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Hello,


I first wanted to thank all of you for taking the time to read my post. While I know that ultimately to stay in my current position or leave is solely up to me, I struggle with the guilt/sadness/loss of leaving.


I have been dating my current boyfriend for 2.5 years. I was 25 when I met and am now 28. He was 27 and now 30. When I met him, his grandmother was still in need of help/care but was mostly independent. During the course of the first year we were dating she was in and out of the hospital a few times where she would then go to rehab for COPD flare ups.


During the first year of relationship, we were her primary care takers. Helping her with cleaning, food shopping, cooking, laundry, doctors appointments, e.t.c. All of this was hard, but manageable. She then fell and broke her rib, shoulder and hip where she was in the hospital/rehab for essentially 10 months. She was only home for a couple of weeks at a time and then go back. After this happened she hired around the clock care upon returning home for good but has quickly depleted her assets. She still has care come in while my boyfriend is at work during the day and then a few nights during the week.


The concern is that we are almost at the point where we are unable to leave the house to do much of anything. She is almost completely bed bound. She is able to get herself on the commode and sometimes to the table to eat dinner. Other than that, she lays in bed all day and night. I run all the errands for them while he stays home. If he tries to come with me, there is guilt associated and he stays home. If I try to leave their home because I do not want to be stuck in the house, I am guilted that I am leaving. If I do not come over that night, I get text messages/phone calls asking why I am not coming over.


We are unable to start our life and our future together because of this. There is no one in his family that can help either as she has an estranged relationship with most of them. She also refuses to go to an assisted living and wants to stay home, which is her respected choice.


My concern is that I am sacrificing my entire life to be in this relationship and while I do love him very much, the price to pay to stay in this relationship is very high. She will vocalize that she is concerned that I am going to leave him because of this and I know that it is getting so bad and to the point that he is worried as well. We are both at the age where all of our friends are getting engaged/ married/ buying houses and starting their own family. We are the only ones who do not have this.


Another concern is that we are not engaged or married and the responsibility that I have taken on does not match the level of severity of our relationship. At the end of the day, I am his girlfriend who stays still lives at home with her parents, but also a care taker to his grandmother while sacrificing my entire life for her and him.


My question is, what would you do? Would you stick this out seeing the light at the end of the tunnel or would you choose you and leave? I am the point where I do not want to do this anymore.


Thank you again for taking the time to read and to respond to this. I hope you have a great week!

I am going to take a different look at this. If being a half of a couple is losing all of you then the price is to high. If your BF guilts you into staying when you want to leave or don't want to come over then the price is to high. This is called "Emotional Backmail." Believe me this will get worst not better--been there and done that--got the t-shirt and the hat!

If it was me I would leave, but that is just me.

Just my 2 cents!
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NeedHelpWithMom Apr 15, 2019
Very good answer! Emotional blackmail is an ugly thing. He needs to respect his girlfriend’s feelings as much as he cares about his grandma. It’s nice that he shows concern for his grandma. His girlfriend is equally important. They need help for grandma. The grandson is heading towards burning out. He needs help but it isn’t the girlfriend’s place to help. Caregiving can become so overwhelming for the family.
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Relief,

An elder can remain independent, in their own home as long as they like IF they have the financial wherewithal to hire the help needed to make that possible. Not if they have to impose upon others in a way that impedes the young lives yet to be lived.

Your boyfriend's GMA is quite young. She has mobility problems, but is physically healthy it seems.

Are you willing to do this for another 30 years?

You are being manipulated by 2 narcissists, I think.

Maybe take a step back and be " unavailable" for 2 or 3 weeks.

See what happens. Listen to your mom and your best friend.

Don't issue any ultimatums. Just step back. And let us know what happens.

Loving someone means wanting the best FOR THEM. Your boyfriend doesn't seem to be in that frame of mind.
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If he won't talk to you, that is a huge waving red flag. He is not being honest if he won't talk about all this. He can say it's because it's so stressful and overwhelming but in my opinion that is not a behavior I would want from the man I decided to have children with. Make a decision, good, bad or indifferent, you need action.

He is getting the best of both worlds, he can be grandmas golden boy and have a free of charge, responsibility free caregiver with benefits. Why would he change anything? He hasn't committed himself to the relationship in the least, you are not engaged, he has no home but grannies and he has taken over her care 100% with a promise to never put her in a home.

Run, don't walk, run away from this person that is using you and then manipulating you to do his bidding, those are reasons to get away and never look back. This is behavior that will be the norm the rest of his life, you will live in hell if you get tangled up with this fella. Anyone that uses guilt to get their own way has a personality disorder and they are usually very self centered and selfish, I think you are seeing this and laying the blame on grandma, there is a reason he is all she has.

When anyone, besides a newborn baby, needs 24/7/365 care it is time for a village. One or 2 people can not provide the level of care a bed bound senior requires, it will kill the caregivers and it is selfish and self-centered to expect anyone to provide that at the expense of their own life. She lived her life and is now stealing his and yours so she doesn't have to do anything she doesn't want. He is learning from her, think about it.

He has told you and shown you where you stand, believe him and go have a life and leave him to his choices. Oh, if he pops the question, this is another manipulation to keep you around as a free caregiver, he doesn't get to ask at this stage and be taken seriously, too late.

Best wishes for a clean break and a happy future.
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reliefsearch2 Apr 15, 2019
Hi Isthisrealyreal,

Thank you for the laugh! You sound like my mom :)
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I wanted to thank everyone for their kind words and support. I truly appreciate it.

When I went into this relationship, I was very sympathetic and understanding of the situation because I was very near and dear to my grandmother who also passed from COPD 4 years ago. I helped care for her but NEVER hands on. Mostly food shopping, cleaning and laundry. I also had support from my aunt, her son and wife, my mom and sister. We all took turns. My aunt was retired so she was her main care giver but my grandmother was living independently up until the month before she went in the hospital and passed.

I never saw myself in this care taking role at such a young age. I have never had persistent anxiety like I do now. Some days are worse then others. One bad days, it consumes my thoughts and drains me of my energy (I am sure all of you can relate) then the resentment comes where you feel like you're going to lash out if someone looks at you the wrong way.

While I do love my boyfriend and want to help because there is no one else to help but the aides she has, it is now at the point where we can no longer go out as a couple on the weekends or live our life and I am at the point where I cannot do this anymore. I am at my breaking point. The real breaking point, lol, not the fake one but the one where you literally cannot do this anymore.

Thank you again to everyone for the kind words, support and encouragement. It is so nice to have a safe haven like this website to go to and to be able to vent and get the advice you need. Hugs to everyone and Happy Easter!
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NYDaughterInLaw Apr 16, 2019
Easter is the perfect time for you to begin a new life. Reflect during this Holy Week about what Easter means for you. Celebrate Easter and commit yourself to living the spirit of Easter.
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I skimmed the posts and have read ur previous posts and must agree, its time for you to back away. You can cut ties immediately or back away little by little and see how you feel then.

Most of the posters are "elders" to u. We have all been there. At 24 I made the choice to marry a guy I had been dating for awhile. We had broken up a couple of times. Red flag there. But, all my friends were married, having kids and we had been dating...so marriage was next. Big mistake. I knew in my gut I should not go ahead with it but did. The only good thing I got out of it was my daughter. I remarried a guy who shows he loves me all the time. Not by saying it but putting me first. Actually, putting up with me.

I suggest you make a list. Pros and Cons. Pros, what are you getting out of this relationship, Cons, what you put into it. You two are doing a job that MOST of us aren't doing till their 50s to 70s. We have established marriages, grown children and some retired. It puts a strain on these marriages, caring for someone.

At your age you deserve so much more than this man is willing or can give. You should be going places and doing things together. You should be enjoying your youth with someone who loves you. I had a woman tell me one time to pick a man who loves you more than you love him. (Its rarely 50/50) A man who goes out of his way for you. Seeks you out. Its a great feeling when u find someone like that.

I suggest you call your Office of Aging. Run the circumstances by them. Maybe someone can go in and evaluate the situation. Give grandma options. Either she allows homecare or she goes into a LTC facility. Make them understand that you need to get out of this situation and boyfriend needs to work. Give all childrens information to them because ultimately her children need to make decisions. They don't need to do hands on care but they do need to make it clear they will not be responsible for her. Then the state can step in and Gma no longer will be able to make her decisions, a state guardian will. If boyfriend will not go this root, then tell him sorry, I can no longer put energy into a relationship going nowhere.
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NeedHelpWithMom Apr 15, 2019
Great answer!
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I would leave. You're giving up your life to a fellow whose first commitment is his grandmother, and both of them are manipulating you. This is only the beginning of what will be a lot more junk, even after the grandmother dies.

I wasted my 20's on a guy who seemed nice at first but turned out to be abusive and manipulative--a narcissist. His first allegiance was to his younger sister, who constantly injected herself into our lives and of whom he was afraid. I wish I'd dated him a few months and then moved on. Instead we lived the life he wanted and I passed up ten years of opportunities that are gone forever.

You say "I do not want to do this anymore." You should trust your instincts.
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Time to have a "sit down" with your boyfriend.
I would out line what you will and will not do.
For example you can help out 1 or 2 days a week. (and a DAY is not 24 hours in this case)
You need a day for yourself.
You need a "date night", possibly 2 if you want this relationship to continue.
The days and nights you are not there he needs to either do the things that you have been doing or he needs to have someone come in.
You need or at least you should have a job, full time or part time. At least this will give you are reason that you can not be at their "beck and call". At your age you need to be looking for a job that may secure your future. (If you enjoy the caregiving look into taking a Certificate Course at your local Community College to become a CNA you can work privately, for an agency or for a facility and you would be hired in a heartbeat!)
And if Grandma is bed bound because she chooses not to get up and be mobile there should be a discussion as to possible depression and medication for that but the situation will NOT get better and will get worse. Soon she will not be able to get up to go to the bathroom, do basic hygiene....What will happen when you get hurt trying to transfer her? Who will care for you? Who will pay your medical bills for an injury that may cause life long problems?

Stay with him is one thing
Staying on as an unpaid caregiver is another.
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From what I have read in your post, your boyfriend is quite content allowing his grandmother to run the show and guilting the both of you into caring for her. Staying will only increase your resentment as your boyfriend struggles to become his own person. And he may never accomplish that while she's alive or even after she dies.

In my opinion, you are wasting your youth. He's not capable of giving you the relationship that *you* seek. Do the kind and mature thing and breakup with him. Focus on pursuing the life *you* want. Few things are more attractive than a confident, independent woman.
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reliefsearch2 Apr 15, 2019
Hi NYDaughterInLaw,

Thank you for your guidance. My best friend has said similar things about finding his independence.

I have been teetering on the fence of leaving for a long time and I am finally at the point where I cannot give/do this anymore. I also do not want to come between him and what he feels is the best care for his family. I have a lot of soul searching to do.
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I didn't intend my advice to be a discussion between you and his grandmother, it is between you and your boyfriend. What she wants in this is irrelevant, what must be under discussion is what you, as a couple, are prepared to give, as well as what you as an individual are prepared to give, and what the consequences will be if a consensus can't be reached.
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reliefsearch2 Apr 15, 2019
CWillie,

This is a perfect response! Thank you for clarifying :)

Every time I talk to him, it leads to no action on his behalf. He just agrees that it is to much but takes no action to change the situation. Every now and then she will make comments on leaving the house to go get the care she needs and then throws it in his face that he wants to move out and start his life. I think she is NPD.
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Leaving could be a solution, but you can also decide to tell BF that you are burnt out, and need to recoup and work on yourself.  Maybe help just one day a week, if you would think of it as just volunteer work.  Then, BF and family must make the decisions about what to do when free help isn't there. 

This kind of strain ages a person quickly.  Cut back and recover before losing your own health and sanity, or develop permanent stress conditions.  That isn't an ultimatum, it is self care.  Not your job to find BF his alternatives.  Time for him to step up and decide.  By the way, isn't bed-bound too much for assisted living to take on?  And if money is depleted, Medicaid can help with NH, but not AL.

Grandma can no longer call the shots.  When I burnt out and placed my aunt in a NH, I told her I just couldn't give her the care she needed.  I still loved her, and would visit, keep an eye on her and the place.  She was staying, no matter how she reacted.
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