Ask Amy 9-4-14
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“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

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#1 Sep 4, 2014
Dear Amy: My father-in-law has an early form of dementia and tends to repeat himself frequently. The stories he tells about the good old days or his trials and tribulations at work (he has a part-time job) are very familiar to the family.

Because he is unaware of how long he's been talking, his wife often will just walk away from the conversation, rolling her eyes in frustration and leaving the family member or visitor stranded while he rambles on.

She will then engage one of her children to vent her frustration about their father, often putting the man down in the process.

Should a mother do such a thing to an adult child? After all, her husband is still their father and can't help himself. What do you suggest they do when she does this?— Upset Daughter-in-Law

Dear Upset: The first response to your mother-in-law's behavior should be to ask her how she is and if she needs help.

Her reaction to her husband's dementia is disrespectful, but the frustration behind it is understandable. Living with someone with dementia is extremely taxing. If you feel "stranded" with him while he rambles during a visit, imagine what it is like for her. Her expressions are signs that she might not have the temperament to cope well with this challenge.

Her children should say to her, "Mom, we're concerned about the way you are coping with dad. It upsets us when you are so impatient toward him; please don't talk that way. We are worried about both of you."

The Alzheimer's Association ( alz.org ) hosts an informative website about caring for someone with dementia. The 24-hour help line — 800-272-3900 — is staffed by clinicians who can give advice about care and caregiving. The children should approach this health issue as a family to make sure both parents get the care and support they need.

Dear Amy: I met my boyfriend seven months ago. He's the sweetest, most loving and caring man I've ever met. He works for the federal government.

He has two young kids that he takes care of full time and a demanding job. He's been divorced for two years. We were dreaming about growing old together.

This summer I had to go out of the country for six weeks. While I was away, he got a promotion and was asked to move to a different city. He had to move before my return. My initial reaction was just to let him go so he would have one less thing in his life to deal with. With the passage of time, I miss him more. I contacted him again. He misses me, too.

I need to decide whether to stay in a long-distance relationship or quit. But I don't know where to start. I also have two children. I own a house and have a job here. He didn't ask me to move with him. We didn't even have a chance to discuss our options or say goodbye. How do people decide in situations like these?— Confused

Dear Confused: You met this man seven months ago. During that time you two were separated for several weeks. Given these circumstances, it is quite premature to engage in "all or nothing" thinking.

Long-distance relationships are challenging (especially with children involved), but in your case a long-distance relationship could help you to slow down, learn to communicate and, over time, clarify your intentions.

Unless you get definite signals from him, assume he is not interested in pursuing this.

Dear Amy: I agree with your response to "Caught in Middle Colorado," the parent who thought his daughter could "do better" than to be with a budding writer who had been admitted to a master of fine arts program.

It would be a different matter if he were just sitting around staring at his computer screen and looking to the bottle for inspiration, but that doesn't seem to be the issue here.— Jennifer

Dear Jennifer: In my (biased) opinion, there are definitely worse fates than being with a writer.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#2 Sep 4, 2014
Posterity w/o link or T/C number.

Dear Amy: My father-in-law has an early form of dementia and tends to repeat himself frequently. The stories he tells about the good old days or his trials and tribulations at work (he has a part-time job) are very familiar to the family.

Because he is unaware of how long he's been talking, his wife often will just walk away from the conversation, rolling her eyes in frustration and leaving the family member or visitor stranded while he rambles on.

She will then engage one of her children to vent her frustration about their father, often putting the man down in the process.

Should a mother do such a thing to an adult child? After all, her husband is still their father and can't help himself. What do you suggest they do when she does this?— Upset Daughter-in-Law

Dear Upset: The first response to your mother-in-law's behavior should be to ask her how she is and if she needs help.

Her reaction to her husband's dementia is disrespectful, but the frustration behind it is understandable. Living with someone with dementia is extremely taxing. If you feel "stranded" with him while he rambles during a visit, imagine what it is like for her. Her expressions are signs that she might not have the temperament to cope well with this challenge.

Her children should say to her, "Mom, we're concerned about the way you are coping with dad. It upsets us when you are so impatient toward him; please don't talk that way. We are worried about both of you."

The Alzheimer's Association ( alz[dot]org ) hosts an informative website about caring for someone with dementia. The 24-hour help line —[phone number]— is staffed by clinicians who can give advice about care and caregiving. The children should approach this health issue as a family to make sure both parents get the care and support they need.

Dear Amy: I met my boyfriend seven months ago. He's the sweetest, most loving and caring man I've ever met. He works for the federal government.

He has two young kids that he takes care of full time and a demanding job. He's been divorced for two years. We were dreaming about growing old together.

This summer I had to go out of the country for six weeks. While I was away, he got a promotion and was asked to move to a different city. He had to move before my return. My initial reaction was just to let him go so he would have one less thing in his life to deal with. With the passage of time, I miss him more. I contacted him again. He misses me, too.

I need to decide whether to stay in a long-distance relationship or quit. But I don't know where to start. I also have two children. I own a house and have a job here. He didn't ask me to move with him. We didn't even have a chance to discuss our options or say goodbye. How do people decide in situations like these?— Confused

Dear Confused: You met this man seven months ago. During that time you two were separated for several weeks. Given these circumstances, it is quite premature to engage in "all or nothing" thinking.

Long-distance relationships are challenging (especially with children involved), but in your case a long-distance relationship could help you to slow down, learn to communicate and, over time, clarify your intentions.

Unless you get definite signals from him, assume he is not interested in pursuing this.

Dear Amy: I agree with your response to "Caught in Middle Colorado," the parent who thought his daughter could "do better" than to be with a budding writer who had been admitted to a master of fine arts program.

It would be a different matter if he were just sitting around staring at his computer screen and looking to the bottle for inspiration, but that doesn't seem to be the issue here.— Jennifer

Dear Jennifer: In my (biased) opinion, there are definitely worse fates than being with a writer.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#3 Sep 4, 2014
1: Class a clinger.
Assuming this letter was sent and printed in a timely fashion.

She met 7 months ago. So February.
She had a 6 week business trip over the summer. Assuming it was late as possible, that trip started in mid July. So you knew him for 5 months.

He has a demanding job and 2 kids.

How much time could you possibly have spent with him in 5 months to be talking about growing old together? He didn't ask you to move with him cause he barely knows you. Certainly not well enough to have you uproot 3 lives to come follow him.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#4 Sep 4, 2014
"Dear Jennifer: In my (biased) opinion, there are definitely worse fates than being with a writer."
What about a hack?

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#5 Sep 4, 2014
LW1: Rude and uncaring. What a witch. I would be appalled if one of my parents treated the other like that and would say something.

LW2: When he got promoted, the dude dropped you like a hot potato, didn’t even broach the possibility of a LDR, and you’ve had no contact until recently. Despite this you are seriously considering moving you and your children to another city to be with him. Are you crazy?

If I were really into a girl I certainly would let her know that it’s a job opportunity I can’t pass up but also that she was still a big priority in my life and that I still wanted to move forward with her somehow and make the relationship work.

Given this, moving to be with him seems to be a big risk. If anything try the LDR, but he doesn’t seem very willing or eager to put in the effort to be with you. I personally wouldn't even bother with a woman who could just drop me like that, much less consider uprooting myself and my children to move closer to her.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#6 Sep 4, 2014
1 I got the impression the wife is not the mother of the kids, so she is the second (trophy) wife and now is upset she has to deal with the guy.

2 He's just not that into you, and besides the life if a spy is not very settled.

3 Tonka.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Detroit, MI

#7 Sep 4, 2014
Sublime1 wrote:
LW1: Rude and uncaring. What a witch. I would be appalled if one of my parents treated the other like that and would say something.
Amy has a point, it can be pretty taxing to the psyche to live with someone with dementia. And assuming they've been married for quite some time, their dynamic might be different. She doesn't need to cut the guy down, but I think the lw should MYOB

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#8 Sep 4, 2014
edogxxx wrote:
<quoted text>
Amy has a point, it can be pretty taxing to the psyche to live with someone with dementia. And assuming they've been married for quite some time, their dynamic might be different. She doesn't need to cut the guy down, but I think the lw should MYOB
I think it goes without saying the dynamic is different, dude...

And that is the primary problem, that she is cutting the guy down. The LW should mind her own business, but the guy's children should speak up.

The person with dementia has a disease that they cannot control. They aren't acting in that manner because they want to. To take this out on that person, who also happens to be your spouse, is really crappy. In sickness and in health... <<< they aren't just words.
Pippa

Hancock, NY

#9 Sep 4, 2014
Mister Tonka wrote:
"Dear Jennifer: In my (biased) opinion, there are definitely worse fates than being with a writer."
What about a hack?
Are you referring to Amy? I bet she makes a fairly decent living and it's probably easier than being a waitress or a teacher.:-)

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#10 Sep 4, 2014
PEllen wrote:
What do you suggest they do when she does this?— Upset Daughter-in-Law
They? Who assigned you the task of determining what THEY should do? So Amy's given you some advice on what THEY should do. Did they ask for anyone's advice? I doubt it

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#11 Sep 4, 2014
Sublime1 wrote:
<quoted text>
I think it goes without saying the dynamic is different, dude...
And that is the primary problem, that she is cutting the guy down. The LW should mind her own business, but the guy's children should speak up.
The person with dementia has a disease that they cannot control. They aren't acting in that manner because they want to. To take this out on that person, who also happens to be your spouse, is really crappy. In sickness and in health... <<< they aren't just words.
Not taking sides, but she's NOT taking it out on him. She walks away. She gripes to others about him. Unless I missed something, she's not doing anything TO him.
Pippa

Hancock, NY

#12 Sep 4, 2014
RACE wrote:
1 I got the impression the wife is not the mother of the kids, so she is the second (trophy) wife and now is upset she has to deal with the guy.
That may be the case. But the lw asks, "Should a mother do such a thing to an adult child? " So that implies this woman is their mother, not a step-mother. However, the m-i-l may very well consider herself their mother even if she isn't. Some do if they help raise the kids.
Pippa

Hancock, NY

#13 Sep 4, 2014
1: So your f-i-l has early form of dementia and your m-i-l is showing signs of stress in caring for him. Sure, it's inappropriate for her to say bad things about him but it may very well be that she's reached a breaking point and needs some respite. It seems to me that instead of finding fault with her, your husband and his siblings should be doing something to give their mom some help and respite. How about they take turns spending one day (or more) a week with their dad so their mom can relax, go do something either by herself or with friends and so forth? You can't criticize a person until you've walked a mile in their shoes after all.// It really annoys me to no end that this lw sits there and finds fault with her m-i-l. It's so easy to criticize a caregiver who has to be there 24/7 and has to worry that the person they're caring for might just walk out the door to go for a walk or drive and not remember how to get home. Or how about when that person decides to fix him/herself a hot drink and leaves a pot-holder too close to the flame on the stovetop? The lw does not say that the m-i-l is in any way abusing her husband just that she complains about him. If you aren't the person caring for that person with dementia, don't criticize; try to find a solution or some way to help.

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#14 Sep 4, 2014
Mister Tonka wrote:
<quoted text>
Not taking sides, but she's NOT taking it out on him. She walks away. She gripes to others about him. Unless I missed something, she's not doing anything TO him.
So, if your wife just walk's away from you in mid conversation, rolling her eyes in frustration, vents her frustration about you to another, and puts you down in the process, she's not doing anything to you?

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#15 Sep 4, 2014
Sublime1 wrote:
LW1: Rude and uncaring. What a witch. I would be appalled if one of my parents treated the other like that and would say something.
.
Dementia is a broad term.

My parents have memory problems. My mothers is either somewhat volitional or erratic. My father seems less aware or less accepting of his increasing limitations. For example, he still handles household finances but has missed two credit card payments. He wouldn't pay the bills because he thought there was not enough in the checking account but forgot to transfer money from the "savings" account.

When you get old, the filters come off. I don't know if that is dementia. Things you would have kept to yourself, irritations you would have glossed over become sniping points. That I think is what LW is hearing.

When you get old there sees to be a sense that you have been "nice" good, dutiful,politically correct etc, all these years and now it is your turn to get what you want and the hell with anyone else. Some of you might remember the relative I had who, as he got older, did not want to be cared for by a black person and was abusive and verbal about it.He had been crabby and acerbic when he was younger but now he was dieing and he wanted what he wanted and teh hell with anyone else. How do you balance the demands of a dieing person against the rights and sensibilities of someone else?

I see LW's story with my own parents. It is rough for everyone involved. The best we have done is to separate them as much as possible to remove the irritation or in some instances, teh stimulus that starts the irritating behavior.

There is no good answer that I have heard. It sucks any way you look at it.

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#16 Sep 4, 2014
And really what is the point of putting someone down with dementia. They have dementia. Does she also put people down with missing limbs and who have special needs?

I hope that witch lives to a ripe old age and needs someone to care for her and I hope they treat her disrespectfully, mock her, and ridicule her too instead of showing understanding, sympathy, and compassion.

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#17 Sep 4, 2014
PEllen wrote:
<quoted text>
Dementia is a broad term.
You are reading a lot into the letter that is not said:

"My father-in-law has an early form of dementia and tends to repeat himself frequently. The stories he tells about the good old days or his trials and tribulations at work (he has a part-time job) are very familiar to the family.

Because he is unaware of how long he's been talking"

That's all we know. It's an early form of dementia. The guy still has it together to the point where he can work part time. His wife is being a rude witch.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#18 Sep 4, 2014
Sublime1 wrote:
<quoted text>
So, if your wife just walk's away from you in mid conversation, rolling her eyes in frustration, vents her frustration about you to another, and puts you down in the process, she's not doing anything to you?
If I don't even notice and keep carrying my conversation? No. She's not.

And though I'm not endorsing "putting him down" while talking to others, I still don't consider that as "doing anything to him". That's her griping about him.
Kuuipo

Elizabethtown, KY

#19 Sep 4, 2014
LW1: The MIL is venting and she does not understand how she sounds to others. She is stressed out. She needs help and understanding as does the FIL. Leaving the children "stranded" with the FIL is her way of giving herself a needed break. This isn't going to be easy for any of you, but you need to focus on solutions, not judgment.

LW2: You are anchored in your current location. Your ex-boyfriend just got a promotion and he's probably focusing on his work and kids. Stay in touch, but remove all expectations and take him down off the pedestal. There are other loving, caring men in the world, some closer to home. Keep you options open.

LW3: I don't remember the letter, but I have definitely encountered parents that think nobody is good enough for their children. My good friend's mother is like that.

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#20 Sep 4, 2014
Mister Tonka wrote:
<quoted text>
If I don't even notice and keep carrying my conversation? No. She's not.
And though I'm not endorsing "putting him down" while talking to others, I still don't consider that as "doing anything to him". That's her griping about him.
You don't care if your wife bad mouths you to other people, so long as you don't find out about it? Realize that most people would feel different than you do. Would your wife be okay with you talking shtye about her to other people. So long as she doesn't find out about it?

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