Follow
Share

Before we were married, my husband moved in with his mother to help her out with daily tasks. We are now married, and we still live in her home with her.


We are here to help her, as she has had a couple of falls and can’t move both of her arms well to complete everyday tasks. We honestly feel like she wouldn’t be able to do it on her own.


There are some definite upsides to this arrangement, mainly that it is cheaper than getting another place. But, we pay her rent each month to help with costs of things.


She is financially independent, and thinks just fine, her body just isn’t cooperating as much as she’d like.


Here are the issues though;


She gets upset whenever we leave the house to do something on our own together. She will pout, cry, make us feel extremely guilty for wanting some alone time, and this will linger for days. She doesn’t do this when we leave for work.


If if we don’t do something she wants immediately or the way she wants it, the mood starts again and she mumbles under her breathe things about us that I can only guess are very mean. Little things are always a big deal with her and she can’t ever let anything go. And if we ever bring up anything about how we are feeling, she acts like it’s the end of the world. I’m not even exaggerating. As in, in her bedroom bawling and moping around the house for the next week saying things about how she should move into a retirement home since she is just a burden, etc. she, however, can say whatever she wants to us however rude it may be.


I come home from work every night and cook a good meal for everyone, but she hates what I cook. And she makes it very clear she hates it. And, she refuses to eat leftovers, and gets very upset if that’s what we have.


We we moved into her house with her, which means that we don’t really have our own space. I’m not allowed to decorate anything or change anything. I understand this to a point, but I feel like we need some freedom here.


Don’t get me wrong, we love her very much and I am happy to help out, but this is getting worse the older she gets. And she’s only 73.


We we are considering moving out, but I honestly don’t think she could handle it. But, living here is started to interfere with our marriage. We have to walk on eggshells and be careful of everything we say or it will blow up in our faces.


I’m Just at a loss for what to do. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Find Care & Housing
This post is from July and the OP hasn’t been back. I’m sure some of you are bored but can we not revive 3 month old posts?
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to worriedinCali
Report

Move out.  Do not let this ruin your marriage...as it will.  You need your own home, your own space and your own life.  As you can see from my answers on this forum in other areas, letting my MIL move in with us has caused severe issues with our marriage.  The lack of privacy alone is the worst.  I have the same resentment about not being able to be a married couple.  Heaven forbid the two of us want to go to dinner without her.  We hear about it for a week!  I cannot go to the grocery store unless I take her!  I used to be able to go out with my friends for lunches and shopping.  NO, she wants to go and if I go and don't tell her...then I hear two cent comments for days. Get out now.  Find her a good assisted care service to come out to her home a couple times a day.  Believe me...do you really want to spend the next 25 years doing this???
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Wuzzyblue
Report

I get the impression DH is for moving out, correct? You just need some input on how to go about it. He has lived on his own so he knows freedom.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report

Get OUT of Dodge, while you're still able. 73 is way way WAY too young to be pulling stunts of THIS magnitude. She will only get worse as she ages and pull you and your marriage down the drain with her.Just get a place of your own and visit once or twice a week to see what she needs. I love what Upstream said about how she'd rather live in an efficiency apartment that was hers than the finest house that belongs to somebody else. You need to start your marriage and decorate your OWN place now.
Good luck!
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to lealonnie1
Report

I think that the problem is that you did not get it understood BEFORE the marriage what you expected and now you are there there is very little likelihood that this will change. She is only 73. Yes, she can EASILY live another 20 years and those years will not get easier nor she less manipulative. I am afraid that this is a choice you will have to make. I believe that your husband has already made his choice, between you and his Mom, clear. He wishes to live with his Mom and care for her. Doesn't mean that you cannot be friends, but unless you want willingly to be the third wheel here I would make it clear that you need to live your own lives, even if close by and to be of help. It is your choice. Truly, and sadly, the ball is in your court.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to AlvaDeer
Report

This is not workable long-term. She is relatively young at 73. This situation is not fair to you. Home should be a peaceful place where you can be "you", not walk around on eggshells. The stress will ultimately damage your health and your marriage, while mother-in-law cruises on by, getting her way. You must start the wheels in motion to move out. As has been stated, you could move nearby and be available to help. I would rather live in an efficiency apartment that was mine than the finest house that belonged to someone else.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Upstream
Report

I would like to know if she was like this prior to DH moving in with her. He was on his own before.

You will never make this woman happy. You are intruding on her property. Its her house, her say in how its decorated. She probably won't like anything you do. You have taken her place with her son. She can't let go. Time for you to leave if you want a life of your own.

Call Office of Aging and find out what resources there are out there for MIL to take advantage of. Look at some of the ALs in ur area. Some independent living facilities will help with ADLs for a fee. Get ur ducks in a row. In the meantime, don't give in to her. Set ur boundries now and in the future. When you get all the information together, sit her down. Look her in the eye and have DH tell her "Its time for R and me to have a place of our own. This situation is not working. You don't seem happy and we can't seem to make you happy. We will help you as much as we can but we just can't live here anymore." At that point she will be livid and start the pouting thing. Let her go. Stick by ur guns. When she settles down and realizes this is going to happen, then have DH explain the resources available.

"I have found services to help you while we r working. If you don't feel you want to live here anymore, I have found some Independent livings and ALs where they do most of the work and you just enjoy the activities."

This will not be easy. This all needs to be said by your husband. Do not expect her to ever like you. Your the one who took her son away from her. And don't expect for her to take advantage of the resources available. She will try to get husband to do it. This is where ur husband needs to stick by his guns. "No mom, can't cut ur lawn, but u can afford to pay someone" When she whines he then says "if upkeep is getting too much for you maybe time to sell and live at an independent living where u can get help." Do not falter, because once she thinks she has broke thru the barrier she will think she has won.

In the meantime, set ur boundries with MIL. You have a perfect right to tell her that you don't appreciate the way she talks to you. Or, "I will do that for you when you can ask nicely" Never raise your voice to her, say everything calmly. When she gets pouty, just ignore it. Don't try to console her. She is acting like a child, treat her that way. Walk away from any negativity.

My MIL said all kinds of lies about me. I was divorced with a child! She was sweet in front of people but told lies behind my back. I stopped going to her house alone because she twisted what I said. We had one big blowup after 5 years of marriage. My husband stood up for me. My FIL always liked me. After 8 yrs of marriage to her son, they moved to FLa where she stayed 22yrs even after his death.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report

Rlaker1, here is one thing to do, step into Mom-in-law's shoes for awhile to get an idea on how life is for her. Getting older isn't easy.

I am going through that now as I am now in my 70's. It can be downright frustrating at times. Things I could do back 5 years ago, forgetaboutit, it ain't happening now.

Has Mom-in-law had physical therapy for her arms? Could be the muscles have tightened up and need to be stretched out. Yes, it can be painful but worth it once the arms are back to normal.

As for eating, I have recently noticed that some foods that I use to like just don't taste the same. That is normal. Is Mom-in-law able to cook? If yes, have her do something she really likes and share with the rest of the family.

As for Mom pouting when you and hubby go out, just remember Mom can't just hop in her car to meet friends at the mall. In fact, probably many of her friends have moved away or have passed on.

If Mom-in-law is able to budget to move to, let's say, Independent Living which runs about $5k per month, depending on the area. She might be happier there being around people closer to her age. Some IL places offer weekly housekeeping and weekly linen service for the price. And 3 meals each day. But at her young age, that money could run out at a time when she really needs it for Assisted Living or Memory Care.

Any chance you could move out but move nearby and stop over to help with certain chores?
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to freqflyer
Report

Start planning your move, then get your own place. Your MIL will adjust, if needed she can hire a caretaker to check on her. This is your life, the only one that you will ever have, live it! You are too young to dedicate your entire life to her. I am 72, live by myself, with my two little dogs, I drive, I socialize, I grow orchids outside...I do just fine and she will to. You do not have the power to fix her, to make her happy. Prepare yourself, she will pull out every trick in her bag, to get her way, she is well trained in how to manipulate.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to DollyMe
Report

Your MIL is now 73. She has no mental impairment that you are aware of. She can't move her arms very well to manage everyday tasks - why not? What's wrong with 'em? Any other health issues that you know about?

Is your MIL a widow? When was she widowed?

When exactly did your husband move in with her? Where was he living before?
Where were you living then?
When did you marry?

It is not unusual or unreasonable for an older person (at 73 your MIL is not really old, but she is old enough to be set in her ways and to dislike change) to find it hard to adjust to living with comparative strangers. She is not dealing well or fairly with you, but I seriously doubt if it's anything you've done. She bargained on having her son in her home, she liked that, she doesn't want to share. Well tough! - because he's a big boy and now a married man; but it's always best to try to see where a person is coming from.

When you two go out as a married couple, she feels excluded because she is excluded. Of course she's excluded! - you're a married couple. But the fact that it is as normal as normal gets for you and your husband to do things together as a couple does not make it any more palatable for her to feel like a spare wheel. She feels like that because that's what she is.

Her feelings of hurt and loneliness and fear are rooted in the reality that she is 73 and on her own. For a certain period of time, your DH soothed those feelings by moving in and being the man about the house. But now he has moved on, and you have moved in, and she is going to have to return to the original issue. The original issue is: she is 73 and on her own, and how does she want to lead her life from here?

My ideal scenario, just for example and not based on information, would be that the house is sold, she moves to a retirement community where she can begin again with all the support she needs, and you and your DH include her in your lives as a married couple. If that or something like it is the goal, your and DH's next step is to work together on how to make it happen. But you have to do it whole-heartedly *together*, as a unit. Is he up for that?
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report

How much rent do you pay her? She's getting all sorts of help, yet you have to pay her? Seems like she is getting a much better end of the deal.

Things are only going to get worse. Are you willing to do even more for her? If not, then start making plans to move out.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to CTTN55
Report

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter