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Last year my mother in law came to live with my husband and I and our 8 year old daughter, she was living with my husbands sister before but she left her husband and they sold their house and his sister has had minimal contact with my husband or his mother due to her new lifestyle. My mother in law is so dependent on my husband she is 74 he has to take her to the grocery store, he cuts her hair, he has to take her to all her doctor appointments and he even goes in the room with her even though she has no problems communicating, it’s just because she is so dependent on him being right there with her, she doesn’t offer to help out with any bills, anytime we go get something to eat we pay she never offers to pay for her meal. I feel like we have another child. We have no privacy, it makes it harder on me cause I work from home and he just doesn’t understand. She treats him like he’s still a kid and I told him she needs to realize he’s a 45 year old man not a 5 year old. It drives me crazy when she says “ good night sleep tight” and I know it’s because everything else is just building up. I just wish she could get her own place and let us have our home back, am I just being petty?

Wow, this is really difficult. You're being unfair?? Umm, NO. I would turn that right back on hubby. He is being totally unfair to you.

Are your finances separate? You said he doesn't ask you to pay for anything. If so, ask him to pay for an office for you so you can "work from home" in peace.

My MIL was in assisted rent senior living. They figure out what the senior can afford and that's what they pay. Her rent was only $200.

If hubby does not want her to move out, then he seriously needs to set some boundaries. Maybe, if he will listen at all, you can shift tactics and try to get him to be on your team and together you can set boundaries and make some changes to make this more practical while you are stuck this way?

You guys need to go on some dinner dates ALONE. His mom needs to go to some things with people her own age. Easier said than done, no doubt but it sure would be helpful.

She needs to contribute to the household, both financially and with chores. Maybe have her pay the X bill? Electric? Cable? Something to help out.
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Reply to againx100
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Lola, what a difficult situation for you! Unfortunately, it's not an uncommon one on this site.

Maybe the next step is to broach the subject of marriage counseling with H? If he refuses to go, then consider counseling for just you. The counselor/therapist should help you plan next steps for you and your D.

Do you do her laundry, change her bed, cook for her? Does she do anything for herself? I see a huge chance for mission creep as she gets older. Since she gets $1900/month SS, there's a nice little sum she should have to use for getting her own place after a year of living with you, yes?

Can you financially swing your own place? Because unless H becomes more willing to place you and your D first, I don't see this marriage continuing. Best to find out if it's possible, and that is why marriage counseling should be considered.
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Lola2012 Jul 14, 2021
Thank you for your advice on my situation, no I do not do her laundry or change her bed she is fully capable of doing all those things that’s why it’s so hard for me to understand why she needs to be here with us. I do most of the cooking my husband cooks some too, but we buy the groceries and when my husband takes her to the store she will buy “her” groceries which is the things she will eat for lunch, and her snacks and certain drinks she wants and what she can keep in her room she will. But when I buy groceries I buy enough to make sure when I cook meals there is enough for all of us. I just think it’s rude how she does that, I am respectful enough to know if you bought food or drinks I’m not going to eat or drink them all and I would not allow my daughter to do that either. But when I told my husband how I thought that was rude and I said I cook dinner and I include her how would she feel if I didn’t? He just tells me he doesn’t understand why she does that and she is 74 she’s just set in her ways. It’s just excuse after excuse when I say something. Thank you again for your advice, it helps so much!
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No-one seems to agree with me except OP, so I’ll continue to give a different slant on this. OP, if you think there is any point, I’d perhaps contact ex-SIL. Perhaps people in the family and on the site don’t think that having an affair and splitting the marriage is an OK thing to do, but there’s a lot of it about. ‘Grass is greener’ is the flip side of ‘the grass here is dying’. A quiet word with SIL could give you more information that is very relevant to your situation.

My own unfortunate experience is that marriage counseling is not going to work if one party has clearly made up their mind – and OP’s husband seems like he has. However MIL is a woman who may have made her own best choice, but may not be totally clear about the downside for all involved. She may not realise that a second child’s marriage breakup is on the cards.

There are similarities with dismissing an employee. Frequently the employee thinks that the personal conflicts aren’t their fault, and doesn’t realise that their job is on the line until it is spelled out very very clearly. I wouldn’t assume that she won’t consider seriously a blunt summary of the situation, no matter how she reacts initially.

OP, if you are afraid of a row with MIL and DH, and don’t feel strong enough to stick to your guns so that they simply have to take you seriously, then don’t talk to MIL. However there certainly IS going to be a row before there is much chance of MIL leaving, and an even more certain row if this breaks up your marriage - whether or not you have gone through marriage counseling.. There is no ‘nice’ 'non-confrontational' way out of this.
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I am very sorry that you are dealing with all of this crap. Sounds miserable!

As much as you disapprove of your sister in law’s behavior, this isn’t her fault. You may have legitimate reasons why you don’t care for her ways. I can understand that you felt like blaming her for all of this, because now you have your MIL in your house now.

Yes, your sister in law had an affair and left her mom with her husband, Was her son in law mistreating ‘mom’ after your sister in law left? Most likely your MIL was driving her daughter crazy also. I am NOT justifying her behavior in any way.

Sadly, your husband offered to take his mom in. You were caught off guard, and of course, you now wish that you would have told him not to allow her to move into your home. Would your opinion have made a difference to your husband?

So, how did your husband come to the conclusion that you are being unfair to him? Just because he is doing everything, doesn’t mean that you want her under foot. She is interferes in your lives. Your MIL is so manipulative that she is insinuating that you have poisoned her innocent grandchild against her. That’s low!

As others have mentioned, tell him that marriage counseling is the next step. If that doesn’t work, you will have to start thinking about separating, since he isn’t placing you before his mom.

Again, I am sorry that your life has been turned upside down by his mom’s presence in your home. Hopefully, a therapist will open his eyes to the situation and she can go into an senior living apartment. Many of them have shuttle buses to the doctor, grocery, pharmacy, etc.
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First off, I would NOT go speak to your MIL about any of this; if you do, you are likely to be forever villainized as she & DH will gang up on you as The Bad Guy and Meanie! This isn't about 'paying her way' to continue living with you.........but about getting OUT of your house & into a place of her own, imo. She can easily live for 2 more decades, with DH waiting on her hand & foot the whole time and her chirping, "Good night, sleep tight" every night of those 20 long years if you don't get your DH to see the light.

Marriage counseling is a good idea, imo, so an objective third party can tell your DH what you've been trying to tell him but he's too blind to see: that three's a crowd in a marriage and 2 queens can't rule the roost. He's a grown man & doesn't need his mommy there usurping his privacy & wrecking his marriage. If s/he can't get DH to see the light, then you'll have to decide if you're willing to continue on with the marriage under HIS terms or not.

You're not being petty at all. You signed up to marry a grown man and live an adult lifestyle together, not to be the third wheel in your own home with mommy being #1. She's 74 and perfectly able to live on her own and even join a senior dating site to develop a whole new life independent of her 'little boy'. She deserves her own life and YOU deserve your own life with DH. It's definitely not asking too much to live in the marriage you signed up for. The ball is now in DH's court.

Wishing you the best of luck standing your ground.
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MargaretMcKen Jul 14, 2021
Yes it’s possible that if you do have the come to Jesus meeting with MIL, “you are likely to be villainized as she & DH will gang up on you as The Bad Guy and Meanie!”. That’s the row that you have to expect. But if that’s the only reaction 'forever', it certainly will make the position quite clear - this is what you are facing for a couple of decades. At least then you have a clear choice about what to do.
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If your husband sees no problem, then he's the problem.

I seriously doubt you're going to make him see any sense in this, and if you manage to get Mom into her own place, he's going to resent you.

Insist on marital counseling, if you even want to try. Set an appointment, and if he won't go, go yourself. Get your legal and financial ducks in a row before you make any drastic moves, but be ready before you pull the trigger.
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Reply to MJ1929
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It might be a good idea to have a ‘come to Jesus’ discussion with MIL, just the two of you. Tell her that she has taken over your house and your husband, and that you are seriously considering leaving him (and her). Tell her that she should be paying her way if she continues to live with you, and she should arrange to meet her own needs for trips outside the house. Tell her that your husband’s comment is ‘it’s not fair to him’, but in fact the situation is NOT FAIR TO YOU or your daughter. Tell her that she may well live for another 20 years, and you are simply not prepared to have the problem in your own life for 20 years. Be quite blunt that she is breaking up your marriage.

There will be a row, but nothing like the upset that comes with separation and divorce. You aren’t risking much by bringing it to a head. It may make things better, or perhaps make things worse, once the first row has died done. It should at a minimum make everyone’s position quite a bit clearer.

You might also point out that if you do leave, the house will have to be sold anyway. She won’t just inherit everything as the new Queen!
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I suggest you and your husband need a non-interested 3rd party/therapist to mediate. Husband needs to open his eyes; his mom isn't that old and unless there are cognitive or medical or financial conditions that prevent her from living on her own in IL or AL. Mom should be doing something useful - your husband is making her more and more dependent.

Take the time to write down the issues you see; what you want to see; what you are willing to accept. If you an husband can't have a non-judgmental, calm discussion then get a mediator, therapist involved. If mom starts paying her way at home would you accept husband always paying for her meals out. What can you live with? Is mom being out of your home what you want and only what you will accept?

Ground rules and boundaries need to be set. What does MIL do while you are working? What does your child do while you are working? Does MIL contribute to the housework, laundry, cooking. It doesn't sound like she drives - why does he take her to the grocery store? Can't she go whenever the family shopper goes? If she does none of the above - what does she do with her day?

I do understand him going in with mom into the Dr's office. Whenever I asked my parents what the Dr had to say it was always "I think he/she said ..." To know what was going on I'd go with them - Dad never asked questions and really hated that I'd ask questions especially if I had more than 2 to ask.

Take a deep breath and do your best until it resolves. Try and stay peaceful to not negatively affect your child.
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Your husband is disabling his mother. And I bet the reason SIL is having minimal contact with Mom is because she probably did have something to do with SILs marriage breaking up.

If Mom has no health problems, 74 is not old. Your husband is disabling her. If she collects SS then she can pay for something in the household. Lets say she brings in 1000 a month. 30% of that should pay for rent. Thats how HUD does it. So that would be a little more than $300. Any special food she needs should be paid by her. All her toiletries, clothing, prescriptions should be paid by her. She should pay for her hair to be cut. She can take Senior bussing to Dr. appts.

Problem you have is your DH. He needs to realize he is doing his Mom no favors. She should be as independent as possible. And that she is now "part" of your family and not the center of it. That you and his daughter are priority. Your wishes before Moms. That she doesn't need to go everywhere you do. Maybe you and DH should plan a date night once a week. Can u trust MIL to watch ur 8 yr old?

Early in our marriage I picked up some potted Mums I really liked because it was an unusual color and the only one they had left. My MIL came over and made over how pretty they were. Husband told her to take it we'd get another one. I waited till she left to tell him they were the only Mums that color we can't get more. I think I got them as B/day present for me so I also didn't appreciate him giving them away. Last time he ever did that again. And I found, out as time went on, that me and then our kids were top priority. Yes, he was there for his Mom, no problem, but if we were doing something what she wanted could wait.
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Lola2012 Jul 13, 2021
Thank you Joann for responding and giving me some advice with my situation. She does get monthly SS I believe my husband told me before it was around $1300 a month. I had mentioned to him before about her getting her own place and told him she could get assistance and he just didn’t want to hear that. Her daughter hasn’t spoken to her or my husband cause she was having an affair and they didn’t agree with what was going on so she has just distanced herself since then, it’s such a long story when it comes to his family, his sister has caused so much trouble in our marriage and I feel like I’ve put up with all I can. When I recently mentioned to him that I was gonna leave cause I’m not happy and I cannot live with his mother cause we do not get along and I don’t agree with how she is so dependent on him, he just tells me it’s not fair to him. He won’t even mention her getting her own place. I guess that just tells me where me and my daughter stand. Thank you again for your advice.
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Why can't she get her own place? You don't mention her having dementia or any conditions which would make living on her own impossible.
Even if she does have dementia or health problems, she can live in an AL or an independent senior community.
Your husband has to cut the cord already with his mother. Helping her and being her caregiver is one thing. Allowing her to be completely dependent on him the way a child is with a parent is unacceptable.
I had the same kind of situation with my mother, She was so dependent and used to me doing everything for her that it was like having a little child. My mother doesn't have dementia, but has some health issues and is also a hypochondriac.
I had to put my foot down. I won't accompany her to every doctor's appointment or test. I'll drive, but I'm not going in.
I stopped being her medical secretary who is supposed to have total recall of everything any doctor has ever said to her. Now, I tell her bring a pen and pad to an appointment and write it down yourself. There has been some positive changes in our dynamic.
Someone here in this group put out the most profound wisdom I've ever heard when dealing with situations like yours.

Enabling is disabling.

Your husband is enabling his mother's total dependency on him and she will only get worse if it's allowed to continue. If she can do for herself she must do for herself. If she gets "stubborn" and tries playing the waiting game with you and your husband so things to go back to how they are now, let her do without. Don't give into her.
This is how it has to be or your marriage will suffer. You're not being petty to want your life and home back.
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Lola2012 Jul 13, 2021
That’s just it, there is no reason she can’t get her own place, she gets a monthly SS income there is absolutely nothing wrong with her, there are even times she has driven herself to the store, but my husband will tell me she drives horrible and it scares him to have her drive herself to the store. It seems like he makes every excuse as to why she can’t do anything for herself. I recently told him I was just gonna have to leave cause his mother and I don’t get along and I don’t agree with how things are with her and he just tells me it’s not fair to him, never mentioned her getting her own place, I just know I can’t live like this.
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You are not being petty, but your husband is being ridiculous. He is treating his mom like she is a child, and enabling her to take advantage of you both and your kindness.
It may be time for a 'come to Jesus" meeting for all parties involved, and start laying down some ground rules going forward. You do realize that these rules should have been in place before your MIL ever moved in. That way it would have given her a choice as to whether she wanted to proceed with the move or not. It will be harder now that's she's been spoiled for a whole year already, but not impossible.
Mom needs to grow up and learn that you all have your own lives, and if she's wanting to continue living with you(which ideally she needs to find her own place or an assisted living facility, as she could easily live another 20+ years, and that thought should scare the crap out of you)that she will not only have to pitch in with paying the bills, and buying groceries, but must also start learning to do things on her own, like going to the Dr. and the salon to get her hair cut.
Your husband has allowed this to happen and he's the only one that can make the changes necessary to make this living arrangement work better for his family. Perhaps you need to let him read the responses you get from your post. It may just be eye opening for him. Good luck.
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Lola2012 Jul 13, 2021
Anytime I mention something that bothers me he will say “ well I don’t know why it matters if I do for my mom it’s not like your having to do anything “ or “ I’m not asking you to pay for anything “ he just gets so defensive. And then he will say well your mom ask you for favors and you help her out, and yes my mom does but not every day, but my mom does a lot for my daughter, she barely even talks to my daughter, and she told my husband she feels like I have told my daughter stuff about her, my daughter is a child!! She has nothing to do with my relationship with his mother!! I would never put her in the middle of our problems, now I will say I do think my daughter feels the tension around here and I hate that. But even before my MIL moved in she wasn’t close to my daughter. I know what I need to do I guess I just wanted some input cause sometimes it helps getting an outside opinion.
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Lola, you are not being petty.

You have not completed your profile, so I have a few questions for you.

Why did your MIL move in with first your sister in law(SIL) and now your family? Does she have physical or mental decline? Was it due to poverty?

What discussion was had before she moved in? Were you consulted? Were finances discussed? Did you have a discussion with your SIL about what life was like with her in their house? Was MIL living there part of the trigger that ended her marriage?

I know a couple who had a suite in their home to help pay their mortgage. The husband decided to move in his Dad and does not charge him rent. The wife who is the main breadwinner is not happy about the situation. It has cost them over $200K in lost rent. Yes that was taxable, but also would have paid down a huge portion of their mortgage.

When my son comes home for a visit, my electric bill goes up by $30 per month.

People need to pay their way in life. It does not always have to be money. If your MIL was helping out, doing chores, helping with your daughter while you work etc, that would be a contribution.

You and your husband need to sit down, possibly with a mediator who is familiar with having seniors in the home. You need your concerns to be heard, your feelings acknowledged and you need for privacy in your own home validated. You need boundaries put in place around your time and space. Finances need to be ironed out and stated very clearly.

There are a variety of methods to determine how much a person should contribute to a household. Percentage of income, percentage of the monthly bills, portion of the house dedicated to her and her stuff. You get the drill, there is no one way to figure it out.

Now when dining out, or having an outing that includes costs, parking, admission fees etc, it should be made clear to Mum well ahead of time that she is expected to pay her share. Her meals, her admission fees and perhaps a contribution to gas and parking.

Good Luck.
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Lola2012 Jul 13, 2021
The situation was so sudden when she moved in, her daughter was having an affair so she moved out quickly and so she basically left the mom in the house with the husband ( Son in law) so my husband pretty much said my mom has to come live with us, I felt like I had no say because anytime it has come to his family I’ve always felt like no matter what I say they come first, so that’s probably my fault. But I’ve told my husband look it’s just not working out, I work from home which makes the situation more stressful cause I’m home all day with her, I mentioned her getting a apartment for seniors and he just doesn’t want to hear it, so I mentioned to him that I was just going to have to find my own place cause I’m tired of arguing and I don’t like her being so dependent on him, I think it’s ridiculous, all he says is it’s not fair to him. Doesn’t mention her getting her own place, I guess he has no plans on her moving out. I’m just done with it all, and I can’t go on like this anymore.
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