unhappy woman wondering if she can continue as her husbands caregiver

I have a secret: I don’t think caregiving is rewarding.

I also don’t think I’m alone.

I’m supposed to talk about how this is what God decided I should do. How much I love my husband and cherish my vow to him. How I live to make him happy.

And that’s what I say to people. They say I’m one of God’s angels on Earth and I say it’s my duty, it’s what I’m here for.

But really, I’m just saying that because I fear how much people would judge me if I was truthful about the way I felt.

Marriage requires a lot of sacrifices. There’s a lot of choosing us over me. And as a woman, there’s even more to give up. My husband has always had the final say and I’ve quietly accepted this, as much as I push and cajole.

But now that’s no longer enough. I’m supposed to give up everything. All of the things he was supposed to provide, his end of the bargain that gave him the right to veto my desires, is off the table now. He provided the financial security, I worked and maintained the home and my figure and was charming and not a nag and stroked his ego.

Now I have to do both halves of this bargain. While he does nothing. Like another child.

Day in, day out, for years. Forever. Til death do us part.

He isn’t the worst person to care for. He isn’t mean or violent. But he’s also not appreciative. And, honestly, I’m not sure how differently I’d feel even if he was.

Even if he appreciated the sacrifices I make for him, I wouldn’t want to be making these sacrifices.

I miss who we used to be, the life we used to have. He may never be able to have that life again, but I could.

Anonymous

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23 Comments

  1. Caregivers for spouses have a different perspective on this than those who care for their children or parents. Like the comments above, spousal caregiving requires the giving up of dreams, plans and a lot else with the one person you were supposed to have a long and happy life with. We have moments of kidding ourselves that there’s some reward here, but I figured out that those moments are delusional. The fact is that caregiving for a spouse (that isn’t short term) stinks. It’s not rewarding. It’s just one, long suck. Every day presents a new opportunity to fail in a number of ways and all you can do is race through it, trying to stay ahead of the failures and just break even. And the longer you do it, and the more you just look at each other and wonder just who that person is anymore … well, it sucks even more. Anyone who thinks this is rewarding is an idiot.

    Reply
  2. Yes I loved caring and spending the 3 yrs of time I had with Grampa ( my father in law ) until we had to actually put him in a home. But we were there every week to take him out. I will never regret a moment of it. And not every moment was fun I will admit.

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  3. Afraid I am the opposite if I could have him back before he was ill I would be so pleased

    Reply
  4. If I could close my eyes and wake up to taking care of my hubby again.. no questions.. my life would be “our life” again!
    Blessings

    Reply
  5. Caregiving for me i get to spend the last years of my parents life with them everyday that is a gift

    Reply
  6. Thank you for saying it. Totally agree.

    Reply
  7. After caring for my 30 year old autistic daughter who us non verbal in diapers, I am worn out. My body is breaking down and in constant pain. People tell me I’m a saint. Not so. I do what i have too. No vacation or time off. I have no way of doing things unless she is present. Don’t get me wrong, I love her so much, but this is not an easy job at all.

    Reply
  8. It’s hard being the one he is totally dependent on. Especially when you yourself are sick, in pain or just exhausted. But you still do it.

    Reply
  9. It can be at times, but for the most part, it’s a burden that takes it toll emotionally, physically and financially.

    Reply
  10. I don’t think anyone should approach caregiving looking to have it be rewarding. I also dont believe you knowingly step into that role without reservations. I do think it’s different if it’s a child and or a parent… but a spouse or partner does take on a different perspective. I will say though your love for the individual is what helps you step up. The trials and tribulations of being a caregiver will vary depending on why you are needed or drafted into being the caregiver. Having thoughts about other paths your life could have followed or taken is normal. Granted saying it to someone not in your shoes or space in time can be tricky . Stay strong in your belief for your love for this individual, don’t deny your feelings or how your role sometimes it’s difficult, makes you angry or sad ….. and sometimes your love for this person overcomes all the negative aspects of your function as caregiver. It will never be so easy but when it’s time you will be greatful that you did it despite all the sacrifices you made ….. your love for them will prevail in the end

    Reply
  11. How sad. I had my moments of “Why me?” but for the most part, I did find it rewarding to be a caregiver. It is OK to have those why me times, we all have to vent to feel better, but it is sad if you can’t continue to love the person you are giving care to.

    Reply
  12. Not rewarding at all. Trying to come to terms with the loss of what our future was supposed to be before diagnosis. Finding it very difficult to do even with counseling. Feeling a bit “ripped off”.

    Reply
  13. I will say it was the most precious time I had with my mum in the last four years of her life. Frustrating , yup, but also rewarding. i got to meet the woman not just my mum.

    Reply
  14. it’s not, so that’s okay. but it’s good to do the right thing in many instances.

    Reply

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