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The dreaded Mother-in-law

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  • The dreaded Mother-in-law

    My boyfriend and I have lived together since February of 2015. We have plenty of problems of our own but this is regarding his mother. She is divorced and lives half the year up north with her older son and half the year in the south with us. I was not told that she would be living with us like this. As a matter of fact, I was told that no one ever came to even visit. This makes year 3. The first year, she only stayed for a couple of weeks. The second, she stayed from October to March. This year, she plans on doing the same (October to March). She has a lot of secrecy surrounding her past which already sends up red flags. If your kids don't even know about who you are as a person and you refuse to tell them that just screams "I can't trust her" to me. She is in her 70s and has had open heart surgery. She also has arthritis in her hip and uses a cane. She has very poor hygiene and smells most of the time. She will put on make-up but won't brush her hair when she goes out and passes rancid smelling gas without care. I've seen people around us get sick and look at us disgustedly. She also insists on riding the motorized carts everywhere we go and she runs into end caps, people, us.... you name it. I feel really bad for her but I have no experience caring for the elderly. I've never even cared for children. She is impossible to talk to. She butts into every conversation and is constantly telling us what to do and how to do it. I do all of the cooking and then have to clean up by myself too. All the while, she is constantly questioning my cooking methods because she and her son worked in restaurant for years. She gets visibly and verbally upset if you try to disagree with her and she guilts us if we want to go anywhere without her. We haven't spent any time together since she has been here and it was the same last year. When he comes home from work, he eats, showers, and then spends the entire rest of the evening with her. When he is off work he always asks her if she wants to go with us if we go out and of course she always says yes. She doesn't spend any time in her room. She insists on watching "her" shows which takes up every hour of the day including game shows and soaps. She says she doesn't mind watching our shows but she sits on the sofa with a "bored to death" look on her face if we try to watch something else. We have a tv in our room and I've tried to get my boyfriend to watch tv with me in our room but he feels bad about leaving her in the living room alone. I've begged him to make time for me but he always gets upset and tells me that if I'm not happy I should leave. When I try to leave he stops me and tells me he doesn't want me to go. I have to go out today to pay the bills for the week and I know she'll want to go with me. An outing with her alone is so exhausting and my boyfriend doesn't understand why I'm tired because I'm not working outside of the home right now. We also have several pets that I pick up after. I just feel so overwhelmed and guilty for not being the type of person who can handle all of this gracefully. I would never tell him that his mother can't come stay with us because if she were to pass away I would feel horrible that my boyfriend didn't get to spend that time with her before she passed away. It also horrifies me to think that she may pass away at our home. I've suggested living elsewhere while his mother is here but my boyfriend insists he doesn't do "long distance" relationships. Since I've been out of work (6 months planned so someone would be here with his mom) we've been having financial problems. She has been insisting that we allow her to help financially and we have been allowing her to buy the groceries this year. Afterwards, she sits in our home with an aire of superiority as if she owns the place. I'm currently looking for work even though we hadn't planned for me to go back until she goes back up north. I don't trust her with my pets. I saw her kick one of my dogs last year. I told my boyfriend about it and he ALWAYS makes excuses for her or refuses to believe anything bad about her. I'm so overwhelmed and feel like I'm expected to be available and strong for everyone else but none of my needs other than food and shelter are being met. I guess I just need advice.

  • #2
    This is an impossible situation. She obviously has a source of income, since she volunteered to buy groceries. Where did she live before she started staying with her children?

    You are already steeped in resentment, and it will only get worse. Believe me. My advice to you is to tell your boyfriend that you're going back to work and will save enough money to get your own place. If your boyfriend values your relationship, he'll put an end to this hideous invasion of your lives.
    "What lips my lips have kissed and where and why I have forgotten." ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

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    • #3
      She doesn't need full time care so why did YOU agree to not work for 6 months while she is staying with you? Since you don't even like her I am surprised as to why you would do that? If your partner thinks someone should be with her at all times , then he can stop working or arrange full time care.

      So what if she has arthritis and had open heart surgery?
      She probably has 20 years left in her as a result! So stop thinking she is going to die anytime soon lol.

      How soon did you move in with him ? I'm guessing too soon and about 6 months in? Was his mother a regular visitor before you met him? Who did he live with before you?

      Is she essentially homeless?

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      • #4
        When he comes home from work, he eats, showers, and then spends the entire rest of the evening with her. When he is off work he always asks her if she wants to go with us if we go out and of course she always says yes.
        Your 'boyfriend' is an enabler.

        Leave and get rid of the two of them from your life if after discussing boundaries with your husband and him backing you up about them he fails to agree or he agrees but fails to inforce them on his mother.

        There is NO OTHER solution. He enables her to be the intrusive, smelly thing that she is and you enable them both by accommodating the bs. Leave or get the rules and boundaries in place so you can tolerate her for six months. ...


        we've been having financial problems
        and you not working is bloody ridiculous. Sorry but you asked.
        Last edited by phasesofthemoon; December 2nd, 2017, 01:37 PM.
        "First off, welcome to the Relationship Forums, You'll come to understand that I don't pull any punches when giving my opinion/advice and I hope you're not so sensitive to what I see as the truth of the matter." Me!

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        • #5
          You are living with a man in an uncommitted relationship. The point of dating is to determine whether you are compatible. Within eighteen months of living together you've learned that your boyfriend cannot set reasonable boundaries with his mother (a mama's boy) nor does he have the backbone to protect your relationship.

          Is the kind of man you want to spend more of your life with?

          The issue is not whether you are a good and kind enough person for not wanting to be a caregiver for the elderly. The issue is whether your boyfriend values your relationship enough to treat it and you with respect.

          Without making a commitment to you, he is now expecting you to commit 50% of your waking hours to the care and accommodation of his ungrateful and self-centered mother. Would you let your mother intrude on your relationship and criticize your boyfriend's cooking or other skills? Would you let your mother parade around your home as if she were the queen bee? Not if you respected your boyfriend and your relationship?

          It's time to sit your boyfriend down and have a little talk. Something like,

          "...Honey, I love you, but this is not the life I signed up for. Within 18 months of living together I've become the primary caregiver for your mother. I understand that you feel obligated to care for her, but we aren't even married and should be building OUR relationship. Your mother could live for decades more and having a roommate for half the year is not the life I want.

          I am willing to work with you to find other arrangements for your mother, but it has to be done by mid-January (or whatever date you want to put on it). If that isn't done, I will be moving out on January 31. Whether we can continue a relationship at that point will have to be seen...."




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          • #6
            When you moved in with his, were you consulted on the matter of his mother living with the two of you half of the year, every year?
            No, you weren't.
            When starting a relationship, did he inform you that his care for his mother would always be in first place, above any relationship he will have?
            No, he didn't.

            This man is not an adult. He's a child who can't seem to say no to his own mother. He has no boundaries or notions of what a healthy mature relationship looks like.
            I'm not saying a couple can't choose to work together and take care of an elderly parent, but this should be a joint decision with mutual understanding of the roles and responsabilities each partner will take. And either partner should have the freedom to refuse to bring this kind of stress into their private home and into their relationship.

            I say tell him that he needs to be a man, and step up to his role as your partner first of all. You two should be a team, make team decisions and stand united. When one of the team members feels disrespected by an outsider (his mother), the team stands together and faces her, and gives her the boundaries she desperately needs.
            If he is unwilling to do so, get out! This man is not the man for you.

            You can't control the waves, but you can learn to surf

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