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sunshineluv66's avatar

How do I keep my sanity or my marriage intact if my FIL moves in?

Asked by sunshineluv66 (18points) April 9th, 2014

In the beginning of our marriage I knew that my MIL was a handful and said things to undercut. She didn’t even stand up at our wedding while we cut the cake or toasted (which she denied). I didn’t know what I was getting myself into until two months before the wedding. We lived in another city and decided to move closer to his family because they were getting old (6 years ago). A few years went by and I continued to try and have a relationship with her but she always had a way of saying the wrong things. So, sometimes when my husband wanted to go to dinner with them I would decline. He would get very angry at me each and every time but I didn’t want to put myself in a situation where I always felt attacked.

Fast forward to my MIL’s death in January 2013 that broke my husband with guilt (for not donating her a kidney) as well as my guilt for always trying to stay away.

His dad, my FIL, is 80 years old. I planned, organized, and paid for an 80th surprise birthday celebration that cost us thousands of dollars. I also make it a point (when my husband works out or hangs out with his friends) to call his dad and hang out with him. He’s a really cool old father in law!! He repeats himself a lot, he talks just to talk, but he is pleasant to be around.
For the last year my husband and I have talked about getting a one story house so his dad can spend the night (we have a two story with all bedrooms upstairs). So if he comes over to watch a football game he has to leave before dark (can’t drive at night). His dad has his own home that he shared with his wife. In recent months we’ve put our house on the market and my husband and his dad start talking about all of us living together under one roof. I have said time and time again that I would love to do that IF we could find a house with separate living quarters (apt). There is no way I can live, pick up after, cook for, take care of TWO MEN!! I just can’t mentally do it.

This morning I was telling my husband I needed to pay the credit card so I could buy our tickets to go see his sister graduate from college and he snapped at me. He said, “I’m not going to the graduation because I’m taking my dad out of town for surgery”. I started asking him questions about what kind of surgery, when, etc and he said, “I know you don’t like my dad so I’m not going to let you keep me away from my dad like you did my mom”. First of all, I never kept him away from his family if anything I would encourage that instead of him hanging out with his friends. I don’t have to be with him every time he hangs out with his parents or do I?

He never spends alone time with me. If we go to dinner his dad goes 100% of the time and invites him everywhere we go. Which is ok but when he goes and hangs out with just his friends he never invites his dad. I know his dad moving in with us will destroy our marriage. He’s already guilting me when I expressed my desire for us to either get an inlaw suite (detached) or just by a house in the same neighborhood as his dad. Can anyone give insight as to what I do? We maybe see my parents once a year and even when my parents call to tell him happy birthday he doesn’t call them back. It’s like my life outside of his means nothing!!

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19 Answers

Aster's avatar

This is way too complicated to answer in full so I’ll just say that if my husband wanted to visit his parents then yes, he’d expect me to go with him. And in all the many years I was married to my “ex” I was always , always there if he’d go visit his parents too. So, to me, I’d feel hurt if I weren’t expected to come along . But now, after having been married most of my life, I would welcome the opportunity to be alone while either visited their folks and just stay home. But all four parents are gone now. Finally , I hope your husband isn’t being immature and wanting to cause trouble.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Sounds like Hubby never learned to cut the apron strings and be his own Man, and now he’s feeling guilty about Mom, so he’s making up for it with Dad. I’d say you have some issues too in this subject. This is obviously way too complicated for me to know all the ins and outs from a fluther question. Have you ever considered counseling? I don’t like that answer, but there’s a lot of issues here.

Judi's avatar

Go to counseling. That is all.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, you have 3 choices.

1. Go to counseling and hope for the best.
2. Divorce your husband, kills two birds with one stone.
3. Let your FIL move in and THEN leave them both to fend for themsleves. lol

I agree with a @Adirondackwannabe Your husband is not only not aware if, let alone able to deal with his own parental issues, and it is grossly unfair of him to expect you to be a caretaker for his father, as well as himself. Nobody needs to apologize for not liking someone else, or, for being honest enough to admit they just aren’t up for the job of being a caretaker to an elderly person.

Smitha's avatar

If your FIL is going to move in, it’s definitely going to create tension between you and your husband. May be you could do it on a trial basis before completely committing but I must say it will definitely change your life in ways you could never imagine. These are the years you should be spending quality time with one another, not taking on a third person in your lives. You can always help your FIL when he has some problems, but don’t let him move in. It sounds like he’s already overstepping his boundaries. As for your husband, he needs to be more supportive of your feelings. I know it’s his dad, but there are other ways for you both to help him.
You and your husband need to sit down and figure out how this is going to work. I too agree with others opinion regarding counseling. It will definitely help you to a great extent.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

For better or worse.

Cruiser's avatar

If your husband can make plans to take his father out of town for surgery that you nothing about and he snapped at you in the process…sounds to me like you have a serious communication issue. You also mention not having alone time with your husband tells me there is other things going on in your marriage that you should seek help in fixing.

Aster's avatar

If your FiL spends the night with you two he will not go home ever again if he has any sort of cold, flu, pains, dizzy spell, etc. It is just too comfortable , stimulating and enjoyable for an elderly person to be with family waiting on them , cooking for them, talking with them, etc.
He’ll be staying for good. Be prepared for that. Or, in your case, to leave.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Take him in & tell hubs he has to step up & be PRESENT. He’s 80, deal with family lovingly. Hubs resents you already.

Coloma's avatar

@KNOWITALL Standing ovation! You nailed it!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@KNOWITALL You really think he can step it up? She’s going to end up with two momma’s boys and no momma.

Coloma's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Agreed, but yeah, if he isn’t present and already has resentments, well…grasping at straws for sure, but that is what needs to happen if there is any hope.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Coloma Yeah, oh man, I hate these things.

Adagio's avatar

Does your father-in-law want to live with you, have you actually asked him? Just because someone is elderly does not necessarily mean they want to move in with their kids, a close friend who is 77 would absolutely abhor the idea, he values his privacy, home and independence too much.

LornaLove's avatar

It sounds as though it is already causing hassles in your relationship, since he is snappy etc., I agree with everyone else, he has issues about it all. The guilt probably. Ugh! My S.O. is just the same, it’s a damn pain. They don’t realize that when mommy and daddy both go to heaven they could be just all by themselves and regret all this.

Having said that, be firm, be kind, be firmly kind and tell them, that you’d love to help him move to a) apartment in the street b) any new accommodation c) retired village. That you will always be helpful, join him for a beer, or a cup of tea just to make him laugh.

Tell your husband that, you think your FIL is fun, he’s good company and he is an adult and you’d like to keep it that way, you are not a i) maid ii)qualified nursing sister iii) lacky.

But you are foremost his wife.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Coloma You never come between family & marriage is compromise. Maybe with three they can get a maid.

hearkat's avatar

There appear to be communication issues within your relationship, and also issues about the guilt that you both carry relative to his mother’s death. I agree that counseling would be a good idea.

I usually advise people that when you get married, you are marrying into a family and they are marrying into yours. It is always wise to asses the family dynamics before choosing to commit to one of its members. Had either you or your spouse posed a question when you found out “what you were getting into two months before the wedding,” I’d have strongly recommended that you put the wedding on hold until those issues between you and his mother were resolved.

Now you have a legal commitment to one another, and if you want to save your relationship, you will both need to re-commit yourselves to making it a priority. Again, I think professional guidance is needed in this complex situation.

chinchin31's avatar

Build and extension at the back of the house but don’t allow him access to your house. Treat it like a seperate living arrangement. Can you maybe get him a house close by instead of in your house????????

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