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AIBU to expect DH to spend less time with his mum

(72 Posts)
Silverlining47 Mon 21-Aug-17 16:23:44

AIBU about the time my husband spends with his mother. 4 years ago we moved to France and bought our dream home to retire and spend time together now our children are grown up. We have been married for 13 years. About 18 months after we moved MiL, who I'm very fond of, became ill and ended up in hospital for several months and naturally DH went back to help. He stayed for nearly 3 months and slept on the floor of her tiny one bedroom flat. Eventually MiL moved into a care home and has been slowly progressing to dementia. DH insists on going over twice a month for at least a week each time and often stays longer. He stays with his sister and her husband who live near the care home.
This means for the last 2 years he has spent more time there than at home. He says he can't reassure me that things will change until she passes away. MiL is 95 and I am 70. Clearly that could be sooner or later.....who knows? In the meantime I am living on my own and see the years go by.
AIBU......I honestly don't know. All I know is that much as I go out and have made some friends etc I don't want to live here on my own nor do I want to move back to the UK.

devongirl Mon 21-Aug-17 16:43:01

TBH since she is 95 I don't think this is entirely unreasonable, maybe he could stay for a slightly shorter time? Or at least agree to not more than a week, then he would be dividing his time equally between you.

Norah Mon 21-Aug-17 16:44:34

Could you go with?

jacqui67 Mon 21-Aug-17 16:45:44

I can understand why he feel s that he wants to spend so much time with his mum as you say how much longer has he got, however I would feel the same as you do.
Is it possible for you to got with him some os the time, maybe a cheap hotel say everyother month or stay at sisters could be a giggle sharing a single bed/airbed.

petra Mon 21-Aug-17 17:35:51

I don't think you are being unreasonable, I think he is.
At the most I would reasonably happy with once a month, but only for a short week.
You are entitled to a good life with your husband, this isn't fair.

Silverlining47 Mon 21-Aug-17 17:48:05

I completely agree Devongirl. I am very happy for him to go over every month for a week and, if necessary stay longer sometimes. He says he will but every time something happens or he's worried about his sister (who has a husband and 3 adult children nearby) and he stays or goes back after a week. Last year for various reasons he wasn't at home for more than 10 days at any one time.

BlueBelle Mon 21-Aug-17 17:50:01

Well I think that's excessive too, 2 to 3 weeks every month is really him living here and popping over to see you Perhaps he really wants to move back, perhaps you need a good old talk with him
I can't imagine many children living overseas flying back every other week especially as he has a sister living nearby to alert him if his mum needed him, she is not alone, her daughter lives near her care home
His love for his mother is definitely overriding his feelings for you and your life

Smithy Mon 21-Aug-17 18:10:36

A friend of mine had a problem with her husband, who went round to visit his widowed mother (she lived within walking distance) EVERY evening Monday to Friday, for most of the evening, EVERY week and this went on for years until this mother died. Different scenarios but both say a lot about the marriage IMO.

Cherrytree59 Mon 21-Aug-17 18:25:11

I would ask his sister (casually if possible) how much visiting his mother he does whilst staying with her.
As in daily
Twice a day or
Just some days here and there
I would also be interested to know how long he the visits last
An hour or less
I think the answers to these questions are IMHO relevant to your situation and relationship

NanaandGrampy Mon 21-Aug-17 18:54:48

He doesn't want to be home does he? Because if he did it would be happening.

I don't know what the solution is but you need a frank discussion with him because he is taking his happiness at the expense of yours OP.

Silverlining47 Mon 21-Aug-17 21:42:36

Thank you for all your interesting comments. They are all valued and I shall give them all some more thought. I think I have been supportive and sensitive but now it seems taken for granted that things will carry on.
Nanaandgrampy, I think you comment is the most poignant and is the feeling that nags away when I'm on my own although DH denies it.

Cobweb01 Tue 22-Aug-17 10:22:46

It may be giving him an excuse to avoid confronting other issues. Does he prefer here to France but knows you are happy there and doesn't want to tell you? It could be a number of things and clearly they won't be addressed unless you initiate the conversation - difficult I know but you can't continue living with such uncertainty. My mum has dementia and had to go into a care home this year and with the best will in the world, you can only visit for so long. Some homes actually have visiting hours as well so you do need to be asking these questions. Your suggestion of a week a month is very reasonable btw.

princesspamma Tue 22-Aug-17 10:24:42

I can see that from your point of view it is not the way you want to be living, and of course no, it is not ideal, particularly as you are the one who is living away, without family close to take up the slack and support you. However I think it is seriously jumping to conclusions to say that he doesn't want to be home. Perhaps that is the case, but perhaps he simply feels like he just to be there, close, just in case his mother needs him. In his situation I would be doing exactly the same, no matter how much I wanted to be home with my partner - i would view it as the last thing really that I really do for my Mother in exchange for all her years of love and care for me. Our family has a similar situation happening. My pa-in-law spends at least a week of every month overall, and often up to half the month, up helping his own father who lives up in the Midlands while we live down south. The old man is in his mid 90's and still manages, with this support and help, to live alone in his own home. Mum-in-law and 'gramp' do not get on and never have done, but each time PIL comes home he brings the dirty laundry and washes and irons it ready to take up for the next trip. Even though there is no love lost between them, and even though she does understandably wish that her husband was around more so that they can enjoy their retirement together (she is in her 60's, he in his 70's), she can and does understand that if he went up less often he would just be worrying about the old man and how he was coping and feeling, what might have happened, etc. You husband may feel the same - that all he can do is worry if he isn't there, and perhaps he feels that the time you do have together is better this way, not spoiled by him always worrying and stressing about his mum?

princesspamma Tue 22-Aug-17 10:26:03

MIL washes and irons it, not PIL!!!!

Coconut Tue 22-Aug-17 10:43:58

Difficult dilemma for you, and if his Mum dies, will he then resent you for making a fuss ? Do go back with him sometime to try an assess the situation. When he is away, what would he say if you told him to stay longer if he wants to, as you are going away with friends, maybe judge reactions ?? Don't say it in a tit for tat way, say it as if you are helping him and don't want him to feel guilty that you are left alone. You may get to the bottom of things that way, because twice a month is a lot for you to have to deal with. Good luck ?

farmgran Tue 22-Aug-17 10:44:39

Perhaps he likes the UK better than France!

Hopefully64 Tue 22-Aug-17 11:21:44

I am guess there is some one else in UK he can't just live without.
Ring your sister on law she must be fed up with him staying all the time.

Angela1961 Tue 22-Aug-17 11:48:00

Are you sure that is his only reason for being there so often ? I'm not suggesting another woman but more has the move to France been the success he had hoped it would be? Does he engage with life over there when he is with you. Does he have interests, diy,gardening,travelling about visiting places, meals out, coffees all the usual expected day trips etc. Maybe he is ' escaping ' back to his old life without wanting to upset you about wanting to move back.

Silverlining47 Tue 22-Aug-17 12:22:42

There are some very interesting suggestions. Thank you.
Princesspamma, thank you for your very sensitive and insightful message. I recognise a lot of what you say and know it's very true. It was reassuring to read your account and get a better balance back into my head. Coconut, thank you. I think you made some very good points and I have also been thinking of taking some time away. I like your 'not tit for tat' comment.....
Angela, you are right that he has less interests and involvement than me and there possibly is some comfort in the familiarity of being back 'home' sometimes.

mags1234 Tue 22-Aug-17 13:36:37

No easy solution. Somehow u need to get him to open up, almost impossible at times. He needs to explain exactly why he feels the need but in a way that he doesn't get defensive and angry. Or could u write down exactly what. Need to know from him and give it to him. This way there would be a way forward without an argument. On the lines of.... I totally understand u need to support ur parent and I'm happy to come for a few days every month to support u, but I feel I'm living too much on my own. Ask him if he really wants to live permanently nearer his family and explain your views on where u want to live. Get it all out in the open before u can move onward. Good idea to find out how much of each day he spends with his parent , how his sister feelsetc. Good luck and let us know how u get on. U could send letter to him in U.K. Or keep till he comes back.

GrannyAnnie2010 Tue 22-Aug-17 13:47:03

My advice is: plan your social life in France for when he is away. Take charge of the situation. Say to him, "When are you going to be away, next, darling? I'd like to have the girls round for a coffee morning." or something similar. I am from abroad myself, and know how easy it is to slip back to your comfort zone when visiting your old stomping ground. Sit down with him and put the 'away' dates into the diary, then plan your life around it. You sound like a perfectly reasonable and kind person, and you'll be ok.

GoldenAge Tue 22-Aug-17 14:01:31

Seems to me that your husband has changed the nature of your marriage and is all set to continue in this way because you are accommodating him. I can well understand that he wants to be close to his mother but it's not usual for a man to completely elevate his mum before his wife, and quite frankly this is what he is doing. He will carry on this way as long as you go along with it. You need to discuss this frankly, is your marriage still a marriage? Does he really spend two weeks of each month sitting at his mum's bedside or does he socialise with old friends? Tell him that you want to rent out the house in France to enable you both to re-settle in the UK for as long as it takes. The rental income in France can fund a more modest home in the UK. You may not actually want to do that or be prepared, but you will get to the bottom of the situation. If he refuses you will know that he wants to be away from you. That's the point at which you have to make a decision.

henetha Tue 22-Aug-17 14:28:49

It's great that he is such a devoted son, but he is overdoing it.
I don't think you are being unreasonable. Once a month would definitely be sufficient. Especially as his sister lives near the care home and can easily visit mother.
There is more to this than he is letting on, I think. A heart to heart chat is needed.

acanthus Tue 22-Aug-17 14:32:13

I agree with Cherrytree59 and others when they suggest there may be other reasons for his wanting to be away so often and for so long. It's very understandable that he wants to be with his mother as the time left may be limited, but it does seem excessive. Tell him that you will accompany him next time and see how he reacts. I'm not suggesting that there is another woman involved - perhaps he really wants to be in the UK rather than France but doesn't know how to tell you. Definitely 'cards on the table' time.

pauline42 Tue 22-Aug-17 16:37:29

It's completely unreasonable - you are well within your rights to be concerned about this. It sounds like his life has lost all balance. You may not be a confrontational type of person but if it is as concerning to you as it sounds from your post, then it's best that you sit down with him and clearly explain your needs and expectations as his 70 + year old wife and try to agree on a timetable for this bizarre behaviour that doesn't leave you in such an anxious state.....irrespective of the age of his mother and her condition. Just remember that stress kills us oldies too - and you are under great stress brought about by your husband.