So defeated. I met the love of my life two years ago and moved across the country to be with him. He lived with his father, but I understood this to be because he was single, and that we were going to find a place of our own to raise a family and grow old together.
Once here, I slowly began to realize that this wasn't going to be the case. This house is my husband's childhood home. It looks like it, too. His mother passed in 1993, god bless her, and it is like a museum of her. She was what I would call a light "hoarder" of nick nacks. They clutter every shelf in every room in the house, undusted and untouched since her death, random, ugly adhesive stickers mar otherwise pretty sliding glass doors with no sense of decorating rhyme or reason. Carpets are filthy, even her headbands, matted with decades of dust, still hang from knobs on my father-in-law's bathroom wall.
This is a house from the past, a house with a LOT of ghosts. My boyfriend has recounted horrifying things that happened here throughout his childhood because of his mother and father's turbulent relationship. It is amazing how those same horrible screaming behaviors seem to have gradually found their way into OUR relationship as well over time, when this is not the way I am and NOT the way I like to live.
My father-in-law has a rare blood cancer but is doing fine on that front. It is a mostly dormant cancer that will likely not affect his longevity. He demonstrates occasional dementia but is a very intelligent, highly-educated man who reads the NY Times every morning. He is 84.
He wakes up every morning and heads straight to his chair, expecting us to bring him a glass of orange juice and a cup of coffee while he reads the paper. We are mainly responsible for providing and serving his meals, and taking his dirty dishes. He can do these things, mind you, it has just become a sort of expectation of his.
He also feels that this relationship consists of the three of us, or rather he and my boyfriend as the primary, me as the third. At least, that is how I feel. My relationship with my boyfriend has deteriorated over time, a huge factor being that we continue to live here. There is no real privacy except to retreat to my partner's small childhood room and close the door. I feel like I am in a prison!
We now have had a baby, who is 8 months old. The baby lives in the little room with us!
My father-in-law is so stuck in not moving forward. He won't let me remove the nick nacks to modernize the house or make it a cleaner place, everything is a throwback to the 60's and 70's (orange couch) but it won't ever change and he is thrilled with it. He hates the baby's swing, bouncy and other things being out in common areas yet we have no visitors and sometime these things save my life as a new mom. He likes to "position" himself in different areas that provide the best vantage points to the most places in the home so he can see much of where anyone goes and see what we do. He tends to watch shamelessly, which I consider nosy and rude. He honks his nose when he blows it, which is all the time. He passes long, horribly watery sounding gas in front of others and I am expected to have zero reaction out of politeness. I am supposed to care for him and his medical matters. I am supposed to solve every problem he works his way into. He is almost completely deaf yet wears hearing aids that scream feedback throughout the house. You must yell until you are hoarse for him to hear you. He is. ALWAYS. HERE. Always watching. Hyper-vigilant of the baby. The second he sees our baby even fuss, he over-reacts (not good for baby to get used to) and gets upset at me. He has antiquated notions of child rearing and inserts his opinions where they are not wanted (no, I am NOT going to stop breastfeeding at 6 months because you make a face and say that seems like "time to stop").
Did I mention that I moved here from my own home? I never would have come if I knew my life would have deteriorated to this.
It has been two years! Although I really love him, I am finding myself starting to resent my father-in-law for what I see as the obstacle to my relationship, my happiness, my freedom, etc. That seems so wrong and unfair to me (for me to blame him) that I am considering ending my relationship just to get away. I know this is all stemming from the frustration of the circumstances and would subside if I had my own place. I just don't know how much longer I can do this.
My boyfriend and I are engaged. We are also expecting another child. His father has guilt-tripped him into staying here, or else my partner has some serious underlying issues related to his family and this house.
Either way, the time has come to go in one direction or another. This is consuming me. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

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So your fiance gave up his business to take care of his FIL? You're still throwing your FIL under the bus without acknowledging your fiance is a big part of the issues you have going on. If he doesn't understand his first priority is to you and your children, he's fully enmeshed in a co-dependent relationship with his dad. We just went through this with another poster who's significant other lived with his father and was totally enmeshed in his life. She didn't want to face the truth about her situation either.

Get some couples counseling immediately. Or live with the mess you two adults have created and have pulled your child(ren) into. I'm old, but I just don't get the having kids out of wedlock when you've got all kinds of crap going on. You've created your own victimhood by having children without a good relationship set up with your fiance in your own place and a clear understanding between the two of you what your boundaries are with his father.
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What would I do? I'd move out NOW. I'd talk to Social Services for help in finding a place and some aid until I could get on my feet. The fiance will have to pay child support. Then, from outside the museum, I'd offer to go to couples counselling with daddysboy and see if this relationship can be saved. I hope so.

I can't imagine why you had children in this situation, but since you did your responsibility to them comes first.

Good luck.
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You are the only one who trapped yourself. You have no job and two children to raise. You cannot leave the state with his children without permission or you face arrest. You will not get custody because you have no means of support.
Do not blame this on an old man in an old house. Do not portray yourself as a victim. You are an adult and the first thing you need to do is admit you make bad decisions.
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You have placed all of the blame and discussion at your FIL's feet. Where is your fiance in all of this? He's a grown man and father. Why is HE living this life? And why are you having two children in this set-up? You have now put yourself into a difficult situation and limited your escape route with two children to support. If your fiance is happy where he is, you need to get out and get away. If he's not happy, then you need to work together as a unit to create the life and living situation you both want and deserve. And that's not with your FIL. Let him live in the past.

You have a child and another one on the way - those are your first priorities. Fiance is second and FIL is third.
Helpful Answer (9)

I am old fashioned myself, I believe that parents should be the head of household, you cannot raise your family under somebody else's rule. You and your fiancé need to (1) go to city hall and get married, what are you waiting for (2) assuming fiancé has a job, rent a small apartment and start working your own way up in life. Dad will get his own OJ and coffee. For now he is mobile, he does not require live in help, he may eventually need help or he may die quickly in his sleep. Nobody knows, you cannot worry about this.

Tell fiancé the mother of his children needs to be his wife and he needs to be the head of his own household his childhood days are over. Unfortunately with a baby and another on the way you are not in a good position to better your own life you need to depend on your manchild fiance.

You are no longer a young unattached woman who can make unwise decisions. You are the mother of 2 children, you need to act in their best interest.
Helpful Answer (9)

You have received some excellent advice. Perhaps you should think about it while you clean up the house. 20+ years of dust? Seriously? For crying out loud'll be lucky if someone doesn't call Child Protective Services on you. You and the boyfriend seem to lack common sense and you are having a second child? Get your act together before you get any more screwed up.
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Hopelessdil (I'm sure you're not, by the way) - have you read a book called "Cold Comfort Farm"? It's a comedy, but it's about sweeping a whole new broom through accumulated tradition and superstition and letting in the fresh air. Give it a go.

You are the broom. And you are a broom with two little broomlets to nurture. Without being brutal, without being monstrous, start sweeping away all that dust. Transfer pictures to a place where they can be seen and explained to your children. Ask your FIL to tell you about them. Take useable items to a charity shop, where they can do some good. Take actual rubbish discreetly away, without comment. Put treasured items on a shelf for treasures. Bit by bit, sift and clean and polish. That house will look very different to everybody in it once you've got parts of it sparkling.

You are the mother of this elderly man's young grandchildren. You have a right to assert yourself as part of the household, and you will benefit him by shifting attention away from his late wife's memorial and on to his future legacy.

You don't have to do this overnight. Little by little is fine. But don't start with the "if only I'd known…" bit. Too late, chuck, too late. You've taken this job on, you're stuck with it, so you might as well make the best of it. Good luck, and come back often to vent.
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Ok, they are talking about me when they say 'we just went through this with another poster.' Let me tell you what's different about me, though. I am financially independent and NEVER would consider moving in with my BF and his dad. That is just asking to have your independence taken away, especially because you have no means of income, should you want to escape the situation.That is THEIR house and you are only a guest (so to speak) and you better know your boundaries and not upset the daily routine that they have established decades ago. Old people don't like change. They want to hold onto the good old days and act like the wife is still there or may come back. Hence, the reason the house hasn't deviated since the wife's death. And they still do things that they think would've pleased if she were still alive. I know...kinda crazy. Also, they may expect you to be the repacement of the old man's wife. I kind of felt that way with my BF. Sometimes I feel like my relationship is with the 2 of them instead of just my BF. When his mom was alive it was like they were the 3 musketeers. It was like they were looking for a replacement for the missing musketeer. Not this chick! 3 is a crowd in a relationship!

My BF's dad's house is like a shrine to his mother, although not quite as bad as what you are saying. The house has the same decor---1960-ish, although the carpet has been replaced due to wear. Her bedroom closet and dressers have not been touched except for the cleaning lady to dust them. Heaven help you if you go within 3 feet of the china cabinet containing her prized fine china! His dad keeps 12-year-old jars of canned tomatoes in the root cellar because they were the last one she canned b4 she died. Some peole just can't let go. I feel that she did everything for them and they were too dependent on her. Therefore, they were totally lost after she died. They try to keep the house up exactly as she would've as if she was going to be upset with them if they didn't. Trying to please someone after they are dead????? Strange. But there really isn't anything wrong with honoring them in this way, I guess. I would say your situation is extreme, though.

My motto.....never get yourself in a situation that you can't get out of. And the fact that you have children with this man has majorly complicated matters. Always, always, always have a back-up plan. I know it's too late for that, now, but teach your children this. I am teaching my daughter, for sure! Never allow yourself to be financially dependent on anyone. You said you feel like you are in prison. I felt the same way in my 1st marriage. Independence is the key to freedom. It's the key to escaping the misery if things don't turn out like you thought they would.

I was lucky enough to be able to move back in with my parents after my divorce, go back to college, and get a very good-paying job sothat I could support myself and my daughter. I now have my own home and I'm financially independent. Is there any way you could do something similar? You may qualify for a government grant to pay your tuition. Worth looking into. Other than that, I don't know what to tell you, exept that you need to get out. However you have to do it, just do it. Best of luck to you.
Helpful Answer (7)

We need a little girl talk here. Hopelessdil, you are where you are now with two children (one on the way) and a boyfriend. My advice is to get your head out of the sand and your feet out of the air, gf. Get out there after the baby comes and get back on your feet. Mothers work now, and you are too young to age in place. If your boyfriend/father of children wants to come, fine. If not, go to court and get child support for your children. I hope that you and your children's father can work this out together, but life as it is now is not tolerable for you and the kids.

Sorry if this was even brasher than pstegman. Older women need to be honest with younger because we've been through these things already and know how badly things can go.
Helpful Answer (7)

Dusty, go read Matthew 7: 1-3. Or try Luke 6:37. Please.
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