Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Should A Parent Move In When Spouse Says No?

Dear Tazi:

My mother-in-law lost her husband (my husband's third step-father) last year and, due to poor financial decisions since, can no longer support the lifestyle to which she has become accustomed. She is not about to end up in a homeless shelter - she has plenty of money - but she can no longer afford to take lengthy vacations, travel, or eat out in upscale restaurants a few times a week as she did before she was widowed.

"Agatha" has complained to my husband that she is "devastated" over the changes she is being forced to make and is "wallowing in depression" since the death of her fourth husband. She has asked my husband if she can move in with us to "save on expenses". Her house has a very small mortgage ($500 a month) expenses are taxes, food, utilities, etc. My husband is all for his mother moving in with us, but I have put my foot down and told him no. I do not think it is right for her to move in with us - free of all expenses, which is her request - so she can continue to live a life of luxury while we scrimp and save. My husband understands where I am coming from on this issue, and he says he agrees with my point of view, but ends every argument with "But this is my MOM!". He seems to have forgotten that I am his WIFE!

Agatha has always been the type to take over and demand that things be done her way or the highway - thus her three divorces from four marriages; all three of her husbands left her and I think the fourth died just to avoid the stress of a divorce at age 75. I know if she were to move in with us she would insist on being the woman of the house and try to usurp my position as mother to my children. I know because every time she comes over she criticizes everything I do, from how I clean to what I allow my children to eat.

Are my only choices to let Agatha move in and live with her, or let Agatha move in while I take my children and move out?

Rock And A Hard Place

Dear Rock And A Hard Place:

You and your husband need to seek marital counseling - NOW! He says that he understands and agrees with your point of view, yet he chooses to ignore what is best for your marriage in order to please his self-centered mother. Yes, I understand that she is his mother but when he married you he vowed to forsake all others for you - that vow included Mom.

Your fear of losing your position as the woman of the house is also understandable. Your mother-in-law is used to being in control, so she may feel it her right to take over the lives of her son and grandchildren. If you are determined not to allow this to happen - even if it means going so far as to separate from your husband - you need to let him know this; preferably in the presence of a marriage counselor. If neither you nor your husband is willing to budge on this issue, might there be a solution in finding a home to accommodate all of you? A two-family house or a single-family home with an in-law apartment are both possibilities that would also buy you time while you looked for just the right fact, it could take years to find exactly the right place (if you catch my meaning).

In the meantime, while you are buying time, Agatha needs to speak with a financial adviser; develop a budget; and learn to stick to it. The matter of her mortgage is important - regardless of how "small" it is; it is still a fixed expense that must be met every month. If she moved in with you, would Agatha be selling her house or renting it? Either way, it would provide an income for her to assist with the added expense of having her live with you. Do not allow her to move in expense free as long as she can afford to pay something towards her care. Once you lay down the rules and Agatha realizes that she will not be getting a free ride she may be more inclined to stay in her own space. Moving in with a daughter-in-law who doe snot want her there would be no picnic for Agatha, either.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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