Old man's darling


Registered User
Jul 1, 2005
When I was a girl----the year before last!!! My mum use to say to me "be an old man's darling and not a young man's slave" I went on to marry a man 18 years older than me and notice there seem's to be several other ladies on this site in the same position. My wedding vows may have said "in sickness and in health" but did it mean that I would be a nurse maid in a one sided marriage?
Is this the price we pay for older partners?

Michael E

Registered User
Apr 14, 2005
Ronda Spain
This may not be a very popular reply - with others on this site but:-

Everybody does what they feel is right for them - If you feel it is not right for you to be a carer then I should do a runner - really - get out - live your life - It is not a rehearsal...........

I choose to be a carer because I want to be. I feel I owe it. But if I did not think that wild horses would not keep me doing it. If you do not feel like that then get out now!


Registered User
Aug 11, 2005
South-East London, UK
I have been married for forty-two years to a man twelve years older than me.
I never noticed the age difference, until about seven years ago. Now it seems more like twenty years than twelve.

In the last few years (prior to onset of vascular dementia) we have drifted apart. I stayed with him through various other serious illnesses. Then, four years ago, just when i thought things might improve, as his general health improved, I realised there was another problem. I thought long and hard about whether to leave him, but, although I no longer love him, I still care about what happens to him. He is a sick old man (he will be seventy-nine next month) and I can't bring myself to leave him. Is it harder to care for a partner with dementia when you still love them, or when you no longer do?

I have found reading TP posts very helpful and comforting, but I feel a little guilty sometimes. Not all carers still have a loving relationship with their partner!


Registered User
Dec 27, 2004
hi sue ,you could have been in exactly the same position even if you had married a young man ,age does not come into it with dementia,my husband was about 53 when he started with AD life did become unbearable in the last year ,that was 9 yr later ,i was heartbroke when i was pressured by all the medical team to find a nursing home ,however he died in the assesment ward after a few weeks there ,i am glad t hat he did not have to go in the nursing home .one thing is certain ,your problems will come to an end ,and you will still be young enough to make a new life for yourself .i know you are just letting off steam ,take every oportunity to make sometime for you ,it is not easy ,STAY STRONG . ANGELA


Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
Have to agree with Michael on this one, BUT that is only because we do still have a choice........Our loved ones have no choice in the matter.

Lionel is younger than me, he is now 63.. I have only known him 10 years, believe he was suffering early stages even then.

Some days I just want to run away and hide, sometimes I scream inside, BUT I do have a choice. HE DOESN'T

I love him, hate him, want to care for him, want to put him in a home - all in the space of 15 minutes sometime.

Hopefully there is another life for us all after caring, until then, as Angela said
"Stay strong". What a wonderful forum this is where we can let off steam, and speak our minds. Love to all, Connie


Registered User
Jul 2, 2005
I have had the 'sickness and health' line quoted to me by at least two care professionals, which frankly made me feel fairly queasy. The problem is the man I married is no longer there, and has been replaced by someone who is not a very nice person. I've thought of doing a runner, but I love my house and would no doubt lose it if I just abandoned him, and he would hate a move also. I don't want him to be unhappy, but since he seems pretty damned determined to put up reasons for not doing anything, from mowing the lawn to going into town to get a haircut or even putting his cup into the dishwasher, he is turning me into a shrewish nag.

Of all the jobs in the world, the very last one I would have gone for would be mental nurse.

I guess it has to be one day at a time, as everyone says.

Nutty Nan

Registered User
Nov 2, 2003
I must admit I have noticed that there seem to be more younger wives caring for older husbands on TP, but I have put it down to the fact that there are probably less 'older' ladies who would have access to TP .... (My husband is 20 years older, but it never mattered a jot until his personality changed due to AD!)

As for having a choice - we do and we don't: we may well have the freedom to do as we like, but if you've been married for many years and have inevitably shared all sorts of ups and downs, could you really just walk out because AD has messed it all up? Yes, it seems to turn our loved ones into strangers, and it wreckes everything we ever dreamt of, but what if the boot was on the other foot? Are we not still better off being carers than our loves ones who are truly trapped?

What we do need is lots of support, the odd opportunity to escape, and frequent chances to rant, rave, shout, scream, and ask lots and lots of questions - that's why TP is such a blessing! United we stand.


Registered User
Jul 1, 2005
Yes this is a good place to vent our emotions and I am sure all of us do care for those we look after, it's still very hard not to mourn the life we have lost and feel resentment. It's good others feel the same.The feeling's Connie has mentioned often go through my head every 5mins!!! and I reflect on how I have become very bitter. Yes I could walk away, in practice it's not easy. I'll just have a SCREAM.


Registered User
Jun 22, 2005
I think I've been through all possible emotions over the past few years and have had all of the thoughts mentioned above, but now I live with a man I hardly recognize, who is so vulnerable and dependant on me, compassion kicked in and formed a different relationship. The forced intimacy of washing someone and caring for them makes for some kind of bond that there's no escaping, ain't nature clever!!
My husband is nearly 28 yrs older than me.


Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
Birmingham Hades
I think the feelings we have are the same at any age in a relationship such as ours.
Connie puts it so well.
I am the same I adore Peg,but at times I hate her ,want rid of her,could be physically violent,but I master that one.
Every day is different,the scene changes from minute to minute,hour to hour.
At times I am in deep deep desperation,then that goes and I think things are not too bad,after all.
This is the pattern for AD.
Norman :confused: