Never posted on this forum before, but I have often read some of the posts. It is reassuring to read that there are a lot of people out there in a similar situation. My wife has a degenerative condition that means that in an average month she is in bed for over half of it. It’s been a slow process, but she has become increasingly worse over the last 12 years which has meant that her reliance on me has slowly increased to a point where now I am finding it difficult to cope.
I do pretty much everything domestic wise, as well as caring for her when needed. I am fortunate that I get a little help with various household chores but as I have a really busy stressful job this only just about keeps things ticking over. Caring wise can be anything from helping her to dress and wash to just serving her meals in bed three times a day. Our relationship is starting to suffer and intimacy in particular is really low on the list. Whilst I am trying my best to cope its very difficult sometimes. I am 37, fit and healthy. I am very lucky that I have a great job and I feel like I am in the prime of my life, so in many ways I am really grateful, but I am finding it hard not to become increasingly resentful which I don’t want to be.
When my wife is having a good day her first instinct is to spend time with friends, which I can’t knock her for. I am a pretty selfless person so I support her need to try and maintain her identity as an individual, but I can’t remember the last time that she had a good day and said “hey I am feeling good today shall we do something together?”. It makes me feel like I am taken for granted. I try to maintain a few hobbies but regularly have to change my plans at the last minute because she is unwell.
Regarding the physical side of our relationship, I am sensible enough to know that intimacy isn’t the be all and end all. I am not going to jeopardise my relationship or the happiness of my children by foolishly caving in to desires, but I literally have no one I can talk to about how I feel. I can’t talk to my wife, as this will simply upset her with no positive outcome. I don’t feel I can talk to family as we just aren’t very close. As for friends I try to keep conversations very much away from anything to do with my wife as I feel it is important for me to have an identity that isn’t just defined by my status as a carer.
The thing that has also been really worrying me recently is the future. My wife gets worse year on year. I am concerned that at the current rate I will be forced to abandon my career to look after her. There are things I desperately want to do with my life, I want to travel develop some of my hobbies and passions. At the minute it feels like the future I could have is being taken away from me and whilst I am not a selfish person at all, I only have one life and I have been the bread winner and main carer since I was 25.
Christmas has been a low point, which I suppose has spurred me into writing this post. I had no time away from work over the festive period, but still did all of the shopping, wrapping, cleaning, cooking. I did the pots 3 times on Christmas day. It seems like a trivial thing to say when I write it down especially when I think of some of the problems people on this forum are having, but its just built up over so many years that I am struggling.
I suppose I just wanted to reach out to see how other people cope with similar issues and to learn a bit more about what support is out there? Are there face to face groups and things like that? I would be nice to hear from some of you.