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I'm not sure if I belong here... - Carers UK Forum

I'm not sure if I belong here...

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
First of all, I’m in the US, not the UK. But I’ve been having a hard time finding resources over here for caregiver support that isn’t intended specifically for caregivers of either aging loved ones or loved ones with specific diseases or conditions (cancer, MS, quadriplegic, etc.). My partner (can’t really call her a spouse since, although we’ve been together for two decades, have never married) has some mystery condition that causes various symptoms that range from mildly uncomfortable to almost unbearable, the cause of which has not been determined despite being seen by several different doctors.

Second, I don’t know if I’d really even call myself a caregiver, since I don’t really do all that much. I mean, I do more for her now than before her problems started (more than my part of the housework, driving her around to doctor appointments, little things), but I honestly don’t really do all that much. She still dresses, bathes, and takes care of herself otherwise for the most part.

I guess I don’t have it that bad, objectively. But I’m finding it really exhausting and demoralizing just being around someone who is always complaining of how bad they feel, day after day, month after month (it’s been 6 months or so now, which I know is nothing compared to what many others here are dealing with). I ask her how she’s feeling, and almost every time the response is “not great” in a pitiful voice. Almost every day I come home from work and find her curled up in a ball on the sofa feeling miserable and depressed. Often she’ll start sobbing out of the blue, and I’m not really an emotional guy, and it makes me feel uncomfortable and awkward. Being a typical man, I see a problem and I want to fix it, make it stop, and I can't do that in this situation. I feel like someone is hitting me in the face repeatedly and I can't make them stop and I can't get away from them.

Aside from that, it has also affected the things I am able to do, the life I'm able to lead. Can’t take trips, do fun things, go out to dinner, or even go for a walk because she feels so bad.

I do my best not to say or do anything that would show her how it’s affecting me, but my frustration, and honestly, resentment, is growing. I feel guilty and awful for feeling like this, since I know that whatever I’m going through, she’s got it worse. But does the fact that her problems are worse than mine mean that I should just keep quiet and not worry about how I’m struggling with it?

Oh, one more thing, since I’m being honest…I haven’t wanted to be in this relationship for a while now. Not because of her illness (although that hasn’t helped), I’ve felt this way for a good while before she had any problems. Our relationship wasn’t great before she got sick. I’ve actually tried leaving more than once, but each time she’s pushed back and I ended up backing down because it got too intense for me. I should have had the will to go through with ending it long before now. Now…I don’t see how I can even think about it, with her being sick all the time as well as having been out of work for a while now and unable to support herself. I feel like I’m stuck until she gets better, and if she doesn’t, if her condition stays like this or gets worse, I’m afraid I’ll be stuck like this for the rest of my life, having to play the part of a loving partner and caretaker for someone I don’t really want to be with.

I’m doing my best to be there for someone in a relationship that my heart isn't really in, but it’s draining the life out of me. And this is only after 6 months. I can’t imagine how I’ll feel or how I’ll keep it together after years of this, if it goes on that long. I probably sound like an incredibly selfish and horrible person, and you can feel free to tell me so if that’s how I appear. It’s somewhat cathartic to even be able to say (or type) these words, though, so thank you for at least letting me get this off my chest.
Hi Joe-1804

Firstly, welcome and you ARE most definitely a carer. Plus we don’t care if you’re from planet Pluto let alone the USA provided you’re an unpaid carer. I struck up quite a cyber friendship with a lady from Australia via this forum and that’s much further away than you, although not as far away as Pluto!

You say you don’t do much in comparison to others on this forum and that’s true. Neither did I when I first joined this forum in Sept 2013. I was the carer for my mum with dementia and other problems and, to start with, most of my caring duties were simply to keep an eye on her. Not much else really, although that changed as her conditions worsened.
Yet within just three months of becoming her full-time carer I became horribly isolated. So-called friends stopped ringing me to join them for drinks out, etc, as I’d often have to cancel at the last minute due to some emergency with mum.
Or, on the rare occasions I could join them, I must have half bored them to death as all I’d go on about was mum as she’d become my entire world.
Either way, this forum probably saved my life as I was very down when I joined.

Therefore, on all fronts, you qualify to join.
I, however, do not qualify as a relationship expert, but that’s not going to stop me airing my penny’s worth. It sounds to me as though you’re being manipulated into staying in a relationship you no longer wish to be in. Emotional blackmail is powerful shit, and I think you might be a victim of it.
What you do about it I haven’t a clue other than to recommend reading a book called ‘The Games People Play.’ I can’t remember the name of the author but he’s an American too.
I too was involved in a very exploitative relationship similar to yours approx 35 years ago and this book opened my eyes.

Feel free to post any time you feel like it and have a good moan and whinge. That alone does wonders for the soul. Nobody judges here, but nor do we pull any punches.

Have a good day, as you Yanks say :kiss: (a cyber kiss of welcome from the other side of the Atlantic.)
Morning Joe and welcome to the forum.
No, you are not selfish! Otherwise you wouldn't join a forum in the 1st place. We all join out of desperation.
Others will be along with sound advice I'm sure.
However, I don't feel it's good for yourself or your partner to stay in a relationship that you no longer want to be in. Thàts very unhealthy and giving your partner false security. You are important too and everyone deserves some happiness.
Wish I could advise on how you can move on but apart from asking what help you can get for your partner, I can't.
Keep posting, and wait for the good advise others will offer. The forum is a rock for me, even if I feel like a whinge or rant. Hope it will be for you too
Thank you for the welcome. I look forward to sharing and learning (and probably moaning).

I don't believe I'm being made to feel guilty or manipulated, except by myself and my own sense of duty. I don't think she has any nefarious intentions, she is simply not very capable of seeing beyond her own problems.

The book does sound interesting though.
Yes Joe, you ARE being manipulated to think it's your DUTY. A relationship isn't about duty, it's about love, sharing, togetherness, it's not about whether or not you can put up with someone for the rest of your life, but whether or not you feel you want to live without then in your life. I had a long and happy marriage, sadly now widowed, but our love lasted despite huge challenges. You DON'T HAVE a proper relationship. Get out, whatever it takes, or she'll destroy you and your dreams. Find the love of your life, live happily, have fun, laughter, make babies, because you are worth it!