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Relationships - August 2016

Partner has moved mum in


Maggi Stamp is a highly qualified relationship counsellor and trainer who writes each month about emotional and practical concerns and challenges that many of us meet in later life. For 20 years, as well as running a private practise, Maggi worked with the organisation Relate to help married and single people, cohabiting couples, same sex couples, families, young and old people and the bereaved to develop, foster and enjoy healthy and fulfilling relationships. No less important, as she is herself a wife, mother and grandmother, she brings a lifetime of varied and eventful experience to enhance her empathy and understanding.  

Many of her examples are based on concerns that clients, family and friends have presented over the years. In the monthly articles where she responds to issues raised by readers, she strictly respects confidentiality and never identifies those who write to her. But the individual worries they raise are invariably felt by others, so her responses can help many.

You can write to Maggi at maggi@laterlife.com for her to respond in the column.


Partner has moved mum in


I would really appreciate some advice. My partner of 15 months lives with me. His mother has just been released from a mental health institution and he dropped the bombshell days ago that she needs to come and live with us.

I was put in a very difficult situation because he's her only surviving child. She lost his 48 yr old sister to suicide three years ago (she found the body)
As much as I have empathy I'm finding it very difficult, she listens to everything we say, questions everything, and is paranoid and negative.

I work as a carer and have 2 young adults with cystic fibrosis and his mum staying is just too much. We have no privacy at all. She comes everywhere with us, and sits in the front seat, so we can't even talk in the car.
It's causing big problems and its only day three.


This is a tough call for anyone with a heart. It sounds as though you didn't get much time to think about this, or talk it over with your partner.

You are obviously a caring and empathetic person. You would probably have been able to plan a better way of helping and supporting your partner's mum, but to have her in your house, given that you have two young people with cystic fibrosis to look after - and work as a carer too -  seems a step too far.

It looks as if your partner sprung this on you at short notice. And it is possible that his mother's discharge from hospital was sprung upon him. I do think, however, that such big changes in your home life with the imposition of an extra person is something which needs to have been discussed first. Not only are you having his mum to stay with you, but also she is likely to need particular care while she adjusts to life outside a mental hospital. I'm not surprised it is causing big problems.

I think it is time you had a long talk with your partner. Put it firmly to him that while you understand he needs his mum near while she is so mentally and emotionally needy, your home is not the best place to care for her. You spend your whole day working as a carer for others, which is exhausting in itself, let alone the care you need to give to others, when you get home. To have another person to care for is not acceptable. You do not have infinite energy. Caring for others isn't only physically tiring - it's emotionally draining too. Stretch yourself too far and you'll end up giving no-one the care they deserve - let alone yourself! No-one can afford to lose their job these days, and to lose it through illness would mean that you might need someone to care for you....

Much as you care for your partner, his way of springing this situation on you is not so caring.

Your relationship is only 15 months old and needs to deepen and develop before it is strong enough to handle the stress of having an extra unwell person under your roof.

It is your turn to ask for his understanding now.
Tell him how drained you are, and how crowded out of having any individual and private life you feel. And ask him what he plans to do to change this situation. Tell him too that this situation cannot go on or you will end up ill.

You might need a few realistic suggestions as to what he could do about finding mother a safe place to live as soon as is realistically possible. Try talking to your local Social Services to see what kind of housing facilities there might be for someone in his mother's position. In a perfect world, he would be searching for a solution already, but given the way he has handled this so far, I suspect he is going to need a bit of help.

He hasn't realised what a burden this change has brought on your shoulders. Sadly it is up to you to get him to understand that.



You can write to Maggi at maggi@laterlife.com for her to respond in the column.


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