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Help with future in-laws

Started by Lucylala, December 03, 2012, 01:57:28 pm

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I posted this in the wrong area so I am reposting it:  :P

Good morning ladies, I am glad I found this forum and look forward to hearing some words of wisdom.
I guess in order to get the best advice / feedback I have to start from the beginning. My BF and I have been together almost 2 years and will be tying the knot next summer. We are both in out 30's and would like to try for baby soon after the wedding. I have a son and he has two daughters, one with a disability. There are a few behavioral issues with the daughter with the disability but nothing we can't handle. The biggest issue we are having is with my future in-laws. When we met they were all living with him and completely financially reliant upon him. Neither of his parents work, his sister has a good job but doesn't feel the need or push to be independent and his brother just doesn't seem to care much about growing up. They have all lived with him for about 6 years now which included the last 3 years of his first marriage. His first marriage crashed and burned hard and though his ex-wife stepped outside of the marriage I couldn't help but wonder how much of that was caused by his family's codependence.
As the big day is moving closer I find that I am the one that has to initiate most of the "important" conversations that are needed before marriage. One of those issues was his family. I grew up in a very broken home and with the exception of my siblings, I don't have any family that I can rely upon which has made me more independent than most and I'm grateful for that. He grew up with both parents and everyone is very close-knit which something I admire is.
We "technically" live in two separate households but plan on moving in together this March when my lease is up. A few months ago while looking at properties his family came up in conversation. He told me we have to make sure we get a house large enough to accommodate everyone. Maybe I was being naïve but I assumed that when we move in together it would just be us. When he told me this I was honest and told him I have no desire or intentions of living with his family or anyone else for that matter. Between the two of us we have 3 kids, one with special needs and we have enough on our plate that we can't add supporting and housing a group of adults to that list. I went as far as to tell him that if they are moving in, I'm not and that I will stay where I am. He's didn't like hearing that and said we'd figure something out. Well, his "compromise" wasn't much of one; he suggested that we set aside $1000 a month for his family and his sister and brother can make up the rest. In my opinion this wasn't a viable option either. We live in CA and the cost of living isn't cheap and neither is supporting 3 kids. He became very upset and said I shoot down every option he gives me but the option of everyone paying their own bills was never brought up. Well March is approaching and I am becoming more and more reluctant about not just getting our own place but also about the marriage and kids. His mom is a very nice lady but also manipulates him and financially uses him. She takes his credit cards on a regular basis without his permission and racks up debt but doesn't pay back on cent. His parents are in their late 50's and early 60's and have no health problems that prevent them from getting jobs. His mom hasn't worked in a decade because she was "tired of working" and has since relied upon him and his father for everything. When the father dropped the ball my BF took all the responsibility and now supports both parents. Am I wrong for expecting a little bit of personal accountability from them? Is this a good enough reason to call off the marriage despite the relationship being almost perfect in every other aspect? I really just don't know what to do. I love him dearly and have been the happiest ever with him but this is just unacceptable in my opinion...PLEASE HELP!!


I hope I do not upset anyone with my reply to your post, it is not my intention! asked for advice, and after reading what you have said about the issues, my honest advice is run, do not walk away from this situation, run like the wind.  There are some serious things wrong (in my opinion) with the situation you described.  For one, your boyfriends family is using him financially so they can sit on their duff and do nothing, AND his mom takes his credit cards without permission but does not pay back the debt?  Seriously???  And why "set aside" $1000 a month to GIVE to his family if they have no intention of helping themselves?  And I can promise you that if you do move in together, even if his family does not move in at that guess is they WILL move in after you are married because it sounds like your boyfriend will not tell them no about anything.  The brother who lives at home and refuses to grow up?  Your husband has to also take care of an adult who could take care of himself but chooses not to?  Oh no...I hear what you say about loving your guy a lot, and the relationship is perfect otherwise, but I can almost promise you if you stay in this situation eventually you will see that his family and their needs will come first even if you disagree about it with him.  From your post he I did not hear that he was willing to tell them he was not going to take care of them anymore and they all need to find jobs or other sources of income as he will not be supporting them...please think about what is best for you.  I wish you all the best.  I am guessing the wonderful, wise ladies here will probably tell you pretty much the same thing I just did.  Good luck.   J


What JaneF said.  Kick them all to the curb now.  Apparently he cares more for them than he does for you.  There's nothing wrong with giving a helping hand now and then, but really - these people need to get off their hinnies and get to be self supporting. 


Hun you don't have a future inlaw problem, you have future husband problem.  I wouldn't marry him if I were you.  Run


My comment and welcoming post for Lucylala is under "Help with future inlaws" in Grab Bag.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


 ??? Can't put this any other way. You need to back out of this marriage NOW . You have a clear view of what your future will like if you proceed It will be a nightmare.


Welcome Lucy and so sorry you are in this mess.  I'm sure it is very hard to love someone, who is probably a good person, but being put in an unacceptable position.  I am with the others.  This is so not a situation I would get into.  I agree that even if you could work out the living arrangements up front, it sounds like BF has intentions of continuing to support them, forever.  They are able bodies adults...every one of them and need to be working and paying their own way.  Just the very fact that FMIL will steal his credit cards speaks volumes to me about their ethics and sorry to say this, your BF's lack of boundaries.

I'm very sorry.  I know you want this to work, but until BF decides he wants to stop supporting them, there is going to be nothing you can do.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


Lucylala - I have to second, third, fourth & fifth the above advice.

You are walking into a VERY, VERY difficult situation.  It would be difficult even if your FDH was on your side and a willing participant.  With him WANTING to support them, you are fighting an uphill battle and let me tell you, life is too short for that.

I would also like to point out that at this point, your FMIL has been the "second Mom" to FDH's girls and will likely NOT be very accepting of you as the new "step Mom".  Again MORE problems.

Add the disabled DD to the mix, and you've just upped the drama-factor by at least tenfold.  Because, OF COURSE, FMIL will know how to 'handle' her better than you.

This would be a deal-breaker for me.


I agree with everyone.  Sounds like a lot of heartache and pain for you.
How can even "love" for your man withstand all the drama you will have to deal with.  These people should be taking care of themselves.  It's not your job or your BF but if he can't say no to them, I don't see a bright future for you.

Think long and hard

Sorry you have to make this decision.


I think you answered your own question when you said 'this is unacceptable'. I hope you will seek outside counseling if needed to make the best decision for yourself and your child.  It is hard to imagine this will have a happy outcome if you proceed to living together or marriage and while hard to hear, love is not enough. While it is true nothing is perfect, you are facing a long standing pattern with your man, one which will be very hard to change. Unless and until the pattern is resolved in a way which allows him the freedom in himself to choose a life with you over his family, please do not proceed.  If he is unwilling to face this head on, you have his answer.


Lucy - what do you think he would say if you showed him this thread?  Would he be open to going for counseling with you? 


Thank you everyone for your advice and you all pretty much hit the nail on the head. We have a great relationship when it's just the two of us involved but there is no way we can survive with 4 other adults involved.

Scoop - I honestly don't know what he would say. He knows how I feel about this entire situation and keeps responding to my concerns with "don't worry, it will work" but everything in me knows that it won't. I don't like having a discussion about really important topics without having at least some facts to present so I did a lot of online research and informed him that based upon my readings, his family moving in with us or being dependent on us would more than likely lead to a divorce. All he could say was that his family would stay out of our business and they are great people and it would benefit us all. He pretty much ignored the facts and responded with what he hopes would happen. Between his really difficult daughter with a disability, his family being codependent and his inability to face reality I am really reevaluating our relationship.

I have accepted that if we do get married that his daughter will rely upon us for the rest of her life and though I'm not thrilled about it I am willing to work with that situation. With that said, why on Earth he would think that adding everyone else to our lifetime responsibilities category is a good idea?


So sorry Lucylala.  With his responses, I think you have your answer.  He doesn't think there is a problem because he has been doing for them for so long, it probably seems just perfectly normal to him.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


People come with baggage.  If you can't handle that baggage, the relationship is almost certainly doomed.  Anyone involved with a single parent has to accept the kids along with the parent.  In your case, you have to accept the kids as well as the parents and sibs.  A marriage depends on compromise.  If this issue is something you can't find an agreeable compromise to, I'm afraid it's a big enough issue to wreck the relationship no matter how much in love you are.  Love (romantic love, anyway) most certainly does not conquer all.  It's a tough decision, but better a broken engagement than a messy divorce - especially if you two have kids together. 

Good luck. 


Dear Lucy,
You are between a rock and a hard place, You love your fiance but he wants you to not only bring up his DD's, one of them disabled with behaviour problems. In addition he wants you to live with his FOO and bring your own DD into that situation.
Have you considered that his DM will view you as a source of extra income? How long before she gets hold of YOUR credit cards?
Do you honestly think it is fair to your DD to take her into such a complicated family? She should be your main consideration. Making such a big change to her life now could have long term implications for her.
If you really cannot bear to be without the man you adore, there is another way. Renew the lease on your home, call off the wedding.  Have your fiance visit you in your home. That way he can carry on as before with his FOO.
They will not like it, as they had obviously been hoping to benefit from your income.
You say your fiance loves you, if this is the case, he will agree to your terms. Do not let him move in or the FOO will follow.
Clear boundaries need to be set.
Your only other options seem to be leave him, or do what he wants you to do.
If you want a happy life for you and your DD, please listen to us. Do NOT move in with this family, you will have no privacy, your relationship will definitely suffer. It could turn out to be an absolute nightmare for you and your DD.