Social Question

tedd's avatar

Would you move in with your SO's parents?

Asked by tedd (14013 points ) January 8th, 2013

So let me lay out the details first before I move onto the actual question… bear with me, the details are long…..
-My g/f and I have been dating for a little over two years. We’ve lived together since last May. We have our ups and downs, some more severe than others, but all in all things are going well.
-My g/f went to school to be a Zoo Keeper. She has had several internships in the field and one job at the local Zoo. Unfortunately she worked through a contractor rather than the actual Zoo, and had a terrible experience as the contractor was poorly managed and owned by frankly a terrible person. She left that job but in order to stay near me (no other Zoo Keeper positions were open in our area) she had to take a position as a Vet assistant.
-In general my g/f is turned off about staying in her current field. She’s been bitten twice (once in each hand) in the last year (once by a dog and once by a lemur), and both injuries have required surgery and left scars and potential long term damage. On top of that, Zoo Keepers, despite what you may expect, make diddly squat for pay. She is now planning to go back to school, at the moment with the goal of getting a new degree as a Dental Technician (though I suspect the exact degree/job she’s trying to switch to is subject to change).
-My g/f is an only child (and adopted). Her parents did very well for themselves, and her father has a standing offer to pay for any further education she wants (he has been harping on her to get a masters or more for at least as long as we’ve been dating). They have also got an open offer for her to move back in with them (they have made no offer to pay her rent if she goes back to school). They live roughly two hours away from my g/f and I now (they live in Cleveland, we are in Columbus), this as you may expect would be a strain on our relationship.
-I am an analytical chemist, and part time I tutor an autistic boy. I’ve not worked less than 60 hours a week since I graduated college about 3.5 years ago. I make pretty good money.
-Unfortunately I am also in extreme debt thanks to student loans. I currently owe a bit over 100k in student loans. My minimum monthly payment is about $950, and in a typical month I pay several hundred over that. On top of that I also have my rent, car payment, insurance payment, phone bill, utilities, etc. At the end of the day my student loans aren’t coming down quickly, my savings account is a paltry $1100, and my spending cash is extremely limited.
-I am trying to become a forensic scientist. I’ve applied to probably 30 jobs in the past 3 years, and interviewed for (or at least had some follow up) with probably 7–10 of those positions. I am qualified to be a forensic scientist (and am further qualifying myself with textbooks and a class). But Forensics jobs are not plentiful by any means. Locally there are only 3–4 labs that employ a total of probably 100 forensic scientists. Nationally, it is far more likely that I will find a position, but unfortunately that position could literally be anywhere. I’ve applied to positions in San Francisco, Oklahoma, Florida, the Dakotas, even Afghanistan. Getting one of these positions will likely require me to move some distance away.

Now the new detail that brings up the question. My g/f visited her parents this last weekend and told them of her plans to go back to school and change fields. They were of course very supportive. She took them up on their offer, and plans to move back to Cleveland this coming May when the lease on our apartment ends (I suspect she plans to go back to school even if she doesn’t move back to Cleveland, but that is a moot point). Anyways, in talking with her parents her father made a pretty astounding offer. He offered to allow me to move back to Cleveland with her, and live in their house with them. It would be rent/utility free. Assuming I could find a position in Cleveland similar to my current one, this would allow me to dump a significantly larger amount of money into my loans every month, and pay them down much quicker.

But then there are the problems. I am vehemently independent. As my mother put it, I knew when you packed your car and left for college, you weren’t going to be moving back in. (when she was explaining why my room was storage by the time I came back for my first christmas break) And she was right, I never moved back, not even for a summer break. Although my g/f swears we would be independent, at the end of the day we are still living in someones house and his rules apply. Her father, while a nice guy, is somewhat strict. He only had one child. They’ve got the type of house where you don’t eat in the living room, and no ones sat at the $7000 dining room table for a meal in years. It’s a quasi-museum.

On top of that I’ll need to find a position quickly, as my health insurance is dependent upon it. A cursory search found a few prospects, but with questionable pay and benefits. As far as becoming a Forensic Scientist, the prospects are no better in Cleveland than they are in Columbus. If I continue to pursue that career it is likely I will find a job that is still several states away (necessitating a second costly move no less).

So what do I do? If my g/f and I become long distance it would be an incredible strain on our relationship. If I move in with her family I will undoubtedly feel restricted, but at the same time it would be nice as far as paying down my debt. It could be a moot point or even problematic if I should happen to find a Forensics position. What advice have you got?

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16 Answers

marinelife's avatar

No. Not in a million years. Been there, done that.

elbanditoroso's avatar

The economics would seem to make sense.

Two questions:

- what happens if you fall out of love? You stop being SO, for some reason. At that point you will not only have the breakup to worry about, but also some major financial issues – like – where will you live and how will you pay for it?

- Can you live with the restrictions of the household? (sex in the house, walk around in your underwear, having to eat with the family, etc.)

My second question is probably more important than the first. Only you can answer it.

burntbonez's avatar

You’ll probably be miserable in your in-law’s house (I know it’s not your inlaws yet, but you know what I mean). But money seems to mean a lot to you, so the sacrifice might be worth it to get out from under your debt.

What is the alternative? You stay in Columbus and carry your rent on your own? Of course, you already have a job there, and it’s not clear when you’d get a job in Cleveland and what it would be. Would you move before you had a job?

I think you should scope out the living arrangements more. Would you have a separate apt or would you live in the same living quarters? Would you eat meals together? Who would cook? How much space would you have for you? Would you have an office in the house? Any space of your own other than the bedroom?

Imagine what it would be like as best you can and then see if you could stand it. If you can’t stand it, even when facing the loss of your lover, then there’s your answer. If your lover is worth putting up with her parents, then there’s your answer.

I think the money stuff is secondary. I know you don’t believe that, but life is long and your debt will be gone in a decade at most, and that will pass far faster than you can imagine.

Pachy's avatar

I foresee nothing but potential problems in such an arrangement, summarized quite succinctly by @elbanditoroso. It’s hard enough to live in one’s own parents’ home after he/she has moved away, let alone in someone else’s parents’ home, where the environment, customs, family dynamics, rules, etc. would surely be completely foreign.

jonsblond's avatar

I would do it temporarily if it would pay down the student loan quicker. You don’t know what the future holds. A little inconvenience for a short time might be worth it if it means you’ll have more money in your pocket for a rainy day.

My husband moved in with me and my parents when we first started dating. My parents are easy going, so it wasn’t much of a problem for us.

Judi's avatar

I would start by getting your resumee out there in Cleaveland. You don’t have to take a job if offered but you might be surprised and get a great offer.
I wouldn’t make a decision until you pass that first hurdle of finding a job. It’s great to look for a job when you don’t need one.
Worst case senerio is that you get experience keeping your interview skills sharp. Best case you will get an offer for a great job.

ucme's avatar

Only if they promised to not let her cook….ever!!

rojo's avatar

From the other sides perspective. It is not a good idea. Everyone tries to be on their best behavior but eventually the strain gets to much.
Her folks are not looking forward to it. They probably enjoy being empty-nesters and as you stated “we are still living in someones house and his rules apply.” You will not like it.
Your GF will still be their little girl and you will be the interloper.
Make other arrangements.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I can see two positive things about moving to Cleveland.

- you will never run into a “sold out” situation for the Browns, Indians, or Cavaliers.

- Great museums and culture, better than Columbus.

tedd's avatar

@elbanditoroso I, and everyone I know from the other major cities in Ohio (including Cleveland), am of the strong belief Columbus is by far and away the best city in the state.

zensky's avatar

In a word OMFG NO.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@tedd, I grew up in Cleveland and we had little regard from anyone south of Cuyahoga county. A bunch of country hicks.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Just out of curiosity, if they don’t sit in the living room or in the dining room, where the hell do they eat?

My husband and I bought a home recently and, while waiting for the closing, we stayed with his mom for a month and my parents for a month. Both were awful, but worse with my parents. We felt like intruders the whole time, and certainly not independent.

The fact is that, if you’re living with her parents rent free, you won’t be independent. Simple as that.

On the other hand, saving money is always a plus.

I’m going to say no. It’s not like you’re married. Why are you uprooting your life just to be with your girlfriend? I get that you love her, but it’s only been 2 years. I don’t know, I’m just confused at why you’re doing all the sacrificing here.

tedibear's avatar

I wouldn’t until you have a job in Cleveland, and even then I would hesitate. The job market here is not great and I would hate to see you move without being financially prepared.

My other hesitation has to do with your strong feelings of independence. Living in someone else’s home, no matter who they are, is difficult. If their home is formal, I have a feeling that they will have expectations of conforming to their formalities. (formalness? You know what I mean.) As for your girlfriend swearing that you’ll be independent, I don’t buy it. She’s used to their expectations and limitations so to her it may well feel independent.

If you can afford your rent and loan payments, I would stay put in Columbus. Continue to look for work in your field wherever it may take you. Let your girlfriend come visit you there, and you go to see her sometimes.

YARNLADY's avatar

It totally depends on the situation. My son moved his girlfriend in with us and it was an unmitigated disaster. She turned out to be the Girlfriend, now daughter in law from Hell. We got so fed up with them that we bought them their own house.

My Grandson moved his girlfriend in with us and it hasn’t been a problem at all. She is very self contained, keeps their room clean, and it has worked out for over a year. I’m not sure how she feels about it though, she was under treatment for depression before coming here and has had at least one severe episode that required hospitalization. They don’t discuss their issues with me.

hearkat's avatar

I moved back with my mother after my divorce, and a bf lived with us for 5 years. My relationship with my mother is strained, and living with her is difficult. Added to that, neither myself nor my bf were emotionally stable, so our relationship was volatile. It was the most stressful time of my life.

However, it doesn’t need to be this way, if all involved are stable, responsible adults. So my first question advice is for you to consider the nature of everyone’s relationships and individual personalities. Also consider whether her parents are easy-going enough to be cool with whatever things you like to do – such as music you want to play, whether you’re a night-owl, if you ride a motorcycle, etc. Also consider individual cleanliness habits – if you’re lax about housework, but they’re neat freaks, you’ll have conflict.

Consider all the pros and cons with your gf and ask her to be honest – because it is she who knows everyone best. Make a plan for it to be temporary, and set a deadline

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