Follow
Share

my mother is a widow and lives by herself. I have taken care of her for the last 12 years since my father died. I also work full time. In March my husband told my that we are done as he wants a "normal" life vs. me running back and forth taking care of my mother. He moved out the end of March. Has anyone dealt with a spouse leaving and if yes, what did you do?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
I'm not even going to tell you you're better off without him. After 12 years, there's only so much a spouse can take; especially when they're married to a ghost. Just put yourself in his shoes.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Your first priority is yourself, your husband and children. Your responsibility to your Mom is to see she is safe, cared for and as comfortable as possible and none of those things require you doing them all.

How about home health care/companion for the weekdays when your siblings are not available? Perhaps it is time for an assisted living facility.

You need to be investing your energy in your family and your future.

After 2 years of having Mom in our home, it became time to take our life back. Now we are slowing getting back to normal. The stress level is back to zero and I am sleeping all night. My husband was not going to leave me but we were both suffering from stress-related illnesses. 24/7 caregiving can be very unhealthy. Good luck!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Sounds to me like neither one are worthy of your consideration. Take care of yourself first and enjoy any freedom you wish to have without having to choose between anyone. Choose yourself!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Thank you for sharing your insights from the "other side" of the fence. It's important to remember that we need those boundaries, and we made a commitment to our spouse - being "there" is hard when you "can't get there from here."

Still, things worth having are worth fighting for!

Tough words, but they needed to be said.
~FyreFly
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

mam03 ,

Earlier you stated that you are in therapy and working on boundaries and see how you basically abandoned your husband. Marital problems are normally two way streets and it sounds like you are taking responsibility for your part, but how your husband chooses to respond from here on is his part.

Respect works both ways and I bet if he had gotten all wrapped up in work and his mom which left you in the dust like you weren't really marred then you would rightly complain and then probably tell him enough, I'm out of here. In that case, he would deserve to get blasted for driving you away from him and that is not like blaming the victim for the abuse because such emotional abandonment is abuse.

Sorry, but to wait 12 years for you to see the light of your poor boundaries and then leaving is not some male mid life crisis. Yes, you as the wife deserve to be treated with respect, but so does your husband and those past poor boundaries were not respectful. In that sense he was the victim and his response after 12 years is understandable. One we call adultery and the other we call emotional incest, but the dynamics are the same.

To leave after such abandonment for 12 years is a bold statement of "you don't even know that I exist and I've been patient for a hell of a long time, but I'm fed up with you being more married to your mama than to me" So, if you mama is who you want to grow old with then go to it." He would have felt the same way as if you had been having an affair for 12 years or had made a son or daughter an emotional substitute spouse instead of working on your relationship with him.

Frankly, mama's girls or no easier to be married to than mommy's boys for they both have the same problem of never having really left home.

Some adult children were trained from childhood to one day abandon all to take care of usually their mom. They don't realize that they've been emotionally programed to function as their mother's mom when she pushes the buttons of Fear, Obligation and Guilt which are the standard ones. Thus, it is easy to blindly get to the place where in spending basically all of your time at work or with mom nothing goes off that a spouse or children are being left out totally not just some and their complaints or suggestions just fall on deaf ears because what you are doing feels normal, but then one day when one finds themselves all alone ( divorced husband, destroyed relationships with children, etc.), they see their lack of healthy boundaries.

It appears that it is when our parents decline that the foundations of a marriage are shown for what they really are. If someone is still their parent's little boy or little girl, then that marriage is in deep trouble without some serious counseling that is beyond the virtual world of cyberspace. It's not your fault that you have poor boundaries for that's evidently how you were raised.

But now that you have insight about that and are working on boundaries, you can't use what your mom did nor whatever your husband does for an excuse or for a focus of blame for where you are now or where you may or may not end up.

All you can really control is you. You can't change how your mother is or your husband's past, present or future response to your new life with boundaries. Your mother might not even like you having healthy boundaries in your life and on some level might even be glad he is gone (which my MIL would love about me and my MIL). Some mothers really and truly want their daughters all to themselves. My grandmother told my mom when she got very old 'well it's time for you to leave ___ and come live with me now like you did after your first marriage."

I've seen marriages fall apart because of parent/child enmeshment with mush less than an older parent declining. The book, Boundaries in Marriage by Cloud and Townsend, is a very good book and even deals with the issues of older parents and your marriage.

Again, I wish you well and do stay in touch with your face to face therapist.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thank you so much - you have all been very helpful in validating thoughts that have been circling in my head for some time. Having uninterested 3rd party feedback has been enormous help.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Spouses that are ready to stray always use excuses to make it look like it was the other's fault. If it wasn't providing caregiving for your Mom, it would be something else. It is the coward's way out and I have little patience with these people. If Mam's hub wanted to "talk things out" he wouldn't be living over a bar and trapsing around with 20-somethings. Sounds like a heavy-duty mid-life crisis. If it was your hub that needed medical care instead of your Mom, can you imagine a 20-something rising to the occasion? He'd be knocking on your door. Pathetic.
Also, the idea of "pushing someone too far," therefore, you deserve to be blasted is like blaming the victim for the abuse. I would give him a LOT of space and let him see how life is without you. Never grovel back...you are worth more than that.
Mam, you deserve someone who will respect you for the person you are, baggage and all. Your heart was in the right place by helping your Mom, but it looks like some balance is in order so that you can also have a life of your own. Find someone who can pitch in with your Mom. Can you pay for a caregiver a few days a week? Then get out there and carve out some serious "me" time....you may even find someone who would love to spend time with a kindhearted person like you.
And for heaven's sake, STOP blaming yourself for your husband's dalliances. We all have free will and your hub found a convienent excuse to sow some wild oats. Better that you find out now than wasting more years on the guy.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This is not an issue I will probably ever know, but definitely open communication and not discounting one an-others feeling and trying to find fillers so it isn't all you would help I think. You married each other and said for better or worse this may be the worse part and temporary but shutting each other out wont help.
I can hardly imagine how torn you must feel, It is hard when people start "offering" ultimatums. I hope you can have this resolved and everyone can make sacrifices and the right decision for all of you.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

How many times have I seen 'the other woman' be just a 'plain Jane' looking woman as compared to the attractive good looking wife the husband leaves. Because 'plain Jane' listened to him, respects him, and values his opinions. That alone is VERY attractive to any husband, and every wife has that same ability. It's not rocket science, it's respect.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

naheaton ,

great post! What one wife of a troubled marriage could not get was that her extroverted 'talk to me, talk to me" demanding voice just shoved her introverted husband into deeper silence. Yes, both spouses needs to speak, but sometimes one needs to respect the other person's personality such that they can feel free to speak. As this couple's pastor, I'd worked with them together and individually for weeks but when a fight broke out one night at 3:30am and they called me up for help, I went over there and got extremely bold with them. Fortunately, I lived through that experience and they saw the light only to hear her complain later of why did I not tell her what a "b--h" she was being in how she related with her timid introverted husband. Introverts tend think about what they are going to say and think about it several times before they actually say it. Extroverts think by talking. He had done wrong with his affair, but she had done wrong with how she emotionally terrorized him with her communication style which helped drive him into the arms of a woman who was well known for destroying marriages. I'm glad to say they got their marriage back together and renewed their vows.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Mam03, My husband and I just celebrated our 38th anniversary. My husband will tolerate being wronged by me for just so long, then he explodes. I would prefer that he let off the steam in increments like I do, but that's just his way. And I usually know that he's mad well before hand, I just choose to ignore it, thinking he'll 'get over it'. The only thing that I can glean from your post, was that you probably knew all along he wasn't happy with the arrangements as they were. Why he chose to let it go for 12 years and suddenly throw in the towel, is suspect to me. He probably has an ulterior motive now, but if not then there's still time to put this back together. You should not have made him a second class citizen in your life, and he should have told you that things needed to change, and that he was extremely unhappy. And you're right, this is like having cold water thrown in your face, I would feel the same. But after the shock wears off a little, talk to him in earnest. Don't try to defend your attitude, he knows your motives, but instead ask him if there's still hope for the marriage. Be prepared for him to say no, there is no hope. It could be that he's just got a major burn out going, so give him time to settle his thoughts and cool down. I am devastated when I push my husband so far that he has to blow up, but I knew it was coming and I just didn't want to deal with it. So I have to eat crow, apologize (which is really hard for me) and talk it out. But, something must be working for us to make it this far, so it is what it is.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

You didn't say if your Mom is unable to do anything for herself, what type of illness she has. I can't express my opinion until I know what is actually going on. I have to agree with one statement above, the Bible does say when you are married, you leave your father and mother and cleave unto your spouse, forsaking all others. It is EXCELLENT that you help Mom, but your lack of setting boundaries with her must be addressed.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Crowemagnum, I agree with most of what you said. It is a two way street and both can get caught up in the situation! My husband actually has a job at a car dealership and is the dispatcher in the garage. He leaves the house at 6:15 Am and gets home 12 hours later. He has 1 1/2 hours of traveling time each day, thus the long hours. He also only takes a half hour lunch, so that he can keep up with his paperwork. That being said, he is very needy, and has never really helped around the house, even when I was gone 45 hours a week for my job. I always say his mom spoiled him, and I took over doing that job! I handle all the bills, repairs , and yard work, besides caring for my mom. I can't tell him how frustrated I am, because he gets angry with me. He has a short fuse and no patience. It's been a long 37 years, but he provides, doesn't drink, and doesn't chase women. I wish he would go out with friends, but has always expected me to be available for him. Thus, the fact that I have had very little girlfriend time over the years. I'm not complaining mind you, as I know I could have done something about our situation. It was just easier to agree with him and let him have his way. He can be a brooder and a sulker, which can make life very unpleasant sometimes, but I have learn (with age) to go with the flow!!!
Glad to see you have been through therapy and finally finding some peace in your life. I enjoy your comments and hope to hear more. Take care!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

deefer12,

First of all congratulations for staying married for 37 years in that family ecology in which many a spouse unless they are either codependent or the passive/nurturing type would have left long ago. Have you ever wondered why he works such long hours? It may well be his conscious or unconscious ways of dealing with his frustrations over ya'lls marriage. I have such strong feelings on this subject that I think it is emotional unfaithfulness for a spouse to put a family member ahead of their marriage. This can take place between an spouse and their usually mom or sometimes instead of dealing with marital issues, between a spouse and a child in which that child becomes an emotional substitute spouse of which I've been on the back end of and spent years in therapy to recover from. However you cut it, to me as a man it's no different from an affair regardless of if one's wife runs off, even if it's just emotionally, with another man or another woman.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

mam03 ,

I'm glad to hear you are in therapy and I can understand your husband only wanting to be friends right now, but it is good that at least you two are talking. With the intimacy breakdown between you two, rebuilding his trust is going to be a major mountain. I'm glad to hear your taking responsibility for your life and your part in the marriage. This thread really hit a nerve with me plus I had not taken my bi-polar meds for a day and a half so I may have gotten a bit manic. I have seen cases where the way one spouse relates to the other sends them into the arms or the ears of someone who seems '"to actually listen." and their are pros out their who look to prey on such spouses. At the same time, he is responsible for how he chooses to handle his pain. I wish you the best in traveling this tough and painful road. I suggest buyiing the book "Boundaries in Marriage"
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Mam, I have had problems with my husband too. I am 59 and he is 62. He still works and is gone 60 hours a week. It's only fair that he should want me to be here when he gets home and on weekends. We have been married for 37 long years, and have always lived in my family's 4 apartment house. We have always been in the mix with my family and he has taken that well. But I feel that at this stage in our lives, we deserve time together without the family drama. I have 6 siblings and get very little help with Mom from them. I have given up expecting them to help and don't count on them for anything now.
Mom's long term care insurance has finally come through and I have someone coming in 5 days a week to help out. She is here all weekend and we can now get out if we want to. The last 2 years took their toll and things were getting worse. You do need to put yourself in your husband's shoes. It couldn't have been pleasant for him to watch what was happening to you either. It doesn't matter what reason finally made him leave. We all have to remember that this doesn't just affect us. It hurts everyone in your immediate family and it is a terrible balancing act we have to do to keep everyone happy, and take care of ourselves too.
I wish you luck and much happiness!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Thank you for your straight talk. I am in therapy and I am trying to set boundaries - I actually only spend time with my mother now for specific things she needs. I see that I wasn't being fair but I was stuck in knowing what to do. His leaving was like cold water being poured over my head as each day that goes by I realize how much he and my marriage meant to me. We do talk every week but he has indicated he only wants to be friends. He has moved into an apartment over a bar/restaurant down in an area where alot of 20-30 year olds hand out. He just turned 49. He also meets many women friends after work - he did this before he left as well. Several people say he left for another woman - others say he left because of my mom. I'm coming to believe he left for many reasons but mainly because I didn't put him first in the marriage.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I agree with Emerald4Me but not with the other two statements above.

How would you feel as a wife if for the past 12 years he had been all busy taking care of his mom plus working a full time job as well as try to talk with him, but he would not listen, on top of suggest getting some professional help,but getting no response, after which going into the martyr phase where you try to tough it out for something to change, but after 12 years he's more mama's boy than he is his wife's husband?

He's been there for 12 years and your inability to have some boundaries in your marriage so that he would not feel like you were more married to your mom than to you and someone says if that's all it took 12 years of feeling like he did not have a wife and he left 5 months ago. I think you need some serious therapy. Ya mama did not drive your husband away, your lack of boundaries did.

I get so tired of reading on this site about such divorces, but even worse views such as spouses and children come and go but you only have one mom. Sorry folks, but mom an't God and if you believe in God, it don't say in the Bible that when your elderly parents come into hard times that you leave your spouse (there are more ways to leave than just physically) and then cleave to your mom or dad until death do you part.

Have you had any communication with your husband over the last 5 months since he left? If not, then I'd say he is gone. Consider yourself blessed that he did not leave earlier.

I'm coming down hard on this issues because I've had to deal with it in my own marriage, but not in relationship to carrying for a parent. My wife was in such psychological F.O.G. (Fear, Obligation and Guilt) to her mother that after the birth of our first child, she was not fully present at home with us as a family, me as her husband, or the child and next child as their mom. She said she wanted to be free from her bondage to her mother but she was afraid. Well, she ended up in the mental hospital and after 10 years of therapy she finally stood up to her mother and now is more fully present with me and with us. So, I can empathize with your husband, but sad to say that you may have just learned a very hard lesson.
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

Thank you for your great advise. I agree with you that there has to be something more than my mother driving my husband away. I will look into any senior centers in the area as I believe that would do her good.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

If that all it takes to make him leave then you are probably well rid of him. There is most likely something more underlying his desire for a "normal" life. Which, traditionally, has not been just the so-called nuclear family. Given that, however, you should probably see what kinds of changes you can make to ease the running back and forth for YOUR OWN mental health and peace of mind. When I was growing up my mother's father lived with us (after he was widowed). Later my other grandparents stayed with my parents (when necessary). Now, I am staying with my mother so that she can stay in her own home.

There are so many ways to adapt a situation that I am sure you will be able to come up with something. Since you are working, maybe you can afford some help in the form of a Visiting Nurse? Or something similar. It all depends, of course, on how much help you mother needs. If she's just lonely maybe there is a senior center nearby where she can make friends and have something of a social life.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Caregiving takes its toll on every aspect of your life: relationships, health, jobs, friendships. As Emerald said above, you need to pace yourself. Decide which things your Mom really needs and do those first...the rest comes if you have extra time.
I am so sorry that the hub has decided to "check out." I wonder how he would feel if it were he that needed the care and you decided that you just wanted your "normal life" back. No blame game here, but I thought marriage was for better or worse.
Have you had an honest discussion with him? Have you tried counseling? Were there other issues that did not involve the care of your Mom?
I guess I find it hard to believe that a spouse would leave because you were caring for a loved one in need. I am so sorry this is happening to you. I hope you two can work on a good compromise and then stick to it.
take care,
Lilli
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Save your marriage. My husband had a big, long talk with me. When my mom was first widowed I went over every time she called - this went on for almost 5 years. Then he said we needed family time and I was also neglecting the youngest who still lived at home (she is a teen). I woke up. We help out if it is a true emergency. We take her to church and back home. Once a month we go shopping, run errands, etc. for no more than 4 hours. If she is lonely, she is to call my siblings. Good luck!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter