I was widowed 8.5 years ago and I cared for my dear husband for many years, but very intensively for the last 2.5 years of his life. I did this lovingly and willingly but it was very stressful at times - particularly when he became bed ridden and needed end of life /palliative care at home. I cared for him single handedly as neither of us wanted external carers.
After he died I was broken - I missed him so much and also I’d lost my whole identity and the purpose to life - both his presence and my role as his carer. Five years later at aged 62 and after a great deal of support and professional help, I began to want to live again.
In 2018 I met a lovely recently widowed man and began to feel alive again! In 2019 He moved in with me temporarily as his house was being refurbished. Then covid came and he stayed. His house now has a tenant.
He is retired and I still work 3 days per week. I’ve done the majority (99%) of day to day chores as his health isn’t good. However this is taking its toll on me and I’m now feeling very tired and resentful. I can also see that his health won’t improve and that by default I’ve become his carer.
After having cared for my dear husband and knowing what it entails, I don’t want to be a carer again. He has 2 children and I’ve asked him to be open with them about his health and caring needs but he hasn’t done that. Also it’s not something I can force him to do either.
So my dilemma is how to approach this as I firmly believe his family need to know the situation and to provide support as I can see that his needs will increase and there’s an assumption that I will pick up the caring and I don’t want to.
Has anyone been in a similar situation? I would really appreciate advice!
You need to be firm. He MUST go back to the house he owns - the tenants can move out - or he can move in with one of his children, or live somewhere else. Just not your place.
He has taken advantage of you, and if you don’t stand firm, inevitably you will be stuck with him until one of you dies, unless YOU do something about it, because he won’t!
I was widowed suddenly 15 years ago, I am always lonely but your current situation is what puts me off with getting involved with anyone ever again. I have a son with learning difficulties, who lives 15 miles away but comes home regularly, and I’ve supported all four of our elderly increasingly disabled parents as they approached the end of their lives. After 50 years of putting the needs of others first, I’m now putting myself first.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful and honest reply.
My instinct tells me that you are right. Also my daughter and SIL are pretty much saying the same as you have. Their observation is that my life is being taken over by caring again, and they know how that affected me during my late husbands illness and after he died.
I’m going to sleep on my dilemma for a few days as I want to be measured and calm - but firm! I also want to give him time to consider his response and to make plans.
I would really like us to continue being a couple and to enjoy ‘dates’ and breaks. I think I would enjoy that - without having the responsibility of being his carer. I would also be happy to contribute to any support his children provide - but on the periphery rather than having the responsibility. Does that sound harsh or unreasonable? That’s the bit I’m struggling with to be honest!
I totally agree with Bowlingbun.
I lost my much loved husband in May 2019. Widowhood can be lonely even with a caring family close to me. So I understand that you took some happiness when you could. Now, you are less happy, fearing the role of caring is on your shoulders again. You don’t have to do that. I could not risk going through the risk of watching another partner go through life changing illness again.
I believe a tenant is allowed 3 months to move out of rented accommodation. Unless a contract says differently. If your friend won’t tell his family then I feel you must tell them. Explain that to him.
Of course he may not consider dates and breaks as you would like. Your needs still must come first regardless.
I agree with the replies. You have to put YOU first. I would tell your partner to give the tenants notice. You could also consider writing to his children asking them to help and if not, saying you will consult a solicitor if necessary to get him out of your home, as you are not able to take care of his long term needs.
Once he is back in his home, you can maybe be ‘care manager’ with the support of his children and help organise and oversee his care, but not have it as your responsibility. I do feel too that you have to be firm as I would guess he is in denial. Hopefully if you can get some support in place for him, then you can still be couple but please please please do not sleep walk into another relationship where eventually you have NO life of your own.
Oh my. Thank you all so much for such supportive responses. Truly - I’m overwhelmed.
So it’s a resounding agreement that I need to put my needs first. If I’m honest I’ve been feeling this for a while but it’s also taken a while to acknowledge it. At 65 I have a few healthy and good years to enjoy so I need to make sure that happens!
Also - and this is a bit of a vent!! It’s taken me a while to realise that although he doesn’t do anything wrong per say - he is quite selfish and a hyperchondriac (sorry if that’s mis spelt!!). Never offers to bring in bags from shopping or even make a drink. His children are probably the most selfish I’ve ever met - although his son is on the autistic spectrum albeit high functioning. A few things have recently happened which have made me realise that my core values are so different to his and those of his family. They exist in a ‘fantasy realm’ which can’t deal with honesty or difficulties in life. They are also money grabbers - constantly looking for ‘freebies’ but not giving anything back. I struggle around that outlook as life isn’t all sweetness and light - it can be tough and when it is, we need support! For me - I can only thrive with reciprocity and it doesn’t happen. Makes me sound really judgemental but honestly - it’s only what I’ve observed over the past 2 years. I find myself ‘having to go out’ when his daughter visits as I find the self centredness just too much!
Read your last sentence again!
It’s YOUR home, YOUR riules. It’s been hijacked.
Find a private counsellor, your GP should be able to recommend one.
It’s invaluable when you need someone to chew things over with when you are widowed.
Now let’s talk money! How much does he contribute towards your household bills?
How much is he renting his house out for???
You’ve hit the nail on the head re my house/my rules and that’s given me validation and confidence to deal with this - in the short term until he moves out. That may be at least 3 months given that I would want to be reasonable and get professional advice.
I do agree that I need some counselling too - if only to stay measured and strong and to clarify how to proceed in what could become distressing. That’s my pragmatism speaking.
Money is another matter and the whole house/tenant situation is complex. I think his daughter and SIL are greedy and exploiting him and also the tenant (who is a family friend - But not theirs….again very complex). But he allows it to carry on so he is their enabler. Says he feels sorry for the daughter as her mum died and that makes her lonely.
He doesn’t get anything from the rental so can only afford £300 per month to live here. Bills and food included + all mod cons and chores done for him. Now I’ve written this down I can see that Im
the mug here!
Since I was widowed, I’ve been to Lanzarote, Menorca, Majorca, Malta, Cyprus and had many holidays in Crete. I stay at the Mistral Hotel in Maleme - Google “Singles in Crete” and have a look. It’s a lovely place, you can do as much or as little as you want, meals out, day trips, 2 pools for 40 people. I learned how to live and laugh again there. We all share ideas of where to go, how we find travelling, hints, tips etc. Have you been abroad since being widowed?
When I go away in the UK I usually pay £60-£80 a NIGHT bed and breakfast!
Yes the tenant pays the rent to the daughter and SIL. A bit of background:
He gave his own house to the daughter and SIL. This whole feeling sorry for her……all so strange. Part of the deal was that they purchased his late mothers house (split between him & 2 brothers) for £110K. He spent £35K on the refurb intending to move in when finished. He was meant to live there rent free. They have a ‘dependant relatives BTL mortgage). Then he temporarily moved here till the work completed but covid came and he stayed here. They’ve since let the family friend live there @£500 per month + bills. He (partner) still pays the council tax on that house. Another crazy thing imho. They pay him £100 per month as repayment for £10K he lent them for the deposit. They make no attempt to share the rental income - even though he spent £35k on the refurb. It’s morally wrong on so many levels but he just can’t see it at all. I’ve never understood it. When I’ve loaned money to my daughter & SIL we have a repayment plan and it’s always repaid on time and asap. That’s what is fair and reasonable. So yes I’m also enabling this whole thing!
Covid has temporarily clipped my wings of course, but I have fingers and toes crossed that I make it to Crete to see my friends in September. I have made some lovely new friends, but I’m in the New Forest, one friend is in Worcester and another in Norfolk. We keep in touch through the year, and always have fun when we are together, just going on trips and meals etc. Now I meet up with a group of “girls” in Gatwick for a coffee before we get our flight, at about 6am, so the holiday starts there really, and the hotel minibus collects us. I always say it’s where I learned to live and laugh again after my husband died. Otherwise I go with Tui from Bournemouth, they do lots of good deals, and I live under the final approach into the airport, so it’s much cheaper for me to get a taxi there, than to Gatwick. If you give this man his marching orders, you would probably find that you had lots more money available to enjoy yourself.
As for his complicated house ownership situation, that is surely the best possible reason to get him out, the longer you leave it the worse it will be.