RSS Feed Print
Mom forgot husband, asked about girlfriend
Posted: Wednesday, March 11, 2020 4:09 PM
Joined: 11/13/2017
Posts: 42

My mom has dementia. She was diagnosed in 2016 and has been living in MC for over 2 years. She's gradually been losing touch with reality and definitely in recent months has forgotten a lot about my life--where I live, what I do, my interests as an adult, etc.

Yesterday though she finally forgot about my husband, which was really hard. He and I have been together 20 years, and she and him are close, especially since my father died 15 years ago. I call her every week or so and yesterday she asked me if I have a girlfriend. So not only did she forget him, she forgot I'm gay, which she's known for almost 25 years. 

While it's been hard not being able to connect with her anymore about my work and life, this was the hardest thing yet, since it's so personal. It put me in a real funk for the rest of the day. I shared my feelings with my best friend at work and then my husband when I got home--so that helped, since they were both very understanding. But it made me not want to call my mom, as I imagine this might become a regular question.

I know we're supposed to just "go with it" when people with dementia get detached from reality. But doing that in this case feels like such a personal betrayal. I guess my alternative is to come out again each time it comes up. At least, as a 43 year old, telling your mother you're gay is way easier than when you're 19.

Posted: Thursday, May 7, 2020 10:00 PM
Joined: 5/8/2017
Posts: 6

I definitely understand your frustration.   I came out to my mom prior to her being diagnosed with dementia 10 years ago. I was married at a young age and divorced.   At times my mom asks about my ex husband.  She thinks I'm still in school and dating him.  It took a while but I just learned to go with the flow.   Just answer her question.   I tell him he's fine working.   And when she asks why I'm not in school I tell her its a holiday or I didn't have classes.   I learned that it doesn't help to be upset or to correct her.   Our parents deserve to feel as if they know what they are talking about.   It makes them smile and believe me it will make you smile.
Posted: Sunday, June 14, 2020 7:27 PM
Joined: 11/13/2017
Posts: 42

Thanks @1cahija for responding. I don't think a lot of people look at the LGBT board--too bad. Yeah, I definitely think "go with the flow" is the way to go, and I always do that with my mom. Lately, when I ask her how she's been spending her time, the answer has been gardening with my grandma (her mother), who died in 1999. My grandma was an amazing person, and we were all close, so if that's what my mom thinks she's been up to, it is kind of nice actually. Sorry you're going through this too with your mom. Good luck and take care.
Jo C.
Posted: Tuesday, June 16, 2020 12:44 AM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 13113

I learned the value of "therapeutic fibs" the hard way.  I finally figured it out and simply went with the flow or used a fiblet as necessary and found it was actually a kindness and kept my LO from upsets and meltdowns and also got her to appointments, etc. with no fuss.

Some delusions are quiet and can even be rather sweet; as long as it is not bothering my LO, there is no reason to do anything about them.  However; if they were upsetting and causing upheaval, then I would contact the dementia specialist if all lesser measures failed to calm the waters.

We sure learn as we go, flying by the seat of our pants striving to do our best.  I think the two of you are awesome carers and your mothers are blessed to have you by their sides

As for the LGBT Board not being highly trafficked; most of the LGBT folks actually go to the Spousal/Partner Forum and Post there as there is so much information; no problem doing so, all are welcomed with open arms; you may want to check that out .


Posted: Friday, June 4, 2021 7:08 PM
Joined: 1/26/2021
Posts: 37

That is very hard. But you cannot take her saying something like that as your mom. She has no memory of you being gay now or will she if you come out again. Just say nope, no girlfriend and let it go. Some remember first wives that were de force from years ago but not the current one they were really close to. It’s hard but it’s not a betrayal. It’s loving your mom, the one who support you through the years. There are times when going along doesn’t work like when my husband wants to go see his mom. That can’t happen since she passed 18 yrs ago. You are a good son to call regularly when it’s not easy to do.
Posted: Monday, June 7, 2021 2:02 PM
Joined: 11/13/2017
Posts: 42

Thanks. That's very nice. I can't believe I wrote that over a year ago. Today, she can't even put the words together to ask a question like that. Sad how things progress.
Posted: Thursday, October 7, 2021 9:33 PM
Joined: 8/14/2017
Posts: 8

Wow, fast progression. My mom has lived with me for two years and, though she still doesn't recognize where she is, she is positive most of the time, continues to be verbal, is mobile (with her walker), fairly healthy, and recognizes me much of the time .

On days like today, though, when she is particularly chatty it's really hard even though I know I should be grateful she can still speak and move on her own.

But she says the same thing over and over. I lose my patience having conversations with her that go nowhere. She has persistent delusions--today it was that her father had left her here and she wondered if he would come pick her up even after I explained to her numerous times that he wouldn't. This conversation has been going on for approximately 2.5 hours. Finally she is starting to go to sleep.

Today she has expressed thanks to me many times for taking her in. And an unfortunate habit of hers from way back also came up: this morning she kept asking what my T shirt says and suggested that I take it off so she could read it. Her sexual inappropriateness throughout my life, though never overt, is an uncomfortable undercurrent. I do think it hampers the physical affection I would otherwise offer her as part of caregiving.

Always seeking to go with the flow but it's not easy.