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This is my first post. In 2016, my mother passed away. She had Parkinson's, but died very suddenly from a brain aneurysm. Her and my father owned four houses, one of which I was living in - a month before my mother died, my parents and I swapped houses. Mine had been renovated so they could live there more comfortably, so I moved into my old childhood home with my housemates. After my mum died, I automatically moved in with my dad (who is now 80) - although it is now officially my house, as my mum left it to me in her will.


Despite my mum's illness, she looked after my dad a lot - he had suffered from depression and anxiety since retiring and was hospitalised for it a couple of times.


For the first couple of years, I devoted a lot of time to my dad, cooking him dinner most nights etc. I would turn my friends down if they asked me to dinner with not much notice and would feel guilty whenever I had to go away for work and leave my dad alone.


About six months ago, I started seeing someone and now I am really struggling with balancing everything. My girlfriend wants to see me all the time and likes me to come and stay at her house. But my dad makes me feel guilty about it. He can be quite mean about her to me too, when we first started dating he would make comments about her weight and stuff like that, which made me resent and dislike him at times.


These days, he gets a lot less of my time. I stay at my girlfriend's house a few nights a week and she comes and stays with me. He mostly sits around reading - which he also did before. He has warmed up to her a bit though.


His mental health has not been that bad - I think a lot of it was anxiety over my mum's Parkinson's. He is capable of cooking for himself or going out to get meals. He goes to the gym a couple of times a week, but he is generally not very social and doesn't have friends to hang out with.


I'm feeling increasingly bitter about the situation because I am only 35 and want to have a normal life. My dad's mother was in another country and he never had to look after her while he was ageing. And I feel resentful towards my parents for having me so late that I'm in this situation, while my friends have parents who are much younger and less needy.


I don't really want to live with him anymore, but I don't think I have any choice now. So I guess I'm just looking for suggestions on how to deal with these feelings.

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I'll add that I wasn't really prepared for this situation, because everyone expected my dad would pass away first as he was older. Despite my mum's parkinson's, she was quite active and social and was only 72 when she died. It was a huge shock.

My mum would have been much more able to be independent and have a social life and she would've known when she was ready to live in a care home.
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Ahmijoy Feb 3, 2019
I understand that when this happened, it was unexpected and quite a shock. My FIL, with Parkinson’s also, passed suddenly but not unexpectedly. Parkinson’s is terminal, after all. But, my dear, it’s been three years since her passing. You have made an effort to move on with your life by meeting a lady and starting a relationship which Dad has given his best efforts to sabotage. By not stepping up and proclaiming your independence, you are enabling him. “What Would Mom Have Done?” is not part of the equation. You’re dealing with Dad and his personality and behavior.

If you truly want your own life, you need to be proactive about it. Decide how much care and supervision Dad truly needs. His doctor can help. He doesn’t sound like he needs 24/7 care even if he thinks he does because you provide it for him. Possibly a Senior Apartment, Independent Living or Assisted Living. If he refuses to leave his home, hire caregivers. Of he refuses all that, inform him that you are moving on with your life and when he makes a decision on what he will accept, you’ll help out, but this decision no longer involves your 24/7 presence in his home.
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It’s difficult to put things in reverse when precedents have already been set. Dad pretty much controls your life and you allow him to. You’re afraid to cross him or “launch” because he’s stubborn and perhaps a little cranky. You tolerated his nasty comments about your lady. It’s good that he somewhat approves of her now and I hope his earlier opinions of her didn’t leave any residual bad feelings with her. But, seriously, is it absolutely crucial that he approves of your choice in female companionship? Of course he won’t. Any diversion of your attention away from him is threatening to him. Should you get married and (hopefully) move out, you would no longer be “in service” to him.

Throwing your hands up in defeat is not a solution. If you want to make your own way with a wife and possibly children, you need to move out. I’m assuming you are employed and financially able to afford an apartment or even your own house. This should not be a “pipe dream”. It’s your right and Dad should not hold you back. He was able to marry and raise children. Why should it be different for you? If you are serious with this woman, tell your father things are progressing in your relationship and life changes may come about. Reassure him that you will not abandon him but you will no longer be able to devote all your time and energy to him and his happiness. You need to find your own. Only you can find the intestinal fortitude to do this and you need to. Your lady deserves to know what lies ahead for her and you and decide if she wants to invest any more time in the relationship.
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littlegreen Feb 2, 2019
He made the comments about her to me, without her there. I'm glad for that at least. He also said stuff about being worried I was going to marry her - that was when we'd only been dating for a couple of weeks.

The thing is, it is my house that he's living in. My mum inherited it and owned it independently of him and left it to me in her will. I was living in it for 10 years already and had only just moved out so my parents could move in until they were ready to move to a retirement home.

I could afford to move out, but it makes more sense for him to move into a unit - the house would be way too big for just him and really, it's my home.

I would love to have my girlfriend move in, but I can't imagine it with my dad there! She's been really good about the whole situation so far, but it's still not ideal.

And yeah, I do need to find the "intestinal fortitude really". I've just been avoiding things and it's not really fair on anyone.
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"Gee dad, this just isn't working for me anymore. It's been great spending more time with you but I need to get on with my life - I've got a girlfriend now and I'd like to feel free to come and go as I please or spend the night away without feeling guilty. I may even want to marry and have a family some day and I can't even think about that while I'm still living with my parent. "
Hopefully this can open a dialogue about both of your plans and options. If things get emotional set a date to revisit it - "Let's talk about it on Saturday afternoon after we've had some time to think about it".
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littlegreen Feb 2, 2019
That's a good way to start, thanks.

He's having surgery on his bunions later in the year, which means he will be off one leg - he will have to go into AL for a while after that anyway, so I guess it will a good test for that.
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Is a senior apartment or AL an option for your Dad? You would both probably be better off - Dad would have an opportunity to engage socially with his age group and you would too. If you are his only social relationship he is going to hang on to you as much as possible and resent the time you spend with anyone else.

I recommend looking for an AL close enough that you could visit your father daily for a while or he could drive to your home (at least for now). You may need to visit briefly every day or every couple of days for a while when he first moves but as he accustoms himself to the new environment and makes friends there he won't need that connection as much. This may be a particularly good time as he has had some time to mourn your mother and may be ready for new possibilities.

Quoting another poster from this site "guilt is for when you have done something wrong" and you have not done anything wrong. So forgive yourself for being young and wanting the opportunity to live your own life. Given your Dad's relatively good health living with you is not the only option.
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littlegreen Feb 2, 2019
Thanks for your answer. It would be great and it's in the realm of possibilities, but I couldn't imagine broaching the subject. He's really stubborn and not very social with other people, apart from his gym group twice a week - I've tried to suggest he do things with people from there, but he just shrugs it off.

I think I'd probably be met with some resistance if I put that forward. My mum had been looking at it for the future, she knew she would need help eventually and would have to move out of the house.

He has a few friends (more my mums friend's) who visit him occasionally, but that's tapering off as the years go by.

Really my mum was his whole life. I realised that more when I was looking through her old blog recently, they did so much stuff together and now he just sits at home reading 90% of the time.

It would be great if he could get a girlfriend himself. When he's not being a jerk he's actually quite an interesting and fun person.
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