...lives next door to us (in a 3-bedroom house that we own) and is now 100 years old. We’ve both been caring for her for well over 25 years. Despite her advanced age, she’s in excellent physical health but has developed some dementia in recent years. As her needs increase, my wife has to spend more time with her; we do her shopping, take her for doctor visits, give her daily meds and my wife cooks most of her meals. I believe her mother will live many more years and my wife absolutely refuses to even consider putting her in an assisted living facility. As a result of caring for her mother, we can’t travel anywhere together (I take occasional trips by myself but we haven’t had a vacation together in over 10 years). My mother-in-law is a sweet lady and I sincerely hope she lives to be 110, but as I tell my wife, not in our 3-bedroom house with us caring for her every day. Our “golden years” are passing us by and I’m not proud to say that I’m becoming increasingly resentful toward both my wife and her mother. As many relatives and friends have told us, her mother belongs in an assisted living living facility and we should get on with our lives. In my wife’s defense, she has no siblings to share the responsibility with, but we have the resources to put her mother in assisted living, where she would be well cared for and have some social life. I’ve seriously considered leaving my wife over this- I think I’d be justified in doing this - but I just don’t have the heart to go through with it.
Her mother no longer has all her faculties and would never do this to us knowingly, but she’s slowly destroying our marriage. My brother died at age 62 a few years ago and I’m starting to think my mother-in-law will outlive me. After a very successful career, I’ve looked forward to enjoying my retirement with the woman I love but it looks like that’s not in my foreseeable future. Am I being selfish to want to enjoy my retirement years with my wife while we still have our health? I’m not a very religious person, but isn’t there something in the Bible about a married couple leaving their parents and “cleaving” to one another? In my view, my wife has broken one of our wedding vows (to “forsake all others”) by putting her mother’s needs above mine, for a long time. I’ve always been good to her mother, but how much more can reasonably be expected of me? As I’ve told my wife, I married her- not her mother. I’ve become depressed over this and I’m just about ready to pack my stuff and head south- with or without my wife. By the way, we’re 60 years old and I’ve been wanting to move from NJ to Florida for years- and I’ve even offered to bring my mother-in-law with us and find her an assisted living facility in whatever area we relocate to. Would I be a monster to force my wife to make a choice- her mother or me?