What to do with my father-in-law? My marriage is falling apart.

Asked by

I'm 25, married and a mother of two. One is six, one is seven. My husband and I have been taking care of his father who is 65 and has lived with us for the past year. We moved him in with us because he was living 6 hrs away and alone, even though he has fathered 6 kids and been married 4 times. He had quintuple bipass 4 yrs ago when he lived with us before. He has also been a type one diabetic who frequently takes too much insulin, causing him to have reactions. I am the only one who takes care of him, out of some unknown guilt. But I am tired of it. He is capable of doing lots on his own- bathing, making himself food, cleaning, etc. BUT he doesn't. He doesn't bathe daily, he has reactions because he is too busy looking up political propaganda on the Internet, and I am left cleaning HIS pubic hair off the toilet in the bathroom that he and my children ONLY use. I want him out of my house. However, none of his other children want to do anything to help and my husband works in the oilfield so he's always working or tired. It has now caused fights between him and I. My father in law has nothing to his name, except a car I refuse to let him drive. This is because he has had reactions while driving, once he ran through an abandoned(thankfully) house and the vehicle is registered to my husband. We could be held legally liable. He lives off of social security which is only $1200. He wasted all his money on stupid crap and still continues too except for the $300 I charge him in rent. My husband and I have started talking divorce. I love my husband very much but this is not what I want out of life. He cannot afford assisted living, does not qualify for a home because he really isn't in horrible health minus his reactions. I hide in my room to "get away," my kids have said resentful things about our situation. I have no privacy to have any intimacy with my husband. Some one tell me what to do. I'm desperate at this point.

Answers 1 to 10 of 35
First of all, I am sorry that at your young age you are dealing with this.
I will be taking care of my in laws full time beginning next month and am dreading it. We live a few houses down the road but until now we haven't needed to live in the same house. They are horrible, stingy and downright mean people.......and it used to cause a lot of trouble between my husband and I. When I wasn't being heard by my husband or his sister/brother I decided to stop taking care of his parents 100%. I didn't make a fuss about it, I just set some boundaries, told everyone on speaker phone at the same time and stuck to them. When FIL/MIL refused to clean up after themselves or bathe then everyone could see how bad it was and what I was talking about, they are hoarders so the money was flying out of the accounts and we were being accused of spending it. It is my furniture (excellent condition) that we put in their house when we un-hoarded their house and within a month it was filthy, smelly and ruined and it couldn't be "excused", it was disgusting, all this to say, I feel your pain and exasperation.
I would recommend that you calmly talk with your husband and let him know you can't take it anymore, that you love him and his father very much and feel like you are enabling his father to become unable to care for himself. Tell him that his dad will need to clean spaces he uses (bathroom) to your standards (if older than 10, your kids will need to take turn to clean also), shower daily (hire a bath aid to come in, with his money of course) and get the car out of his name or work with his Dr to have license removed. Make sure the other children send you and husband $$ to hire aids if need be.
Set your boundaries in a calm, adult and loving manner and you will be respected greatly, when we make our demands from anger, nobody pays attention.

Much respect for you. You are on the perfect site for help.
Have you contacted a County person to come evaluate him? Have you tried to apply for medicaid?
He has just been put on Medicaid. He used to physically abuse 3 of his children and walked out on two of his kids when they were young. So needless to say, they don't really care about him. He did some pretty crappy stuff to my husband as well but he has gotten over it. As someone who only has basically no family because of abuse in my childhood, I don't have a lot of compassion for this man. No one is going to help with any of his living expenses. Do I just kick him out and force him to figure it out for himself, without a vehicle?
I think what you need to do is sit down & talk to him with your husband and lay it all out. It doesn't sound like there is any physical reason why he can't clean up after himself, bathe himself, etc. etc. and there is no reason YOU should have to do that. Your husband should be backing you up on this.
The reactions he is having with his insulin can be lessened by him watching his diet more carefully and following a sliding scale more accurately. Does he use a long-acting insulin, in addition to the short acting? The dosage on the long-acting insulin needs to be adjusted from time to time if you notice too many lows when there shouldn't be any (especially first thing in the morning before he eats). That's when I know my mother's dosage needs to be adjusted.
Don't give up on your marriage over your father in law. Your father in law needs to start taking responsibility for himself and showing some appreciation to you for all you do for him, and to you & your husband for taking him in in the first place. I think a reminder of where he would be without you is in order - and I wouldn't feel guilty if he gets upset & decides to move out because of it.
Top Answer
"Do I just kick him out and force him to figure it out for himself, without a vehicle?"


OK, it doesn't have to be quite that dramatic and harsh, but that is the bottom line.

First, have a heart-to-heart discussion with your husband. Tell him you love him and your marriage has to come first. Dad has to go.

Together with your husband, tell Dad he will need to find other living arrangements and that you will help him.

Call your county's Social Services and explain that you 65 yo father-in-law is now living with you but that arrangement needs to end and you would like a needs assessment done and options explained to your FIL. Perhaps he will qualify for subsidized housing.

You and your husband both come from dysfunctional families, and you apparently don't know what should be expected of children toward their parents (and parents toward their children). This ain't it! Protect your own children from the dysfunctional situation that exists in your house now.

If you were to divorce, where would FIL go? Well, wherever he would go it that circumstance he can go the same place without you divorcing. If FIL has no one to turn to, that is Not Your Fault and it is Not Your Husband's Fault. He isn't behaving as a responsible household member? Not Your Fault. He never learned how to play well with others? Not Your Fault.

Your husband seems to have "gotten over" the rotten father this man was to him by dumping his care on you, and adding stress to the lives of his own children. This is not how healthy families behave.

Just kick him out.

I talked to him last night and set new ground rules for him to follow. We are waiting on MRI results to see if all this is because he was a spoiled child who did whatever he wanted or if he has brain damage from 62 yrs of insulin overdoses (reactions). However, last night after I explained my new rules, he was obviously unhappy. Mainly at the fact that we are getting rid of his car, he isn't allowed to drive and he cannot have his gun in his closet due to safety issues with my two small children. He was extremely mad but knows its this or homeless. So I went into the kitchen and he did as well to start fixing our dinners. He then (randomly) proceeded to tell me about a guy he knew that killed his wife and himself years ago. I asked if he knew why. He responded, "He was a diabetic. His brother did the same thing." Again I asked why. Same response, he was a diabetic. This startled me because while I don't think he was directly threatening me, I do feel he was hinting at the obvious point. My husband who was there when he said these things thought it was funny. And thought I was crazy for being paranoid at the comments. I'm curious of what others think about such odd comments.
He needs to get out of your house now! After those comments, he would have been out of my house last night. No reason for anyone to live under these conditions. He obviously has serious problems and your husband is putting his family at risk by allowing his dysfunctional father to remain in YOUR home.

No amount of talking is going to change this man. I do recommend you and your husband talk to a marriage counselor. It concerns me that your husband does not appear to take his Father's problems seriously enough.

Good luck and God bless! You have to protect those children and take care of yourself first!
Whoa ... I don't care what the MRI says, get that man out of your house.

Where is his gun now?

I am 67 and insulin dependent. If I give myself the wrong amount of insulin I have reactions. Does this mean I should go live with one of my children for $300 a month?!! I don't think so! Maybe there is something else wrong with your FIL. You know what? It's Not Your Fault. You are not responsible for fixing it or putting up with it.
Unfortunately, we women have to take the lead in situations like this. If I were you, I would find myself loving my husband less each time he reacts so casually to the abuse your FIL is sending your way. I would simmer inside and eventually this would erode my marriage. Your husband has no idea because he is a victim of abuse, and probably in denial.
You have two small children, and they come FIRST, not you, not your husband, and certainly not the FIL. Is it beneficial for the kids to be raised in a home filled with supressed anger and unresolved conflicts?
You are in danger, too. Get help for your FIL, then seek counseling. Get those grievances out on the table and get some air. I'm speaking as a woman who was a single mom. If you supress your anger, if you continue with no support, you will put your kids at risk.
@jeannegibbs- I was curious as to whether this is problems for a insulin dependent diabetic or if it was so much more. I'm happy to hear that this is not a norm. I've never dealt with a diabetic until him.
The whole situation is completely toxic. And unfortunately we are also about to move 4 hrs away. I'm working with the dr to get him declared with dementia so that I can get him out of my house and in an assisted living center. I've realized that while I have dealt with my childhood issues, my husband has not came anywhere near beginning to handle it. It just sucks because we were so happy before all this. We have been through so much and I would feel like crap to lose everything we have now to his father and this whole situation. His whole family does NOT CARE. I'll let y'all know if it works out. Thank you all for your support. I thought I was out of line in my thinking in this whole situation. It's good to know I'm not alone on my views.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support