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'My husband's father moved in with us. I would appreciate advice on how to deal with him.' UPDATED 3X

'My husband's father moved in with us. I would appreciate advice on how to deal with him.' UPDATED 3X


Nothing quite like dealing with the drama of the in-laws.

"My husband's father moved in with us, I would appreciate advice."

My husband (35M) and I (33F) have been living together in a two bedroom apartment for 2+ years now. Recently, his mother kicked his father (70M) out. My husband had his father move in with us into our 2 bedroom apartment.

I was told it would be a few days, maybe a few weeks. It’s been over a month and since then, his father has said that he has no intention of moving out. Important note, his father is on the lease along with my husband as this apartment has been in the family. He has taken over our guest/my office, and other than coming home sauced and trying to “explain” his side, he has kept to himself and apologized.

He has not been paying rent but my husband wants to talk to him about splitting rent three ways. We are stuck either moving out and moving in with his mother, renting another place, me moving back in with my folks, or we buy a house that quite honestly, I don’t think that we can can afford right now.

We live in a major city where costs are out of control. I feel uncomfortable and like I can’t relax. My husband says I am the one most unhappy with the current arrangement. I have told my husband I am considering moving in with my folks for a while and he is upset.

My parents and friends are pressuring me to move out, but feel like I am about to blow up my relationship over what my husband considers to be an inconvenience. I feel heartless by being upset because I know his father is in a tough spot too. Am I being unreasonable and wrong for being upset? And is it bad that I want some space from the issue?

Not long after posting, OP shared a small update.

Edit: Hi everybody. I just want to say thank you so much for all your advice and assistance, you’ve given me a lot to think about. To be clear, if his father was ill or if incapable of caring for himself, it would be a-whole-nother conversation. I fully believe in caring for one’s family and loved ones when they need help, and I hope I don’t sound heartless.

My husband and I sat down and decided that I will move back in with my folks and he will move in with his mom short term. His dad will keep the apartment. I’m heartbroken, we are still together but we will no longer live together for a while. In addition, I feel guilty that I couldn’t be patient or strong and suck it up and just be okay with the set up.

The internet had lots to say.

[deleted] wrote:

Your MIL kicked your FIL out at age 70. It was that bad that after decades (I assume) of marriage, she chucked him out on his butt. The fact that he is coming home sauced and not paying rent is a pretty good indicator that the reason your MIL kicked him out is because she was finally done with his crap. And now that same crap that made your MIL kick him out is now in your home.

I'm also betting anything your FIL is making a mess around the house and causing extra housework and bother that you and you alone are made responsible for. So what your husband sees as an inconvenience is probably in reality a lot of extra work for you. And do you WFH? Or otherwise need your office for a side gig or your job? Then your FIL is affecting your work as well.

You are absolutely 100% in the right for being upset. This is absolutely unfair for you. I would absolutely move in with your parents. Because if you do this and your husband is now stuck with his dr*nk father in the house without you around to take care of the extra work, your husband may very quickly change his tune.

Your husband is one of many many many men who think they can bring a family member into the house and let their wives handle all the mess, inconvenience, caregiving and workload this extra person brings.

OP responded:

That’s a great point, I know the reason (or reasons). I ended up staying with my folks for about 2 weeks after he moved in due to a pre-planned vacation with just my family. It was nice to get away from it.

When I came back, the apt looked ok, but I did end up doing some picking up and re-arranging. I did tell my husband I will do no cooking and no cleaning up after him going forward. And I do work from home in a very stressful position so this has really thrown me through a loop.

The only way to push back on this is to not do or or move out. You said your husband will not push back. So I would move in with your parents. He and Dad can have fun together without you there to clean up the mess.

[deleted] wrote:

It is monumentally entitled for your FIL to move in and announce that he now permanently lives there. No wonder his wife kicked him out. It's reasonable to want a timeline. It's reasonable to want a home you can actually be at home in. And if it's your office - do you work from home full time?

It's completely reasonable for you to not simply smile and keep sweet if your FIL to permanently moved in without you having a f#$king say in the matter - especially with a small home. That line about your husband telling you you are the one most unhappy with the arrangement - what is his point there? Does he not care about you being uncomfortable in your own home?

Does he think he's entitled to unilaterally make massive, life-changing decisions for the both of you without your input? If you want to go to your parents' place, go. That doesn't mean you need to create a situation where your husband comes home from work one day and finds you've cleared out the places as if you're permanently leaving the marriage. But if you need space - take it.

LiLadyBugs81 wrote:

This is your husband's problem to fix. You did not agree to a roommate- you agreed to a visitor. Either your husband lied to you, or his father lied to him. You need to lay it out for your husband that he needs to fix this now.

Either his father leaves, or the two of you do, and the father can pay rent on his own. Tell him there is no other option, and if he refuses to do either, then you know where you stand in this marriage, and you should divorce him.

Excellent-Goal4763 wrote:

My father was ill with c*ncer a number of years back and moved in with my then long term partner and me. It was fine for a while, but my dad recovered and expected to live with us over the winters. If your husband thinks this arrangement is okay, there are probably family dynamics that you may be unaware of. That’s how it was with me. He may be unaware of them too.

I would suggest you two talk it over with a couples counselor.

My partner and I never did. We were together ten years. The issues surrounding my father’s staying with us were never resolved even after he found an apartment that suited his needs. We broke up over this.

Six weeks later, OP shared an update.

Well we’re in the process of moving out. My husband will move in with his mother and I am moving in with my folks. My father in law is officially in the apartment and we are still finishing packing.

He will be finding a roommate and will be keeping some of our furniture, but that is a small trade for peace of mind. His dad has said some rude things, like “don’t blame me if you split up” but outside of that, I haven’t really spoken to him.

I ended up going away for two weeks by myself and it was really great to work on rebuilding my identity, outside of being in this relationship. I really enjoy being alone. I’ve also been looking at cheap homes for sale just so that I can have something I call mine, not feasible rn because neither my husband nor I have the money together, but gives me something to dream about.

My husband and I have been speaking everyday. We’re still together but he said some things to me in the fallout that I’m struggling with. Specifically “our connection must not be that deep if you’re leaving." He has since taken it back and said I am not to blame for any of this. He is excited to focus on parts of his life that he feels he has neglected, so overall I think he’s feeling okay.

We’re still together but I’m worried that me moving out means the end of our us, neither of us want this but it has become clear to me that he would rather displace me and him than deal with family conflict. I am not used to standing up for myself, but I refuse to be a doormat on this.

Our emotions are all over the place, but we’re figuring it out.

I’ve also come across a bunch of articles about how men his fathers age are finding themselves alone because the women in their life are no longer willing to put up with their bullsh**, which, it makes sense.

Not much to add, if anyone has suggestions for how to navigate or what comes next, I would appreciate it. Thank you all for your support and really helping me see I was not fully in the wrong as I had been guilted to believe.

The internet had lots to say in response.

[deleted] wrote:

His connection to you must not be that deep if he moves his father into your house without your prior agreement. This is a sign that he is not really in ready to be a full partner in a marriage. Partners don’t do that to each other. Partners stick together. Consider this a red flag warning of what is to come with this man. He doesn’t have your back. Cut and run now, before it’s too late, before you have kids.

Maragent-Bee wrote:

Your FIL is such an AH because he should have just acted as an adult and found his own place. Instead, he decided to turn your lives upside down without a care in the world and he dares say that? And he's going to keep some of your furniture?

I promise, I'm not trying to make this worse, I'm just outraged on your behalf. I hope that this time away proves to be healing and inspiring for you. Sending you all the best vibes.

vicarious-gluten wrote:

I send hugs. This sucks for you. I don’t have a crystal ball so won’t pretend I know how this is going to end up for you. Will it be absence making the heart grow fonder or a realisation that you’re very different. I just send hugs and the hope that you find the best long term resolution.

OP responded:

Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

This community helped give me the strength to do what I knew I had to.

Im_your_life wrote:

What you said about older men ending up alone got me thinking. Do you all feel that woman are being empowered and taught that household duties are to be shared, that we shouldn't have to carry the most of it including the mental load, that we are encouraged in this direction way more than man are being taught the same?

As in, while we are realizing that the old way of living our lives is not feasible, they don't know how to step up and no one made them aware that they'd have to? I know I am going from big generalizations here and there are tons of people that would be the opposite of that. I just feel that it happens a lot, does anyone feel the same or am I way off base?

OP responded:

I think to a certain extent women are starting to realize that the lives their mothers or grandmothers lived are no longer feasible, and men weren’t “trained” to expect this.

So while women bear so much of the brunt of emotional labor, we are no longer able or willing to and men haven’t learned how to adapt. For anyone who likes songs about female rage, Labour by Paris Paloma has been on repeat for the whole month for me.

bellizabeth wrote:

One thing I'm still very confused about. You said your husband and FIL are in the lease because the apartment belongs to the family? So who were you paying rent to? And also if you were able to afford renting, why couldn't you two rent another place together? And is FIL suddenly paying the full rental price, after not initially contributing at all?

OP responded:

For clarification: They don’t own it, they had rented it for a long time which in my city is not uncommon. We could afford that spot because it was more reasonably priced and new rentals are going for 250% of what we had been paying. Most are up by even 100% over the past year.

Effective-Papaya1209 wrote:

On "our connection must not be that deep . . . " I am absolutely not encouraging you to brush aside disrespectful comments or stay in a marriage that isn't working, but I think given what you said, it kind of makes sense that he said that. You said in a comment that he would do "anything" for his family . . . maybe this is part of the expectations placed on him as a member of his family.

So from his (warped!) perspective, family = "I will do anything" and also probably "I will do what my parents want," and that might feel normal to him. By refusing to do that, you are throwing out the family rule book, which is probably very uncomfortable for him.

So I think what he is communicating there is not that he wants to throw away the marriage but more of either a) a bid to get you to reassure him b) displeasure at you acting like "not family" towards him, according to the f'd up rules he was taught c) a kind of flailing "I am uncomfortable!" barb.

I was in a relationship with someone in a very codependent family and so this kind of feels familiar to me. Ultimately the relationship ended, which was good in my case. But it might not be in yours. I think early thirties is when a lot of people who have previously been super compliant with their parents suddenly have to draw some boundaries and it can be very hard.

I also will say, I spent a lot of time being really upset that "she didn't love me enough" to stand up to her parents, but I hope you don't do that to yourself and reframe it around his limitations as a person based on whatever's going on in his family origin.

He should choose you and he should set limits with his dad, but it might take some growth to get to that point. We all learned some f'd up ways of behaving from our families, and it sounds like he watched his mom take care of (perhaps!) an overgrown baby for many many years.

OP responded:

He definitely said it as a “I am frustrated and I feel sad” in the moment thing. It really hurt but I’m realizing it was not said to be hurtful, it was said because he was hurting and didn’t know how to communicate it.

I have also sacrificed for my parents a lot, and I completely understand that mindset, but I wouldn’t ask to impose and have my parents move in. I have stood up for him to my parents on many occasions because I love him, as has he, but neither of us have been in this situation before.

Nine months later, OP shared another update.

We lived separately from June to March, with us officially moving out in September (took us a while). His dad started throwing my things into trash bags during the actual move because I was taking too long to pack.

Then when I started crying because our home was being dismantled, he tried to comfort me as his dad huffed and puffed at my emotions. I did a vacation with my parents, and took a month to go away by myself, he joined me for a week. We still met up almost every weekend to spend time together and bond.

We still talked everyday but then my gal friend and I took a 2 week long vacation that I extended a whole month. I invited him to join for some and he declined. On our last night together before I left, we got into a fight about how I seemed distracted. This resulted in me sobbing alone, in his mother’s basement for an hour. We made up, but it still stuck with me.

I learned a lot about myself in this trip. I traveled, met new people, tried new foods, and did things that I used to only dream about. Alone. I did it by myself and it felt so good to reclaim my identity. My friends said I was glowing like they hadn’t seen in years. While I was away on my trip, he checked in, but things felt different, at least for me. Didn’t call me or offer to call, not even on my birthday.

But that’s on me too, the telephone works two ways. I came home. We saw each other that weekend and were discussing plans for the future. I mentioned that I want to go back for a few months later this year- and he fell silent. I admit, I shouldn’t have brought this up at all. But I felt disingenuous not mentioning it because this is what I wanted to do with my future.

He stayed silent on the way home and got out of my car and told me not to come in. I got emotional, babbled about losing myself in the relationship and I realized I needed a step back, and I asked him for a break. He said “okay” and slammed the door. I took the time away to think. He called me saying he spoke to a therapist, didn’t want to lose me, and that he was so sorry and he would do better.

This weekend, he came over to my parents house with flowers. I cooked us a meal, we ate together and talked, then I told him I couldn’t do it anymore. He asked when I stopped loving him and I told him the truth. That I loved him and I’m still in love with him, and that’s what made this so difficult. That I’d been fighting for months.

That I missed myself and she was finally back. We’d both been growing, but separately. He said that his parents’ relationship shouldn’t have an effect on us. I told him that they didn’t, but the choices made after did. He told me he’d be willing to break up and wait for a few months, but I also can’t promise him something I can’t guarantee myself in the future.

I gave him back the rings. We spent the night together crying, reminiscing and laughing. I love him. I will always love him. I want to be with him, but I can’t right now. Actions have repercussions that we don’t always see until we hit the breaking point. I’m so heartbroken.

Could have done more, be more, do, something? How do I convince myself I did the right thing? Did I do the right thing?

TL;DR: Just wanted to give the update that no one asked for or wanted, but my marriage is over, I think for good. Y’all were right. How do I pick up the pieces?

People offered up their comfort.

Monarc73 wrote:

Sucks. I know its rough, and feels awful right now, but you sound like you are on the mend. Keep on keepin' on!

The major stand-out for me is that he stood by and did NOTHING while his dad put your stuff into TRASHBAGS. (Not because you were taking too long, but because he is an impatient ass, btw.) All this to say that I think you are making the right call, queen.

OP responded:

Thank you- I really appreciate it. I can’t stop crying, like I feel so conflicted by making the choice I felt I had to.

PinkLady777 wrote:

I'm so proud of you. You had the strength to do this. You just chose yourself and potential happiness. Once you get over this bit I think you will feel a lot lighter.

OP responded:

Thank you so much. I’m trying to look towards building a future and a life for me. I just always thought it would include him.

Sailor_Chibi wrote:

"His dad started throwing my things into trash bags during the actual move because I was taking too long to pack."

Your husband ended your marriage the moment he stood by and let his father chase you out of your HOME.

I am sitting here absolutely baffled by the fact that your husband chose his father over you. And then he continued to choose his father over you literally every step of the way. I hope you can someday grasp how unbelievably selfish that was of both your husband AND your FIL.

"He said that his parents’ relationship shouldn’t have an effect on us."

WHAT. Your husband is the one who made sure it would have an impact when he let his father move in! Oh my god the audacity. I’m so mad on your behalf.

"Could have done more, be more, do, something? How do I convince myself I did the right thing? Did I do the right thing?"

Girl, you are not only doing the right thing, you have waited far too long to do it. This was not on you to fix.

Your husband is at fault here. Not you. I know you love him, but he does not love you.

He might SAY he loves you, but his actions are the true tell here. If he loved you, he would have chosen you at every turn. But he didn’t. Let me say it again: YOU DID THE RIGHT THING. Go be your f#$king fabulous self. Someday you are gonna thank yourself for not waiting to end it until you’re 70 like your poor MIL did.

OP responded:

Thank you so much. One of the wake-up calls I’ve gotten is my friends and family being relieved for me that I broke it off. Which makes me so sad that I put them through so much watching me make the same choices over and over again. I’m putting myself first for the first time in a long time.

DramaticErraticism wrote:

This is a long post with a lot of feelings and self-reflection...but, as an outsider, it really is quite simple. Guy you are dating doesn't treat you very well, his dad lives with you and is a dick, you went on a trip by yourself and had a lot of fun, you realized you are much happier without him than you are with him.

The details are always different but this is a scenario that plays out, all the time. You don't need wax philosophic on the whole thing (unless you want to). Your life is objectively far worse when he is in it and you don't want that, that's all you need to know, really.

OP responded:

Thank you this. I think I get caught up in the nostalgia of it all and think about what we had and our potential. You’re right though.

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