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I am dating a really fantastic guy (early 30s) who is responsible, capable, owns his home, and is pretty much who I'd always hoped to meet - but his parents (early 70s, mostly decent health for their age) live with him. This isn't a problem for me theoretically, but the idea of being a newlywed immediately moving into a home with in-laws involved in daily life is more than daunting, no matter how much I like them. He is trying to structure things for some privacy in the home, but he does not want for them to have to move out, and I am attempting to wrap my mind around this idea to see if it could possibly work.

See, from my perspective, his parents are healthier and younger than many older couples I know who are still able to live on their own, happily. His mother does have several medical issues that affect her unevenly - sometimes she's very mobile, other times has very low energy and moderate pain - but they aren't at a place of needing in-home care yet, as far as I can tell. In my mind, there's nothing unkind or wrong about perhaps asking his parents to live in a nearby but completely separate apartment for the first year of our (possible) marriage, where we could still be available to help at a moment's notice, in order to give us the best chance of starting off on the right foot together. But my BF doesn't seem to see the need for this, and I'm wondering if I'm missing something because my parents are quite a bit younger than his, and maybe I just don't understand yet what that's like.

I am trying to find advice and resources for this scenario, but all I can find is about young-marrieds living with parents in the parents' home, or folks older than my BF and I who already have families and are considering having parents move in with them. Help, anyone???

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Wanted to come back and give you all an update! And boy...wow.

After my last posting here, things got more and more tense with my fiance's parents. His mother behaved in ways that made it clear to him that she would never realize how her inability to let him become his own person would mean that he would now never have her live in our home. This is a decision he came to fully on his own, without me demanding it. He communicated clearly to his parents that we were not only moving into our own apartment without them, but that we will sell his house and it would be up to them to decide what they wanted to do without it being a "family" decision. They would have to live elsewhere.

That was about two months ago. My husband =) and I have been married for three weeks now. Five weeks ago, his father's heart stopped with no explanation or detectible cause, while he was out shopping one day. He never woke up and died a week later.

It was a horrible time for all of us, most especially my mother-in-law, who was already very angry and panicked over her son finally leaving the nest and losing control over the situation, and now lost the man she married when she was very young. She has never been independent and her world has been turned completely upsidedown. She is, of course, still stubbornly hanging on to the idea that the two of us will come around and just move back into our house instead of selling it, but she'll have to see we mean it when it goes on the market next month. She is not without resources, just without the know-how and motivation to use them. We are bringing in as many outside helpers as we can to teach and motivate her.

It sounds like an awful situation, and it is a daily struggle, but my husband and I are very happy together and are continuing the counseling and other work towards personal growth as we figure out how to handle his mother's legitimate needs and grief while refusing to be dragged in to her unreasonable expectations and unhealthy wishes. Every day I learn more that the "yes" I said to his proposal was the best decision I ever made, as I see what a man of integrity and reason and goodness he is. I have no regrets, and I never expected a bed of roses - but it's been far rosier than I dreamed it could be!
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NancyBess, you came on and asked. You got answers. You didn't ignore it. Your fiance is into counseling - in all aspects (including spiritually), etc... You know - per him - that you will be first in his life. I'm not married and I have no plans to marry. I usually run the opposite directions. At first, when I started reading your thread, I was saying run, too. But, you came back and mentioned the updates. I really don't see what more you can do. Life is not perfect. Love is not perfect. Family is not perfect. In laws are definitely not perfect. That's what life is all about.

You go and marry that guy. Whatever happens, it happens. You did your darn best Before you tied the knot. Come on, how many people did what you two are now doing? Not much. Most people say, "I'm in love!" and just Assumes they will be first in the marriage. Ha! And how many men do you know who is willing to seek counseling?

I agree that when you go into this marriage, that you go in with wide open eyes. Other than that...it's life. Congratulations!!
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NancyBess, it does sound like you've really explored the housing issue - sorry to be part of a flurry of negativity :-) I think too many of us here at some point got involved with someone where there were warning signs we ignored and paid a steep price. It's easy to want to jump in and warn someone else - kind of like trying to go back in a time machine and save yourself. But every situation really is different. It sounds like you are being very careful and I wish you and your fiance every joy.
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Run, don't walk, in the opposite direction.
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You sound like you have done your homework. Honestly, when I was dating, I wanted to meet a man who loved his parents, because that suggested that he would reliably love me as years went by!

I think you and he have good heads and good hearts. Best wishes.
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Oh! I didn't see the second page of the comments until after I posted. Thank you folks for your congratulations =).
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Hi again, folks,

Thank you for your care and concern. I was taken aback yesterday by the flurry of negativity after I'd come on here to give my thanks and update, but I realize that you don't know me or the details of our situation. Again, I'll reiterate that none of the questions or concerns you're bringing up have been ignored or unexplored by me, my fiance, and the very involved and knowledgeable advisers in our lives. Without detailing everything, it might ease your minds to know that our initial living situation choice has the following as factors - our mutual desire to begin our married life in a place with no memories but those we will form together; the likelihood of a new job for my fiance that could have a different commute distance from an apartment as opposed to his house; the updating of the main portion of his house (not the wing his parents will be living in for the present - and they do contribute rent, by the way) that will be easier to do if we are residing elsewhere; and the up-in-the-air nature of our future plans. While we would like to live in his house at some point and may move back there after a couple of years or more - either with his parents elsewhere or in the stand-alone wing, if we agree that we want them to remain there - it is also not necessarily the place where we wish to settle permanently.

Whirlpool, with the above in mind, I can say with 100% assurance that my fiance is not putting his parents ahead of me in terms of housing. I am very pleased with our current and future plans, and he is putting my emotional and physical needs first, as explored and recommended by our premarital counselor.

Christina, I have known him for over two and a half years. I don't need to detail for you the entire family situation, but again, please know that is HAS and will continue to be detailed for our premarital counselor and other capable parties. I have been actively and purposefully *not* minimizing any incident, small or otherwise, but as we explore our relationship, all interactions are up for discussion and I feel no compulsion to suppress any of my reactions. Part of why I trust my fiance with all of this is the way he has not shied away from my difficulties or kept from making the changes that have been recommended by the counselor and also eased my mind. His response has consistently been to take a moment to see things from my point of view, take into consideration the wisdom of counselor and advisers, and work through with me a way we can agree to proceed. Since shortly after my first posting, when we began meeting with our premarital counselor and the situation was laid out for him in a way that changed our fundamental approach to the difficulties, he has never communicated to me that the issues are small or only my problem or that it's a laundry list for him to fix in order to win me. We have and will continue to work through our relationship together as a team, and that working through will include how we interact with his parents, my parents, and everyone else in our shared life.

I have no doubt that there are problems I don't even know about yet. But I also have no doubt that there is no assurance I'd have an easier life if I holed up as a hermit on my own with only my hand-picked friends for company. I do know that I have an amazing team of people who not only are glad to see us marry and will give their blessing, but will continue to be involved to support, encourage, challenge, and strengthen us over the short term and the long haul. I am overwhelmingly grateful for their presence and for the man who already loves me well and pushes himself to grow better at it daily.
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NancyBess, as long as you DON'T change your mind in 10 years about this, then it sounds like you're going into it with your eyes wide open. It would be like 'bait and switch' and wouldn't be fair to this guy trying to do what he considers the right thing by his folks if you DID have a change of heart and lay that on him after you're saying okay now. Good luck.
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Thanks for coming back to give us an update, Nancy. I'd love to hear from you again closer to the wedding date.

Congratulations.
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maybe when you get older your mindset changes. right now if i met a nice 50 ish woman i would expect to accomodate her aging parents and would expect her to help with mine. at 30 yrs old i would have felt differently. watching out for our elders when they become frail becomes, as one girl on here so eloquently said it, " one of the many chapters in our lives " . its a proud chapter and a builder of character. im not dissing those who have relinquished their parents to professional care. im sure there comes a time when that becomes the best option.
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Congratulations NancyBessGeorge!

Everything sounds wonderful and realistic. Best wishes!
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You have known him since last year, yes? Have you known him thru every season and every holiday yet? How controlling are his parents? Any siblings? What does he do? ( I hate being this nosy, really hate it)
What are the incidents so far you have minimized in your mind, saying, "no big deal" but they creep back into your awareness, and you wonder but have not voiced it. Only you know what it is. Remember that with every perk there is a cost.
Ok, no more third degree. It's making me nervous. Everyone must learn their own lessons. I'm still working on mine. Best Wishes, xo
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Nancy, that's great that you and he are doing the counseling and exploring the issues. Yet I still feel a caution for you. Shouldn't it be the parents who move to an apartment while you and your fiance start your new married life in HIS house? From the beginning in terms of housing, his parents will be put first before you. Apartments can be nice for the elderly because you have a lot of choice in unit placement and neighborhood, they could have a nice first floor unit in an area with nearby shops and other people around to connect with. It could expand their world a lot actually. Whatever you do, good luck!
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I'm a bit too private to post all the pertinent details that went into the decisions we're making, but please know that there are considerations beyond what I've said, and that we have trustworthy psychological and spiritual advisers keeping close to the situation with us to make sure we are not being delusional. =)
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Eyerish, it mostly has to do with mobility and the type of housing available in the area. It is not a permanent situation. The permanent situation is that he is committed to caring for me first.
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My first reaction was similar to the others: RUN!!!!!

I'm glad he's open to discussing this. So his parents have their own house but are living in his? And once you marry him you'll both live in an apartment? While his parents continue to live in his house? I wonder why his parents don't move out of his house so their son and his new bride can have some privacy.
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I wanted to come back and update you all about this situation... Thank you so much for your advice - it was helpful. My now-fiance and I have gotten onto the same page, which I suppose I can summarize this way - we will rent an apartment elsewhere, while his parents continue to live in his home, while some time passes. During this time, the mortgages on his home and his parents' home (several states further north) will be headed rapidly towards being paid off. After they are, it will be much easier to make plans for the long term. As we go, we are looking at determining the best way of being able to be nearby and caring for his parents when they do eventually actually require care, while maintaining the separateness of the two households at whatever level that needs to be. My fiance is willingly going through counseling to make sure his relationship, and our relationship, with his parents becomes the healthiest it can be. I will be joining in that counseling at the appropriate time.

The discussions and questions and counsel sought and late nights working through emotions have not been easy (understatement, ha), but I have grown to respect my fiance tremendously as he's stretched himself to love and care for me well and restructure the way he is able to love and care for his parents so that it does not make inappropriate demands on either of us, OR leave them high and dry. We've had other wise people involved in the discussions and I have their approval as we move forward with our plans for marriage this fall. It's an exciting and happy time, and I look forward to facing other challenges in life with this man as I'm beginning to see his mettle!
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This is an interesting question. I'm 27 years old, I moved out for a year with my then fiance and it was bliss to live away from home after having lived with and cared for my parents for years. Then my father passed away and my now ex-husband and I moved in with my mom. It lasted about 6 months before he called it quits and left without notice. That in itself is a whole other story but I'm sure the living situation combined with our own issues and him just being an a$$ contributed to the demise of our relationship. It takes a lot of planning, discussions and an overall understanding of ones situation to make it work. It would've never worked with my ex because he didn't have the brain or the heart to do it, he had never even lost someone close to him. I, on the other hand, had a lot of life experience, years of caregiving, education and many close losses.
It is VERY important that you empathize with the situation. I see that you two are on completely different planes and being that his parents are much older you won't be able to empathize until your time comes to have to care for your parents. So, ultimately, it comes down to deciding whether you can handle the living situation. Also, how long have you two been together? Move in with him if you haven't already done so and give it at least six months before you decide anything. You may find in that time that the situation is or is not something you can live with for the rest of your life.
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The fact that you are so concerned about this is a red flag... the comments above are so right... I'm sorry, my first reaction when reading your post....Run Nancy Run....and along with all the other suggestions, find out if YOU will be expected to do long term in-home care for your future in laws....
Please let us know how this unfolds... sending you prayers for a good outcome..
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NancyBessGeorge,

There are some questions you need answers to, like, how did he come to live with his parents? Many people have been affected by the economy, do they live together for financial reasons? And what -exactly- are the financial arrangements between them? When you are asked to share someone's life you do have a right, ahead of time, to all the answers, financial and personal. On the personal side you need to understand their family dynamic. How much is Mom/Dad caring for your possible intended? And vice versa. How -exactly- are their lives intertwined on a daily basis? You said he was working towards separation in the home, well, how separate? Totally separate laundry, kitchen and eating areas? Is the set up like having a duplex, where it just happens to be his parents living sight unseen in the other half?

Some people strongly subscribe to the belief that their parents come before their spouses and children, you really need to know if that the case here. In other cases, the parents may not come first, but will have a strong voice in family matters if the mixed generation family is seen as one unit. Sometimes its a cultural belief and tradition.

What exactly is the deal here? That's what you need to find out and the counselor Fairydust recommended may be a fine place to encounter the answers.
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Danger Will Robinson, danger! Guess that's a dated reference but it's my first reaction. Nancy, I would strongly encourage some pre-marital counseling for you and your BF before you go any further. A man who lives in the same house with his parents when it is not necessary and sees no problem with starting his married life living in the same house with them has not fully individuated into an emotionally separate adult. This is a big issue which he likely is very blind to since he sees no problem with how things are which is why bringing in a third party like a counselor is very important. You are right to be concerned.
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