My wife and I have been married for 25 years. We have 2 adult children in college still living at home. 4 years ago my wife's father moved in with us after the passing of his wife. My wife also suffers from a chronic illness that is very debilitating for her. What I am about to go into might make you think that I am a terrible person for feeling the way that I do, but I feel like I have no support network and no one to talk to, coping with my feelings is difficult, and need to get some things off my chest.
The bottom line is that while our lives have dramatically changed over the last 4 years, I feel that my father-in-law living with us was the trigger that started to tear at our marriage, and continues to hasten it's decline.
My wife is 12 years my senior, she is in her early 60's, I just turned 50. She has had a chronic illness that we have dealt with for 20 years, with lots of highs and lows. When she was down, I was Mr. Mom. When she was feeling good, she was active with the kids and school activities, and we did lots of things together as a family as the kids were growing up. But her health has worsened in the last 2 years to the point where she is rarely able to leave the house and has little strength to do anything other than shower, get dressed, and sit on the sofa watching TV. She sleeps at least 12 hours per day, going to bed around 1-2 AM and getting up late in the afternoon.
Physically, we lost our connection about 2 years ago. She had been going through the motions of trying to maintain physical intimacy for about the last 5 years, and I give her a lot of credit for that, but it was evident that it was painful and taxing for her, and not pleasant for me. We talked about it and decided it needed to be given up.
Her illness also brings with it impaired cognitive ability, or a "brain fog" that almost has the same effect of drunkedness. By the end of the day the fog takes over and I cannot have a serious conversation with her about anything really. She often gets mean with me and accuses me of marginalizing her. As an aside, she does drink heavily (I think), consuming 1-2 bottles of wine per night, but says she does it because she hurts, and disputes the volume she drinks. I gave up trying to talk to her about her drinking because she would just get mad at me.
Now to my father-in-law. He is in his 80's, is physically independent and does not require hands-on care. Since he moved in he has become the center of everything - he is just always there and his presence sucks all the air out of the room. He has little self-awareness or respect for other people's need for privacy. I feel like he has taken over our household and I just don't like being around him. Don't get me wrong - I think he is a wonderful person, I just can't stand living with him. I told this to my wife about 3 years ago, and her response to me was that she hopes he dies soon. I know she didn't really mean or want that, and told her that was a horrible thing to say, but at the time I think she was just in some kind of marriage defense mode and wanting to make me happy. Keep in mind her impaired cognition as well.
My father-in-law does not contribute financially to the household, though he is able to. My wife won't hear of it. Even during a time of serious financial peril last year, I asked her if we might consider asking her father to help out with expenses. She was furious, and instead said that we should borrow money from my parents.
I am also an active volunteer and leader in our community. I very much enjoy these activities, as it gives me a sense of fulfillment, and recognition from others for the things that I do that I no longer receive at home. My wife thinks I spend too much time out of the house at work or volunteering, but I feel that I need to do something that I like because I don't like being at home. I know this is one sided, am I wrong for feeling the way that I do? Should my father in law go? Can my my marriage be salvaged?