Almost Newlyweds...and Brother in Law

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-11-2009
Almost Newlyweds...and Brother in Law
8
Thu, 02-21-2013 - 2:55am

Hey All!  I am in need of some serious advice, and was hoping to get some feedback.  

I am getting married in about two weeks to a wonderful man, we have been dating for almost eight years- we are both in our late twenties.  For the majority of our relationship, we have lived in different states but always managed to see each other on weekends.  We have never technically lived together.  He lives in Virginia, I live in Tennessee.  After the wedding, our plan is to live in his condo until we find a house to buy.  We have been actively searching for a house in my home state- but have not found anything worth placing an offer on.  Our plan was to simply stay in his condo, that he already owns, until we find something suitable.  

But...here is the problem.  He has a younger brother, who is 26, who is now planning on living with us.  I was just told this earlier this week.  He has never had a steady job, doesn't have one friend, and is fully supported (financially) by his parents.  He will accumulate thousands of dollars on his credit card bills buying guitars and man jewelry- and the bills are magically paid for each month by the parents.  The one and only job he had lasted about 2 months- he ended up being fired because he was caught stealing.  This was over 8 years ago.  His parents pay his rent, bought him a new car, and never encourage him to get a job or meet people (that's a whole other post!).  I have tried to encourage my fiance to build this guy's self esteem so that he can have a productive life, but he doesn't want to get involved and thinks that he is completely fine.  

Right now, my future brother in law is living with his other brother- but this brother is relocating for work so he will not be going with him.  This brother is constantly complaining about him, because he never leaves their apartment.  He sits on the couch all day, literally, watching TV and eating snacks.  He will be on the couch from 7am until midnight.  He is extremely anti-social and gets very upset if his routine gets interrupted.  He gets annoyed at the brother's girlfriend if she comes over too often, and will shoot her evil glares if she opens the refrigerator without asking first.  I have gotten these looks before from him, and I will tell you- it's incredibly creepy.  He can go from being very moody and eerie to very friendly and kind.  I am convinced he has a social anxiety problem and also a mental disorder.  

When my fiance and I started dating years ago- his brother would never say hello to me.  He would pretend that I wasn't there.  If i walked in the door and would say hello, he would turn his head the other way and stare at me out of the corner of his eye.  He started acknowledging my presence about four years into the relationship- I would only get a head nod and a grumbly 'hello.'

He always goes to my fiance's condo to stay (his apartment is about 30 minutes away), and will often stay for 2-3 weeks at a time.  It is very difficult for me to go visit my fiance when his brother is there, because it is pretty uncomfortable for me.  The condo is on the small side- and since the brother NEVER leaves the house, there is no getting away from him.  It is rare for my fiance and I to have any alone time when the brother is there.  He is very reliant on my fiance- he can't go to the bank or store alone, and can't even order food at a restaurant without clamming up.  He really relies on my fiance for everything when he is visiting, so I try to stay away when I know that he is there.  To remind you- no one in this family thinks he has a problem, they think he is completely normal and does not need any help.  

I always assumed that since my fiance and I are getting married- that the brother would find his own place.  But, he now has decided that he will be living with us since the other brother is moving away.  He will be moving into the condo the week after our wedding.  So basically, we will be coming back from our honeymoon and the brother will already be living there.  

There is no telling how long it will take us to buy a house, so I am very concerned about how long we will be living with his brother.  I voiced my concerns to my fiance, and he responded in a pretty harsh way.  He said that this is his brother, and that I cannot make him choose between me and his 'blood' family.  I explained to him that the first months of being newlyweds are so crucial...this is our first time living together, and we need to set our routine and get used to living with each other.  I explained to him that having his brother there would put a damper on so many things.  He agreed to an extent, but said that we would just have to adjust to living with a third person.  

His parents offered to have him live with them in California- but the brother's response was that he didn't know anyone there and that he wanted to live near my fiance instead.  He has other options, but he just doesn't want to explore them.  His parents had no problem with this- and think it's a decent idea that he lives with us since he is 'so familiar' with us.

His brother did make a comment to me last week that he is 'looking forward to moving to Tennessee with us.'  I asked my fiance about this afterwards, and he said that his brother is thinking of following us there- but that he would get his own apartment.  We'll see.  

I feel like I am in a very tough spot right now.  I want our marriage to be successful, and I know it is going to be a transition since neither one of us has ever lived with anyone but our immediate families.  He has all brothers, and I have all sisters- so this is going to be a real transition for both of us!  We want to start having a family right away, and I just don't feel comfortable trying to get pregnant when I have his eerie brother living in such close quarters with us.  

His brother will be home ALL day long- so that could make life really awkward for me.  If I sit down to watch TV with the brother, he will sit in silence and not say a word to me.  I'm afraid that if I'm home alone with him, I will just have to sit in our bedroom until my fiance gets home.  I really feel like I'm going to be walking on eggshells 24/7.  I'm worried that his brother is going to put a lot of stress on us as newlyweds, I am so desperate for our relationship to start off on the right foot.  

Another concern I have is that I am very afraid to leave my dog home alone with the brother.  I pray that he wouldn't harm my dog, but I have this odd feeling that there is a chance that he would- maybe as some sort of retaliation of he got mad at me for something.  My dog is like my child- I am even considering bringing her to work with me (thank god my boss will allow it).

Once we do buy a house, I will absolutely put my foot down and not allow him to live with us.  If I am afraid of him being home alone with my beloved dog, I sure will not feel comfortable having him be alone with my children.  If he has his own apartment, I can handle that.  

Do you guys think I am being too harsh about this living situation once we get married?  Should I just suck it up and try to go with the flow, or am I right in being very upset by all of this?  

Thanks in advance :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Sun, 03-03-2013 - 10:02pm

What your step sister is or does is completely irrelevant in this discussion.   Whether you accept your mother in law or not is also irrelevant.  The issue is the OP feels uncomfortable with living with her future brother in law and is worried about the safety of her dog, yet her fiance was not acknowledging her concerns and making them a priority.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2008
Wed, 02-27-2013 - 10:15pm

Hmm...my stepsister is a lot like that and there is nothing "wrong" with her. Why must we label ppl who are different as off or wrong? My stepsister was 26, living with her parents, working PT and no college. She spent every day in her room reading and all her money on her "children" - 2 horses and eventually 3. She has since moved out and lives in a trailer on someone's property as she tends their horses. As she nears 30, she is just now starting to think about her future and act like an adult. I know why she is this way by my mother refuses to acknowledge it as it is something that you do not speak of.

Dee

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 02-26-2013 - 11:16am

This puts you in a very difficult situation.  It was very unfair for your DF to tell you a few weeks before the wedding that guess, what? my strang brother is going to be living with us.  It would be enough of a strain to find out that a normal family member would be living with you as newlyweds full time when you have never lived together yourselves and need time to adjust to that.  Obviously there is something wrong with this guy who is 26, doesn't work & is being supported by family--it could be Asperger's or some other mental disorder.  So in 8 yrs, no one has ever mentioned that anything is wrong with the brother?  You have never discussed this w/ your DF?  It's like the elephant in the room and you need to discuss it now--has he always been like this?  Have they ever sent him for treatment (or course now that he's an adult, no one can force him to get treatment), and what is the plan after the parents die?  Are they going to leave all their money to him?  Are the other brothers expected to support this guy forever?  I think you need to know these things going in--and believe me, once he is living with you, you are probably stuck with him forever--if he is planning to move to Tenn. when you move, then I doubt he'll get his own place--by that time, your DH will be saying "well why have him get his own place where he doesn't know anyone?"

What do you think would happen if you just said that you don't want brother living with you & you're willing to postpone the wedding--do you think DF would pick brother over you?  I think it's just very upsetting that he "told" you that this is the way things are going to be instead of discussing it with you.

I can see some situations where a family member is going to have to be taken care of but that should be something that is hashed out before the wedding so the person goes into it willingly, not as a surprise that they have no choice on.  I have 2 nieces--the 23 yr old one is normal, college grad.  The 19 yr old one has something "off" about her--the parents have never said what is wrong, but it's pretty obvious to everyone else that there is something different.  Maybe Asperger's.  She graduated from high school and she's attending comm. college (only a couple of classes) but she says it's difficult--yet she seems smart.  It's more social awkwardness--she acts more like a 13 yr old.  She doesn't have a driver's license and has never had a job.  I do think she will be able to have some kind of job in the future but probably not a high paying one, so I can see that her sister will probably have to look out for her somewhat after the parents are gone.  So I wouldn't say that would necessarily mean that the older sister should never be able to find a DH--but you have to have the right person and it's something that has to be discussed openly so that the person is willing to go into this situation. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-25-2013
Mon, 02-25-2013 - 9:51am

Wow. This is a giant red flag that your future husband is not acknowledging your feelings about having another party live with you. It's his way or no way. Even if you get along with another family member or friend, most people would not be comfortable with that person living with you. You need to be comfortable in your home, and that's not possible when there's someone else besides your spouse wanting to watch other t.v. programs, eating meals with you, and you never have alone time, which is crucial for a person's well being.

I'm going to take a strong position that you shouldn't go forth with the wedding until this issue is resolved. I recommend pre-marital counseling, so that your fiance can get a third party's nonpartial view of the issue. Major things that need to be decided before a couple is married is if they will have children or not, whether or not they will engage in religious activities, who will be responsible for which chores, and what the living arrangements will be.

I would absolutely refuse to move into a home where his brother will live. You can see that you are less of a priorit;y than his brother if he won't budge. If you comply and let the brother live with you, you've lost for the present and the future. If you can't put your foot down now, don't fool yourself that when you buy a house together, that he will somehow give in about his brother. This is what your life will be. A life of misery with a smelly fish in your lilfe every day. It will be a huge strain on your marriage and therefore your life.

You only have one life to live on this planet. I know you've invested 8 years in this relationship, but if you're only in your late twenties, it means you probably have another 50 or 60 years left to live. Don't settle and live a miserable life because you're fiance won't budge on a very unreasonable demand. You are not a sacrificial lamb. You need to stick up for your rights. It's okay to help out family once in a while, but letting this particular family member live with temporarily or permanently which it most likely will turn out to be, is way too much to ask. If I were you, I would let your fiance know you're a strong independent woman who will fight for her happiness. I would put the wedding on hold, insist on premarital counseling. DO NOT go through with the marriage if he won't budge, since this means that he doesn't care about your feelings and it's his way or the highway. You need a partner who will always put you first. Let us know how it goes. Good luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2008
Fri, 02-22-2013 - 11:09pm

Oh and two things I forgot!

- The reason I disagree with others is that you don't want his whole family turning on you. Or your DF harboring resentment toward you.

- Also, please don't hold what happened with the other BF's gf on the brother. You have no idea what happened in their r/ship. Try to forge your own r/ship with him independantly of your feelings about the past or the fact that he may be an obstacle. If this doesn't work out, it will be bc you didn't try. Your DF will see - even if that is in the future - and he will love and appreciate you for your patience and kindness.

Dee

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2008
Fri, 02-22-2013 - 11:03pm

I have many posts in the "In Lsw" board but my issues have been resolved so they are years old. My issue was my MIL but I still understand the sticky situation.

I disagree with the others that you cannot have a healthy & strong marriage in this situation. Even if my MIL has to move in here, I would survive it and our place is small. You do what you have to do for your family. They depend on you and they are what matter most in life.

HOWEVER, your fiance needs to understand that you two are staring a NEW family and that should be his #1 priority. When you are his wife, you have to come first before everyone and anyone. Of course, it would be a very rare occassion that he would ever have to show you this by actions. HIs "old" family is now his "extended" family. He needs to understand this.

I think it is troubling that a) he made this decision w/o discussing it with you b) you made assumptions about his brother without talking to him about it c) that he was harsh (defensive?) about his brother w/o evening acknowledging how you feel (this makes me suspicious that he was told by brother/family members you wouldn't like it and he was ready for the "fight" or he felt you were attacking his brother instead of just voicing your feelings). Good, honest, open communication is essential in a great marriage.

If I were you, I would sit him down and tell him what your reservations about this situation. Tell him what you appreciate how he feels about his brother - in fact, his love & commitment to family makes him quite the catch!  But you need to discuss these things together in future. And you need to have some boundaries. And fo you, you need to discuss what happens if this doesn't work out? What is the game plan then? And what does "not work out" look like so that you can keep a good r/ship with his brother and extended family. This is EXTREMELY important.

Are you willing to have brother move w/you to Tennessee? If not, be CLEAR and voice that NOW. Make sure everyone's intentions are clear.

If you two can work throught this before your marriage then all the better. This kind of "work" is what ppl refer to when they say marriage takes "work". This is great training for the two of you.

Also, please try to have some compassion for his brother. It sounds as tho he may have Asperger or some social disorder but so? There is no treatment or drugs for it...so perhaps his family is overprotective of him for a reason. Just as his silence is unnerving for you, having a chatty person around might be for him...it works both ways :) My DS1 is very quiet and withdrawn - tho he doesn't have anything wrong with him, people who don't know him well always wonder. If you are really concerned about your dog, ask your DH about family pets and fish around for information. Obviously don't ask him outright! But if his brother had a family pet with a long life, you are probably ok. Take him work tho if you really want to - it is your pet and your decision.

Good luck and keep us posted :)

Dee

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-25-2010
Thu, 02-21-2013 - 7:21pm


Hi there & welcome to the group,
Have to say right off the top of my head it sounds like a very bad idea to have his brother live with you.
You're in a tough spot & I think you need to really discuss this before marriage.
You are right in saying there must be some issues with the 26 year old brother.
As no his life is not so normal so to speak.
He needs to live with his parents or elsewhere but not you guys .. mho
Good luck & let us know what happens :)




iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Thu, 02-21-2013 - 1:16pm

Replied to your other posts in "Living Together".  There is no way you could have a happy marriage unless your fiance kicks his brother out.

And it won't get better.  Go take a look at the posts under "Friends and Family" and "In-Laws".