Living single

by Gloria

My problem is a little different than most I read about in this newsletter.

My long term partner (LTP) is 76 and I'm 72. We are retired, own our own homes, lives in different cities and are each financially independent...pensions, Social Security and retirement accounts.

We see each other on rotating weekends and share expenses when we're together...eating out, trips, etc. We have our own friends and have spent time with each other's families.

When we first met, I knew and accepted that he'd had a stroke with resulting minor disabilities. But after 23 years these disabilities have progressed and it is difficult for him to walk, he refuses to even get his hearing assessed (much needed), and I've noticed that he is having some memory problems.

We discussed marriage at one time but I'd have to give up my late husband's military benefits (which includes insurance) so we decided to forego that idea. He has made me executor of his estate but I've left my children as my executors of mine.

This weekend he brought up that he was having even more problems getting around...climbing stairs, lifting heavy packages, etc. I've suggested that he sell his 4,000 sq. foot four level house (in a desirable location) for the past few years but he refuses due to the house being paid off. The proceeds would be used by moving into into a progressive independent living senior facility.

I've prepared for my aging by purchasing long term insurance, using military dependent assistance and savings and staying in my own home for as long as possible. Even though I've always said that I would not like to share one household, I got the feeling that he wants me to change my mind now. It's pretty easy for him to maneuver my ranch style condo.

I care for him and try to help him as much as possible, but I do not want to become his nurse. I've had some health problems myself and would rather suffer alone til I'm better than having to deal with someone else and their bad days. It's difficult sometimes (since we can both be rather controlling) just being together on the weekends.

It may sound selfish, but I don't want to live with anyone.

Does anyone have any solutions/suggestions???

Comments for Living single

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Living Single
by: Gloria

Update: He returned his leased car and sold the house!!! I packed and moved the items he wanted to keep to a storage facility (according to his wishes - not mine).

He's still confined to a wheelchair in the assisted living facility, unable to walk and unhappy about the restricted visitation rules, but he's doing well. I talk to him daily (sometimes by Facebook video chats) and ride with him in a senior shuttle to assist with his doctors' appointments.

He has thought of moving back to his previous city because he has more friends there, and he has my approval if he can manage it. I want him to be able to make his own decisions and do things on his own for as long as he can.

Many issues can be resolved with a cell phone and the internet and he's getting used to that. There's been a lot of ups and downs, because we don't always agree with each other...still just as controlling as, and he's getting used to the loss of his independence.

He often calls me to pick up snacks and items he needs/wants, but I've learned to do it when I have time, not constantly running from store to store to find these items (he's very brand conscious).

It has taken a toll on our intimate relationship and the feelings are more as a friend/responsibility than a partner.

I think that was inevitable under the circumstances but we're both trying to adapt.

Living Single
by: Gloria/ Boston

Just an update on how things are going with my dilemma. I am still with my LTP...well kinda. The status remained the same...he was in his own home about 45 minutes away from me.

And then COVID-19 happened. I had extensive back surgery in February, went to a very nice rehab/nursing facility for about a week and was discharged right before the lockdown. I hadn't seen my LTP since early March but I spoke to him at least once a day.

He is a tax specialist during the season and was very busy but not always feeling well. It was difficult for him to take the time to go to the doctor but I insisted. I broke my quarantine to go to see him and was shocked with his appearance after almost 3 months - he had lost weight because he wasn't eating well, he wasn't able to get out of bed, he was falling when he tried to walk and he was very depressed.

I tried going back and forth - doing what I could, but I wasn't able to lift him when he fell nor assist him with his everyday needs. I spent a lot of time calling insurance companies and local senior offices trying to get in-home care and assistance.

He was finally admitted to the hospital (which was quite a feat during the early virus days) with kidney stones in both kidneys. After surgically implanting stents, the doctor released him to a skilled nursing facility near my home.

He had suffered a stroke 30 years ago but was fiercely independent up til he was unable to walk, drive or take care of himself. With no relatives closer than 5 states away and after much discussion, I became his Medical and Durable POA.

As I have written before, this is the last thing I ever wanted to do! But I sucked it up and took charge...staying in contact with the nursing facility, going to his home frequently to get his mail, water the plants, make sure the yardmen came. His neighbors are great and accepted my name and phone number to call me if they noticed any disturbance at his house.

He has now been transferred to a nice assisted living home that's even closer to my home. After July 24, if the governor opens the nursing facility, I will be able to visit him but now we're doing video chats and he's acclimated very well.

It was very difficult for me to come to this decision of POA, but I think the most difficult was being completely responsible for another person. I took some of your comments into consideration and came to this conclusion:

Life sucks sometimes but it was so much worse for him than me.

Comment for AV/Missouri
by: Linda/Nevada

In these times, it is very important to be careful about the people you bring into your life. If you choose the wrong people to have friendships or relationships with, you could be bringing a lot of misery and sometimes, even danger into your life.

I, personally, am a bum magnet. I have always attracted needy, dishonest people so I choose to not subject myself to having the wrong people around me. For people like myself, it is safer and better to keep people at a distance.

Not everyone needs or wants a close relationship with someone. I have read and studied at least four books on palmistry and I have discovered that my heart line reveals that I am comfortable and destined to not have long term commitments or relationships. I know that some people believe that palmistry is unreliable and is strictly for entertainment, but hand reading goes back many centuries. By studying my hands, I have many answers to why I am the way I am . I have found comfort in knowing the truth about my characteristics and why my life turned out the way it did.

If someone has the need to have someone in their life, hopefully they have chosen an honorable person, but for those of us who don't seem to attract good people, flying solo is the best way to live our lives.

Purpose of Life
by: AV/Missouri

I have been searching for over thirty years to find the purpose of life. I am 77 now, and glad that I finally found it. Here it is:

The purpose of life is to live for someone else!!

That is the only path to absolute happiness.

Hope you get the idea.

Good luck!

Gloria - Independent
by: Lisa/Canada

It sounds to me Gloria, that you are on the right track, providing yourself with the right answers and recommending the best solutions.

It sounds like it makes sense that your partner sell his large home and would be best suited in a seniors facility or condo.

You have nothing to feel guilty about for not wanting to spend your final years as his nurse. Life is too short, make the best of it while you still can. You're making the right decision.

Wishing you all the very best!

Living single
by: Betty/Archer Florida

It seems that the "end of life issues" were not discussed fully earlier when you got together.

He may have misunderstood, thinking that the two of you would be there for each other.

Maybe it's time for another discussion so that he can make some changes in arranging for the care he will need. He has enough assets to pay for his care.

I can imagine how the two of you are feeling.

And there are no marriage vows; "till death do us part." I think that's how it goes, I'm not so sure.

Best of luck to both of you.

Living Single
by: Georgia

I have a similar situation. Have a partner for past 8 years.

He is at my home most of the time and takes on the responsibilities of things a husband would. He goes to his house, 3 hours away once a month. Any family socializing we do with my family.

He has three grown children who never got it together and are in and out living in his house. The oldest is 50, youngest 30. Drugs and violence follows them. I would never go to his house, ever.

We split most bills, own car together and go Dutch to restaurants. He will leave his assets to his no good kids who will blow through all he has worked for. If he becomes ill, I am sure I would take care of him and he would do the same for me.

I just hate the thought of his family swooping in like vultures to get his life savings and blow it on drugs and stupid things. Would rather he give it to a charity. This eats at me constantly but have no say about this.

Guess you take the good with the bad or end it.

RE: Living Single
by: Gloria/Boston

Thank you all for your comments and great suggestions that have given me encouragement without judgement.

Congrats for Owning the Truth
by: Linda/Nevada

I applaud you for being truthful about your feelings toward your partner. Both of you are better off being single than you being a resentful, trapped wife that regrets being married.

Your friendship will last longer if you are his friend when he needs one. He would eventually sense your resentment and regret if you decided to get married. Those emotions cannot be hidden and they will destroy your relationship.

So many women lived most of their lives taking care of children, spouses, and parents. Even in their jobs, women sometimes had to be the maternal caretaker in the workplace. If women do not put themselves first in the last years of their lives, then when will they?

Society still believes that women should be caretakers or parents. It is hard for women to openly admit that they do not want to play these roles in life. It takes courage to go against tradition and not be the stereotype that has existed for decades and even centuries.

Be the best, most kind, and loyal friend you can be, but don't turn your life upside down if your heart is not in it.

Maybe he could move closer to you? Be loving and supportive
by: Michael D. Bell, REALTOR®, Venice Florida

Gloria- you've established boundaries that have worked for both of you. You are a couple, but operate as two separate entities in terms of your living situations.

Since you don't want to live with your partner, just handle it as you would if it were your parent or sibling. Your partner will know when it is time to sell his or her current home or hire needed in-home assistance. If he decides to sell, maybe he could get a condo in the same community where you live? You could then see each other as often as you wish, and still hire in-home assistance as needed.

I live and sell real estate in Venice, Florida, where we have a mature population. I meet many couples who found love again later in life, and have fulfilling relationships while maintaining separate households.

Whatever you decide, just remember to be there at this time when your partner needs you the most.


Living Single
by: Nancy

Sounds like you have already decided it's best for you to live alone. You could easily get roped into being a nurse, and with your health problems, that would be an issue.

I married my husband when I was 46 and he was 48. Both of us had been single up until that time. It was a huge adjustment at that age, so I can just imagine how hard it would be to be in seventies with health problems and adjusting to living together.

Aging partner
by: Anonymous

Hello, you are experiencing a common life issue. The difference is that you are not legally-bound to him.
As women, we generally live longer and become caretakers for our loved ones. In your case, he has already informed you that his health is declining. Perhaps he is giving you a heads-up because he senses your hesitancy? Sounds like you have some serious soul-searching to do.

Best of luck to you both.

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