiving for your parents yet, but I promise you that you will find out how frustrating, confusing, emotionally charged and stressful it is. Here is part of the worse you promised to love him through, make the effort to be his support and rock for now. You will regret letting this ruin your marriage, it will seem so petty when you are elbow deep dealing with your parents at the end of their lives.

Go enjoy some family time with him and your FIL, bring a special treat and show both of them some love. It really does move mountains.
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If the shoe were on the other foot and it were your parents and you were caring for them almost all your free hours, spending time with them while you could, would you want a supportive, understanding spouse? Take the time you have to yourself as a gift, learn how you can best help your folks when the time comes and making your husband's life easier. Expand or learn a new hobby. The fact is most women will be widowed. Being able to stand on your own, for better or worse is the best gift you can give yourself.
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OMG I also married 30 yrs lived a few block away so always there first to shove, flood in basement, but last 7 years ago we moved into MIL house with my adult children. she wouldn't let us renovate. So in a undone freezing basement in my home. Needless to say since I am disability and am home so i feel a sense of guilt to care for this women who from day one was a bigot, racist all 97 yr old nasty women set in her italian ways and doesn't listen to any one when it comes to PT safety. She has fallen and for the last 6 month i have helped bath, toliet problem, clean, shop, must beg for food money feed beside all house needs and still split the cost of all ulilitlies. Me and my husband on disability. And since we live with her no reinbursement no respise. No help from 2 old brother who move 5 states away over 10 years ago she gave up her lic 10 years ago so all Dr appt. Shopping now she is will for me to push her in a wheelchair. Did I say she's blind, i feel she is going through old age where she doesn't want to part with any of her money seriously she writes 2 check a month my husband has been doing her book for year no prob. But POA is down in Carolinas. So crazy I finally feel she totally doesn't want me to help her it is like torture to her now she says she hates my cooking let me say i cooked better for her then my own family. New receipt with a meat starch veg. I have a stress related disease and each day I fester and my stomach churns
Is it jewish guilt I just can't let her fend for herself. I have try to drop food run out, just not to talk or fight with her over sonething stupid. but to never hear a TY an
now complaining of all my food I want to stop. And like she promised 7 months ago how I would benefit oh so much because she will be calling out for dinner ever night Ha! I staring going to psychologist after 20 minutes he agree she's a b*tch and not your mother! So in reality what do we do as women. Do it anyway and try to cope with the re-percussion afterward. Good luck hide when you can. This month is work on me, need toe oper. Spend time with cancer sister, gain weight get through my flare of crohns. Learn calm. If they have money let them pay enjoy your time alone or get a hobbie, bingo the gym. Be happy your husband helps with his mom.
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LizBeth213 You are so Blessed as You have been Married to Your Husband for 30 years, then Family must be all grown up. I know it must be lonely for You as Your Husband is Your Soul Mate and You love each Other very much,
and He also knows that He will never be at peace with Himself if He does not take Care of His Father same as His Mother. Stand by Your Husband LizBeth
as this time will pass, support and help Him Care for Your Father in Law and
You will never loose Your Darling Husband. What You Both have is priceless
and please cherish it and never loose it. Now You must see that if You ever become ill Your Husband would never leave Your side and He would Care for
You too. A Man like that is as rare as hens teeth. You are one Lucky Girl.
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LizBeth213 Jan 7, 2020
Yes I am lucky. Thank you Johnjoe.
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LizBeth,
I don't know any of the parties involved, but my gut level inclination would be to drop by your FIL's somewhat randomly from time to time, "just to see if you need help with anything " or "just to say hi," in order to see who really is/isn't there, or what is really going on there. It may be that FIL does go into full-blown whackadoodle sundowners and become a challenge for one person to handle, or it may be that everyone is just sitting around calmly in the parlor warching reruns of The Andy Griffith Show and reminiscing fondly about the old days.
I think I would do some looking into the legal/financial ramifications of separation and divorce first, just in case hou don't like what you find, or your visits accelerate anything on your husband's part.
He may be as pure as the driven snow, but that is a whole lot of unverified hours away from home, some of it presumably in the company of other women in a rather private setting. And any of those women might look sweet and noble to him (not so hard when one is on the clock) or he might look sweet and noble to one of them (not so hard when all he truly has to do is show up and neglect the most important relationship in his life).
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All I can offer is my personal experience, so I'm really just thinking out loud and letting you listen in.

Three months ago I put my 95 year old mother in a small memory care facility. I am in my 70s and pretty good health, I am also a nurse. I am married for 55 years to high school sweetheart. Mom has Alzheimers. Putting her in a facility has been one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made. I feel like I should be taking care of her myself. Guilt simmers. Hubby is a very good man but he doesn't want to sacrifice our "us" by my taking care of Mom. He is protecting us - like you want to orotect your "us". I feel caught between a rock and a hard place. Guilt either way.

However, we had the same discussion when it was HIS mother in a fragile place. I wanted us to be the ones that loved on her as well, rather than leave her alone and yulnerable to abuse or heing ignored, alone in a bed that was not hers. He wanted her in a facility . She did break a hip in the first facility then went to another facility where they met her physical needs and ignored her otherwise. We finally did bring her home with us where she lived the last 3 weeks of her life. She died in our home, with us by her side. I had the privilege of watching my man reveal his character. I knew, watching him, he would care about and love me the same way, if that time comes for us. I feel even safer with him knowing I won't be a throw-away and he will love me as much. IMaybe your dear hubby is struggling with his own guilt, and protective side, trying to get it right. And strong emotions. Strong emotions can be scary. It will be hard but make his home a safe place to land. I've been known to hug my husband when I feel distanced and say "Honey, I'm your friend." To which he replies "I know. Maybe my only friend. I'm sorry." And the ice begins to melt.

I had the privilege of watching my husband love his mom deeply. We turned her every 2 hours to prevent bedsores 24 hours a day . She was nonverbal but we could see in her eyes she was still in there . He put a recliner on both sides of her hospital bed. He switched from side to side all night long, with each turn and held her hand through the night so she would not be frightened or feel abandoned. In the morning he got up, showered, and went to work while I cared for her. I slept on the sofa near them at night.

Hubby and I are wired differently. You end your dear hubby are, too. Hubby and I have dufferent weaknesses -- and strengths. All couples do. Each one needs, complements, and completes the other. He needs you, really needs you right now. And you, him, which is why you are struggling. The other part of you (him) is hurting too and missing from you.

You still have a solid foundation on which to stand. Find it again then hold on tight, nourish it, and remember what drew you to him in the first place. Think on those things, rather than the thoughts you have been nourishing. It will take effort but the outcome is worth the work. That man you loved way back when is still there, though buried under a lifetime. He us still worthy of investing in.

Caregiving has challenges. Marriage has challenges. Parenting has challenges. Work has challenges. Life is a series of changes. And challenges. This is just one more. You absolutely have what it takes to get through them. But it's a choice only you can make.

Don't assume divorce will make everything better. Or that a better man will. Statistics prove 67% of second marriages end in divorce, too. And 75% of 3rd marriages end in divorce. Statistics paint a bleak picture for the future after divorce. And that is not even mentioning that neither side of a divirce leaves the marriage feeling like a winner. Or that divorce is financially devastating. It tears at the hearts of even grown children too.

Much living and loving has happened in 30 years. Some tears.

You are discouraged. Discouragement is not a good time to make life changing decisions.

Be cautious
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Reply to patceelou
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OP -- many suggestions and opinions here based on experiences. Here's mine from an overview of 23 years of caregiving: Only child. Military marriage. Lots of relocations. 2 kids. Relationship with spouse great. Relationship with parents always difficult. Both leaned on me for emotional support; so stressful even before father passed away. Then began 23 years of physical, emotional, and some medical support of mother. Only once did she live in the same town we did. I assisted with 7 other moves in other states. She was an active alcoholic until she died. Usually moved because she got "dissatisfied" with location.
Point here -- through all this my spouse hung in there with me. I did try to see his point of view and I was extremely candid with him about why I did so much. I valued his opinion although sometimes it was hard for him to grasp how a person (my mother) could be so cruel and manipulative because his family was so nice. So, we talked a lot and I also went to a counselor to help me with perspective. I was at a breaking point mentally and physically trying to be everything to everyone (this includes the calls from her neighbors and from the care-aide agency). I forgot about ME and that was an eye-opener. Age and ailments started to take their toll. Please take the advice here to do something for you, then as you get stronger, try to encourage your spouse to take breaks with you too. Also, seek advice for yourself about elder care so you can offer alternatives for FIL care, plus be prepared for your parents' care as needed. It is overwhelming if you do not have a plan.
Ask yourself -- what are the true motivators here for hubby spending so much time with his dad when hubby still has a job and that there are live-in aides in place with his dad already? Is it competition with a sibling? Is it an inheritance? Are the care aides relying on hubby to do too much? (I saw this happen with a friend)
Ask yourself -- what would happen if you or your spouse had a heart attack or died in a car accident? Pouf! Just like that, what would you/he do?
That was my epiphany -- almost dying on an interstate (near miss by a truck) to make me realize I had to get the responsibility to a plan-B. AND I prioritized my time with my own family after that. Got my ducks somewhat in a row. It helped to have camp-outs or suppers with no phone with me. It didn't solve everything but made the last few tough years bearable because I rejuvenated myself both personally and in my marriage. The counselor helped me to realize that alcohol-fueled senility is not rational behavior from a parent or any family member for that part! Don't divorce to make a major change at this time. Just do some things for yourself. You're at your wits end (crying in shower -- been there! sobbing with frustration).
Define both yours and hubby's "motives" for caring for aging parents. Remember that relationship with parents is not "until death do us part." Form your eldercare Plan-B. Geriatric specialists are helpful. Good luck.
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Reply to onlyoneholly
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You are not being unreasonable at all. Your marriage IS supposed to come first, as the Bible says. He is not honoring you, and with the availability of paid care, he has no excuse. I would maybe go as far as agreeing to go visit your father-in-law WITH your husband more often, and that this way you both acknowledge that you both have family obligations--and at the same time request that he CUT DOWN on the amount of visits to his father. He has certainly shown devotion to his father; now he needs to send the message loud and clear that he is a married man and that he has a wife who needed him then, and needs him now, and will need him in the future. If he is avoiding YOU and you suspect other issues--address that with him. If he is unable to accept responsibility for his marriage vows and spend an inordinate amount of time with his parents, I'd say explore his motives. Is he feeling guilt for any reason? Did his parents spend years giving him large amounts of money or bailing him out financially because he was being irresponsible or was unemployed for an extended period? If so, all he can do is move forward, and you may want to get to the heart of it and see if he is being guilted--reasonably OR unreasonably. Going long periods of time with no breaks, no vacations, etc. makes it hard to function well and to be in the proper frame of mind/body to function day to day, and that's something that needs to be addressed as well. Both of you should explore ways to meet in the middle, as another reader suggested. If you put yourself out there but he doesn't, there is nothing wrong with you leaving him. It is not desertion; it is refusal to be with someone who is not honoring his marriage vows.
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Reply to mgrace45
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A big point you have made is that your own parents care in the future may come in to play for you. Are you planning to assist them at that point or move them to a facility? If you are going to be actively involved, then you may be trading places in the relationship with your husband. Are you going to be able to understand his feeling of being left out if his dad is no longer around and you are the one devoting time to your own parents? Maybe and maybe not. Caregiving is a choice and your husband accepted the calling. Some folks understand that decision and others never will.

Quit going to visit if you are doing it defiantly. You are just carrying your own can of gas and a fan to the fire. It is not helping anything.

Instead of sitting at home all day pouring salt on your wounds, get out and enjoy the time God has given you with good health and ability to get around. Hubby is not there, so there is no reason you should shut yourself in. Think of it as he is away at a job and you have time to get out and about. You may find that you are happier being around others, enjoying things you like and improve the environment at home. On the other hand, if your husband's time with his dad is simply more than you can live with - perhaps you aren't really on a precipice. You may have drawn a line in the sand.

Quit crying in the shower and seek out interests that will engage you in life while you are able!
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Reply to my2cents
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Having been divorced long ago, when my kids were young, and never remarrying, my approach would be somewhat different than others.

First I would assess the balance of my relationship with my husband. You mention disputes in the past, but got over those. Most people DO have disputes - we are all different, have different backgrounds and ideas and more often than not those can result in rifts. If the relationship has a good foundation, you get past them. Although this current situation has been longer, perhaps you can eventually get past it too.

He may be tired and cranky, but given the circumstances this might be normal for him. Not every man would devote their time and energy to anyone, much less declining parents - some relegate this "duty" to their wife and do nothing to help in their own parent's care. On some level I would find this reassuring. Although you might have expected it to get better when MIL passed, he may be feeling the impending loss of his father now too, and wants to spend as much time with him now while he still can.

Rather than accuse or argue with him about how much time he spends there, why not spend more time there with him? You indicated that you spend little time there in "defiance." Why? If you went more often, you would get to see what goes on and be supportive of him. You never know - he might appreciate it! As you noted, your parents' time could be coming too. If you are supportive of him now, would he be more apt to support you if/when their time comes?

"When I have my own family events, my husband complains and often says alienating things to my family which is embarrassing." This may be his way of lashing back - you won't spend time with him and his father, and from the sounds of it you are resentful, so perhaps he resents the time with your family, and/or that they are still healthy, while he has lost his mother and will soon lose his father.

Remember too that we can only change ourselves and/or our reactions to what others do/say. You are not likely to change him or what he feels is important. I would suggest working on keeping your cool, not accusing or asking him to change himself. It won't be easy, but it might be worth it to calm the storm.

So, there are three options that I can see:

1) Work it out. Offer to go along with him, rather than being "defiant." Try to maintain your cool and be understanding of how he feels and what his relationship is with his father. Realize that your parents' time may be soon, and having his support would be very beneficial to you.

2) Continue to refuse going with him and find outlets for yourself. A healthy relationship should include each having their own interests. Find ways to find happiness outside of the home. Yes, there should be time spent together too - for now, that could be going with him/helping him.

3) Divorce. Not sure what this would really accomplish, but if that's what you decide is best, that's what you should do. FIL likely won't last forever - 6 years is a lot to "give up", but you both will likely have many more years left after FIL passes.

Some time spent assessing everything, and weighing the good vs the bad is what you need to do. WE can't and shouldn't be making this decision for you. Divorce can be very hard on both of you, your children, your assets and still not get you to where you want to be. Think long and hard before making that decision.

(P.S. Others planting seeds about any dalliance are not exactly constructive. OP has enough to deal with without putting what could be false ideas in her head! If she offers to go more often with hubby to visit and he refuses, then sure, consider that option, but until the effort is made, why throw this crap out there?)
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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I guess that old saying that when you marry someone, you also marry their family comes come into play after all. I've seen this scenario many times. Some couples handle it well especially if the son-in-law or daughter-in-law are crazy about their in-laws but that is not always the case. I hope that you and your husband will be able to meet in the middle on this. He needs to understand your feelings and you need to understand his. Obvious observations, huh. Good luck to you. My husband didn't mind helping me but after several years of it and dealing with handling their business all the time, he didn't want to hear my woes of dealing with the nursing home and Medicaid and then my sweet Dad who lives down the road started needing care. We made it through but sometimes I needed to talk and he was sick of it but he would always come through in a crisis for me. Both parents are deceased now as of a year ago and I can look back and see that it was harder on us than I even realized as far as what my husband had to listen to but I also had huge responsibilities since my sister had a stroke and I was left to handle everything for my parents and had a husband at home too. Hang in there. You will make it.
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Reply to elaineSC
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LizBeth213 Jan 7, 2020
Thank you Elaine.
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I am in your husband's position (sort of). My parents moved down the street from us when they were in their 60s, which seemed just fine because they were awesome parents. When they got into their 70s, they became strange people, very different, and started needing lots of help & attention. They've brought a lot of drama and sadness into my life. I've had to say "no" to a lot of social & recreational things and had to cancel out on a lot of things. I have often had to deal with very unpleasant things and then come home to my husband with a smile on my face and pretend to be in a good mood.

My husband (seems) to be very understanding but I know this has worn him down as well. I have made it clear to him that he is my priority. I make sure to tell him that often. I hope it makes up for the times I am pulled away from our own goals and dreams. My husband is very outgoing, he is usually the center of attention wherever he goes, so I often have to quickly switch gears from demoralizing elder care to being bubbly and seeming carefree (LOL) around our large circle of friends. I feel I am always walking a tightrope. I often tell my husband that I have to quickly transition from being in the land of the dying to the land of the living. My parents' primary focus since they turned 70 was dying and they are very unpleasant to be around.

I am an only child. My husband is the third-youngest among four brothers. His oldest brother usually takes charge of their parent elder-situations. My husband has only had to help out a few times. Until you are stuck shouldering these situations all by yourself, you have no idea how tough it is on your whole well-being.

I hope you will not follow the advice to leave your husband, divorce, etc. Take some time to strike out toward your own hobbies & interests. Join a gym, take a class, volunteer at an animal shelter, join a club, go out with friends. Move on from focusing inward toward your home & stewing over your husband's current choices. Maybe if your husband sees you doing things you enjoy, he will grow weary of living in a sad rut and start to branch out and re-join your marriage.
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Reply to Upstream
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LizBeth213 Jan 7, 2020
Thank you Upstream. I believe 2020 will be a discovery year for me.
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Bless your heart! Seen it, been there, headed there... mom complained about that with my dad, but oh boy it was nothing compared to the issues when hers got to that point. Now she wishes she kept her mouth shut. Maybe find some hobbies or activities with others and be thankful for the time you both have. Maybe a nature group that meets on the weekend. I know it's really hard. But maybe you could convince him to meet for happy hour once a week or go out to dinner & make the agreement no talking about family. Just the 2 of you, places you may like to go one day, places enjoyed in the past, about a hobby you are doing. Or my husband gets to hear the gossip of the royals & I get to hear about sports. It sounds like it would really help if the 2 of you could go do something 1-2 times a week. Maybe even a stroll around the neighborhood for 15 min. Soon enough my husband came up with the idea of a fire pit outside. We get the fire starter logs that last 1.5 hrs and lawn chairs. That we can do late and we love it. Sometimes take dinner out there. Something about being outside even for just 15 min does to restore the soul. But no phones! We also started doing a short daily devotional & we dont get the other ones opinions unless we dont understand it. Jesus Calling by Sarah Young is our favorite! The best $4 I've ever spent!
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Reply to Laststanding
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LizBeth213 Jan 7, 2020
Thank you Laststanding.
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