Have many of you been single and taken on the job of full time caregiver?

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If so, what have you said about your situation? I have been my mother's only care giver for going on 7 years. I moved to a new city to do so. I dated two different men, both knew what I was doing. I did find that after a period of time they grew inpatiant with my time to do things, as did I.
I feel like perhaps my time will end when I will be worthy of dating. I have no children, and will not. I know that at this point I just do not know what to say, if I were to meet someone. I worry that if one knows that she has Alzheimer's, they would feel I may be next in line. Who would want to date me. I know there is a test one can take, yet, I do not want to live knowing that I have the gene.Why live with that stress. I guess I just worry about so much day to day, about caring for her, I feel that perhaps I should not think of these things, or other days I am frustated. Thanks for listening.

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Top Answer
I think that being a long-term full-time sole caregiver for a parent is a recipe for being single.

I came into my relationship knowing that my FIL lived with my husband, had boundless energy and empathy (and love!) for my partner's dad, and managed to keep it on a day to day basis for close to two years.

An odd thing happened. Caring for him slowly, almost imperceptibly, became my job. It happened little by little. He also flourished. All of my time and energy and love became sucked up and served to make him suddenly seem perfectly healthy, even though mentally he continued to decline.

I noticed that my health began to falter. It almost seemed like the world became centered around him, and my life was and is now best described as an hourglass. To care for him, to dote on him, steadily requires more and more and more and more so that the hourglass turns and fills his side and depletes mine to nothing.

If I pull away in an attempt to restore any part of my side, SOMETHING will invariably happen, or rather HE will sense the shift and purposely do something that adds an entirely new load of obligation and responsibility at my feet, turning the hourglass back to his side again.

My relationship with my husband is, sadly, not about our love and the joy of discovering and existing with each other. It has become all about his father.

If I knew then what I know now, I never, EVER would have become involved with my husband. I would have run like hell in the other direction. I feel like I am stuck in a cycle of doom that will only end in my demise, either broken and through divorce or buried 6 feet under.

My father-in-law is going to bury me, kick some dirt on my grave and move on without the faintest care for having completely destroyed a life that really should never have been this involved with him to begin with under even the best of circumstances.
Being your mom's caregiver doesn't make you unworthy to date. Being a caregiver isn't a character flaw or a negative personality trait. But as you know, caregiving can and often does interfere with our personal lives.

I cared for my dad at home for 5 years and I had a difficult enough time being able to have lunch with friends or go to a party. The last year or so of my caregiving I just gave up doing anything social because caregiving took so much out of me it was just easier to not do social things. As for dating, I could never consider it. Being able to go to lunch once a month with a friend was difficult enough. Being able to go out on dates several times a week was impossible.

Now that my caregiving has ended I'm not sure if I would date a man who was caring for his parent 24/7. I know it sounds harsh but having been a 24/7 caregiver I know that the life of a caregiver is not his/her own. I'm just not sure I'd want to get tangled up in all of that.
I'm a single father also taking care of my father with Alzheimer's full-time. I don't really have a good answer for you. Our situation certainly creates a big challenge. I'm not looking for someone to help take care of my father, that's the responsibility that I've taken on.

I would say keep up faith that you will find the right person for you.
I'm single, never married, no children. I have been the sole caregiver for both my mom and dad. But they have lived in independent living (dad 9 years before he died) and mom for 13 going on 14 years. It has taken a lot of time and emotional energy, but nowhere near as much as with a live-in parent with Alzheimers. You guys are in another class of caregiver.

I have only started to feel happy again, once I rediscovered the joys of physical exercise. When I'm feeling upset/frustrated or angry, I'm able to play pickleball until I'm tired and those emotions are gone. Now I'm also taking up golf with my pickleball "posse" and I'm thrilled. Physical exercise has saved my life and my soul. It makes me happy. I was lost for years and now I've found my spark again. I'm even starting to think about guys again...but haven't done anything more than think about it so far. But I feel so much healthier and happier with physical exercise that I love.
I'm the sole caregiver to my mom, who has Alzheimer's and a disabled brain injured brother. Up until 5 years ago, I helped Mom care for my brother. She did most of the work, as I worked all day. I quit work 6 years ago to be more hands on. Mom was officially diagnosed over 4 years ago. However, I took over the reins of caring for my brother and her 5 years ago.

My social life is virtually nonexistent. I haven't had a conversation with anyone for months. Mom makes no sense when she speaks. She is also extremely hard of hearing. She ruined her hearing aid by running it under the tap for who knows how long. My brother has severe aphasia and is only able to speak maybe 3 words at a time, if he's lucky. I can go for hours without hearing the sound of my own voice. Family and friends no longer contact me.

At times, it's a lonely existence. However, I would not change the past 5 years. I cannot change my brother's and mother's situation. But, I can make it more bearable for them. As long as I'm able to care for them both, I won't send either to a NH.

Having a relationship with anyone is not even on the table for me. I would not expect anyone to take on this responsibility. If I survive both my mom and brother, my life will definitely become different. Then and only then, I might consider finding a companion.
I'm single and have only recently started caregiving. I am resentful because I was done raising my kids and now I am doing this. yes, it's honorable but dang it sucks. I do not feel attractive any longer and I am so depressed I don't care to make myself attractive so I cannot imagine dating right now. If I did have a date, something would inevitably happen to get in the way. I am trying to have faith that there's a reason for where I am right now. I try to do little things like get special food my dad likes and maybe those little things add up. Kudos to you or anyone who can have a relationship right now. I don't think I could handle it.
I had a client that was single and she met a plumber because her mom kept clogging the toilet. The plumber was also single and caring for his mom. She and he hit it off so they had his coworker do her repairs the next time and they dated. Felt that dating another caregiver was so helpful in understanding the commitment and strain. They ended up getting married and had both mothers in the same house (yes crazy) but it worked. They didn't have to leave for date night or if they did, they hired a sitter who was ok with 2 people for 2-3 hours at night.
I think being a committed caregiver is a real testament to your character, and a mature, loving man should count that as a desirable quality. If you had children and were dating, you would have every right to expect that any man you date seriously would come to love your children as much as you do. I think it's fair to expect the same for your parents. Family is family, and dating is how we determine if someone is worth adding to our family. How that person responds to our aging parents will be a good indication of how they treat us when we have needs.

But I know that's idealistic! And it's hard to find a genuine, caring, selfless man. It's even harder when your schedule is so consumed with caregiving. But don't lower your standards. And don't consider yourself undesirable.
This is certainly a discouraging thread, so I want to add a little lightness. I've been divorced for 5 years and have tons of baggage on top of being a caregiver. I'm not overly attractive, though I'm not ugly either. What I have found is that there are a lot of men and women looking for companionship. I have two friends that I could date, though I'm not really interested. I need friends more than dates, to tell the truth. Both of them lost their wives to cancer, so were caregivers themselves. There are also men who have never married. I went out with one of these men twice and quickly learned why he couldn't keep a lady interested in him!

But anyway... there are a lot of potential mates out there. Women are brought up with this idea that once they are past a certain age, no one wants them. That is about as true as what they used to tell women about having all their babies before 30 or they would have babies with birth defects. What "they" do to women's self-esteem is really unforgivable. The truth is that women can have babies as long as their body is able and that there are a lot of available men out there looking for a mature woman. The world is not Mad Men (1950s) anymore.
I'll add something more to the pot, here.

The other night, my DH and I had a mutual, unspoken desire to be frisky. We had not had any quality romantic time in months. Literally, months. My FIL has taken to becoming passive-aggressive to the point where it is so obvious it is almost laughable, only it always comes at our expense. We put some music on, lit a candle, had barely begun to talk and really just enjoy a night to ourselves and out comes dad, DH tried to head him off at the door, and his dad just walked right past him and made himself comfortable on another sofa and began his usual routine of sadness, head-shaking, lamenting, began almost crying. Meanwhile, I was sitting there like a little kid with my hands in my lap, understanding that our evening was lost. I eventually convinced him to go inside so I could put one of his netflix movies on. I set him up with drink, snack, the closed captions, HECK. Everything.
DH and I tried very hard to restart what had been the budding of something VERY good for our relationship with each other. And we managed to relax after a half hour, started to get frisky, it was oh so wonderful and so, SO overdue. And then come BRIGHT LIGHTS inside, his dad standing right on the other side of the door, exposing us to my horror, he acts like he doesn't see us but spends a ridiculous time in that room for no reason. All ruined.
Sorry. Just try to imagine what that feels like, for two middle-aged adults to feel so guilty and childlike for having a moment to themselves.
There is so much, SO MUCH, that just becomes ruined. For me, going from feeling like a grown-up to entering a situation where the adults feel like children and any manner of actions from an older person with dementia, who you want to take care of, robs you of the most basic feelings of privacy, it is just awful. And when I express unhappiness and want us to get our own place to have our own space, it is met with shame and guilt because I don't care as much about his parent as I would a biological parent.
It is so, so hard to have a normal life with normal limits when dementia just puts you in a whole new playing field and the spouse or partner is always going to have patience for situations that wear away at the other person and change the normal meter until they either leave or become severely depressed.
A couple should be centered. If one person, despite all the love in the world, realizes that the situation will always remain incredibly one sided, it should be expected that this is a breeding ground for future resentment and problems in a relationship.

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