Father-in-law moved in and struggling.

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My mother in law passed away 1.5 years ago and 3 months later my father in law moved in with my husband and I. We have no children. We ended up selling our house and buying a bigger one. My husband is an only child. I am so depressed because the life we had is no longer. I have no privacy and find myself sitting in the furthest part of the house to be away. I regret the decision and my marriage is falling apart. My father in law is 75 and in very good health. I have talked to my husband about my feelings as well as seeing a therapist. My husband is unwilling to budge and think it is unfair to change our minds. I am ready to walk out on our 16 year marriage. My father in law is not a bad person which makes me feel so guilty. I cannot sleep or eat. I applaud my husband for wanting to take care of his dad but he has done so at the expense of us. All of our intimacy is gone and it is very difficult for us to even talk because my father in law is always here. I hate having to leave my own home to have a conversation with my husband. I feel like we are now roommates. All I think about is that as he ages it is going to get worse. I feel so guilty for being so angry and selfish. Before we bought the bigger house I told my husband I don't think this is a good idea and he said the bigger house will give us more privacy when in fact it has caused more of a divide. I feel just sick about this. Even when I look at my husband all I see is his dad... They both are very similar in looks and personality. I am at a loss.

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I notice that you said that you work from home. I am curious as if you get a chance to get out everyday? Before, when FIL didn't live you with, it probably wasn't necessary. Now that he does, it may greatly benefit you to be able to get out, go to lunch, and have some personal space for awhile. You are used to being completely alone every day for a large portion of the day from the sounds of it. During work time, it might help to close the door to your home office so that you can recapture your "alone" time and privacy during the day.

At 75 and in good health, FIL can manage for himself during the day. It sounds like he is still grieving and lonely (which is quite an adjustment!). When my mom passed, it took my dad almost 2 years to get passed that wandering "I don't know what to do with myself" stage. It does get better with time.

In the mean time, I took steps to give him a little bit of the life he was used to (but not too much!). "The yard needs mowing today. Can you take out the trash?" In other words, I wifed him. LOL It worked wonders. And then I slowly weaned him off of it as he got a new routine for himself. I don't know if your MIL did alot of this with your FIL, but it may help some.
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*Just* the lack of privacy, Sunny? That can be huge. It isn't just a matter of closed doors. It's the being 'on duty' 24/7 - being responsible for someone else who will never grow up and leave home, so it's not like with children. It's the niggling question at the back of your mind "who did I marry? You, or you and your father?"

The poor old guy isn't doing anything terrible or wrong. But he's just *there*, all the time, and it's not in the marriage contract. And it's not going to ease up with time, either. If this situation is let alone, who'll be holding the (big) baby when FIL becomes seriously dependent on personal care?
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Have you actually discussed what your issues are with the therapist? Since there is nothing that your FIL does that bothers you, just the lack of privacy, that's not really that huge, since you have a large house, I'd be curious if that is really what the problem is. Have you thought about it? Of course, it's your home and you have the right to live there, the way you want to live, but,.....I'd explore all possible causes just to ensure what is really causing the distress. You said something about how he reminded you of your husband.....
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Oh *bummer*! That he was so glad to be home, I mean. Phew, talk about twisting the knife!

All I can suggest is that you and husband focus first on finding your FIL's next step, and having good, workable ideas to present to him. If the conversation - as in, The Conversation - starts with 'hey Dad look at this isn't it great!' rather than 'Dad. This isn't working...' you are going to feel much less mean when you initiate it, and your FIL will be hearing a positive suggestion rather than an implicit rejection.

And after all, what you want is for him to be living somewhere where he can enjoy a happy life as a free agent, yes? This is *true*! You're not trying to kid anyone! But there's nothing wrong with your also being quite keen on the corollary: that you and your husband get your life as a couple back at the same time.

Oh God, so glad to be back... That must have felt terrible. Like you'd kicked a kitten. Never mind! - eyes on the prize, onward and upward...
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Hi there,
Thank you for your response. My husband did open a bit and said he would talk to his father but worries how he will react. His father is very emotional since the passing of his wife. Our counsellor said that we tend to fragilize people and might be surprised at how he will respond. It made complete sense to both of us however I see my husband is struggling and I understand that as it is a horrible position to be in. (For both of us) If or when the conversation occurs the dynamics between all of us will change. It really feels like a no win situation. My father in law just returned from two weeks away and was so happy to return home. Goodness this is terrible.
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Don't feel bad about wanting your home and your life back. There is nothing incompatible about respecting and loving your elders and wishing at the same time to enjoy a normal lifestyle.

You are not putting stress on your husband. He created this situation - with your willing assistance at the time, sure, but still it was his doing. Just wishing it would go away so that he doesn't have to think or talk about it is not going to work. That isn't your fault.

What did your husband have to say about how he felt? Did he open up at all?
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My husband and I had a fairly nice vacation but strained due to the above. We have started counselling however I am not optimistic. I carry a ton of guilt for how I feel still and the stress I am placing on my husband. Hopefully counselling will help resolve some of this. Sometimes I think just leaving would be easier than putting everyone through this.
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Hello and thank you everyone for your comments. My FIL has no health issues and is financially set up. He did contribute to the down payment of the larger home and name is on the mortgage. He has joined a local senior centre where he goes out to play sports. Outside of that he has no social life. When he moved here he left a city where he had a social network and other family. I did agree initially for him to move here as I felt sad however 24/7 is far different then a two week visit twice a year. My husband and I are going away this week on our own for a vacation and I hope that he and I can get things sorted a bit. We are also going to set up couples counselling when we return. My FIL could easily manage on his own I have no doubt he just does not want to be alone. This places a great amount of pressure on us especially my husband. I also work from home which adds more frustration. My husband works for the government and is Mon-Fri regular hours. When he gets home I try and greet him at the door but so does my FIL... Gives us no privacy to check in with each other. I am so conflicted as the guilt I have for my feelings eats at me. I was raised to respect my elders and I do as well I always treat my FIL with respect mostly by biting my tongue. My husband won't talk too much about it as he is afraid I think to upset his dad or me. We haven't spoken to my FIL but I would be surprised if he could not feel the tension in the house. I am hoping our time away will help us reconnect but I am also mindful that when we return life will also return to stress.
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Shelly, may I ask what health issues does your Dad-in-law have, if any? Why I ask is that 75 is considered young in the world of elders... heavens, he's only a few years older than myself. What was his reason for moving in? That would give a better idea of what is going on.

If there aren't any health issues that would require your Dad-in-law to have someone in place every day, then as others had mentioned Dad probably would do well living on his own, per say, in either Independent Living or senior apartments where the rent is based on one's income.
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I have a big question -- Did FIL contribute anything to buy the bigger house. If he did, you do indeed have a sticky issue. It would be unfair for him to help pay for a bigger house, then to be turned out of it.

I wonder if the house could be adapted in any way to give you separate quarters. For example, I live in two rooms in my mother's house. We share only the kitchen. When I'm in my rooms I have a lot of privacy. My mother usually is in the living room. Staying separate most of the time is the only way it would work, because we don't get along if we spend too much time together.

If your FIL didn't contribute to the new house, deciding what to do will be a bit easier. The thing is that your husband would have to choose between his father and you. That is a tough one.
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