Providing health care for someone we love is demanding work, and it becomes physically and emotionally draining over time.
It can also drain our other, also important, relationships, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor gydvmoih found himself giving his wife an ultimatum while he was providing care for his mother.
With his wife becoming increasingly uncomfortable, the Original Poster (OP) found himself choosing sides.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for getting a caregiver and nurse for my mom against my wife’s wishes?”
The OP told his wife about his mother’s condition before they got married.
“My (30 [Male]) mom has dementia.”
“My wife (28 [Female]) knew that before entering into marriage with me.”
“I had made it clear from the beginning that my mom will not be going anywhere. My wife was ok with it.”
“After marriage, I hired a caretaker and a nurse for my mom because of the increased workload at home.”
The wife hoped for more privacy than they had, though.
“My wife was against the caretaker and nurse staying in our home, because she felt like our privacy was being violated.”
“I told her she can go sit in the bedroom if she wants privacy.”
“She told me that it’s her home too and she shouldn’t be made to feel uncomfortable.”
“She told me to send my mom to a nursing home or an old age home.”
“I told her my mom won’t be going anywhere while I’m alive.”
“The nursing/old age homes are not good where I live. They’re cruel and dismissive. They’re also not properly equipped to take care of my mom.”
The OP offered other accommodations for his wife.
“My wife is pregnant now and feels even more uncomfortable with the nurse and caretaker being here.”
“I told her I’ll happily get her a rented place right next to this home if she wants her privacy that much.”
“However, she doesn’t want to be away from me.”
“I told her she made the choice before getting married to me and that I had warned her very well in advance before the marriage.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the OP was right and that his wife agreed to this.
“I’m really happy that where I live all of the people in my life would say this is a clear as water NTA and that prioritizing the elder woman with dementia is the most human thing to do.” – Nameless_One_99
“Yeah that’s what I’ve been thinking too. People are so quick here to judge that OP is TA because ‘pregnant wife is uncomfortable.'”
“His mother has dementia, FFS (for f**k’s sake). Let the man care for his mother how he sees fit.” – axa645
“I don’t blame the wife for not being jazzed about the situation. I do blame her for not thinking critically, before she entered into this marriage, about what living with a person with dementia meant.”
“This situation wasn’t sprung on her, she consented.”
“It’s not fair to say let’s ship mom off to a place where she will likely receive worse care because I changed my mind, or I didn’t bother to inform myself beforehand.”
“It’s not like the wife is actually doing the hard work here. I can see why OP is just done with giving his selfish wife the benefit of the doubt.”
“If OP had a sick child from a previous relationship who need constant care, would it be okay if the wife said, let’s send this kid to a hospice because kid’s nurses are making me uncomfortable?”
“It’s not a different situation at its heart just because it’s OP’s mother and not his kid. He made it clear he felt a sense of love and duty towards her.” – starchy2ber
Others said the mother could live next door instead.
“If there’s a rentable property next door to you and your mother has caretakers and nurses, why can’t she live there? Still accessible and comfortable and she’s being taken care of, no?” – bummerfly69
“Moving a dementia patient can be positive. I’ve had a few patients who had huge gains when they moved to a facility from a home haunted with memories. But you move them for their benefit, not for anyone else’s.”
“Dementia patients are some of the most vulnerable people in our society and need to be treated as such. A pregnant woman ranks high above most, but not non-violent dementia.”
“I don’t really blame the wife, however. You don’t know how bad it is to be with someone with dementia until you’ve experienced it firsthand. Sounds like a lot of buyer’s remorse and it’s hard to blame someone for that.”
“OP is a total a**hole for his follow-up about his wife, but that could be empathy burnout that he’ll hopefully regret and isn’t reflective of his actual feelings.”
“But godd**n, this sub has zero understanding of what it is like to properly take care of a patient with dementia. For as young as OP is, he appears to be doing right by his mother.” – Sandaldiving
“Both of your feelings are valid in this. Your wife has a right to want and expect privacy in her home. You were upfront about the care your mother needed and she knew it before marriage. This is a tough spot for both of you.”
“While I understand that your mother is important to you, you are about to be a father. Your wife and soon-to-be child’s feelings should be just as important to you as your mother’s.”
“As many others have mentioned, renting the space next door for your mother, her caretaker, and her nurse would be better than sending your wife next door.”
“Install a camera system. Make them aware. Knowing they are being monitored will also help to keep them acting professionally.”
“You can still pop right over and check on your mother and visit with her. It’s not like you’re abandoning her.”
“I presume you have this feeling towards your mother because she treated and raised you well. Won’t you want your child to feel the same about you and your wife?”
“Seeing mom be pushed to the side and you willing to let them go is not setting a good example or going to give your child the same feelings you had. That’s something you should think about and take into consideration.” – muskiesfan1
Some pointed out the problems a baby in the house could cause.
“Move the furniture with her, or OP can go with his wife next door.”
“Dementia is horrible but the most horrible part of it is that, even in familiar places, pretty much every day is destabilizing, traumatic, and it’s always on a downward spiral.”
“Even the fact that OP got married and brought another person in is destabilizing and traumatic. Too many with serious dementia, that caretaker and nurse are destabilizing and traumatic.”
“I have the utmost sympathy for anyone suffering from that horrible brain-killing disease. It’s genuinely one of my worst nightmares.”
“But OP chose to get married, and she agreed to marry him even though mom would always be living with them. What she didn’t agree to was 2 adult strangers in her home full-time.”
“There are many places here for compromise, and OP’s mom being a victim doesn’t make her the only person who matters here.” – SnakesInYerPants
“Not to mention, there is going to be a baby in the house soon. A baby crying all the time – there is no way that isn’t going to cause a massive response.”
“If I was pregnant, I would be very worried about living with someone who had been a mother that currently has dementia. I would be very concerned she would think the baby was her own, or freak out about the baby, or any number of other things.”
“Also – once the baby is born, just sending your wife away isn’t going to be a solution. Everyone is going to have to put the baby first, and think of a living situation where you are both pulling your weight with the infant.” – Music_withRocks_In
“Honestly, it’s going to sound harsh, but I was someone that lived with her grandmother who was going very quickly downhill with dementia when I was 10-14 so my parents could care for her.”
“I watched my grandmother have to be put in a nursing home in great part because of her reaction to my brother who was an infant when my grandmother moved in, which only worsened as he became mobile and a toddler and her dementia worsened.”
“I honestly feel it’s horrifically irresponsible to PLAN a pregnancy, knowing the agreement was that a patient with dementia would be living in your home and not leaving.”
“They should have talked this through before a baby became a thing in their lives.”
“Now you have two incredibly vulnerable people in the situation, with one at risk of harming the other with that risk only increasing over time as the dementia worsens, and that’s not okay.”
“This is a ticking time bomb of things that could go tragically wrong.” – neverforthefall
Though the OP was adamant about caring for his mother, the subReddit didn’t think it was as straight-forward or simple as choosing sides.
On the one hand, being committed to his mother was admirable, and it’s understandable that he would want to keep her nearby.
On the other hand, he chose to be married and to have a baby while his mother was still living. To force his new life out of the way to care for his childhood one would hardly be a sustainable solution, let alone one that would lead to him being a suitable husband or father.