How do you discuss your feelings with your caree?

Just curious if anyone has experience of discussing their situation with their caree.

I’ve been caring for my partner for 2 years now and I admit I was upfront and recently said that sometimes I feel more like a carer than a partner.

My partner found this very upsetting and won’t allow me to explain exactly what I meant. I feel very guilty for making her feel like this.

Has anyone had similar experiences or tips?


This is a really hard one, because we are carers. Without being able to discuss it, I think it is a lot harder to either accept that, or to change the balance between being a carer and a partner.

I’m not a great model here, because I lied a lot, both to my myself and to my husband and to professionals who asked how we were managing. So I hope you will get more helpful replies than this!

However, what I always tried to do was describe us as “a team”. I found there were benefits to that because it allowed for the fact that what we contributed was unequal and had changed.

What do you feel would help if you could have a real conversation about your role?

Thank you so much for your reply, Dusty.

When I’ve spoken to my partner, she’s explained that what I do are what a partner does, not a carer. She said I may legally be her carer, but really I was her partner.

I explained that the way I phrased it was insensitive as it seemed like I was projecting blame onto her when in fact it’s my job to prioritise my needs, so we’ve agreed that I need a break.

Thank you again for your thoughtful response. How are things with you at the moment? Do you feel you’re having enough time for yourself?

Hello and welcome
I can’t actually say I have been in your position because my lovely husband had vascular dementia and suffered strokes.
However, before he was taken ill , if we did have a disagreement or misunderstanding, we left what had been said for a while, then one of us would ask if the situation could be explained. Just hear me out or similar. It worked, we just needed time. We didn’t quarrel often to be fair.
I’m hoping your partner will hear you out. Things can be said when tired and fed up. You do have the right to be both!!
I know this isn’t much help to you, but just to say I’m listening.

Thank you for this, Pet. I really appreciate it.

I came out of the conversation feeling that we had accomplished something and felt good for accepting my responsibility for my actions and realising what I needed to do to improve.

But, on reflection, all the improvements were from my end. There was no acknowledgement of how her actions or behaviours have affected me.

Perhaps I am being over sensitive, but she did understand that I need a short break to regain my sense of identity again.

I’m sorry to hear about your husband. How are things currently?

Thank you for the tips - that’s very useful advice!

I don’t want to take away from your issues, but as you kindly ask, my husband passed away on the 11th May after a long goodbye sadly. We had been married for 51 years, and before his decline he was my soulmate so I have a little experience of ups and downs of partnership!!
I’m pleased that your partner has acknowledged you need a break. Are you able to take one? Time for yourself is an absolute must,to be able to function. Very honourable to acknowledge that you were insensitive ( if you were?) If you can get a break, she may have chance to reflect on her behaviour to you. It may not be meant, she may feel angry at her illnesses, and not realise how they affect you too. If you love each other, it will work out. If you find the love is no longer there, to be honest it will just get harder, resentment will get much worse. Duty and guilt must not get in the way. That sounds very harsh, and its not intended. Just food for thought.
Thinking of you.

Ryan, I think Pet has answered this beautifully. I’m sorry I didn’t make it clear (I now see I put “we are carers”) but sadly my husband has also died - my lack of clarity, please don’t be embarrassed. I still post sometimes because I received so much help here.

To anyone else reading this, I would suggest persuading the cared for partner to take all the external help that is going so that the carer is freed up a bit to be more of a partner. I know some people find that hard to accept - or impossible to afford, if Social Services won’t help - but In our case, it meant having others in to get him washed and dressed. That meant it felt less like a parent/child relationship and more of an equal one.

Ryan, on the verge of a breakdown, I was put in touch with a counsellor. Incredibly helpful, in looking at how I was viewing my caring role, virtual slave, and how I could view my role differently. Not trying to do everthing myself, but choosing what I would and could do, and feel proud of that. Then organising what I could not do, or did not want to do in a different way.

Dusty, I’m so sorry. It must be incredibly hard for you right now. Caring for someone is a big physical and emotional commitment so I imagine it must be a huge shock. How are you bearing up?

Pet, I’m also very sorry. It must be very hard and to go through all this within such a short space of time must be a massive challenge.

Thank you, BowlingBun. My partner was clear that she felt I was putting too much on myself and she was very heated in the early hours of this morning, despite my remaining calm. She said that she had enough to deal with without having to deal with what she described as my “depression” and that I should have got help a long time ago.

She said she feels taken for granted as she does some jobs like laundry and she occasionally does some cooking once a week or fortnight. I’m always very appreciative of this and make a point of showing this, but perhaps I don’t show enough appreciation.

She was the one that suggested the break so she’ll be staying with her parents while I have some time for me. I’m also going to call the doctor to arrange some counselling.

Thank you all for your advice. I really appreciate it. Especially as you all have your own very challenging struggles to deal with. I hope I can return the favour one day.

She expects praise for cooking a meal every now and then!!! Do you get any praise when you do all the other jobs?
You have some hard thinking to do, definitely go for counselling. If I was you, I’d then plan my escape, so I could meet someone who really loves you. Don’t lumber yourself for life with her unless you are sure that it’s what you really want. Imagine what life would be like in future, children would not be sensible, unless you want to care for them, not her. Give up work and live on benefits?!

Thank you, BowlingBun. I think this came about as I said I felt taken for granted at times and with hindsight I could do more to show my appreciation. She looks after me extremely well whenever I’m not well, even helps me mark books from work and has said that she feels I do far too much.

Again, with hindsight, I’ve done those things and not given her many chances to help. Already she’s doing far more for herself and we’ve agreed a fairer split of household tasks.

I think we both recognise that we both need to make changes and do more for ourselves. We both agree that children is not an option at the moment. If we decide we can do it, we only plan on having one IF her health means she can share responsibilities.

Thank you again for your support. I really appreciate it.

Ryan, thank you for your sympathy. I don’t think I have anything to add to what others have written, but I wish you well with your counselling and thinking time.

You both seem to be addressing the issues very well. Good to hear.
By sharing your concerns, you actually are helping others. Many read the forum, who rarely participate,but take comfort they aren’t the only ones in a difficult place. Do keep posting.
Well done for the progress you have made. There is a saying that love conquers all!!

Thank you for all your kind replies. Every single one has really helped.

I really appreciate it.