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My family consists of my wife, my 3 young children, myself, and now my father in law. I've shared the story before, but as a reminder my in-laws moved in with us and my MIL passed away from kidney disease within 6 months. It was traumatic for everyone as she refused to take care of herself and also refused help. My wife still feels guilty for not saving her so she is trying to do it with her dad. We have discussed simple rules like keeping his room clean, not spending money, not eating in his room etc, but he does what he wants. My wife has now assumed her mom's role by not holding him accountable, and doing everything even though he is able bodied. We fight, at times, and I feel powerless because my wife is unwilling to talk about anything related to her dad. As a perfect example of his lack of respect for his daughter and my family, he had secretly decided to marry a woman (less than one year after his wife of 40 years died) and move her in without telling his daughter. He was going to do so in order to help this woman to become a citizen. This brings with it an expectation that my wife and I would be supporting him and this strange woman that he met once. My wife overheard all of this on a phone call, but she won't confront him and continues to make excuses for his behavior. I hate the dysfunction and have lost all compassion for a man that continues to choose himself over my wife and children. How do I keep my marriage as I am losing my ability to tolerate the nonsense. I am beginning to feel that leaving will be better for my children because at least they'll have a normal life half of the time.

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I understand what SueC1957 is saying, but I don't really agree. Sue married a Mexican husband and moved to Mexico, which is a long established tradition in our culture of wives following their husband. You married a Philippina wife and she lives in the USA. She has made a decision to marry an American and go to another culture. Putting your husband before your father is part of the culture she needs to accept.
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JStatus Jan 4, 2019
Finally, someone has said what I have been thinking. I'm just asking for compromise and an acceptance that my culture is different and should be honored just like hers
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If you were to leave do you think that would make things normal for your kids half the time? Or would it cause more dysfunction?

You said that you've had fights with your wife over this but have you ever discussed the situation? You said your wife refuses to discuss anything regarding her dad. That's a pretty immature way to behave. What I'm wondering is if your wife knows how miserable you are and that you're thinking of leaving. She needs this information but not as an ultimatum, as in "If you don't move your father out of here I'm leaving!" More like, "I'm really unhappy and I don't want us to continue to live like this. We need to make some changes."

Breaking up your marriage should be your very last option because a divorce reverberates for years and years, especially for the kids. The situation with your FIL has solutions and options that ought to be explored before you pull the cord on your marriage. How about bringing in a 3rd party such as a minister or a therapist? Take some of the air out of the tension at home and hand over your issues to a counselor. Seeing a counselor once a week for 6 months is much easier on everyone than hiring a lawyer and filing for divorce.
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JStatus Jan 3, 2019
As a product of a messy divorce, I know that it isn't the best option. However, I am bitter and am trying to work through it. The hardest part is that I feel like a 3rd wheel. He refuses to speak English around me or the kids even though he can (tagalog) and lies incessantly. My wife complains but blames me for everything because she won't confront him.
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If I understand your situation correctly, your wife moved her parents in with you because her mother was sick and her father just stuck around after his wife died. If that's true, then there's no earthly reason why your FIL cannot move out.

It is your marriage, your family, and your home; therefore, I urge you to stand up to your FIL and do so ASAP. Tell him directly that you will help him find new living arrangements because the current living arrangements do not work for you. Do not let him disrespect you, your wife, and your children in your own home.

Leave the sham marriage for a green card out of the discussion because his behavior was bad long before your wife overheard his conversation. Should he have the audacity to bring a stranger to live into your home, immediately usher them out the front door, drive them to a motel, and drop them off to fend for themselves. You can drop off his belongings the next day. (Just make sure he has any medication he needs.)

I didn't go through your exact situation but I understand your anger. My in-laws pushed way beyond the boundaries of respect with me and my husband. And I learned that anger left unspoken and unresolved festers, turns into resentment, and increases your stress hormones, which leads to all sorts of disease. It's just not worth it, if you ask me.

There are many living arrangements for old people. Efficiency apartments. Communities for seniors. And many old people have huge houses and empty nests and rent rooms out to make some extra money. Your FIL needs to be around men his age.

A good marriage is built on communication, and your wife seems to lack that skill. Maybe it's time for a crash course. Ultimatums don't work but a clear message of "enough is enough" may snap her out of her funk. I doubt she's happy with the situation.

Do you love your wife? Do you believe your wife loves you? If so, save your marriage and your family. Good luck!
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JStatus Jan 3, 2019
I do love my wife. Thank you for your post!
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JStatus, what a tough situation. I get what you're saying about your FIL basically
trying to turn your wife into HIS wife. I think you're correct in this observation.
My father did same to me, even started calling me by my mother's name. Many
men of our parent's generation used women as servants and expected to live like
kings in their tiny tiny kingdoms. And some, like your FIL, are expert in guilt tripping and manipulation to extract the service and resources they feel entitled to.

Your first priority should be to each other and your children. Your wife is unwittingly abusing your children by allowing your children to witness her exploitation and the constant disrespect your FIL is displaying to your family.
Personally, whether he gets married or not, I'd find a way for him to move out
and live elsewhere. Find out whatever funds and services he is entitled to and
get him settled. Then leave him to it. He should never put this decision on you,
but your wife and children should come first. This terrible example of exploitation
and disrespect, not to mention the unrelenting stress, should not become the
cornerstone of their childhood.
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JStatus Jan 3, 2019
You hit the nail on the head. I am expected to stand by and watch and support because she is my wife. My wife has basically said this to me and I merely want an unemotional discussion about reality and options. I'm not the type of person to remain quiet when I see harm being done to my loved ones. I grew up in a dysfunctional home and left as quickly as I could. My wife now has to live her childhood all over again with all of the responsibility and no support. It's the expectation that we all support him that bothers me. My kids are being lost in the shuffle...and so is my wife.
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JS,
I am a (female) American, married to a Mexican citizen. We live in Tijuana, Mexico (for the moment -soon to be Puerto Vallarta!) So I'm familiar with the inter-racial problems of biracial couples.

I'm not claiming to be an expert on the Filipino culture. I've worked with a lot of Filipino nurses in my 40 year career and have had Filipinas as friends also.

In my humble opinion, you are pushing against a centuries old tradition of taking one's parents into their children's homes. That is probably why your wife refuses to talk to you about the possibility of him leaving. It would be a HUGE insult (in her eyes and in their culture) to ask him to leave. It is as though it's his right to be there. The children almost revere their parents, so I disagree that you will have to "make her understand your desires and get him out". It ain't happening-at least like that.

I would suggest that you (and she, if agreeable), talk to any of her brothers and sisters, to arrange for him to move in with them. She will NEVER throw him out but would probably agree if he moves in with another sibling. This is just part of the culture. She may use the excuse that she feels guilty because she couldn't "save" her mom but, in reality, it is EXPECTED that the girls in the family move their parents in with them, especially if they are widowed. But, if there are no other girls, there is nothing wrong with moving in with a son and his wife. It is almost unheard of for an elder to live alone.

If you were a Filipino husband, she would not have this problem with you. You would understand the "pecking order" and that one's parents are the "royalty". I'm sure she can't quite understand how you can have such a radically different idea of turning away a parent, even if she was born in the U.S.

I have faced cultural difficulties also regarding my husband's family but never about anyone living with us. I love my MIL but we would never get along living together.

About counseling....since your wife is doing what she thinks is right, you may have a hard time convincing her to go. I also don't think counseling is as accepted in the Filipino culture (not to air one's dirty laundry), and so she may be reluctant. She may be thinking you just want her to go to counseling so they can change her mind.

Your wife probably does not understand why you would think about abandoning her and your children for something as simple as your FIL living with you. While you can't change her mindset, you CAN set boundaries in your own home. UNTIL you can get FIL out of your house and in with your wife's sibling, you need to put your foot down on what is INTOLERABLE to you BUT pick your battles wisely.

Good luck to you with this problem.
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JStatus Jan 3, 2019
Thank you for your response. You are right on with your comments regarding tradition and custom. I have to decide if this is something I am willing to live with because I just don't view life in that way. Our attention needs to be on our children. We, as parents, are supposed to build up their lives, not burden them with a responsibility that only suits the needs of the elder. They didn't choose to be born...maybe I just lack compassion, but I will never ask my children to care for me, nor will I expect it. They have their own lives to lead, so yes I am having difficulty with the reverence aspect.
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Different scenario, but we moved mom in with us a few years ago. She is a stroke and cancer survivor so required a lot of care. I was similar to your wife in feeling the responsibility to take on her care due to guilt I personally felt from taking her away from my father (due to mistreatment). I felt her world had been turned upside down, that she deserved better so let her consume my life....at the expense of my marriage. (It was so easy to slip back into my childhood role of caretaker.) My husband and I had several conversations where I pushed back and made excuses. We finally went to a marriage counselor and having an outside neutral party explain to me what I was doing to myself as well as my marriage was key. I still struggle with immense guilt as we have now moved mom into assisted living, but I was not seeing anything from my husbands perspective until we went to a counselor. Please dont give up on her and your family. Push hard for outside help. It is very hard to be caught between the relationship with the parent and your spouse/children. Good luck.
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You know sometimes I think things were better when "the man of the house" made the final decisions for his family. And the wife went along with it.

I think you need counseling. An impartial person and not a Minister. That may get into "honor thy Father thing". Your wife needs to set boundries. Especially with this woman. You and she have a right to not allow a stranger in your house. Plus, if the marriage is based on a greencard, I think the government can investigate the reason for the marriage and stop it from happening. They need to get a license and questions may come up when filing.

You and your wife have to stand together in this. You need to sit down with him and look him in the eye. Wife needs to tell him she overheard his conversation and moving a "new" wife into your home is not going to happen. If he wants to remarry, they can rent an apartment of their own. You refuse to have a stranger living under your roof.
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I am so sorry about this series of events. I hear your frustration and anger. It sounds like your authority as an adult has been side-lined; your f-i-l has used his personal power to arrange things to his liking.
Now: what are your options?
You have many. I recommend you make a list. Keep adding to the list until you have a strategic plan. You may need a wise friend or counselor to help you think this through.
You have a clear case of boundary issues here, and re-establishing healthy relationships will take time and work - and your wife will have to be involved. But the place to start is with yourself. You are clearly a patient man, but you have your not-unreasonable limits. And that's ok. Be clear and true with and to yourself. Then you will be ready to speak and work out a solution.
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JStatus Jan 3, 2019
I am trying to be patient for my children. If they weren't in the picture, I would have been gone. I just need my wife to talk openly and eliminate the defensiveness.
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If he were to bring a woman here from another country, he would be financially responsible for her for 10 years, no matter if the marriage lasted or not, 10 YEARS!

There is no way in hell I would let her come to live in your home, and he needs to go live on his own, no if, ands or buts! It's time to put your foot down as head of this family,

Set a date, help him to find a Senior apartment and DO IT!
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LeoNine9 Jan 5, 2019
Absolutely correct.
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If FIL speaks Tagalog, I guess that your wife is from the Philipines. In Australia, we have plenty of such marriages, as with a neighbour of my late MIL. It was followed up by a fake domestic violence allegation, which gets special treatment in terms of residence. My MIL was really upset to find that she had been made a part of the fraud by inviting them around for a meal, with lots of photos ‘proving’ that it was a real marriage. The other common story is the bloke finding that there is a child back home that now has to come and join them, then other family members to support. Admittedly, the ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’ background is less usual, though it probably hit the spot in Broken Hill. There are a lot of Philipina wives in regional Australia (and of course many happy marriages too).

However this probably also means that your wife has a very strong cultural upbringing to obey parents, so this is really hard for her too. Someone more cynical than I am willing to be might suggest that your wife married you for residence, and has always been more loyal to FIL than to you. Could you find a Philipine counsellor who might have ideas about what cultural strings you could pull yourself?
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golden23 Jan 3, 2019
We must have cross posted Very good idea about a Philippine counselor.
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