New g/f i want to introduce but how?

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by AFF, Mar 22, 2005.

  1. AFF

    AFF Registered User

    Jan 14, 2005
    16
    UK
    hi folks, i just needa bit of advice here.

    I've a new g/f who hasn't met my grand parents (read as parents though).

    ma is ok but has trouble walking. she is however very lively conversation wise. my pa has withdrawn to not saying anything. a stage i haven't properly witnessed yet but possibly on my next visit.

    hwover, it's easter and i'd like to take my g/f up to see them but i'm worried i'm going to get knocked for six by his deteriotion. maybe he won't know who i am this time and that's not happened yet.

    do you think it would be best to travel up on my own (they live an hour away). but if he's ok, maybe the next time he won't. do you see what i'm saying, it seems there's never a right time. she's not accustomed to alzheimers either so that plays on my mind if she'll feel awkward. i know, i'll discuss with her i think, trouble is, don't know what to say.

    any advice on this?

    apparantly i've been told the next step is family are planning pa to go into a home. although i think it's best too it's tough to deal with.

    thanx all
     
  2. Mjaqmac

    Mjaqmac Registered User

    Mar 13, 2004
    939
    #2 Mjaqmac, Mar 22, 2005
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2005
    Explain your situation and your fears as you have explained it here. Ask her if she would be willing to come with you as you feel it would be easier to face things with her loving support. Let her know that she is so special to you that you want her to meet the other people in your life whom you love and respect.

    If she is uncomfortable with the idea let her know it's ok and that you appreciate her honesty if it would be too much for her.

    Alzheimer's is tough on everyone, no one becomes used to it, even carers, as it is hard to watch your loved one suffer and deteriorate, but that is true of any disease.

    Just be honest and frank with her and you may find she turns out to be supportive and very flattered that you have confided your fears in her. It may bring you closer together and you could find that she proves to be stronger and more able to cope than you think, which would be a huge plus to you in coping with what lies ahead.

    I had the same fears with my boyfriend, I told him in black and white how things stood, he turned out to be a brilliant rock for me and we are now engaged!

    Good Luck.
     
  3. AFF

    AFF Registered User

    Jan 14, 2005
    16
    UK
    great words Mjaqmac, it's what i wanted to hear. it's wierd, you get in situations like this and really don't know what's best or even how to even start to approach the problem.

    a few rods on here and everything becomes clear and uncomplicated. of course i'd like to have the wisdom to just 'know' but i suppose that comes from experience.

    thanks again, i'll approach the subject tomorrow, either way it's ok right!!
     
  4. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    I agree with Magic, best to be open about it and if she feels uncomfortable about visiting this time, that's fine. If she wants to visit, give her a five star rating!

    If you both find yourselves coming closer because of this, and you end up together, then if you get a tenth as good a partner as Magic's boyfriend did, you are very fortunate! :)
     
  5. Mjaqmac

    Mjaqmac Registered User

    Mar 13, 2004
    939
    #5 Mjaqmac, Mar 22, 2005
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2005
    Thanks Braveheart, that's a lovely compliment!

    AFF, you're right, either way it's ok and at least you know how the land lies.

    Your concern for her feelings and the fact that you want your family to meet her and she them, shows that this isn't just any girl, she's obviously special, I hope it all turns out the way you wish.

    There's nobody just "knows" about any given situation, Alzheimer world is a very hard exsistence for all of those in it, but it makes it that bit easier if you have supportive people around you, I hope you find the love and support you deserve.

    Let us know how it goes, if you don't mind.

    All the best to you.
     
  6. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    9,519
    Frinton-on-Sea
    Just give it your best shot. If you explain to her, as you have to us, I am sure everything will be resolved in time. I know you worry that you do not have time on your side, but this is an unknown situation.

    Sometimes we knock ourselves out trying to see both sides of any situation. Just go for it. Best wishes, Connie
     
  7. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    4,348
    Birmingham Hades
    Hi aff
    go for it I am sure as everybody says it will be alright.
    Either way you will get to know your GF better.
    Good luck
    Norman :confused:
     
  8. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    2,259
    West Sussex
    Good luck aff, Magic has spelt it out really well, do as she suggests, discuss it and then go for it! Love She. XX
     
  9. AFF

    AFF Registered User

    Jan 14, 2005
    16
    UK
    thanks all, just a side note, i spoke with my ma today. i said i'll probably be over at some stage this easter and she said are you bring your g/f. i said i wasn't sure because i wasn't sure and hadn't really discussed the issue through.

    tbh, ma and pa never really got on, they were from the old school of staying together forever, pa usually the one who did what he was told. in the end they're still together anyway so doesn't mean much.

    but ma said to me, she was embarrassed. she can't help the way she feels but she's embarrassed about my pa, especially she finds it difficult when a new person comes round.

    i just said you shouldn't be embarrassed. i mean, pa is a war vet, the kindest person (said by many) and most gentlemanly person ever. yet hearing this makes me feel odd, muy ma wants to meet new g/f but at the same stage ignoring how i feel that i want her to meet them, and not just her.

    it just makes me sad that she sidelines my pa as someone that is practically no longer there, only in body. ok, he's not plumbed the bottom depths yet but he doesn't really speak and possibly, just possibly he may not remember me this time. but it doesn't help that ma isn't supportive here.

    should i just get on with it and accept their way? i suppose it's their business but i've always sided with pa in my life as he was usually the one getting told what to do. nothing much has changed.

    now i almost feel embarrassed by my mas embarrassment. i know we can't ALL sit there and have a conversation but again, it's that guilt thing of arriving, having a bit of time with pa and then ma taking over the show whilst pa sits there saying nothing and being ignored for the rest of the day.

    is this normal?
     
  10. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    It seems normal to have to negotiate among the family as to how things are managed.

    Different people take things differently. With my wife, some people just wouldn't visit "better for us to remember her as she was" [these I just ignore now]; others have made one or two visits [and have said they feel better for having done so]; others have made many visits [and are the true friends].

    Children generally accept anyone as they are and are not fazed by visits.

    It is the partner or person most closely involved with living day to day with the person who may feel embarrassed for them. This is natural, but is something we learn to ignore as it is OUR feelings we are worrying about. The situation is made better by people who visit and treat everything as absolutely normal, no matter what happens.

    In any situation, the only thing is to try it and see how it goes.

    In your case, if Ma takes over the show - and it seems she has always done that - then Pa won't give a toss, regardless of his state.

    Explain to Ma that your new g/f really wants to meet your family and won't have a problem with Pa. And that you would like her to be with you.

    Never forget, Pa is still inside himself, regardless of how he appears from the outside. He still sees and feels. He'll want to see you both, even if he appears to be sidelined. He may feel better for being sidelined as that takes pressure off him.

    Best wishes
     
  11. daughter

    daughter Registered User

    Mar 16, 2005
    824
    Although my Mum and Dad have had an extremely happy marraige, my Dad has always been the one getting told what to do and 'us girls' have always dominated the conversation. Mum was also initially embarassed by the way Dad was acting, she has always been the kind of person to cross over the road to avoid anyone 'a bit strange' (hey! weren't we all?)

    Over time, though, Mum has become a star. She's learnt to handle people's reactions and now chats to the other people in Dad's home who have dementia.

    I'm not saying that Dad would not have cared for my Mum, if it had been the other way round. It's just that I believe Mum's controlling has turned into a necessary strength to deal with this situation. Take heart, like everything it'll take time for adjustment.
     
  12. AFF

    AFF Registered User

    Jan 14, 2005
    16
    UK
    ok, i've told g/f i'd like a serious chat tonight. not too serious but just want to see how she feels, i can imagine it may be a bit awkward for her too, really depends on her ways i suppose.

    then broach the issue with ma.

    thanks all, i'll keep you updated on the outcome.
     
  13. AFF

    AFF Registered User

    Jan 14, 2005
    16
    UK
    hi all, well it's a month since i posted this and unfortunatekly i never got round to taking it further. i briefly mentioed the subject to g/f (was more difficult than i thought) ut she didn't really understand and it put me off.

    so here i am again. was meant to be taking her over next week so i made a trip on my own this week to make sure everything was ok.

    well i don't know what's wrong with me but again i fell foul to myself. allowed myself to be caught up in their relationship. i saw my pa being given dinner, he nearly missed the chair so my ma screamed at him. ok, maybe it was the only way but it disturbed me and i asked her if she wants to talk to pa like that can she do it when i'm not there. this is highly unusual for me to say this, even though i think it.

    but it's always been like that. and i took the opportunity to take it further. to then talk about how her actions like that against my pa throughout my life never helped me.

    and how i wish i'd stayed stum. i literally could feel myself welling up and eventually tears started rolling. my ma being a hard emotionless woman was shocked and upset i think. and i felt ashamed. but i only told the truth.

    in the end my aunt came round, i was in the garden alone crying. she sat my pa next to me, consoled me a little then left.

    it was just me and pa in the garden on a garden seat together. he didn't understand and that made me feel wretched. i just kept crying, a really powerful, cry.

    what is going on? i'm usually quite a strong willed person but thesedays my visits are bringing up alot of stuff from my past and seeing pa like this, well, i don't know.

    on top of that ma said 'you know pa is going to a home as soon as a place comes free, i can't stand it anymore'. it's just the way she says it. no compassion. but i love her of course and in the end i said sorry and cried in front of her. i don't know what she must think but she suddenly told me something quite personal about her life with pa. it didn't help but she obviously was softening.

    do you think i should see a counsellor? i think i feel like i should. but not quite sure why. i explained to g/f and she said it could help. now i'm worried about taking her to see them next week. if i go i run the risk of being upset in front of g/f for a reason no-one knows, not even me (i try to put logic ahead but it doesn't work), or not go and let ma down as she looks forward to it.

    she doesn't know how her actions affect people.

    what do you think i should do?
     
  14. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Hello again, and sorry things are still bad for you.

    Like so many things related to dementia, yours is a difficult one to call, without knowing the people concerned.

    First thing though, is that we all become hugely emotionally affected by our loved one having this dreadful illness. We cope two ways.

    First, we may hold it all in, and in doing that we may appear hard-hearted to others. The problem is that if we let it all out, we may fear that we won't be able to pick up the pieces afterwards.

    Then, there is only so long we can hold things in. We need safety valves, and crying is an important one. There's no harm in that, except perhaps to our pride - especially men. Sometimes the only way we can make other people understand the direness of our situation is for them to see us crying. Problem is that most people can't - nor should they - turn it on and off at will. So it tends to happen when we least want people to see us, and it may prove as much a surprise to us as it is to them.

    Counselling? I have no idea whether it would help you. I have had it suggested many times to me, but always say that I know exactly what is going on from my point of view. I understand the strain I'm under, and why it affects me in certain ways. I have learned to handle pressures, and need to do that, myself. Other people may gain benefit from talking to a stranger.

    Your g/f already understands something of your situation. Why not chance taking her along. So what if you do get upset? She will understand the reason and may well be glad that you are not impervious to what is going on. Rocks are all very nice, but they are by their nature hard.

    ..perhaps someone else will be of more help to you ..... :confused:
     
  15. AFF

    AFF Registered User

    Jan 14, 2005
    16
    UK
    thanks brucie, you talk alot of sense and i'm so glad this place exists. you're right, crying for men is a pride issue. i'm usually the life and soul of the family, the one that doesn't seem to have a problem.

    the reality is though that my upbringing brought it's own problems (adoption, etc) and although people can sympathise to a certyain extent, my family have never beemn particularly vocal, especially my own parents. now to see my pa unable to speak i also feel i've missed any opportunity there may have been to get some sort of peace within.

    however, tbh, if he was ok it would probably have never been addessed. it's always too late and i've learnt alot from that at least. don't keep things hidden, just act asap.

    i've also noticed that because i can't seem to cope very well with my pas illness i'm almost blaming others. i don't know why and the reaosn i mentioned counselling was because i should go there for other reasons too as mentioned. it is good to talk but unfortunately i always seem to think no-one can ever possibly understand. a counsellor at least can give a balanced view of my own personal feelings.

    but we'll see. first and foremost i think i'm going to continue with the visit next week. fingers crossed.
     
  16. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    2,259
    West Sussex
    Dear AFF, Brucie is right in all he says in my book. This is a very difficult illness to come to terms with, your feelings are pretty normal in the circumstances. Not only are you crying for the father that is now becoming lost to you through the disease, you are also crying for the loss of what might have been. You have a girlfriend now, who you wanted to be able to show and share with your parents, this is now being denied you in the light of what is happening to your Dad. It would be strange if you were not upset wouldn't it? If you take the time to explain these things to your gf, if she cares for you, then she will understand and support you. Warn her of the outbursts from your Mum, how they affect you, and your fears for your Dad. If you are to move forward, both with your gf and with the situation as a whole, you need to bring it out into the open and share it with others, especially those directly involved. As our Norm says, day by day. We will be here for you and will do our best to support you. Please post and let us know how you are whenever you feel you can. Thinking of you, love She. XX
     
  17. AFF

    AFF Registered User

    Jan 14, 2005
    16
    UK
    thanks sheila, i think you hit the nail on the head there. there comes a time now in my life where eventually (albeit a little late, i'm 36) where i consider able to have a serious relationship and apply everything i have learnt from previous ones.

    and there was nothing more satisfying than introducing g/f to my family and of course the wonderful gentle man that my dad was. and it freaks me now that no-one will ever be able to see how kind and gentle he really was. as a bit of a rebelious child i always found my dad grounding me by just being the complete opposite. everyone loved him and mentioned what a great and loveable person he was.

    now i am in an area where i can't introduce my closest to the one person i held at the top. and that's not a nice feeling. it's very frustrating because they will never get a true reflection of the balance within me.

    to make matters worse i was told last night they've found a space for him in a home and he goes in on THURSDAY!!!! so now, as i was going to visit at the weekend, i now have to reconsider what to do.

    seeing my pa in a home is really scary. the last time i saw him was sunday, very happy (if you know what i mean) and at home with ma.

    now i don't know what to do. i know it's for the best but again, i'm not coming to terms with all this very well and i just know already i'm going to get upset going to see him at the home. it almost puts me off wanting to go there. and as for how i'll react going to see ma on her own enjoying her new found comfort, i really don't know. tbh, i think she'll end up being lonely. she got rid of the cat to the rspca a few weeks ago then begged them for it back a week later as she missed him.

    any advice on dealing with this aspect? the dreaded move of my pa to care?
     
  18. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    It won't be nice, seeing him in a home for the first time. For a start he will be unsettled, and will want to leave. he will probably ask you to take him home. That's always awful.

    He won't know the staff there and it will take a time for them to develop rapport.

    Key thing to remember - you can walk out; he can't. HE is the one having the most problem. You will adjust, a bit - it is never nice making the transition.

    If the place is good, then within 6 months you will probably accept that he is better there.

    Make a relationship with the home manager, and with the staff, particular his key staff. Put pictures of his life and family in his room - or by his bed if he shares a room [and if the home permits that - how could they not?]. The pictures will give staff more feeling for him, and he may appreciate them too.

    Show to the home that you really care that he is well looked after. Take in treats.

    Treat him as if it IS his normal home.

    anyway... try that for starters. If it doesn't work, we can give more suggestions.

    Best wishes
     
  19. AFF

    AFF Registered User

    Jan 14, 2005
    16
    UK
    i'm a bit unsure which way to turn now. i think i might leave this weekend. i'll let the rest of the family do what they have been doing and take care of it all and then ask one of them to accompany me to the home sometime soon. i just don't feel like going there on my own or with my g/f for the first time.

    my biggest fear is he'll forget who i am. that'll hurt bad. in the meantime i'll just have to be a sstrong as possible and remember it's his interests at heart.

    thanks
     
  20. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    You have to be comfortable with whatever you do.

    Don't forget that, wherever he is living, there will probably come a stage when he doesn't recognise you. Doesn't mean he doesn't know you. You simply have to work a bit harder/closer to link with him.

    Probably best not to take g/f the first time. If you can get used to his being there once or twice, then you can be explaining the place to her when she goes. That will take your mind off things a bit, and will probably make her feel better too. You will also have figured out how to handle it by then, as well.

    Good luck
     

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