Am I being selfish?


I do not have a great relationship with my MIL yet I have cared for her from time to time. She is in almost perfect however plays the guilt card and is desperate for attention from my husband. We live in different countries however he wants to relocate her to where we are and that terrifies me.
I know I'll end up being her carer.
Even if I don't I resent the time she is going to take away from our lives, I hate the fact that hubby will end up popping in daily and spending every weekend visiting, there goes our spare time.
And in this new country she would have no one else and be completely dependant on us.
Am I right to worry? What sort of strain will this put on our relationship?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.


If you are serious about moving her here, find a facility that isnfar enough away to make it difficult to visit her. I defintely would not allow her to come into my home. And make sure you have details worked out before she arrives. Why would she even think of leaving her home and friends. That will be what you will hear about constantly is how she misses her life there.
Helpful Answer (9)

75 isn't all that old. My mother will be 96, next month. Do you want to compete with her for 20 years? My grandma outlived her son (my dad.) If your husband dies prematurely, I see all kinds of problems developing for you. Good luck.
Helpful Answer (6)

Hi Olivia! If I were you, I would talk to your husband and let him know how you feel about not wanting to become your MIL's primary caregiver. I don't think that's something that should be forced on a spouse regardless of whether you live in the same country or not! I certainly would not expect my two sister-in-laws to take care of my mom unless they wanted to even though they are both nurses. It does sound as if you do have a terrific husband that loves and cares deeply for his mom and wants to do the right thing. However, his deep love for you should take priority over his mom, which is why he should never move his mother in with you and expect you be her primary caretaker if it is against your wishes. Time to have a heart to heart, I'm afraid!
Helpful Answer (6)

I don't know if you are talking about US immigration, but a family member would be eligible to immigrate, but the family sponsor must cover all the costs in the first 5 years of things like welfare and medicaid. In other words, you would be financially responsible for not only normal old age needs, but uninsured old age needs. With the cost of health care so high in cash prices, that would be astronomical if anything were to happen to her between the ages of 76-81. That itself would scare me off, even without the horrible idea of losing your husband to his mother.
Helpful Answer (5)

Wow, Olivia!

You do have your hands full with having married mom's favorite son! I know the feeling of not being liked because you took the parent's favorite child whom they had been grooming like my MIL had been doing with her daughter, my wife.

My wife thought that because she had gotten advanced education and a respectful profession as a college professor that she had gained her freedom. Nope, geographically, educationally, and socially in getting married outside of her mother's wishes and parental emotional enmeshment, but no deep down inside emotionally mom was very present and mad did things get bad with the birth of our first child. Mommy dearest ascended like a demon from the pits of hell to dominate everything and everyone because that was her child and she wanted to take and raise him, etc. This all sent my wife into a deep tailspin emotionally and drove her into therapy for years to get her freedom and that God she hung in there and got it. We were all very happy the day of the big change took place. I no longer felt like I was married to more than one person and the boys felt like they had their mother back. Well, enough about my story. I just said this to show that people can get their freedom but it takes a willingness to work and depending on how deep the emotional blackmail runs, it may even take individual counseling.

There are many good men just like your husband who love their wives and their moms, but they are emotionally enmeshed men who on some level with their moms are still emotionally a little boy because the emotional umbilical cord has not been cut.

Why does he pay her bills? Doesn't she get some retirement and social security. Sorry, but you two need some marriage therapy to deal with his mother enmeshment issues. Sorry, but he does not owe her paying her bills! Do you think she might emotionally depend upon him like he's an emotional substitute for her deceased husband? That does happen in some families and lays an aweful foundation for emotional blackmail,, etc.

MIL got him where she wants him with her emotional blackmail. Does he realized he is being blackmailed? If so, he might benefit from some things that are written here about emotional blackmail.

Not long ago there was a person who posted on this site who was dealing with a manipulative MIL who had a lot of control over her son, but they got their act together, got marriage counseling, set some boundaries and got their freedom!!!!

Now what I'm describing is not easy by any stretch of the imagination, because emotional blackmail is a dance between two people. However, the only person who can stop dancing is the one being blackmailed which is the scary part. Until something drastic happens that makes the painful fear of mom being angry at her little boys is less than the pain of needing to deal with it nothing will change because it is such a fearful thing to stop dancing with an emotionally blackmailing mom whose enmeshed emotionally with her son and over the years enmeshed him emotionally to her as his mom. The little boy inside does not want mommy to get angry. He needs an adult to adult relationship with his mom and not an adult to child relationship. There is a huge difference.

I've probably not told you anything that you did not know already or have not intuitively figured out, but I just wanted to validate your concerns and encourage ya'll to have a heart to heart talk about this "mom" issue and go get some marriage counseling.

He does not need to leave his career. That is a major part of his unique and separate identity from mom. Another major part of his unique and separate identity from his mother is that he is married and married to you, his wife whom should be his primary relationship until death do ya'll part. I see not need for them to have daily contact for that only enables continuing her dependency even more. She's is good health from your account, and creates all of this attention getting drama about being sick and going to die. She is one pro at emotional blackmail. The other son does probably see through all of this and choses not to dance mom's dance and thus she doesn't think he cares. Well no, not how she wants him to care.

I wish you the best in all of this emotional mess, but I will make this promise. If ya'll get some marriage therapy to help ya'll deal with his mom issues, because he is going to need a lot of support from you, then the intimacy and I'm speaking here of real intimacy, will increase. It's going to cause an emotional war, but the victory is worth the effort.

Good luck and keep in touch!
Helpful Answer (5)

Ok--once you said YOUR relationship with her wasn't great--a big red flag came up. My MIL hates me, makes no bones about it and basically ignores me at any and all family functions. Hubby refuses to see this. He thinks we should bring her into our home when she gets "worse". I told him in no uncertain terms that if he wants to take care of his mother, I am supportive, but I would move out. HE wouldn't be caring for her, I would. The things that concern you (she'll be needy, use up all his time, etc are absolutely going to happen. (I am not pessimistic, just realistic!) Maybe she would be content at this point to have more phone calls (do you SKYPE or do video chats? Those are more fulfilling that a regular phone call)..have him send flowers for no reason (I do that in my hubby's name) and try to keep the relationship open while keeping the distance. My hubby visits his mother w/o me, as per her request. She hasn't remembered my b-day or Christmas for years. Its gotten worse over the years, not better. I tried and tried and about 10 years ago decided that I did not need nor want a relationship with this toxic person. I encourage my hubby to call her, take her out to eat, spend time with her, but I do not join in. She wants HIM and nothing would make her happier than if I died or we got divorced and she could have him all to herself. Sounds like you have one of these MILs. SO sorry. (It might be telling to say that the BIL doesn't spend time with her and he lives near her--My BIL will come to town to see his daughter and he NEVER even calls his mother.) You are NOT being selfish. Your marriage needs to come first!! Good luck!!
Helpful Answer (5)

From Olivia's description, it sounds like her major concern is there will be no spare time for just them with him popping in everyday and spending every weekend visiting with his mother which is evidently how he lived when they lived near his mother before.

That sounds different than sharing one's spouse with the children from a previous marriage which in my case with my dad was a once a month event on the weekend with some extra time in the summer. Frankly, it sounds more like an issue of balance and wondering who is primary in the relationship. Is this the bottom line of this whole thing Olivia?

Something about this makes me wonder how much of this is his desire to have her there and how much is her desire to move there. Has she even expressed any desire to leave her home and friends and move there?

On the other hand, my other question is how much of this is her MIL once again playing the guilt card on her son because she is so desperate for his attention. Along with good health which she has, I hope she does have some friends of her own. To play the guilt card, she doesn't necessarily need to have said anything to him about moving there directly, but her emotional voice in his head might be leading him in this direction?

I don't know, but Olivia, as his wife, has raised a valid concern from her historical description that raises more questions for me than it does answers.

I maybe totally wrong and I hope that I am, but this sounds very much like other situations that I've read here and seen in my own life where the MIL plays with the son's or daughter's mind in ways that upsets the emotional balance and connectedness of the marriage which should be the primary emotional connected relationship.
Helpful Answer (4)

I think it is OK for your husband to move your MIL to your country. I admire your husband for being concerned about his mother, as I have known many adult children of aging parents that do not give a hoot about their elderly parents, and it is refreshing that your husband cares about his mother. Sorry to say, if your MIL moves to your country you will have to accept it, and also accept that he will be spending time with his mother (which is the way it should be), as he has the right to spend time with his mother. I have also known married couples where one spouse had to accept that their spouse spends a lot of time with children from a prior marriage, and it just has to be accepted. I think if your MIL moves to your country you and your husband could still have quality time together, as there are many hours in a day. If you do not want to be a caregiver for your MIL, hopefully you and your husband could hire someone to take care of her.
Helpful Answer (3)

You are right to be concerned and no there is nothing selfish about having a say in decisions that affect your life. Hopefully your marriage is a partnership where you and your husband have equal say in something so life changing. This is a huge decision that you need to discuss. Keep in mind, even the healthiest marriages can suffer under circumstances like yours, you might want to consider working together with a counselor.
Helpful Answer (3)

Hi all and thank you for the words of wisdom. Just to answer some of the questions that have been asked. The idea of relocating was not hers but my husbands, as cmagnum mentioned its some times not the words used however actions to cause emotional blackmail, she calls him daily and cries that she is going to die at home alone and no one cares. Not so long ago she called when we were on vacation, about 9 hours flight away from her telling him she was sick and thought she was going to die and he needed to be with her, it was just a flu and she was fine that very afternoon. Mind you she has another adult child that lives 30minutes drive away however she says he doesn't care so she prefers my husband to be there. I believe the other brother does care, he just sees through the attention seeking and does not give it power. I have heard her say to me personally 5 times in bed in tears that she was dying so I find it a little boy who cries wolf, however my hubby understandably is terrified and feels he needs to do something.
He obviously loves us both yet he has been told constantly by her I raises you now you owe me, his father died 20years ago and since then he has done everything for her, even whilst abroad, he pays all her bills, organises anything that needs to be done, manages her investments, etc.
I have an OK relationship with her, civil however its helped being 7hours away. She resents me taking her favorite sons (she makes no secret of that) attention away from her. After 12 years she still doesn't write my name on Xmas cards, amongst many other things she does, she prefers I wasn't around however happy to take my help when needed.
Whitney I completely agree, he is a truly good man and wants desperately to do the right thing, I agree he should spend time with his mother however he works 14 hour days, and often weekends, it doesn't leave a lot of social family time. She extremely needy and I fear that she will get priority of time as she will insist.
The only other option is we move back to our home country however that would ruin my husbands career and I do not want to have that happen, he has worked extremely hard.
I have a great life and I just don't like the changes heading my way.
Thank you again for letting me vent, it really does help.
Helpful Answer (3)

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.