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Can't take it any more

(119 Posts)
SJ23 Wed 03-Jul-19 23:50:08

Feeling quite desperate, can anyone help? I'm 71, partner of 20 years is 70 (both divorced). Nine months ago he moved into my tiny cottage (two up, two down), having lived with parents he cared for till they died and their house was sold. He was particularly close to his dad who died in September and constantly mourns his loss. At the time I was reluctant to let this happen as I felt it would be an imposition and there wasn't enough room for both of us, and although I tried to put it nicely, I did tell him I felt it wasn't a good idea. However I was basically bullied into letting him come as he told me it was his time of need and he would have done the same for me and that was what any partner should do. He also told me it was only temporary - first till Xmas and then till he sorted out his father's financial affairs and received his (considerable) legacy. Then my own dear mother (aged 95 and previously very independent) was diagnosed with advanced dementia (very sudden and shocking onset) and needs 24 hour care. So he offered to stay on in the house and give me rent money every month, to help out with her costs (I am working but have a low income which I need to live on and mother's resources are rapidly dwindling). I was feeling more and more uncomfortable with his presence (he is home basically 24/7 and doesn't work) but since I was thrown by the new situation it seemed that might be a solution. He is very fond of my mother and has been generous in the past towards her and also me. However, I am now quite desperate. He is becoming increasingly controlling and I feel it is hardly my own home any more. He takes it into his head to get my builder to do repairs and painting I didn't ask for, and although he is admittedly good at looking after things in some respects, my bedroom is a chaotic mess with his clothes and suitcases piled up there, and the loft full of things from the old family home which he never even looks at. Additionally my mother's garage is full to the brim with his stuff and when I ask if it will be cleared I get shouted at for even mentioning it and told it's not doing anyone any harm, which I suppose is true. He has even taken control of the cat (who he loves) and feeds him day and night, against my will, so the cat is getting rather obese! You may note that I say 'my bedroom ' - that's because since he came to stay he has taken up residence on the downstairs sofa (there is only one small living room) where he sits all day and sleeps all night. We rarely have any physical contact, and whenever I mention that things are not at all as they were in that department, he says it's because I am so unfriendly and never make any attempt to offer any warmth. And it's true, I feel I am turning into a bitch in the house, since I feel cramped, claustrophobic and taken over in every respect. Even when I go to make a cup of tea, he goes into the kitchen at the same time so we almost trip over each other. If I express any irritation he gets very angry and tells me not to make such a fuss as he's not in my way, and that I am rude and disrespectful. If I try to address the problem, he tells me it's all because I have refused to make space for him and that's he's not getting anything like his money's worth and I should let him buy a big wardrobe (the bedroom is small enough as it is) and clear the loft (I need it for my own storage) so he can keep his things there. I then feel very bad and guilty as know I could be doing more to make him feel at home, and be less aggressive - but that would make an intolerable situation even more permanent. And now, to cap it all, he doesn't seem to be paying me any money at all so I am covering all the bills, council tax and general expenses and he has no responsibility for anything, other than when he chooses to give a handout. I have tried to ask him about this, and he gets very angry and tells me he has paid enough over the years (taking me on holiday and paying for things) so I actually owe him money, and also paid for painting and repairs in the house etc and then asks if I'm only wanting him there for his money. He also says that if I 'throw him out' he'd never have anything to do with me or my mother again and that I'd be mad to 'look a gift horse in the mouth' and mum and I would be in a terrible position financially and otherwise, because of everything he does for us. I fear indeed that would be the case. He has also threatened he would take me to court to pay back what I owe him according to what he has given out. Since these were gifts not loans I believe he would not have a case, but he could make life very difficult for me. I really feel that having been in a long relationship, which has had many good, loving parts, he is a stable factor in my life and maybe there is too much to lose and that it would be ultimately destructive to both of us to make him go (even if I could find the means to do so). And I should make more effort to be loving and at peace with the situation - after all we are both getting on in life and have a while history to draw on. I also know that he would certainly come to my aid if anything happened - when my mother had cancer, and I had a car accident, he was there for us. I myself have no one (an only child with no children - he has a son and grandchildren who I get on well with but they live abroad). My mum was always a support to me and there for me but now she has dementia I have responsibility for her and don't know how I can give up what is now my only means of support. I am at my wit's end trying to decide what to do, I feel I can't just tell him to leave as he would do everything possible to make me feel terrible and indeed I don't know if it would be right to do that, especially with him in such a state about his father. In many ways he both need each other but are either silent, joyless and distant with each other or talking about external things like the tennis or food, or shouting and rowing. I'd dearly love to be able to have a proper honest conversation but it is not a possibility - I have tried but my words get misconstrued till my head gets in a whirl and I am unable to express what I wanted. He would not contemplate any counselling as he maintains there's nothing wrong and that I am thinking too much and should just let go a bit and see how things are. I often wonder if that's true, but I am feel so stressed and unhappy. There seems to be no life plan but I don't know if I am right to expect or ask for one. If anyone has any words of wisdom I would appreciate them,

Cherrytree59 Thu 04-Jul-19 00:11:09

I would suggest that you go to counselling on your own.
There is no need to tell him.

Hopefully this will help you with YOUR Life Plan and also enable you to take back control of your life.

Regarding your mother Contact the Alzheimer and Dementia society and AGE UK .

This man is controlling and making himself indispensable to both you and your mother.
He is doing so for his own benefit.

Good luck shamrock

BradfordLass72 Thu 04-Jul-19 07:04:51

it's not doing anyone any harm, which I suppose is true

No dear girl, it's not true. It's doing YOU harm because it is a physical sign that he hasn't kept his promises. Little by little he's making the place his own, disrespecting you at every turn; being angry when you dare to question him and to cap it all - having the cheek to make YOU feel you're at fault.

I would, as a starter, see a solicitor, no need to tell him, and find out just what he can and cannot do. That at least would put your mind at rest and make you less fearful of his threats.
I'm not sure of the law but it seems, if he's paid rent, that you might claim he's only a lodger, who 20 years ago promised to be there temporarily.

You are scared of him and he knows it but you must
try to arm yourself against his bullying and controlling and decide if you want him around just as he is (because he won't change) or make plans to get him out and have your home to yourself again.

You say if he left, there might be disadvantages to you and Mum but honestly, could it be any worse than it is?

Counselling is expensive, often long term and wouldn't change your situation. To my mind you need practical help.

Anja Thu 04-Jul-19 07:12:03

You can tell him to move. The words are there and you just need to be strong enough to say them.

Don’t take any more of this crap and controlling behaviour. You don’t need counselling because you know what you want.

Just tell him ’I need you to move out. Pack a bag and go. You can come back for the rest of your things later.’

Starlady Thu 04-Jul-19 07:30:41

This man has been your partner for 20 years, yet he lived with his parents for most of that time? I understand that he was taking care of them for at least part of that time, but he was able to leave them to take you on holiday. And I understand that he has been a good and helpful partner in many ways, but, IMO, he has never been fully committed to sharing a home w/ you as an equal partner.

TBH, I'm not sure you're ready to do that either at this point in your life, as you are, most likely, used to doing things in your home your own way (which I totally get). The two of you don't even share a bedroom, and I get the impression that you don't want to.

So yes, I agree that you need to let him know he has to leave. Never mind his anger and his arguments. You want him out and that's that. As Bradfordlad says, what can he do to you that would make things any worse than they are now? IMO, it would be worth having him out for the daily peace of mind.

Starlady Thu 04-Jul-19 07:33:21

P.S. You may have issues w/ him about getting all his stuff out of your home and your mum's garage. But you can deal w/ that later. It won't be fun if that happens, but, IMO, it will be better than dealing w/ his controlling behavior.

Hetty58 Thu 04-Jul-19 07:39:35

I agree with Anja. He needs to go. You don't want him to live with you. You want your own space and own independent life. You might even get along with him, as you did before, once he's out from under your feet.

He can afford to arrange storage for all his stuff and either rent or buy his own place. Try to find somebody (a friend or organisation) to back you up in arranging and carrying out this needed change.

Urmstongran Thu 04-Jul-19 07:41:16

He’s 70y. Yes he’s sad over his father but at his age he had a father for a good long time, lucky him.

I think he sounds controlling and forceful. You sound unhappy.

He will be receiving a considerable inheritance soon.

I’d set an end date so you have (a) some help yet (b) something to hold onto. Would it be realistic to tell him to go on say 1 September as you want your space back? You must have separated for good reason!

Sara65 Thu 04-Jul-19 07:54:08

Oh this sounds like a truly awful situation, you paint a very clear picture of how your life is with this man, and it sounds so incredibly stressful

You sound very torn, you know he’s controlling and is making your life very difficult, but you also know in his own way he’s loyal and ready to help if needed

I think you have to get him to move out, otherwise it’s going to make you ill, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be the end, with some space between you , things may improve

M0nica Thu 04-Jul-19 10:26:29

He is like a cuckoo in the nest isn't he? Too big, taking over everywhere and pushing you out to the margins.

Be honest with him tell him that after living on your own for so long you cannot cope with having someone living with you long-term. Do not let him talk over you and tell you, you will adjust. Say that you offered him a temporary home but he has now been with you 9 months and you feel that is sufficient.

Set him a deadline, say the one year aniversary of his arrival, and say that he and his belongings must be out of your house by then. Be strong, stick to it. On that day, whether he has gone or not, get the locks changed and put his belongings in plastic bags and give him a date and time to collect them.

DillytheGardener Thu 04-Jul-19 10:40:27

Speak with a solicitor, he will have ‘renters rights’ and you will need to give him a formal eviction notice to remove him. I also suspect he is trying to live with you to establish rights to half your house, if you’re living in a defacto marriage. Get to a solicitor, and also speak with one of the charities for domestic abuse, this is controlling behaviour and you will need to gain a few tools to figure out how to get him out and stand your ground. Good luck! thanks Dilly

Daisymae Thu 04-Jul-19 10:48:10

Like all things there's pros and cons. There must be a reason why you have not setup home together in the last 20 years. I wonder if he has been planning this - he now seems to want payback for past deeds. Your little house is a refuge, cheap and convenient, for him. The question to ask yourself is would you be happier with or without him? Counseling is an excellent idea and would help you to clarify your thoughts. Perhaps speak to your GP who could point you in the right direction.

MissAdventure Thu 04-Jul-19 11:03:26

I think there is nothing that beats having your own, comfortable, relaxed little 'bolt hole' so I would be taking steps to ensure he leaves, sooner rather than later.
I'm not sure on the details, but maybe be wary that he may qualify as your common law husband after a certain amount of time, and have rights.

Just state your case (lay the blame on yourself if necessary) don't argue or get drawn into negotiating him staying.

sodapop Thu 04-Jul-19 11:13:24

Sounds like you have got into a very difficult situation SJ23 I would first see a solicitor to establish what your rights are then move this man out. MOnica is right he is a cuckoo in your nest. Do you have friends near by who can support you in this.
It's not going to be easy but long term you don't need this person in your life. Talk to Dementia UK or any similar organisation about support for you and help for your mother. I wish you well.

Hetty58 Thu 04-Jul-19 12:16:44

DillytheGardener, he won't have renter's rights without a written contract. At most, he'll have lodger's rights. If he paid cash weekly then he only gets a week's notice, if monthly, then a month. Give him written notice and keep a photocopy. The police can be helpful if he becomes awkward. My friend had to evict her own son with their help. He argued with her but accepted police advice calmly.

glammanana Thu 04-Jul-19 12:37:02

My heart goes out to you SJ23 this man is a controlling bully who seems to like to get his own way,do you have any relatives who can assist you when you tell him he has to leave and he does have to leave for your own peace of mind,you certainly don't want to live your life this way anymore.
What will happen to your mum if she needs more care would she move in with you ? or you move in with her if that happens he will be left in your cottage at his own free will and you will never get rid of him.
Get yourself off to see a solicitor asap and get him dealt with.

Dillyduck Thu 04-Jul-19 12:49:25

Can I pick up on mum with dementia.
Why is this costing YOU money?
Is she still at her home, or residential care? Do you have Power of Atttorney?
Are you an only child?
Join Carers UK online forum. Lots of help there.

DancesWithOtters Thu 04-Jul-19 13:39:35

He sounds like a horrible abusive bully.

Tell him he has 7 days to remove himself and his belongings, failing which you will contact the police and have him forcibly removed.

Also, tell some people close to you what is happening, and let your DP know that you have told these people, so he doesnt try to pull anything sneaky. If possible have someone with you when you tell him.

eazybee Thu 04-Jul-19 14:33:02

Sorry, but the point is, you are not partners. You have had an agreeable long- term relationship but without any positive commitment, such as sharing a home, and you both seem to be very dependent emotionally on your parents. Ideally, you should sell your properties, combine your resources and buy a larger home together, to accommodate all your possessions. Is there a reason why he can't sleep in the second bedroom? Sleeping in your living-room sounds rather unsavoury.

You said at the beginning of your post that you did not want this man to move in with you; you enjoy your own space and clearly don't enjoy sharing it with him. I feel you don't want to break with him completely and would like to return to your arms-length relationship, but he is looking for a home and someone to replace his parents. You both seem to want different things from this relationship, and unless you are able to discuss the current situation rationally the prospects for the future don't look good.

It may be difficult to persuade him to leave, particularly if you don't have a formal agreement about rent. I don't think you will be able to resume your former relationship if you evict him, but you cannot carry on as you are.

As for making you pay back all the money he has spent on you over the years: Tosh!

SJ23 Thu 04-Jul-19 14:34:57

You have all been so very helpful and only reinforced my own feelings. I am overwhelmed at getting so much kind support. It's only when you write things down that you also become aware of your own truth and having others read it and understand is very warming. It is indeed difficult to leave when there are so many conflicting factors and very hard to find the right way of doing it with an angry bully who I know will try to present every means of making me the one who is in the wrong. So many thanks to you all.

M0nica Thu 04-Jul-19 15:54:48

No such thing as 'common law' husband. A fact that too many women in long-term unmarried relationships still do not realise. (not applicable in this case).

Namsnanny Thu 04-Jul-19 16:17:47

SJ23....Such good advice I do hope you can use it to extricate yourself from this madness! [flowers}

Hetty58 Thu 04-Jul-19 16:48:02

Look forward to getting your place (and peace of mind) back very soon. Call in the troops (any relatives, friends, neighbours etc.) to back you up and keep him in check. Any problems, call the police. Let us know how it goes please!

Ginny42 Thu 04-Jul-19 16:58:38

I was going to say what Hetty says. Is there anyone who can help this move as amicably as possible with the least upset to you? He has to go and the sooner the better. Stay safe and make sure you retain the keys.

Bordersgirl57 Thu 04-Jul-19 19:29:06

SJ23, everyone has given such good and helpful advice I really hope you sort out a plan to remove this man from you house and your life, it really doesn't look healthy when you see it all written down.

Your description of the situation is screaming "coercive control" . Take a deep breath and tell someone - police, solicitor or whoever - you must have the rest of your life to please yourself - not him. Good luck