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Hello, I am 36 yo and looking to date and start living my life again. However, my 73 yo mother lives with me in a home we recently purchased as an investment. Mom is relatively healthy but lonely being recently widowed. She has a little money saved but not enough to live independently. She also shows no incentive to go out and do anything on her own. I spend a lot of time with her but I worry about the future. If I get in a relationship or want my own life, what should I do with her as she ages? Is it my job to get her to live more independently? If she doesn’t and I want my own life / relationship, do I walk away? How do I prep for this now?

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I don't think you have to change anything now. Just make sure that she keeps doing things for herself (i.e. cooking, cleaning, laundry, paying bills, keeping appointments). Teach her how to do any simple repairs or paperwork as well if your father previously did those chores. Don't allow her to get out of the habit of independence or she WILL stay with you forever. As far as getting her to leave, you never know but that you might meet someone who doesn't mind her living there. Is there space to add on an in-law area if necessary? We made one for my mom using my 1 1/2 car garage. My brother is a contractor and made a beautiful bedroom, sitting room and bath for her with her own entrance. Find something she likes to do, like maybe swimming or yoga, and get her a membership to a Y. Does she like reading? Many libraries or book stores have book clubs. If you start out promoting her independence, it'll be a lot easier for both of you.
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Reply to lablover64
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You do not want to include a new significant other in this process. Your mom is depressed and has come to depend on you as the man in her life. She will hate whomever displaces her from her comfort zone.

You need to get mom help and then you both need to look for some senior housing that has activities and socialization for the residents. These are typically referred to as senior communities and in my area are priced for seniors that rely on ss as their primary source of income.

You are also going to have to give mom her gift of down payment back, in her world she is part owner and therefore has every right to stay. This is not something that you should keep pushing down the road.

If my daughter was to tell me that her new beau lived with his mom, I would counsel her to run, don't walk because an interfering MIL living with a mommas boy (no offense intended, but that is the general belief when you here a 36+ male living with his mom) will make your life a living nightmare. There will always be a constant push/pull because momma isn't going to give him up and she was the 1st lady of the house. This could be very far from reality, but don't underestimate your moms desire for things to remain status quo. She has already shown you she doesn't know how to live without a man in her life. So until you get her help, I'm afraid you are stuck with her.

Find a good grief counselor and some grief groups to get her started on the healing process. Remember, she is of the generation that some women became independent and others became dependent on a husband, she doesn't know how to be without a man, but she can learn or she can find one that can be her man. Because you, as her son, can never be that person, even though she has placed you in that position, which is very unhealthy for both of you.

I meant no offense with anything I said, you asked and I can only give my honest view.

You can both have a lovely future, with a healthy relationship as mom and son, but you must start now.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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You need to settle this now with your mother. Don’t expect a SO to take care of the problem with your mother.
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Reply to Becky04473
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You have a right to have your own life. You are still young and you need to make a life for yourself independent of your mom. Your mom is in relatively good health and she needs to stand on her own two feet and get over this "learned dependence" on you. I would agree with previous posts and say she needs to get into a support group for widows. Does she have any friends? She needs to have time with people in her own age group and develop some outside interests of her own. It is good for her as well as good for you. You deserve a life and really so does she.
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Reply to 12LittlePaws
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Your mother is in what's called dysfunctional grieving and is not coping with the death of your father. After 2 *years* her grief has failed to follow the predictable course of normal grieving toward resolution. She is overwhelmed by grief, which has resulted in maladaptive coping.

Your mother needs help assimilating herself into life as a widow and accommodating the tremendous loss of her husband. You cannot help her. The sooner you get your mother into a support group for widows and/or bereaved spouses the better for both of you. Remember: enabling is disabling.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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Jc, you date and enjoy and develop relationship/friendships not before, nor after, but *independently of* what is going on with your mother.

Your mother probably doesn't feel so now, but she is an independent unit capable of leading her own life. You and she share a house. You do not share a life.

I would not approach any relationship hoping that the partner will help to "spring" me from a challenging situation. That sounds - I'm sure you don't mean it to - as though you're hoping the girlfriend will be the bad cop for you. It is not a good start.

Look for options for your mother. Encourage her to seek counselling if you think she would benefit. Encourage her to engage in activities according to what she has enjoyed and is good at, not what you think little old ladies like doing. She's not one, for a start.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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You're not abandoning your mother! Helping somebody get her proper life back is the opposite of abandoning her.

I think you'll find, although I am old and haven't checked recently, that "lives with his mother" is not top of the list of desiderata for ladies on most dating sites. Is kind to his mother, and good humoured with her, and supportive, and respects her as an autonomous human being - sure, these are all good. But lives with? No.

And neither is she doing her best for you by hovering over you and taking care of you. Remind her that a mother has done her job well if her children don't need her any more.

After two years, if you think your mother is still disproportionately grieving, depressed, has had all the confidence knocked out of her, it would be only sensible to consult a counsellor or therapist.

Did she work outside the home?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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I'm sorry to be saying "I wouldn't start from here" but it really is a pity that you didn't come to some conclusions about these points before you invested in a home to share with your mother.

You say she has a little money saved but not enough to live independently. So how much money did she invest in the house? Was it a 50:50 split, or what?

Where were you living before you moved in with your widowed mother?

I'm sorry to hear that you were recently bereaved. Was this your father you lost, or had your mother remarried? When did it happen?

73 is no age nowadays. Your mother, as her health is basically sound, is young enough to regain complete independence for some time to come. She is actually more likely to do that successfully if she is not leaning on you, and perhaps not supporting you either.

When it comes to thinking through your concerns, it seems clear that you and your mother need to do a rethink together. When and in what way depends on several things, such as how long it is since she lost her husband and how you would like to see your own future developing.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Jc368116 Apr 30, 2019
Hello,

Thank you so much. My father died two years ago and mom has suffered with depression and "learned helplessness" from this. She really has made no effort to live outside of me. I had hoped that her staying with me when dad died would only be temporary, but now I am worried.

I think you are right that we need a "rethink together." When I talked to her before, she says that she only wants to stay with me until I meet someone, then I can have the house and she'll move out. But, what can I do to make sure that this happens? Is this fair for now or should I just cut the cord when the time comes that I want my independence? Will women still date me in this circumstance, provided they know I live with her? The last thing I want to do is abandon my mother, but I am getting older as a man and both she and I want me to have a life.

It's a hard road, but your comments have helped a lot, thank you!
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You bought a house jointly with your mother; how is that titled? Both names on the deed and mortgage?

Can you afford to live elsewhere? Can your mother care for herself in this home? 73 is pretty young; does she have health issues?

Your mother is a functioning adult who is responsible for her own old age; have you talked to her about what her plans are for the future? Do you think that she has fallen into depression since being widowed?
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Jc368116 Apr 30, 2019
Hello,

I bought a house because it was cheaper in the area I was moving too. Only my name is on the deed but she gifted me some money for a down payment.

My father died two years ago and mom has suffered with "loneliness" and "learned helplessness" from this. She really has made no effort to live outside of me. I had hoped that her staying with me when dad died would only be temporary, but now I am worried she will never willingly live her own life.

I was hoping that this time I could try to date and have my own life at the house while encouraging her to do the same. Then, when I met someone, I could move out or we can have the house and work together to get Mom someplace on her own. But, what can I do to make sure that this happens? Is this fair for now or should I just cut the cord when the time comes that I want my independence? Will women still date me in this circumstance, provided they know I live with her? Mom will never seek help for her loneliness, so it is really up to me to decide.

Your comments have helped a lot, thank you and please keep them coming!
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I would talk to her about how you feel. Maybe help her find an apartment that she only pays a percentage of her income. You deserve a life of your own. Follow your heart! Take care. Your mother is blessed that she has a daughter who cares.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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Jc368116 Apr 30, 2019
Thank you,

Great comments...although I am a man, lol. I think after reading this forum, I realize now that at some point, I will have to leave her for my own life. I am just wondering if that needs to wait until I meet someone or should I cut the cord now? Also, how can I prepare Mom for that day now, while we are in the house together? Would there be a significant other out there that could at least help me get Mom there, or should all this be pre-arranged by me before getting serious with anyone?

Thank you!
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