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Feeling selfish

(16 Posts)
Angstridden2 Wed 05-Apr-23 12:18:03

I’ve been married for many decades to someone a little older than me. He has had several problems over the last 15 or so years, it seems as soon as one improves he has another problem which prevents walking a distance or attempting to dance at weddings etc. I have nursed him devotedly through several ops and the disastrous aftermath of them caused by NHS incompetence so I’m not entirely heartless! However I am feeling very frustrated by the non stop issues and limitations caused by this. He has never been an active person and has happily let me do the majority of household and diy tasks. He has put on weight due to his lack of activity.Now of course waits for treatment are endless so we are paying privately for diagnosis and physio. I love him dearly, but he has never been a demonstrative man and I do wonder how he would look after me if I ever needed it; so far I have rarely been in need in our very long marriage.

I just feel like a horrible person!

Blossoming Wed 05-Apr-23 12:29:21

You’re not a horrible person, or selfish. You’re an exhausted, worried person. I don’t really have any advice, other than look after your own needs too. I understand where you’re coming from.

sodapop Wed 05-Apr-23 12:35:04

Don't feel like a horrible person Angstridden we are all entitled to think of ourselves from time. It sounds like your husband just accepts all you do without any thought of how you are coping. Time for an honest discussion about how you feel and arrange for regular quality time where you can do something you enjoy.
You need to feel positive about all the support you give your husband not guilty.

gulligranny Wed 05-Apr-23 12:39:33

I'm right there with you, although my DH is kind, sweet and affectionate and hates the fact that he can't do what he used to be able to, due to various health issues and old age - he's 82, I'm 77.

I love him very much and I'm more than happy to take care of him but I simply cannot be "nice" all the time. I'm struggling to do it all and now and again I have to let off steam. Should we have to abandon ourselves just because we have a beloved one to look after?

These things have come upon us at a time when we ourselves are ageing and maybe are less able; I have no family to help and it's hard to talk about these problems, we have to stay cheerful and put on a brave face. We are not allowed to say that while we love this person dearly and will do all that we can for them, sometimes we resent the fact that the care is all one way.

If you are horrible then so am I - and I know I'm not, and I'm sure you're not either! You can always PM me if you'd like to.

Theexwife Wed 05-Apr-23 12:45:16

Being frustrated about your position does not make you horrible or selfish, nobody wants to become a carer to their partner.

I got divorced in my 50s and do not want a long-term relationship as it could mean becoming a carer later. The flip side is I would not have anyone to look after me if needed but would not want to put that on a partner anyway.

swampy1961 Wed 05-Apr-23 12:54:56

You are not a horrible person. But the truth is until you are placed in a situation where he has to step up and do things - you will never know.
I have been with DH for 22 years and we have each at times faced life threatening illnesses. Happily we now both know that we can rely on each other but until actually faced with it - it was an unknown quantity.
Much as you love him - have you ever asked him how he would be if the situation were reversed?
Given that he has been a victim of the NHS incompetence - you don't need to enable him to carry on being a victim. If he needs to move more then encourage him to do so or his own benefit - if he refuses then maybe you should do a little less for him.
But you are entirely right to feel concerned and not horrible for thinking it in the least.

Angstridden2 Wed 05-Apr-23 18:27:56

My usually lovely children think I’ve enabled his laziness over the years and they’re probably right. I am grateful for being robust so far, but would sometimes liked to be ‘looked after’ .Several of my friends are not at all well at present and I look at their partners and wonder if mine would be as caring. Perhaps I’m being unfair.

CanadianGran Wed 05-Apr-23 19:41:00

I don't think you are being unfair to think this way. Being a carer is difficult, and sometimes the emotional side is neglected. See if you can sit and have a good talk with him about his general health and what he can do to improve it to help both himself and you.

LRavenscroft Thu 06-Apr-23 02:43:47

My father was a pontificator and my mother a facilitator. When she got very old and could no longer facilitate, she became very angry with his pontificating, so I became their carer and took the brunt of both their frustrations to the extent that my father said: 'Look after your mother, you are the only family she has!' My thought was: 'Well, you have been married to her for 65 years, who are you then, if not family?!' My advice would be to look after yourself as much as you can. This is not a dress rehearsal.

Smileless2012 Thu 06-Apr-23 09:07:00

You're exhausted both physically and emotionally Angstridden which makes you human, not horrible. You need to have an honest conversation with your H, tell him you're struggling and suggest things that he can do to alleviate some of your workloadflowers.


Wyllow3 Thu 06-Apr-23 09:20:10


You're exhausted both physically and emotionally Angstridden which makes you human, not horrible. You need to have an honest conversation with your H, tell him you're struggling and suggest things that he can do to alleviate some of your workloadflowers.


I agree. Resentment is absolutely normal in this situation, its just that its sometimes not seen as "socially acceptable".

Too many women of our generation just fell into the pattern of being the "look after take care" of others without feeling they had a right to take care of themselves. You may have unwittingly facilitated it - no blame there, just awareness it may have happened.

People are right - you need to challenge it when he can do something for himself. Own up how exhausted you are and try and have an honest chat xx

dogsmother Thu 06-Apr-23 11:32:38

💐 we just fall into these roles and become what we are. Your children are probably correct, however it’s stepping back and encouraging him to help himself more.
You would actually be doing him a favour if you did. Having worked in elderly rehab it’s surprising how this comes about very often and unlike you the partner doing everything won’t recognise what has happened or is happening.
Be kind to yourself and stop. Ask him to help himself.

PinkCosmos Thu 06-Apr-23 11:42:59

I agree with the facilitator/carer role that women seem to automatically take on.

Fortunately, my DH and I have generally had good health so far. However, I worry that if I am ever ill, I will be left mainly to my own devices, apart from the occasional cup of tea. On the other hand, my DH will be the worst patient ever. He is a nightmare when he just has a cold.

It is frustrating, but it is them being selfish, not you.

Maybe you should have the conversation with him

Boz Thu 06-Apr-23 11:55:56

Recently, a nurse told me how often they see the breakdown of health or demise of the carer before the sick person they are looking after.
Nearly always women, sadly, seeing to their partner's needs to the bitter end.

pascal30 Thu 06-Apr-23 13:32:59

Sounds like he's jolly lucky to have you. Make sure you have lots of treats for yourself. Of course you're not horrible, you have every right to a pleasant life. Get someone from Age Uk to advise on support and help...maybe if you get the right benefits you could get someone in to give you a respite break..

Norah Thu 06-Apr-23 13:46:11

Of course you're not horrible.

Have you considered hiring help? The plan we have put in place is to hire competent help when needed. Likely soon as we're around 80.