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Sorry this is long. I am new here. At the end of the summer, my mother in law left my father in law. She did this by getting in their RV that she can barely drive and checking into an RV Park. No one knew where she was for three days. When we finally tracked her down, I drove from Dallas to Tulsa and picked her up and brought her back to our home. She is in the beginning stages of dementia and has a host of other issues. She is 77. She was here for about a month where I struggled to make sure she took her medicine and didn’t fall and didn’t try to drive. Oh yes, I have 4 children and we own a business that keeps my husband out until 8-9pm. My mother in law insisted on going everywhere we went. Baseball practice, gymnastics, swim lessons, etc. It was such a beating. I got to the point where I wouldn’t even go eat with my family because just eating out would take hours. Finally my brother in law came down and took her to Branson for a little vacation. We told him that she was out of medicine and needed to go to the doctor ASAP in Tulsa. We also told him that she couldn’t stay in her house because they are hoarders and it was bad for her. So what happened? He never took her to the doctor and she stayed at the house. Three weeks later she almost had a stroke and is now in ICU in Oklahoma. Both my husband and brother in law refuse to accept responsibility for their mother and think that either myself or their aunt will just take care of it. I told my husband that she CANNOT come back here to live because it is too much on me. He told me that if this is how I feel, he wants a divorce. Never mind that we have 4 children ranging from 5-18 years old. I am going to stand my ground. I can’t do it. Am I a terrible person? (There’s a lot more drama in there but for time’s sake...)

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was not looking at the comments for a while. Just was wondering what Tracy (lady who originated this communication) is thinking about all of this:):). Probably she has no time to read this BS, just she wanted to let it go from her chest. By reading all these message just makes me sad. Most of them sounds like it's coming out from angry, not happy women who hates men, I have to say, sorry. It's just funny to think, that one day we all, most likely, will end up in the same situation:):). I had in mind the situation of the "old lady" or Mother-in-law, the main reason why is everybody expressing their feelings. Would like to see answers from your, ladies, daughters' in law. Like they say, "what goes around, comes around". Ha-ha. Not going to read any comments because I already know how they sound. All the best and Merry Christmas! Wishing to learn be happier next year!
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Poster has left the building.

OP never responded to any of our answers, not even with a "Thanks, I need to think about what you took your precious time to write."

Time to move on, people.
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WorriedinCali, I've copied and reposted your response b/c (1) I think it's important to mainstream your advice and (2) with this "reply to" function collapsing some posts, it's easy to miss good advice entirely.

"Eh your making a wild assumption there lava. What likely happened is she didn’t want to hear a plethora of people telling her to divorce her husband. People here are so damn quick to throw out nuclear solutions. So much that is said here is easier said than done. I don’t think the OP came here looking to be told to get a divorce."

Thank you for sharing a very rational and realistic possibility.  Some of the posts seem to ignite so much emotion and posters respond with their own very personal advice as opposed to rationalizing what the poster's situation really is.   Emotion escalates and logic wanes.

I do that too; I'm not immune to that tendency, but Worried's observation are a good wake-up call.    This post and the many responses reminded me of exactly what Worried wrote.  

The OP was frustrated, wanted suggestions, analysis, and support.   It takes more time to read, analyze and respond in a way that's helpful.    Getting a divorce isn't like going out shopping, but that suggestion was so prevalent I just stopped reading the responses, especially the "shoot from the hip" responses from what seem to be the drive-by posters.

And I'm guessing the OP did as well.   And I doubt if she'll be  back.    Was she helped by posting here?    We'll never know.
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I sincerely hope that this thread did help the Op despite all the suggestions to get a divorce! And thank you for reposting & analyzing my comment. After it was all said and done, I kind of regretted posting it. This one just hits close to home because my mom has reached out to me and to her friends about my dad, at this point in life he’s just not a good husband. And it’s not all his fault, he can’t help the cognitive decline and the car accident that left him disabled and the illnesses that have contributed to his decline are not his fault. But at the end of the day, he is not supportive of my mom who is seriously ill (advanced COPD, fibromyalgia, asthma to name a few). He’s hostile and gets angry very easily (he’s always been that way). He does absolutely nothing around the house because he’s retired and he tells my mom straight up that he didn’t retire so he could clean the house! He literally spends his days on the couch watching TV, sleeping and playing on his iPad. There’s a lot more to it but.....my mom has been ready to walk away plenty of times because my dad is just not a husband anymore. And I can tell you that when she reaches out for support, she does not want to be told to leave him! Because it’s not that easy. Divorces are EXPENSIVE when you’ve been married a long time and have joint assets & property. They are long and emotionally draining. It is HARD to walk away from a marriage and someone you love(d) and start all over again. Now if my mom was 35-45 and not 71, then I am sure she seriously consider a divorce. But at this point in life, it’s just not a solution. She wouldn’t qualify for income based housing and even if she did, most states have LONG waiting lists for affordable housing! She wouldn’t really be able to afford to live on her own either. And I admit, when it first began I would tell her to come back down here and rent an apartment! It wasn’t helpful because it’s never going to happen. It’s not what she needed to hear. What she needs is support and to hear that it’s not her, it’s him. She needs a gentle reminder that.....dads not the same person anymore mentally. And he’s not going to change his ways so instead of being angry over his choices, she needs to change her approach and try to accept things for what they are and make the best of it.

as far as the OP, she needs to have strong communication with her husband and maybe even bring in uninvolved 3rd parties like a hospital social worker, to help her through to him that this is a bad bad idea and it’s NOT worth divorcing over.
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Your husband needs to read the Sandwich Generation articles connected with this post. Trust me, if you let an aging parent (especially one with dementia) move into your home your life will fall apart!  As much as your husband loves his mother, he is not the parent. Nor is he trained or prepared for the overwhelming, time-consuming task of becoming a full-time caregiver. There are wonderful, well-staffed, caring facilities available where she will be better cared for than in your home. Your family is not prepared to care for her 24/7 and will eventually come to resent her for breaking up your marriage and the family. Sacrificing your family and abandoning your lifestyle is not what Mom would want. You and your husband are not responsible for her age nor her dementia. Your only responsibility is to settle her into a place where she will be happy and get the care and attention she needs. I'm sure Mom would be devastated if she understood that the divorce was because of her.
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Maybe the OP just feels like reading plus it's never a waste of time when an interesting discussion is had whether the OP stays or not. Just my opinion.
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Shell38314 Dec 2019
You have a good point. We learn so much from other people's post and have interesting discussions!)
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That is correct. The OP has vanished.
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I hope people stop wasting their breath on this post because the OP disappeared. Hopefully I’m incorrect and she will reappear.
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Stand your ground. Your husband is emotionally manipulating you. If you allow Mother-in-law in you will have her, the kids and your pain-in-the-rear selfish husband to take care of. Good luck. You're going to need it.
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I believe I answered this before, but I’ll say again, anyway: I hope you’re still standing your ground, Traci! Do not take that on, unless you want to end up in ER...Hugs 🤗
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Did the OP ever respond back to this post? A ton of replies!
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NoTryDoYoda Dec 2019
No. I think now that she was a drive by.
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Now everyone wants to know how your dilemma has been unfolding, if at all.. Yes, and it is close to the Holidays.. Perhaps this would be a good time for hubby & BIL to cater to their mother and actually take care of her for awhile. What business do you have? Perhaps Mom can help out in the packaging department or answering phones, or taking notes. Give her a job with hubby... That may help. Perhaps she can do simple accounting, or contacting customers or vendors.
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I agree stand your ground don't take on a cargiving job it's not easy u will loose your self give him a divorce like everyone said take half of everything and stay in your home he can go with mom see how fast he would understand call his bluff bc that's what it is he wants to see if u would cave and say ok I will take care of her No tell him NO good luck
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No time to read all the responses, so pardon if mine repeats any other suggestions. First off, NO, you are not a terrible person. You TRIED it once and now understand what it entails, and realize this isn't workable. Clearly hubby has NOT done it, has no clue and is behaving stupidly.

If this is the only option he has, he is in for a RUDE awakening. Not only will he lose his family and business partner, but he will have to take care of her himself. If BIL care is indicative of hubby's care, poor MIL (and FIL if he also needs help!) She will NOT get the care she needs.

Perhaps you could suggest HE care for his mom for ONE DAY or perhaps a week (could you take a mini-vaca with the kids, go visit your own family?) Once he gets a good taste, he might then realize this isn't doable. He also needs some education about dementia. As it progresses, and it WILL, does he want his house damaged by pee and poo from his mother? Any other damage she might inflict, because you can't possibly watch her 24 hours/day? There are times you need to tend to other things, use the bathroom, etc and like with a toddler, it can take seconds for a disaster to happen!

Caring for someone with dementia (and any other issues that make it more difficult!) isn't easy, and is nearly impossible to manage for someone who is working, caring for 4 children (regardless of age, unless emancipated) and a house. Hubby needs a head slap along with information about dementia and what it takes to care for someone with this.
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Jasmina Dec 2019
Has a head slap. That's so funny, and true!
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Has poster provided any updates at all to any of the 175 answers to date???
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Not a one.
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Edit - Perhaps a counselor could help him *SEE* that he would be erring. Not to mention it'll be on him to provide the care!
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Tracij29 We would all love to hear how you are doing and if the 99.9% support you have received has helped you
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Sounds like a man who is more emotionally connected to his mother than his wife. This is very hard to change.
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NoTryDoYoda Dec 2019
The only book on this that I know of is When He's Married to Mom: How to Help Mother-Enmeshed Men Open Their Hearts to True Love and Commitment. This can happen between daughter and mother as well, but no one has written about that yet.

To go more deeply into this concerning moms and sons as well as daughters and dads read, Silently Seduced: When Parents Make Their Children Partners-Understanding Covert (emotional) Incest.

Many marriages are destroyed of a parent making a child their emotional partner.
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No. You are not a terrible person. He would take care of his mother or hire someone to take care of her. Your hands are full with 4 kids. Give him the
divorce and get Child Support for the kids. It seems like you take care of the
kids and their needs. Find a caregiver to take care of her daily or put her in
a care facility /self living. You marriage and the vows, does not include your
mother. Stand your ground. Help him find somewhere for her to live. Get some
assistance from the programs offered for seniors who are sick with dementia.
Caregiving is a full time job. You have a full time job with your 4 kids. Someone
will go lacking and that appears to be you if you don't make the right decision.
If you didn't have the kids, then I would say, keep her. You can't do both. Too great of a responsibility. Men are selfish. They have no clue of all the things we
do just to maintain our own household with kids. You will have 5 kids and a lot
more responsibility with just his mom.
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Your husband is either very selfish or letting his emotions get the best of him. Either way, he is wrong to try to put this burden on you. Stand you ground and get legal advice about divorce in the event that YOU decide you don't want to be married to this fool.
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Keep us posted. We are worried for you. I'd get the social worker and discuss the options with your husband. He cant just throw a tantrum and expect the problem to be solved by you. He needs to think rationally and not reactively.
Even mother Teresa had an army of nuns to help her. And your supposed to work 24/7 7 days a week. You cant. Good luck.
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No, you are not a terrible person. You are attempting based on your experience with your mother in law setting boundaries for yourself and the children. I have to wonder if there are other issues in your marriage besides this one because it seems to me that threatening divorce is rather drastic. It seems to me that marriage counseling may be in order. Your husband and brother in law also need to speak with their mother's primary care physician in order to fully understand her medical condition as well as care needs. If your mother in law has funds looking for an assisted living near your home could be an option. As I stated previously, I think couples therapy is definitely in order for you both. Good luck.
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It sounds like she is a handful. It isn't fair to put this all on you. I think the others are right, see if you can get her husband to start taking responsibility, If not, go from there. As far as your husband threatening you, where did that come from??
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Just let him know you will take him for everything he has PLUS alimony, child support for 4 children and on top of that, HE will be left to take care of his mother alone. He might see the light and get her back with his dad or place her in a facility.
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ellenH6 Dec 2019
I can see why you would advice our new friend on this site to tell him off. I respectfully disagree with your advice as her husband has already proven himself to be unstable. I think it would be unwise for her to tip her hand. It seems to me that she would be better to get legal advice and put a plan into effect that she could started as needed.
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I find it very odd that his first reaction is to divorce you... That is not a normal reaction...what does that have to do with finding care for his mother?  I think there may be many issues going on here.  How was the relationship with you and your husband prior to his mother needing care?  Your husband not getting home until 9 pm and you running around taking the kids to gymnastics and baseball and swim lessons, etc...  look a little closer into what might be going on there...  sometimes we are so busy, we don't see what is going on right under out noses....

As far as his mother goes, she is not your responsibility.  Your father in law needs to step up to the plate because his wife is sick and acting out of character.  Her two sons and her husband need to band together, have her evaluated by a doctor and help her or place her if that is what's needed.

I think you have some issues to deal with, but your mother in law isn't one of them.
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Nowhere does it mention the health of the FIL. Could possibly be that he is in decent health/mind for his age and needs to be dealing with this himself or working with his sons to make arrangements.
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No you are not a terrible person, your husband is. Does he realise how much work 5 children will be? Your MIL is in the early stages of dementia and has just had a stroke so she will be a 77 year old child. Perhaps agree to her moving in if you get a job and husband gives up his, see how long he can cope then. You are entirely right, your husband and his brother need to step up.
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No you are not a terrible person. Find a nursing facility. It's your home and your mental and physical health that your husband needs to care about.
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Stand your ground. I think it's a bluff. Why would any human being on the planet say you have to take care of my mother on top of 4 children??? And hes not going to lift a finger? Hes too busy.
He will have to pay for his new house/apartment, her recovery, divorce proceedings, as well as child support and alimony. Let him. I dont think he will.
She will also need too much help after a stroke that 1 person cant possibly take care of. Do you have a Hoyer lift that can fit in your home? A spare bedroom or living room that is now housing her in a hospital bed with commode.
I think if you call the hospital and ask to speak with the social worker she/he will tell you what the outcome will be. Some people can recover from a stroke but it's a long uphill battle with a lot of OT/PT and speech therapy usually. I think they would say she is going to a rehab first. Then see what she is able to get back. So you have might a few months or weeks at the rehab. Depends on how bad her stroke and dementia are. You can get an accounting of this.

That is too much one one person with children and no help from her son. I dont think it will come to that. I think he is trying to scare you. I also think hes trying to scare you into doing what he wants. It's the easiest route. Dont let him bully you and the kids. He doesnt get to make that decision on your time. You do.
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If he chooses to divorce you over your MIL, that will really backfire on him because then HE & his brother will have responsibility for their Mom, he will have lost having his children around, and you and all you do for him. Divorce is always difficult on children, regardless of their age (so it would be nice to avoid that if you want to preserve your marriage). Politly discuss with your husband the financial ramifications a divorce (the business, alamony, child support, dividing other joint properties like the house, etc). Emotional blackmail and bullying should never be rewwarded tho....so if it he takes the divorce route, then that is his choice. Cut the strings.
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You're not a bad person, and your husband may love his mother more than you do of course, but he really needs to be made aware of what's going to be involved in caregiving for his mother in you all's home and his major participation in it, physically not just financially. He seems to have gotten accustom to just going to work and coming home after all the work's been done, seeing how you have 4 children and the youngest is just out of the way starting school, he might be counting on that as free time that he expects you'll have to take on this task. Either way threating you with divorce sounds like there's going to be no love lost between the two of you, and you & your children lives don't matter to him unless he's been manipulating you the entire time of your marriage. It sounds like he doesn't know how to communicate his frustration about it. You just need to find ways and show him options to help with your MIL, thats if you can still care about somebody who would tell you that and they weren't joking!
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