I really need some advice

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-2003
I really need some advice
Thu, 10-13-2011 - 6:00pm

My mother in law wants to move in with us!!! My husband and I have been married 5 years. We just built a house approx. 8 miles from my MIL. I get along with her very well, however, I don't want her to move in with us. She is 80 years old, in good health, and already lives in the best retirement community in town! Her husband passed away about 5 years ago and I know she's lonely and depressed, and I feel for her, but I don't want to be responsible for her happiness. My husband agrees that moving in with us is not the answer to her happiness...but we have no idea how to break it to her. HELP!!!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Thu, 10-13-2011 - 8:25pm

You have already solved this problem. You have surmounted the number one obstacle to a healthy marriage, because you and your husband agree with each other about this. (Too many couples don't, and put their family of origin ahead of their marriage.)

Because it's your DH's mother, he should be the one to tell his mother that you, as a couple, have decided that

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-23-2011
Thu, 10-13-2011 - 8:32pm

I think you just got some really good advice.

Community Leader
Registered: 01-03-2004
Thu, 10-13-2011 - 9:35pm


A couple of thoughts:

1)Do you and your DH know if your MIL is being treated for depression? Has she been to grief counseling? If the answer is "We don't know, or "no," the first step here is to get in touch with the nursing supervisor of the retirement home AND your MIL's doctor about her depression. Untreated depression is tough enough for younger people; in the elderly it can be double so. Your MIL may be refusing to accept counseling or treatment. Your DH's role here is to support and encourage his mother to get help so she can cope with her loss.

2)I suspect your MIL believes if she moves in with you she will no longer be lonely. The fact is, she will always miss her deceased husband. I strongly encourage you to seek the advice and input of the social services director at her retirement community to find ways to get your MIL out of her apartment and into human contact. You and DH may also commit to some kind of regular outing or visit with her - weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc. so she has something to look forward to. Make a point of picking her up for "dates" on occasion and helping her make new friends at her home.

I'd also see the advice and involvement of the chaplain at the home. I don't know if your mother had a church in her younger days (or other place of worship) but very often elderly people become disconnected from their churches when a spouse dies. You have to remember your MIL has lived her entire adult life 50 or 60 years as part of a couple. She probably doesn't know how to be an individual and she's acutely aware of her widowhood.

Good luck and reach out the community resources available to your MIL. Become a part of her life by including her in celebrations, special occasions, and participating in activities and events at her home and yours. This will also make it easier to tell her she can't move in with you.

Good luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-2003
Thu, 10-13-2011 - 10:40pm

THANK YOU for you quick response! We actually had dinner with her tonight and it went very well! I have always felt so fortunate for the relationship I have with my MIL and I certainly don't want to jeapardize it be by telling her that we don't want her to move in with us. We told her that she's

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-19-2004
Fri, 10-14-2011 - 4:06pm

I agree w/ the first responder...you and your dh are on the same page so really telling her is all that is left.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2008
Mon, 10-17-2011 - 2:13pm

I'm so happy that you and DH are both on the same page.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-11-2005
Wed, 10-19-2011 - 6:05pm
I have already told dh MIL isn't going to live with us EVER--BIL is single & has WAY more room then we do (he has 4 or 5 bedrooms, we only have 2) besides MIL & I would end up killing each other (I can even spend a long weekend w/her without turning to drinking which isn't good)
~~Sam stitches well with others, runs with scissors in her pocket. Cheerful and stupid.