My mother (aged82) has been diagnosed with mild dementia. I am 54 years old male, and always lived at home, never marrying. My mother has no friends, refuses to go anywhere, without me, other than the hairdressers once a week. She insists that I stay at home and not leave the house, making out that she is helpless ie she stands with her arms folded and watches me do the simplest of things. She says once she is dead I can do what I want but until then I have to take care of her. I have recently started a relationship and leave her for days at a time, contacting her by phone regularly. I am convinced she plays on her dementia to emotionally blackmail me but how can I tell how bad it really is?

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It's hard to tell how much is faking sometimes and how much is real. Perhaps, if you can, hire a caregiver for a few hours a week. An outsider who has some training in dementia may be able to get a clearer picture of your mom's needs here.
At 54, there are already many behaviors and habits that have been set up between you two. I would guess that your mom is jealous and probably frightened by the fact that you are embarking on a relationship and therefore giving her less attention. It will surely be a tricky situation for some time, good luck.
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Chatty, why do men do this? I know a few that have never married and continue to live with folks. I am sure there are women that do it as well. Good for you, a relationship. How does she feel about you living with Mom? For me that woyld be a red flag to stay away. Mom will figure it out, you need your own life.

And when you are gone for several days do not call to check on mom. Your relationship person may find your caring endearing, but it will not last for long!
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