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My husband’s Mom lives with us. I did sign up for this. But never in a million years did I think I would be this unhappy about it 3 years later. No privacy, she is always home, even days when I just want to come home and be alone to play music, clean or just sit and read....she is here. My husband and I had only been married 2 years when we agreed to this arrangement. We were both in our late 40’s so we are not young people. Mom was living alone in the home my husband grew up in. Her house was falling apart. Roof, floors, walls etc. She had been wanting to sign the property over to my husband for a few years. So we agreed to do this and build a new house with an in law apartment for her. We found after researching we could not afford the mortgage for this project. The in law apartment was too much. She had agreed to pay rent to us towards mortgage and taxes (rent) but we needed to be sure we could afford it on our own in case one day we didn’t have her to help. We went with an extra large 3 bedroom ranch. Everything on one floor to make it easier for her (she is 75). Her bedroom is on one end of the house and ours the other, 2 bathrooms etc. She had stated to us on many many occasions it would be a great financial arrangement for both of us. She said she would not have to pay for repairs and the cost to heat her fallen down house and we will be able to build up savings by her helping us. Yes, we got the property from her and she gained a brand new home. Sounds great doesn’t it? Not so much. One week after living here she said to us “I have decided not to pay rent, you two will make out better this way” I had no idea what she was talking about. We were both just dumbfounded. I said nothing because it isn’t my mom. My husband didn’t say anything and wanted to see what she meant by that. Well she pays the oil to heat our home. That cost averages about 60 dollars a month. She buys groceries. BUT, she buys the cheapest most disgusting things that we do not like. She will buy anything to save a buck. So we end up buying groceries anyway. We have told her we do not like the stuff she buys but she continues. So now in my opinion she pays 60 a month to live here. I appreciate that she gave us the land (worth approx. 35,000) but when is enough enough? We have surpassed that 35,000 to keep a roof, cable (that she loves tv and WiFi), water bill (that she uses water to shower and do laundry), electricity (that she cooks good things all the time to take to Bingo) . She goes to Bingo 4 nights a week and brags about her winnings. When she loses , that is a different story. We get a moody pouting mom at that point. So she's living a wonderful carefree life. But she is ALWAYS complaining to others that she “has no money” and hates being broke. This woman gets 2300 a month. Her bills consist of 200 a month for health insurance and about 130 for prescriptions. No car payment, no nothing! It all goes to BINGO! I am so frustrated and angry. I do not take it out on my husband (he is on the same page as me) but it does wear on both of our moods with each other. Now the easy thing would be to tell her she needs to get her own place (her health is fine and she can live alone) but my husband out of respect for his Dad (that is deceased) doesn’t feel that is respectful to his dad or his mother to do that. So he would rather suffer and live this way. I do not want to come home from work at all anymore. I find things to do not to come home until my husband is home, we do not have friends over (no privacy), no alone time, she knows all of our business, we cant discuss anything because she is always listening, we do not have a carefree schedule anymore. We did not sign up for care taking. This was strictly a live in situation that was financially going to be great for all of us. So far we suffer and she gets all the benefits. We also found out she has a gambling problem to boot! So now we know where her money goes. So she is living care free and we are lucky to be able to afford to go out to eat once a month. I am very angry and bitter about this. I am not happy at all anymore. I love my husband with all my heart and he does me as well. But this living arrangement is hurting us. There really is no advice any of you can give me because I know this is not going to change. I just wanted to know if there was anyone else here that has a parent with them and how it works out. I am looking for more of coping skills because I can’t change it.

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Jane,  
YOU CAN CHANGE IT.

Why Mom, there is a wonderful assisted living home near us that has in-house bingo!  And the price is close to the amount you were supposed to be paying us for rent!

Explain to Mil that you both will need a second job if she doesn't pay rent as agreed.
And that she will be alone a whole lot.

OR, Mom, we are taking in a second boarder who WILL pay the rent due to us. Can you move into the smaller bedroom?

Or, Mom, we are sub-letting our part of the house and moving away for the winter. Hope you like the new tenant(s).
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"be able to build up savings by her helping us" was the goal.
Time to renegotiate her truth vs. your truth.
If she was a stranger to whom you rented and had a mutual investment, you would be writing asking how to get this scammer, criminal evicted.
Allowing what is basically a gambler to throw that money away is not good for you, not good for her future either.
You have tried doing it her way.
Now, tell her like it is going to be.

Wow, that was really extremely tough, wasn't it?
Since she is family, you will adjust accordingly........
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Marriage counseling and also your husband needs to get a healthier idea of what he "owes" to him mom and the fact that wife trumps parent. Then since she can manage on her own, work on getting another place and another life together without mom.
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Jane it has been three years so It may be too late to got back to the beginning and try to get mom to hold up her end of the bargin.. so it's time for a NEW bargin. Here we go.. hubs and I can no longer afford OUR end of the bargin without you holding up your original words.. so we are going to have to sell this house and move into something we CAN afford on our own. So you MOM need to start looking into other choices for yourself. Like Send said! Maybe this will wake her up.. and if it does get an agreement in writing this time!
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Jane, I think perhaps you and your husband might benefit from some marriage counseling. It's good to have a safe place to discuss important issues like this and come up with workable solutions. And it would be someplace to go once a week!

I also think you need to do some reading about FOG ( fear, obligation and guilt).
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Dear Jane,

I sympathize with you. I hear your frustrations. In so many cultures it is just expected that the son or daughter will live with their elderly parent and go along with their program. Even for myself being a people pleaser my whole life, I failed to recognize how angry or resentful I would feel about so much. By signing over her house your mother in law is now holding that over your heads.

I have to agree that the best option is for his mom to find an assisted living or nursing home arrangement. Its very hard to change someone and their behaviours and certainly not at 75 years old. I hope the counsellor will help in finding a workable solution for all of you.
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No matter what, you can change the arrangement. Be frank with her, state that you cannot afford the house you all live in anymore. Her options are that she either starts paying rent or she moves out, either way, she has to cough up money to live. Remind her that only little kids can get away with living rent free and she ain't a little kid anymore.
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You two need to set BOUNDARIES!
You should have done that the MINUTE she said she wasn't paying rent.
Get a book on how to set boundaries, IF you're still interested in living with her. If not, have hubby go to counseling to get over FOG (fear, obligation, guilt). Tell him he HAS to find a way to be able to stand up to her (and hopefully get her out of your house). If that actually happens, NEVER let her move in again. If she gets weak, put her in assisted living. If she gets dementia, put her in a facility.

You guys are way too young to have your lives (and marriage) so negatively affected. If you let her continue, your marriage will "pay" for it.
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"Mom, we need to renegotiate our financial arrangements." It's very hard to do, and you and hubby have to be on the same page first. Perhaps start with marriage counseling that turns into family counseling?
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Oh, coping mechanisms?
Many caregivers on this forum have a special, even magical helmet that they wear just before they are going to bang their heads against the wall.

Others step outside and sit in the car to scream..(don't drive).

Others have a mental exercise they do to "self-calm" themselves, recommended by CBT Therapists. (Cognitive Behavioral Therapists).  It involves the 5 senses, but I cannot teach it.

You can arrange to meet-up with hubby for dinner out before going home. Talk to him, maybe he works longer because he too doesn't want to come home. You are not obligated to provide dinner for his Mom....yet.
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