How do I maintain a relationship with a caregiver who's father rules over him and only lets us see each other once a week?

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We have been seeing each other a little over 2 years and nothing has changed since day on. In fact, it may have gotten worse. In the beginning we saw each other twice a week. Now, only once, or even every other week. I want to see him more often, but I know the stress he is under, and I feel like I'm nagging and causing him more stress if I complain. We live 30 minutes from each other so it is not easy to just come by on a daily basis for a short visit.

His dad is very demanding and wants him there 24/7. At first, it was just a selfish thing, now it has turned into that his dad is getting dementia and almost can't be left alone for long periods of time. I try to be understanding, but it's hard sometimes. Here's the clincher--he has never left home because his parents have always been very posessive of him. His mother didn't want him to date, or marry, or leave their house. He did everything for his mother. Took her grocery shopping, clothes shopping, doctor appointments, etc. She died about 11 years ago and he continued to live there to take care of his dad, who is 95.

My BF did go to college and did work as an engineer for several years until they closed down the company he worked for. Since then he has worked part time jobs while taking care of his dad.

His dad refuses to have outside help come in so that my BF can get a break and we can have more time together. He also refuses to go to senior day care centers or assisted living facility. He constantly cuts my BF down. I think he does this to lower his confidence so that he will believe that he needs his dad to survive and he won't leave.

My BF tells me he would've gone off the deep end if it wasn't for me. But, I feel like I'm nothing more than his once a week stress-releaser, and nothing more. I know nothing will change until his dad passes. I wasted the best years of my life in a very bad marriage. I'm 46 and not getting any younger. My BF is 51 and he still hasn't had a life of his own. His dad could live another 10 years.

Am I wrong for not wanting to wait until I'm almost 60 to start my life together with him? I know if I broke it off with him it would send him over the edge, and for that i would feel terribly guilty. I love him very much and i just want to be with him. The way things are now, I feel like we have an on-again-off-again relationship because we see each other so seldom.

I know this sounds more like an advice for the love-lorn letter, but I am desperate, here. Any advice would be greatly appreaciated. Thanks, in advance.

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Ditto to the answers--start a new life!!!
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To put it bluntly, your boyfriend has some big, big issues. Having never cut the emotional strings to his parents at 51, chances are he won't at this point in his life. You're trying to undo 51 years of brainwashing and grooming by his parents. Unless/until he sees a need to change his situation, your wants and desires just won't be that important to him. I think you're right in your assessment that you're his stress relief.

You could also look at breaking it off could be a wake-up call to him to make some significant changes in his life and to get the counseling he needs to be strong enough to set the course to live a life on his own. But I'd say at this point that the chances are slim. I think the chance is better he'll stay with his dad and when his dad passes, he'll be lost.

You have to decide what you're willing to endure and whether you deserve a partner who puts you first and not last on his list of priorities. Good luck and keep us posted.
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What you see is what you'd get. Don't continue in the relationship expecting major changes.
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Run.
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Are you welcome in your boyfriend's and his father's home?

It's up to you. You either stand alongside this man and help him, in which case you have a right to insist on being his accepted partner, in which case you need in return to understand and accept his father's established place in his life; or you wash your hands of the whole relationship and walk away.

Love him, love his dad. Or leave him alone. One or the other.
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I feel so sorry for you and your BF. I'm sure he is doing everything he can to avoid confrontation with his father. It's more peaceful for him to give in to his father than incur his wrath. All hell must break loose if he dares to assert himself. Otherwise your Bf could hire an outside caregiver for a few hours each week, seek a short term respite placement to allow him to get away for a few days. But if your BF can't or won't do that, you have to make a decision. Talk to your BF and ask if he has anything else in mind for your relationship (marriage?) or if what you now have is all you are going to get. If you are not happy with his answer, start seeing other people. I wish you the best and hope things work out for you.
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There seems to be more uncertainty about this relationship than his father's condition. If you have reason to believe that even if his father passes, he would still choose to be close to other relatives than be with you, then you really need to talk seriously about your future with him. Perhaps he is using his father as a way of avoiding a permanent commitment. I hope not. But you have to find out before more time is wasted.
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lsmiami, wonderful advice. waiting4alife, what you wrote reminded me of how I felt in my 40s. I was divorced and alone. I thought all prospects for a relationship were over or scarce. This led me to make a bad decision in choosing another spouse. It wasn't until I was in my 50s that I realized there were still men who found me attractive. I had it in my head that men all want young girls and yada yada. This isn't true. The trouble is often that we are looking at men our age or younger than us. There is a lot of men in the 50s, 60s, and 70s looking for companionship. Some that are even older are still looking, but I'm sure it would turn into caregiving very soon. That's not too appealing. :-)

Take it from one who knows. You don't want to pick whatever is available and hope it's a prince. Chances are high it will be a frog and no matter how often you kiss it, it will still be a frog. There are a lot of princes out there, though, so I hope you don't just grab someone because he's breathing. Did that; regretted it -- still regretting it to this day.
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My sig other has a fulltime responsible job, and a growing herd horses to look after in his "spare" time. Not caregiving a father, but it keeps him pretty busy. I have had some of the concerns you have and I have tackled them in the open. He has told me he wants this relationship to be permanent - with marriage. I have said the same. We have talked about what needs to happen before we both are comfortable with marriage. We both are working on these things and review them periodically. One of my conditions for him was that we have more time together, and I have brought it up more than once. One of his for me is that I count to ten before tackling a charged issue. He likes a very calm approach. Another thing we talked about for him is going well. He has no need to communicate with me when he is away. He still feels very connected to me. I have a need for contact when he is away. I have to say he has done well with that and now we text regularly, email and call. Also he has come up with some creative ways for us to spend more time together. Last year he had to do a lot of travelling for his company and I went with him even though the company discourages it. This year I am finding some shows for us to go to, and he is arranging a cruise for us in March. My point is that I spoke up about my needs and told sig other that without this or that the relationship was not working for me. This is not about his job or the horses, and this is not about your bf's dad, this is about a commitment from both of you to make the relationship work for the two of you.
Sig other could have fallen into the same kind of pattern as your bf - whether it is looking after horses or care giving a dad. Going off doing his thing and coming home when it suits him, spending his spare time on activities which exclude me. He was married and divorced, but had spent a lot of time on his own before we met and is pretty self-sufficient. I let him know in no uncertain terms that that did not work for me and offered to show him the door more than once. I told him I was about ready to go back to online dating and if he wanted to stay as a boarder he was welcome, but I wanted a life with more companionship. And I meant it. Not saying that that is the ideal approach, but it worked for us. He tends to only deal with things when they become crises. That he responded with communicating more, and finding ways for us to be together said to me that he was willing to work out the problems in our relationship. I knew he wanted to stay in the relationship, it was very comfortable for him, but I had to know that he was willing to make some changes to accommodate my needs.
If anything the two of you seem to be drifting apart, having less contact and you are getting less satisfaction from the relationship. I would not focus on your bf's dad, or all his family issues, but on what is happening between the two of you. It is fine for him that you help keep him together, but what about your needs? I had to learn to speak up about my needs. Seems the way things are suits him, but not you. Things are out of balance and that is not healthy. See if you can set some goals with him that will meet your needs, if he wants the relationship to continue and grow. I think you have to clarify that first.
After 15 years in my own, I met sig other over 4 years ago. He is 63, I am 76. It works. You are young by my standards. I think there are lots of opportunities out there. What are the one or two things that you contributed to the failure of your past marriage? In my case 1) was bad choice and 2) was not speaking up about my needs. I am willing to bet that fits you too. I made a mental list of things I had to have in another mate - sobriety, no debt, able to support himself, good temperament and so on, basically a good man, to address 1) and then for 2) I started speaking up about my needs and I still am and we are doing better and better. Communication is essential, and that about feelings. I figured I had nothing to lose by speaking up, and I knew it wouldn't work for me if it was too one sided. Good luck.
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Waiting, emjo's personal experience is a great role model here. You need to TALK seriously about your relationship, about your needs and his, about expectations for the future.
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