How and when to have the "moving out" talk?


We have lived with FIL for years in order to care for him. We now have two children under two. How does one do this? It is such a delicate topic. FIL (85) is very old school, depression era, all of that. He was raised in families where the elders either move in with their children, who take care of their every need until passing, or with in-laws who would visit for months at a time and were catered to during those often multiple month long visits. They are not from another country, that was just the way it was done back then, I suppose. I came into this situation at 38, having owned my own house, accustomed to privacy and being able to have my own space. This has been an exercise in patience and ultimate love for someone else's father. This is clearly his house, it is full of a lifetime of memories, books, and things from his life and his life with his wife. We have made the best out of living out of a guest room, all four of us now, but my husband found a great job and it is time to move on. He told me that we can start looking for a place in late January or February and probably move the first of March. I have waited for this moment for so long. The condition is that dad has to have all of his needs provided for so he can remain in this house as he wishes.
EVERY indication I get from FIL is that he likes this situation (who wouldn't?) and he fancies the future as all of us living together like a big, happy family in his house with his rules, the way he likes it and has done his whole life.
I have two children whose needs, I feel, supersede or detract from his (imagine babyproofing a house, cabinets, etc which we REALLY need to do and expecting someone with severe arthritis being able to navigate those pesky drawer stops, cabinet locks, etc. Anyway, that is neither here nor there, as we are now planning a move for us.
The question is, how in the world do we present it to him? Us moving? He has been absolutely defiant when approached with having interviews with people who can offer to set up different services and take care of him. I honestly think he imagines we are going to live like children in the parent's house and do everything for what could be another ten years. I can't do that. I have babies. I want an identity of my own, and my husband desperately needs to move forward and grow in his own life. We are stunted here.
I know my husband is terrified of this conversation because, the minute his father shows anxiety, he is going to cave. We have done this for a long time, I know FIL is used to it, but we can't put our lives on hold into old age and ruin our children's childhood just to placate his father's anxiety. We won't even move far.
Any suggestions are appreciated. I want him to see the good in it, not the bad. He has been enabled to the point that he feels this time is all about him, we are the kids an he is the patriarch. I do NOT agree. I am an adult and want to raise my family with my husband. PLEASE help me out here. How soon should we tell him of our plans, and how can we break it to him in a way that doesn't destroy him? I am desperate for us to be a healthy family, my husband and our children, and the enmeshment of son and father cannot go on indefinitely.
I feel awful for him but it seems so one sided and unfair! And we would be very close! We just need our space to be adults and spread out with our babies without his disapproval of toys in the common areas or mess or anything else.

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You have to get a grip here. What concrete evidence has your husband given you to believe so strongly that you won't actually move? Or, is this just fear talking?

Untangle from all the complicated family baggage your husband is carrying around and make it really simple for him. WE will not continue living here. This is a certainty one way or another. I hope that includes your suitcase next to mine. We can help solve grandpa's problems together after we are settled in OUR family home. This is not negotiable. Ideally, we all go together. But if you need to stay back, I will understand. The rest of us will be moving though.

And furthermore, I will not have my children warped by living in such a restricted home environment. It's no longer Victorian times where children were to be seen one hour a day and never heard. Children need to be able to play, dance, sing, chase, run, yell, make art, make mistakes, learn to clean up, and do all the wonderful things children do without some old man glowering at them, ruining it. I will no longer squash my children and stop them from being their age. They will have fits. They will sass back and stick out their tongues. So be it.

You have lived in that house long enough to be residents, not guests. Since you are not guests, you will begin living a normal family life effective immediately. Anybody who stays in my house more than 3 days is going to see me in my PJs without a bra on. I might pass gas. I will probably burp. The kids will be kids. I will trim my toenails. This is what normal people do.

If I'm not interested in the 5 part documentary on The Great Button Revolt of 1907, then I will go do something else instead. No big deal.

You & your husband will have intimate time. This is not negotiable. If you are smooching on the back porch and he sees you, so what. Your marriage can not turn into a celibate room-mate arrangement.

Maybe if you and the kids start behaving like normal people, grandpa will be more than willing to let you go.

My advice today is to look at how you might be contributing to the problem by your actions or lack of actions. Adhering to somebody else's rules is something you do to yourself that you certainly stop doing as well as you started.
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Just went back and read your profile. Your FIL has dementia? Dementia is progressive a and requires full time care past the early stages. Who is making plans for this?
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Worried, did your husband grow up in this sort of multi generational household? Did grandad? Is this a family tradition, born of the Depression, that is simply habit?

Does grandad have fond memories of growing up cramped, or is he feeling as though it's finally "his turn" to rule the roost?

The thing is, your husband has to WANT this. It sounds as though he is ambivalent about simply saying, "well, grandad, it's been wonderful being able to share the house with you while the kiddies were little but now, as we all always knew, it's time for us to move on to our own home. We'll be right up the road to help out as needed. Our closing is set for February 1. We're going to miss being here everyday, but I'll bet you can wait to have the privacy to walk around in your beds again.

If this is not something your husband is comfortable with, then I believe you really need to go see somebody who can help sort out the issues. You went into this marriage assuming that you were going to have your own home. You need to find out if your husband supports that assumption
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I am terrified....this almost always never works in my favor. D*MN! Am I allowed to even say that? I think it every day. I will update but I am so, so sad that it will turn in dads favor. I want my life, and my fridge, and my children, and my decor. I just want it! I dont care! I want those precious things. I want to frame pictures of FIL and my MIL, who has passed, in beautiful frames on our hallway. I want it. I just also want peace and a moment to be PRIVATE with my husband!!!! I want PRIVACY! His dad should allow us just that. I want to tear my husband from limb to limb! I LOVE him!
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worriedaboutdad, as you know your children will be growing up quicker than you know.... yikes, imagine them being 12 and 13 and still sleeping with you both in the same bedroom. For your father-in-law safety tell him it is time that you and his son move to your own home, so that the children can spread out with their toys and not have to worry about Dad tripping over the items and getting hurt... that the children really need their own bedrooms, and that you want them in another school district because of x, y, and z.

Now, from what I have read on this forum, for a smoother transition, if you take something away from an elder, you need to replace it with something else. Will your new home still be close enough to Dad's so that you can visit? Tell Dad that you will stop over 3 times a week to see how he is doing and you will bring the children with you. He might be ok with that.

Or ask him if he would prefer to live in a *retirement community* where he is around a lot of people of his age, think of all the new buddies he will make, and they can talk politics, about the different things on PBS, etc. :)

Whatever you decide, hope it is a win-win for everyone.
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Worrried - I think you have to take the personality of FIL into account and what his mental capacity is at the time. If FIL is still with-it and can discuss current events, then he should be informed in advance like any other adult would be. TOLD, not asked. This is important. Inevitably FIL's "what about me!?" questions will come up, and they are not your problem. You can say that he'll need to talk to your husband about that. Take yourself out of it. You have a move to plan.

If FIL is as old-school as he sounds, this ALL needs to come from his son (not you) as the Law of the Land, So Says The King. My mom is the same way. She would hear nothing from me because I'm a woman and what could I know, but when my husband delivered the very same information it was all great thinking and aren't I lucky to have such a man looking out for her! My husband & I get a big giggle out of this. It's what we had to do to get her moved into care, and what we still have to do to explain anything to her. Whatever works. Our relationship doesn't really work like that. It's just something we have to do with mom. I bought & planned a trip to Europe for the two of us several years ago, and to avoid her drama, my husband told her we were going and that was the way it is, like it was his idea and doing. She later asked me "I guess you have to go too don't you?" Gee mom, I guess I do.

Your husband has to know this is coming and understand what his role is. He needs to be prepared to "Be The Man" and stand his ground for his wife & family. You can feed him information behind your closed door so he's prepared, but any kind of decisions or news probably has to come from him to FIL to have a chance. I know this seems very old fashioned and sexist, but I haven't seen an elder like this adapt to modern thinking at this point if they hadn't already.

I try not to deliver instructional news to anybody on my husband's side of the family. We agree X ought to do Y, but it's not going to be me that tells them. I just stand by my man. And hand him cue-cards. ;-)

I have another piece of advice for you - ACT AS IF. After your husband tells dad what's going to happen, you immediately Act As If the future has already come true and that you are absolutely going to live in your own house with your kids, husband, and that's the way it is. It's not up for debate or negotiation.

Start talking about the new house and "when we move". Talk about the way you are going to decorate it. Go to Penney's & bring home their curtain catalog to leave it around. Go to the paint store and pick up the color palette brochures they give away and leave those around. Build up visible and tangible evidence to anyone in that house that you are on the way out.

Hang up a calendar in the kitchen - for the kids of course! Little kids need countdown calendars to know what to expect. (It doesn't hurt FIL either and is another concrete reinforcement of what is definitely going to happen.)

Take hubs with you and go to the bank to get pre-qualified for a mortgage. Go buy moving boxes and tape. Leave those around the house for FIL to see. This is happening and that's it. Go look at open houses, just because. It's an action step that reinforces how awesome moving will be to your husband. He might need reminders. FIL will need reminders as well.

You can remind him of what is coming by busying yourself with move-related tasks he can see. Get your kids a book about moving and read it to them out loud.

If I were in that situation, me & the kids would certainly be moving, with or without my husband!

My mom was in such deep denial when we were moving her to be near us. She was acting as if everything was going to stay the same! Even while movers were putting her stuff in the truck, she didn't really grasp that she was moving away. Not until the moving truck had driven off with her stuff, and it was time to get in the car to go. Good Lord, was there a scene. It was award-worthy. So, you can expect some theatrics from FIL, but just take yourself out of it. Your job is to stand by your man and support his new job and everything that entails.
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I think he is so sweet and just of the character and understanding of old school traditions that he thinks it is the way things work. That he will be so destroyed by the notion of us getting a place of our own. There really is a desire on his part to be the children who sit on the floor and watch his PBS programming, he rents movies on netflix and they are obscure british movies about obscure writers (or the ballet!) and he genuinely wants us to sit, fascinated, as the shows play out (while I hear my babies screaming in the background and he seems uncomfortable with even the most cloaked breastfeeding motions). AHHHHHH. I tend to feel you, looloo, and it leads to huge arguments because I tell my significant other that this is unfair but THAT IS HIS DAD. He lost his mom in a very traumatic way and so he is also on pins and needles about his dad. I love his dad but it is WRONG, in my opinion, to constantly be the Golden Girls in an effort to placate one person. Sometimes the kids have gone to bed, we have more than placated dad, and we are on the patio and have a very rare bit of funny business, and the kitchen light comes on, totally illuminating us in a moment of privacy and I just HATE that. So he can go get more ice cream. There is simply no privacy here for a 4-person family and what they need. It isn't a big house. No way to be private, even if you try. A 40 year-old woman needs better, a 48 year-old man needs better. Our babies need better. And this beautiful man needs the run of his house without shame.
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Of course it "degraded" as you put it -- your FIL doesn't seem to be showing true appreciation; rather, he took all of your good will and exploited it.
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Hi worried, I'd begin house-hunting and planning your move as soon as possible too. Get the ball rolling on your plans, and even if your FIL has a conniption, YOUR plans will be gathering momentum in the meantime. Also, as the living situation becomes more stressful, you will have a "move out" date on the calendar that you can look forward to.
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Sandwich, you should charge by the hour. You nailed it. Can someone tell us, is it better to have the talk sooner rather than later? I absolutely do not want to break it to him last minute, but I also worry about the sooner talk giving legs to the manipulation and anxieties that may prevent it. I worry so much that it will change our plans. Isn't it fair to even be five minutes away and love him and do things for his house and bring him home-cooked meals but MY GOD, not have to live in a spare bedroom with two kids? Especially now that we can afford to have a beautiful place all our own to raise our family? I love him an love spoiling him, but if I don't get my own place soon for my own family so we can have our own roles as adults I am going to die. I can't insinuate myself into another person's idea of what life should be forever. If I don't reconnect with reality soon I feel like I am going to become a recluse and lose everything that ever made me who I am. Also, for those reading, it is far more difficult to do this for an in-law than your own parent. The other person has a lifetime of experiences with this parent that we do not. I can love, and, to be quite honest, it began with unconditional compassion, then degraded over time to conditional compassion, then to patience, then to tolerance, and finally to neurosis.
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