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My husband’s mom has had severe Demetria for the last 4 years. Although we have been together for 7 years, we just got married last year. He moved his mother into his house he had from his first marriage. He runs his business out of there. Although he has caregivers daily, he is with his mom everyday and spends way too much time with her. It’s silly to say but there’s a part of me that feels jealous how much time, energy and devotion he gives to her. She views me as the “other” woman since she struggles to remember if he is her dad, husband or son. She’s rarely nice to me so most of the time he spends with her is without me present.


I try to tell him that he’s out of balance and I feel disconnected, but to no avail...

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It seems to me your husband's solution to create a home for his mother combined with his place of business is pretty ingenious - he gets to keep an eye on things and ensure her needs are being met while working every day. You don't mention how much he is there when he isn't working, to be honest talking every day doesn't sound too terrible since I assume that means checking in on weekends as well as the time he is already able to spend with her when he has breaks in his work time throughout the week. I think that both of you are probably living with some assumptions about what the other one thinks and wants - he assumed that your agreement to marriage implied that you understood and agreed to his relationship with his mother, you perhaps felt that your relationship would change after marriage and you would take his mother's place as queen bee. If you can't discuss this honestly with each other then I think marriage counselling is a good idea so these misunderstandings don't fester - hopefully you can find common ground and compromise.
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I don't think you're wrong for feeling the way you feel...it's a tough spot to be in, for you as well as your husband.

It sounds like maybe couples therapy would help you both to talk things out and maybe come to a solution that works best for both of you.

Also, you might try talking to him again about how you feel, but re-frame it a little. Instead of "You spend too much time with mom" or "You are out of balance", both of which can make him feel defensive , you might schedule a date night for the two of you and talk about how much you miss him. Listen also to how he feels and how he reacts. You might find that he is more understanding this way. Ask him too what he needs and wants from you, could be assistance, moral support, etc.

You two can also talk about what would happen should his mom need additional care, such as if memory care might be an option down the road if she needs more assistance than the caregivers can provide. Let him know you love him and want to make plans together both for your relationship and to make sure his mom has the best care possible.
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Interesting that you were the girlfriend for three years while your husband cared for his mother and you've been the wife for one year... Did you marry him thinking he would change and give a wife more time and attention than a girlfriend? Did you want proof you were "the woman" instead of "the other woman"?

I'm from conservative God and family stock. In our value system the man that doesn't evade responsibility, even stepping up to fulfill those responsibilities in extra measure, when caring for his family is highly valued. He's the kind of man who can be counted on the hang around when you are battling cancer or your child is diagnosised with MD or your mother has a stroke.

Since you stayed around through three years of his maternal devotion and then married him, it appears he made adequate "couple time" to sustain and advance your relationship. Maybe you need to consider how you can be more supportive as a wife? Or some counseling to figure out why you feel a need to push mom out? Why did you expect your husband to be less devoted to his mother after your marriage than he was as your boyfriend?

Is it possible that your MIL is responding to _your_ thinly veiled hostility?

Her dementia will take your husband's mother away from him soon enough. Be thankful there's enough money you are not being asked to provide her direct care. Please try not begrudge your husband the final moments he will have with his mother; although she may physically live on for several more years, it sounds like the dementia will take her soon. Don't put your husband in the position of looking at his mother after her mind is gone with deep regrets for the time lost when she still knew who he was occasionally.
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anonymous748571 Aug 27, 2018
I agree. When my ex's father and mother needed help I was completely supportive of his efforts even though I was the "in-law". He needed to be there for his parents. His dad has had several health issues for years. I had lost my dad over 20 years ago. I knew how much I missed even those worst moments. One day I felt it would be just us. So why should I make him cut his family off. For years they even treated me as though I could never be good enough to be in their family. But I stood my ground. You only have one mom and dad.

Now I am caring for my mom. Which I have emotionally for years, but didn't get as many to physically do so before. Yes, it's challenging. But one day she won't be here.

You need to try to forgive, talk your feelings out with your husband. If not get counseling. Talk with a preacher.
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I’m an unbalanced caregiver to my mom, who has severe dementia and is 90 years-old.
I agree with all who mentioned this is a disease; it is a demanding disease.
His mom is again a child with pouts and demands. Look BEYOND this. Why not go over there and offer any kind of help you can? Instead of putting more demands on your husband; it could melt his heart of you help with cleaning, a meal, occupying her attention with coloring or something simple and creative. Open a family album up and see if that blesses her.
The caregivers can’t do everything. If they are better occupying her attention; see what else needs to be done. Ask your husband. If you pitched-in at this hard time in his life: you could be investing in a much better marriage. Who knows how powerful blessing your MIL could result? Find out.
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Emmdee Aug 27, 2018
I absolutely agree with you! Its no good sitting on the sidelines and sulking, when someone needs help!
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Really, I understand how you feel. But...didn't you see this before you married him? I know, love is blind. 😊

At this point, I guess you need to let him do his own thing. Studying about Dementia is one thing, living with it is another. Is ur husband an only child? Are the aides there 24/7? How old is Mom? You say she sees you as a threat because she doesn't know her son as her son. Severe Dementia for 4 yrs. So there were signs before that. If Mom continues a steady decline she is going to need LTC. An AL won't do it.

My Mom came to live with me 11/2014. She still knew me but could no longer live alone. She forgot how to use the phone, TV remote and left a pan on the stove that burnt up. She was losing weight and if not for my nephew, would not have taken her pills. In the 20 months she lived here, she declined a little each month. AL for 8 months and then 5 months in LTC. She passed 9/2017. At this point maybe you should allow him his time. U don't want him to resent you. This is what he needs to do for his Mom so there is no guilt. Needs to feel he did what he could.

I know a woman who was very attractive. She married a homely man but he is so nice. She had said she would never marry again so I asked why this time. She said that when she saw how kind he was and the things he did for his late wife's MIL, she knew he would take care of her. They r still together.
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Kelly, I empathize with you, however, my heart bleeds for your husband more. Being a caregiver is a tireless unselfish job that many on the outside looking in cannot appreciate or cannot wrap their mind around. The fact that your husband is so committed to preserving the quality of life for his mom, to watch that day in and day out and witness the level of compassion and commitment that he has is Honorable. Instead of complaining or feeling that he hasn't honored his commitment to his marriage, love him through it. None of us can predict when illness can strike you've got to allow him to do what he feels in his heart that he needs to do to care for his mother you only have one mother and one father love him through this support him through this and recognize the beautiful person that you married. You knew his level and devotion before you got married so when you made the commitment to him you signed on to his life as well please support him before you lose him it's time to be a little selfless his mom won't be here forever and you will have your time but she is ill please remember that .remember that in your heart that that could be you or your loved one you married him because you saw something in him that made you know he would be a good life partner so don't force him to choose between you and his mother.
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Did you understand that MIL was part of the package when you married your husband? I’m not saying that putting you second is right, but you had to know what you were getting into on some level at least. Did Mom ever like you even before she was diagnosed with dementia? Sometimes when a person has dementia their feelings and emotions are magnified.

You may need to do some research on dementia to better understand what your husband is going through with his mom. Do you help him take care of her or does he do everything for her when the caregivers aren’t there? Caregiving for a parent with dementia is a stressful, emotional and extremely difficult undertaking. Even with caregivers, watching a parent decline is heartbreaking. I’m sure he is aware of not paying enough attention to you without being reminded. Suggest a lunch date while the caregivers are there. Support him and when you do your reasearch on the stages of dementia, tell him you understand what he’s going through.
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hello, not sure of everyones ages involved.

im 59 and my mom is almost 89. my dad died in 2015 at 92. both my mom and dad had/have alzheimers. I put them in assisted living in 2011. Once my mom and dad were at a certain stage of alzheimers, I knew I couldn't take care of them (plus I was working) ..... I know my mom doesn't have a lot of time left.

my husbands mom lives out of town and is about 80. He travels long distance every 3 months. She lives alone, but has an aide that comes daily. except weekends(not sure). If she gets worse (and she will, bad health) They have plans to probably move her to his sisters home.

I don't know how I feel about him having to go every 3 months, of course I don't really like it.... But I don't say anything, because its what he feels he needs to do. And I know its hard for him too, but theres no other way right now. and I know it wont be forever. its just the way it is.

without knowing everything w your situation... you may just want to wait and bite your tongue. I don't mean to sound rude. BUT your husband may figure out on his own that its too "much" sooner or later. My husband is stubborn and he is going to do things his way. I cant always change his mind, and in fact if I try....he is not going to budge.  

its been hard the last 7 years with our parents getting old. I don't like having to be in charge of my mom and seeing her go down hill. it sucks.

so anyway..sorry so long. im probably not helping. But a lot of people say they will never put their loved one in a facility. but eventually with dementia it gets ~very~ difficult. Even the biggest hearts can end up with burnout.

I don't really like my MIL - but I was young and didn't even occur to me when I married, how it would impact my life years later. This is just the life I ended up with and I accept it I guess. I just don't think it would be right to pressure your spouse because he is probably trying his best - you can let him know how you feel - but if he doesn't listen. theres probably not a lot you can do.

sorry so long and rambling .
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JoAnn29 Aug 24, 2018
I have a stubborn one too. And he is almost deaf.
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Wally, JoAnn, Oh I totally understand the Forever thing, as we had my FIL living here with us for 13+ years, and the last 6 were really hard, as we were getting older too (late 40's to early 60's). The end of his life was particularly difficult, with his lung cancer diagnosis, home Hospice here with us(wonderful), 9 weeks total, he died in our home, Ya super hard!

We definitely felt that those years were robbed from us, as neither of his other 2 kids stepped up to help, so zero support.

Iinterestingly, my husband's sister who lives in N. California (we're in Seattle) supposedly is on Hospice herself, she's a pathological liar, and so we never get the real truth from her, she's been "dying" with multiple different diagnosis for so many years now, but now she wants my husband to be her DPOA and Executive of her Estate. Just the thing he wants to tackle after caring for their Dad for all that time, he only just passed this past September! She is supposedly sending him the ppwk to sign and have notarized, but he's not sure what to do at this point, they have Never been close. People are so selfish, not even considerate enough to think about what he (we've) been through, It's the Dysfunctional family that keeps on giving! What to Do, What to do...... I say Tell her NO!
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What is missing from your post is what does your husband say when you talk to him about this? It sounds like you work during the day. So is he open to compromise where a certain part of the evening is for the two of you? Or is he saying "too bad"? Tell us about his response otherwise we're in the dark. How much time is too much time that he spends with her?
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