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Supporting a parent through a break-up - how?

(4 Posts)
SugarMiceInTheRain Wed 05-Apr-17 13:49:10

Hoping someone else has been through this as I don't know how to handle this. My DM (late 60s but very physically fit and active, seems a lot younger) has been in a relationship with a man 14 years her junior for the past 15 years, all seemed fairly happy, though he's thrown his toys out the pram and threatened to leave a few times over the years when he doesn't get his own way. She just told me he's definitely leaving her, but first has to do up his (pretty much derelict) house so he's staying with her until he can move back in there. I think this is horribly unfair on her - how can she possibly move on with him still in her house?

Also he takes ages to do stuff because he'll be doing up his house in his spare time rather than paying someone else to do it. His stuff is everywhere - her entire garage is full to bursting with his hobby stuff (don't want to be too specific). I can see it easily taking a year before his house is in a fit state to live in - needs new bathroom, complete re-wire, plumbing and heating, not to mention plastering, decorating etc. Frustratingly she won't put her foot down and give him a deadline to get out because she still loves him etc etc. and I think is hoping that if she's really nice to him in the meantime he'll change his mind hmm which is unlikely as he's the most stubborn person I've met. So her life is on hold til he gets out basically.

Obviously, DM is devastated and I don't know how best to support her through what is going to be a very long, drawn-out break up. I don't even live close enough to see her regularly (2-2.5 hours drive) and have 3 young kids which makes giving her practical support in terms of sorting and separating stuff difficult. I've suggested she needs to start becoming more independent now - stop cooking for him/ doing his washing/ planning around him - and restart some of the hobbies she had before meeting him, but I fear it's falling on deaf ears because she still thinks there's a glimmer of hope that he'll change his mind. She absolutely hates being lonely, so says she's just enjoying his company in the meantime, which imo isn't very healthy.

Anyone else out there experienced similar and have any tips? When my stepdad left I was only a teenager so was shielded from the upset somewhat (and too absorbed in my own life to worry that much) but as an adult I can see it's taking it's toll on her - she's losing weight (probably a size 6-8 now) and I just don't know how best to support her.

SugarMiceInTheRain Wed 05-Apr-17 13:49:32

Wow, sorry for the long post!

blueistheonlycolourwefeel Wed 05-Apr-17 13:51:22

He sounds like he's taking the piss!!!

Msqueen33 Wed 05-Apr-17 13:59:32

Cheeky bastard! I think it's hard to get someone to listen when they can't/don't want to. All you can do is be there to guide here and fall back and hope the scales fall from her eyes about what a selfish twunt he is.

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