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It would hurt my feelings if we got an annullment so he could marry his nurse. He took a shine to her and they have called her his girlfriend since he has been there. He seems to be able to talk to others pretty well but only going off on a tangent a couple of times. He knows who I am and yet he seems to have a grudge against me. When I went to leave he said "I'm really serious about this!I realize this is only in his head but it still hurts. How should I handle this?

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Thank you all for your answers. Every glimmer of compassion help. Hugs to all
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NancyH, I like the humor of your approach, and I agree that what the husband is saying is not logical and should not be taken seriously. But as a spouse of a wonderful man with dementia, I cannot imagine implying, even in jest, that I was "keeping my options open" or that he couldn't count on my continuing support as his wife forever, no matter what. And I generally don't apologize to a healthcare professional in advance or after the fact for my husband's behavior. Certainly a trained professional doesn't need an apology from a third party (though I might offer an explanation if a little history would help).

I hope I could laugh at home, when telling my sister or friend about it, but I don't think I could make a joke about it with my husband.
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Violets, if your husband told you he was going to get an annulment from you and marry the unicorn down the hall, would you believe him? He's out of his logical mind so please don't listen to this stuff. Letting some nursing home patient call her 'his girlfriend' is probably the only way she can get him to let her to take care of him without him causing a stink, so who cares? And of course he's agitated with you, you're cramping his style thinking he's got a shot with the NURSE that takes care of him. Actually I feel sorry for this gal, especially if she's having to fend off any advances your poor husband is making towards her. If I were you, I'd apologize to her in advance for anything untoward he's either going to do, or has already done. If you told her that you're getting your feeling hurt by this, she'd more then likely be mortified. Next time he tells you he's going to get an annulment so he can be with his 'girlfriend', why not say 'that's great, gotta keep my options open then'. And laugh. Sometimes you need to laugh at things, and not take them so personally. Don't you think?
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Violets, first of all I think it is entirely inappropriate that "they" call the nurse his girlfriend and encourage this delusion. If by "they" you mean staff at the NH, I suggest you make an appointment and discuss this with the director of nursing. Certainly the nurse should be saying "You are a delightful man and I enjoy your company. You have a wonderful wife, and we need to be just friends." (Maybe she is. I wouldn't blame her without looking into it, but I would look into it with the DON.)

One of the women in my local caregivers' group (I'll call her Ann) is very firm about setting boundaries in the NH. When there is a new aide and she says, "Come on, sweetie, lift up your arm so I can help you with your sweater," Ann quickly informs that aide that this man is not her sweetie, that he is married, and that he needs to be treated with respect. The aide needs to learn his name and use it. Her husband has been in NH for a few years and Ann has everyone trained, but when there is a new person, we hear about it in our group meeting!

But even if everyone on the staff behaves perfectly appropriately, it is the nature of dementia for there to be delusions. I know this is very difficult, but try not to take them personally. This is not the man you love and married speaking -- it is the disease. "I'm so glad you have a friend on the nursing staff. But you cannot marry her because you already married me. I am very glad you did. I love you very much, and I will always, always be your faithful wife."

My heart goes out to you. Having a spouse with dementia is painful in many, many ways.
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Violet: I was caught by the word annulment. Were you just recently married?
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