My ex has no relatives or anyone else where he can live or be taken care of. The house is in both our names and takes both our incomes. He was an unaffectionate narcissist while we were married, and now thinks I should still do all of the cooking and cleaning while he just sits in his lawn chair all day. I am resentful and angry and it comes out in my actions and words. Then I feel bad because I am a very kind and caring woman.

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Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to JoAnn29

It has been years, but I can remember when my cousin and her ex separated they both stayed in the house because they were both trying to figure things out and because they were both financially dependent on each other. After the required legal separation when the divorce was decreed they were required to sell the house and split the proceeds.
Are you legally divorced? What happens to the house if he passes away? If he has to apply for Medicaid are you protected as his spouse regarding the house and finances? Or are you considered a non-related caregiver?
You definitely need to consult a lawyer. If he has no one else, are you his POA? Who would make medical decisions if he is incapable?
There is a lot to unpack here and I can't help but think that you are in a very precarious position. The house should be sold, proceeds split, and his portion allocated for a memory care or skilled nursing facility.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to BlueEyedGirl94

So, why are you still in this situation? Get an attorney, sell the house, take your half and go....let the state handle your EXhusband.....
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to cherokeegrrl54

You have to be the bigger person , because he is gonna get to where he has no idea whom you are, depending on how fast it is. It’s a cruel disease otherwise, hand him over to the state or put in a nursing home and never come back if you live with yourself
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Browneyes1965

Sorry that you are in this situation.

Please consult a lawyer who deals in family law and geriatrics. He/she can help you with options to deal with joint custody of your home that will get you out of this situation. Personally, I think your best option is to sell the home, find a nice small place for yourself, and allow "the state" to care for your ex.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Taarna

Has your ex been officially diagnosed with dementia?
If he has, then you need to seek guardianship.
If not, you need to have him assign you as POA.
Once you have the legal authority to make decisions for him, sell the house and move him into ALF that is affordable and move on with your life.
I know that sounds harsh and I apologize for my frankness, but if you resent him now, it's only going to get worse from here.
Because he has dementia, he no longer lives in the same reality as you. It stands to reason that (in his demented mind) he believes that you are still married. After all, you still live together.
It doesn't mean that you are not kind or caring. Actually it's the opposite!!
His condition is only going to worsen. He will need staff that can give him the care that one person alone can not provide!
You'll still be kind and caring without being a resentful doormat!
God bless!!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to xrayjodib

I will try not to be too blunt. But divorce is breaking away. And it does not sound like you have done that at all. Divorce is done for a reason, of which I am sure you felt strongly about, to put it down on a legal paper. Now you need to enact it. You are being used, by the sounds of it not much different then before. If you always do what you have always done nothing will be different and it will only get worse with age, medical problems, dementia, etc. You are not a rug to be walked on. You are now divorced and have a right to make a new life for yourself. Now if you want to be divorced, make the break now, don’t wait.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Marylepete

I am not trying to be a smart a** but I really think that you should look up what the word ‘divorce’ means.

This guy has it made in the shade and you will grow more and more resentful!

Find someone who can help you. Get advice from an attorney and perhaps see a therapist to help you sort through your emotions. There are therapists that look at income and adjust their fees accordingly.

Walk out. Close the door and never look back. Either that or kick him out.

Downsize, enjoy your new freedom! Never allow him to worm his way back into your life again. Once you close that door, keep it closed.

Best wishes to you.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

It looks like you are stuck. In the same house & still in this marriage - divorced or not. I get how he sees his wife just as he did before, because you are still physically there.

Please consider some therapy/counselling to help get unstuck & move forward in your own life. It will include letting go of some things, most probably your house & being the caregiver in this way. But it will bring you a new home & independence.

This will help him too - so he can move on too.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Beatty
lealonnie1 Oct 31, 2020
I remember when I decided to finally divorce my ex. I hadn't worked in like 20 years because I was home raising 3 2 kids and HIM! I said I'd be willing to go back to waitressing at IHOP if necessary to break free from him, and I meant it. Wound up working for Home Instead as an in home caregiver to elders for $8 an hour! I was fine with that until something else came along that paid more and gave me advancement opportunity. A few yrs later he developed stage 4 cancer and I was SO GLAD I didn't have to be his caregiver.

Independence is worth EVERYTHING
Not a victim here?
Was the house sold to arrange gov't benefits for one or both of you?
It happens.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Sendhelp
Sendhelp Oct 31, 2020
Meant were you 'divorced' to be able to receive gov't benefits?

Not an accusation, but just mentioning this arrangement blew up in my neighbor's face when her ex-husband died. She lost her home. A divorced spouse does not inherit the home. Unless it is in a competently signed will 'after' the divorce.

They weren't 'really' divorced, they were not 'really' living separately.
If you are divorced you have no obligation to help him. And if he was abusive you have no moral obligation to help him either)..{boy that sounds cold}
I suggest you sell the house that takes 2 incomes. Downsize to something you can afford on your own.
BEFORE you sell talk to an Elder Care Attorney and determine how the proceeds from the sale will be distributed.
IF he has been declared incompetent he could be placed in Memory Care. If you have the legal right to do that, if not his next of kin would be responsible.
If he has not been declared incompetent then he is on his own if no relative wants to take him in.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Grandma1954

Curious as to why you divorced but continued to have the house a joint owners. You live in a house that requires both incomes, so assuming ya'll divorced and just never parted ways. Or one of you returned to the house as a way to make payments. By staying together or getting back together just to make a house payments, sounds like the whole deal was business as usual for him. You probably did the cooking/cleaning before, did it after the divorce, and now with dementia his personality is still the same or perhaps worse.

Is there any reason you continued to share a house and a life with an unaffectionate narcissist after you went to the trouble and expense of a divorce. Kind of sounds like, whatever the reason was, the reason was more important to you than his bad behavior. You aren't going to change him (nor him, you). What are you planning to do if he dies and you no longer have his income to pay the mortgage. Or does the living arrangement include any other financial benefit you may get if he dies. Even if you die first, he can't pay for the house.

What does the divorce say about the property you have together - he got the house, you got the house, or it needed to be sold and profits shared? Perhaps it's time to sell out and get in to something (separate or together housing) that both could afford on a single income. If he can get outside to a lawn chair, he can do a few things around the house. Divide it up. Married or not, the work should be shared (according to what he is able to do).

Quit being resentful and angry at him over a decision you made, Get your own place and finalize the intent of a divorce. Or evaluate honestly why you chose to stay after the divorce.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to my2cents

Yup, a house that takes both incomes is a big house, too big for YOU. Even if you always liked the house, it's not what you NEED now. You need an affordable place to live your own life. Divorce is about separating your life from his, not continuing to live with him, resent him, and ‘be of help to him’. You may be ‘a very caring woman’, but you shouldn’t be caring for HIM. He needs to organise his own life, and his own cooking and cleaning. And that’s what you need too. Let go of him. Let yourself go too.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to MargaretMcKen

Any house that takes both of your incomes to manage, and that requires you to live in with your ex husband who has dementia and expects all sorts of things from you, sounds like a house that needs to GO, and GO quickly. Get rid of it, no matter what's required. No 4 walls are worth your peace of mind and all of what you're going through! Why would you agree to such an arrangement and why wouldn't you feel angry and resentful?

Once the house is sold, the proceeds can be used for his care in a Memory Care ALF.

Good luck!
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to lealonnie1

I have been divorced and I too wonder why the house was not sold and proceeds split. Or one of you buy the other out. IMO, you have problem now that he may not be able to make informed decisions or be able to sign a contract to sell the house. If you have POA, u may be able to sell it.

What he thinks and what you do are two different things. If you are divorced then look at him as a roommate. As a roommate you are not responsible for him. He now has a Dementia which will only get worse and you are not obligated to care for him. You may want to call Office of the Aging or even Adult Protection Service to evaluate him for services. Eventually, he will need to be placed somewhere if he becomes 24/7 care. At that time you refuse to do that care. He is a roommate an ex. Let the State take over. But, if you do this the house may have to be sold so his half will pay for his care. Especially, if you can't pay bills on your own or do upkeep.

You may want to start thinking about your future. A person suffering from Dementia gets self-centered and loses the ability to show empathy. Then throw Narcissism into it...You may want to find a place you can afford. Then put your ex on APSs radar. For me, it would be better to sell the house and take my half and get on with my life. Its hard enough to care for someone you love let alone an ex that you have a bad history with. Very kind and caring can be a bad thing. Remember, no good deed goes unpunished. If you try to care for this man, it will be harder to get the authorities involved when you can't or don't want to do it anymore.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to JoAnn29

How severe is his dementia?
I cannot imagine living with an ex. There is a reason you divorce; that's so you can leave them. Sell the house, divide the assets, get a lovely little studio rental. Your husband likely would have a Fiduciary appointed by the state if he has no family. Home would be sold per the wishes of any one of the owners in California.
You were his wife. You are divorced. That doesn't make you his nursemaid. If you live there, cook, clean, and pay for the mortgage, then you are not truly divorced.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to AlvaDeer
againx100 Nov 4, 2020
Yes, time to cut the cord, divide assets and move on. Even though you are the "only" one, you really aren't and he really is not your responsibility. It you WANT to care for him, you would not be resentful, so get out of this situation that is making you unhappy and take care of yourself instead of him.
You are in a very bad situation and it will only get worse as your ex's dementia gets worse. Do you have durable power of attorney for your ex-husband?

Given that both of your names are on the house, you need legal advice as to whether or not you can force a sale, divide the proceeds and put his half toward paying for him to live in a facility. Once his monies run out, the facility will apply for Medicaid on his behalf.

Were your ex to die suddenly, you will no longer get his income and then what is going to happen to the house that "takes both our incomes"? You need to see an attorney ASAP to protect yourself.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
my2cents Oct 31, 2020
If they got a divorce the house should have been addressed. The decree said he gets it, she gets it, or they must sell and split the equity. Legal advice and court order is already in place. She just needs to use the order to finish up the loose ends of the divorce.
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So here is what I’m understanding in what you wrote. You are swapping caregiving for the ability to stay in your home and not sell it and move on with your life and you are noticing it’s making you angry.
How do you see this playing out? His disease will progress. Do you have his POA?
I think you need to see a therapist to help you work through what you are doing.. Is he paying you to be his caregiver? Do you have a contract? Perhaps emotionally you are still “married”. Is that what you want?
I knew a woman who took care of her ex through Alzheimer’s as long as she could. She was finally able to get his distant family (France) to take over his care. It was very hard. And they had no joint assets.
He is not going to remember at times that you aren’t married. There will come a time when he won’t remember you at all. I don’t think a divorce will make him be a different person than he was before. He’s not going to start being an equal housemate out of the blue. His disease will progress. It’s unrealistic for you to expect him to carry his weight.
Since there is real estate involved, you should see an attorney to help you protect both your financial futures. If he doesn’t have savings for his care, he will need Medicaid at some point and that will affect your home.
When his dementia progresses beyond his ability to make legal decisions, you may find you are stuck in a quagmire of red tape.
I hope you get some solid advice on getting things in order to help you navigate this very difficult course.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to 97yroldmom

Are you divorced? Was there a separation of the property as part of the divorce proceedings?

When we divorced, there was a court-ordered division of assets. We sold the house and split the profit. What were the terms of your divorce?
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn

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