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I married last year. My MIL had been living with my husband, but she was having a house built, and was supposed to be going to stay with someone until she could move in, so we would have our privacy as newlyweds. Well, “staying with someone” ended up with her at our home all day, and only leaving at night to sleep, until she decided her poor back really needed her own bed and she stopped leaving at night. Then she decided she didn’t like the new house, and told the builders to keep it.


It’s been over a year now, and my husband says she’s still planning to move, but there were no good homes for sale in the area, and now with Covid she isn’t even looking. I hate living here, MIL runs the house, and my husband gets mad if I even mention trying to tell her anything. I feel like I’ve got to hide away in another room all day, and she’ll still come find me in there. Her friend also comes over all day, every day, and they have loud conversations and watch loud tv.


I’ve tried telling my husband how unhappy and uncomfortable I am with the living arrangement, but he’ll just say he’s sorry I’m unhappy and won’t try to make any changes. He says she’s in poor health and we have to be nice. Though if I mention how if her health is so bad, maybe she should look into senior living, he says she’s a strong, capable woman.


She’s only in her 60s, and her own mother is still living (in a nursing home) in her 80s. I didn’t agree to live with another woman in the home, and I certainly can’t go on like this for another 20 or 30 years. I don’t want to leave my husband, but what can I do to let him and her know that this is an unacceptable way to live, besides packing my bags and leaving? The way things have gone so far, if I tell my husband it’s me or his mother, I’m not sure he’s going to pick me.

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So, in his 30s, he bought a house and found he couldn't maintain it on his own. He brought his mother in to be his housekeeper, rather than paying a once a week cleaner, the way lots of folks do.

He dated you for 4 years before (reluctantly?) making a commitment to marriage and ?kids?

He tells you mom is moving out but she doesn't. He says he is sorry you are uncomfortable with the situation, but will not allow changes.

What makes you think this man is going to do anything but use you?

Does he want kids? If HE does, then you tell him no dice until mom moves out.

Frankly, it doesn't sound like this guy has any desire to make YOU happy. I would move on. Go see a therapist on your own.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Listen, DH and your MIL CHANGED THE TERMS OF THE AGREEMENT they both made with you when you married him! It's not acceptable for your MIL to live with you, as you did not agree to that when you said "I do" and now, you DON'T. Period.

Your husband has a choice. He can man up and be your husband, or he can stay a little mama's boy and take care of his mommy and they can live happily ever after, together, in the same house. Two women under one roof = disaster.

If he chooses his mother, get out while the getting is good. Otherwise, you're facing decades of life under HER roof and HER rule. I would say, for me, that's a deal breaker. If it's a deal breaker for you, then lay down the law.

If not, figure out how to make it work for the three of you. For me, three's a crowd.

Good luck!!!
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Reply to lealonnie1
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I think that you married with an agreement that hasn't been kept. Your husband clearly understands your position but has chosen your mother. Now the choices you have for yourself are your own, and can only be made by you. At 60 you are correct. She may have 40 years left.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Maybell, I am an only child and a son. I brought my mother to live with us twice. Both dismal failures. I didn’t have to get the ultimatum, but it was close both times. Here are your husband’s priorities: 1. You 2. Your children 3. His mother in that order. He may be avoiding the fight he knows will come when he tells Mom she is leaving. Screaming, yelling, pointing the finger at you. He will have to stand his ground. I did it last at 70 years old, my mother 96 now and happy in assisted living. Tell the boy to get his priorities right or you are out of there. Then do it. All your questions will be answered. My mother can still recite the priority list with me. You took no vow regarding his mother.
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Reply to Richard41
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I read some of your answers to other's questions, and honestly I'm shocked you have been able to put up with this for a year. I wouldn't last a week.

Your MIL *knows* she is invading privacy and yet she still has not moved after a year!

Already you are feeling that she is aware that she is causing marriage issues, yet it continues. Like some sick mind game on who has the most control over the man child.

LEAVE HIM. If he is like this now, and she is like this now in her 60's when she is a capable woman I can't imagine the nightmare she would be down the road, with your man-child husband falling right in line with what SHE wants.

I'm really sorry Maybell, but you deserve better.
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Reply to ExhaustedPiper
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katiekat2009 Oct 19, 2020
You are right. This is a game to MIL to prove her son loves her best.
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Pack your bags and get the h*ll out.
I was in similar situation except the 'other woman' was his daughter-in-law who welcomed me with open arms and took all the good things I offered her & her family the first few years and then, the manipulation of my husband began. She stopped allowing me to see the grandkids (2 little girls I had known since their births), 'forgetting' to include both of us in school & sports activities, walking away from me in public and so forth. Neither my husband nor I had changed one thing about the way we treated them yet she decided that I was unworthy and, I believe, a real threat to her eventual inheritance and took it out on both of us. We attempted several times to discuss the matter as adults but she wouldn't show up so my husband took to going to their home without me (I found out later) to see his grandkids, for dinners, etc. to which I wasn't invited. We began living separate lives within the house I had turned into a home for our blended families and it was the saddest place to be. Long story short...2 years of this, solo counselling because he refused to attend, and I was done. I knew that, if asked to choose, my husband would choose the DIL because she controlled his ability to see his only grandchildren and my own children told me to 'get out of there' so...tho packing up was difficult because I had adored him & loved deeply for 8.5 years, driving away from that town was the easiest drive I've ever made. I'm back in the city near my own kids and grands and thoroughly enjoying my life.
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Reply to Cincin500
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Who’s paying for her life? Does she contribute to the household? I’m sorry your husband is totally spineless where his mother is concerned, but the sad fact is he’s already chosen long ago and it’s mom. I hope you’ll both seek counseling as a last hope to save your relationship. He’s not hearing you as things are
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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Is she a freeloader? Does she contribute anything to your household? Does she require any caregiving?

You're in the beginning years of a marriage which might be doomed. Try counseling, but also be aware that it might not work. Once you find out for sure that your H won't put his foot down and make his mother live elsewhere, the sooner you start a new life, the better.

And don't bring any kids into this!
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Reply to CTTN55
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Maybell Oct 16, 2020
She does contribute, she pays some utilities and does a little housework, though she also keeps the house in a huge mess. She’s in poor health, but doesn’t require any more care than the average older woman, like she may need help moving heavy items.

It’s crossed my mind that we should probably try therapy, or at least talking to the pastor at our church. I don’t know if my husband would go for that; he hates for anyone to know any of his business.
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I'm so sorry you're going through this.

I'm also equally sorry to say that your choices are somewhat limited. Stay and be miserable, leave (temporarily) and hope your husband comes around to your way of thinking, or leave permanently.

I know what I would do in this situation. But I'm not you, so what I would do isn't really relevant.

But I want you to look at the very last line you wrote and think about it. Are you really willing to be married to someone that you aren't sure is going to put your needs ahead of his mother's?

My daughter once asked me how I know my husband was "the one". I told her he was the first man I was ever in a relationship with who put my happiness ahead if his own.

You deserve to have such a man in your life.

Even IF you give him an ultimatum now, and even IF he acquiesces, how much longer until there's another issue in which your happiness comes way down his list of priorities and you have to make yet another and yet another ultimatum?

Your dilemma has somewhat less to do with caregiving, and more to do with your spouse caring about you. Only you can decide how much you're willing to put up with.

I hope whatever you decide, you can find the happiness we all deserve to have in our lives.

Good luck!
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Reply to notgoodenough
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My biggest regret is that I did not leave my husband in the early years of our marriage. His adultery gave me every legitimate reason to leave.

In a way, your husband is giving what should be yours (attention, affection, time, companionship, respect, etc.) to another woman, his mother. I don't think we should limit the definition of adultery to sexual intercourse with someone other than your spouse. In my opinion, any time a man gives to another person, in particular a woman, what should be devoted to his wife, he has committed adultery.

You said in one reply that he doesn't want people outside the house knowing what goes on inside. That is always a big red flag for me. I hid what went on inside our home until Dec. 2017 (believe me, the revelation was that pivotal that I can tell you almost to the date and time of the first time I spoke honestly to someone).

You need to put space between you and your husband and his mother. Whether you pursue permanent space or temporary space is something you will have to decide. But don't allow your future to be stolen by this situation.
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Reply to graygrammie
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