Living together but next door to his parents

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-07-2014
Living together but next door to his parents
Fri, 02-07-2014 - 5:52am

I am looking for some outside advice. Mainly because I am not sure how I feel about a particular situation between me and my BF. We’re arguing at the moment. 

I moved country to be with him (this was following 2 years of him living with me in my country)

We had a long distance relationship before that.

 So here we are 4 years further down the line. I’ve been living in his country now for almost 2 years. Since we arrived we moved into an apartment that his parents had created for us. It’s an extension from their house, only separated so that we are at least separated into 2 places. It was an ideal solution for 2 people relocated with no money and no job.

However when we did move into the apartment it was the intention to make it only temporary - 2 years max we said.

But then BF found it hard to get a job when we first arrived it took 1 year to be exact, so that really set us back from saving for our own place.

 Another year down the line and I am now pregnant (4 months). It was planned because we’re both 30 and I have wanted kids for years already. However now with a baby on the way I have agreed to stay for another year or 2 so that we can continue to save for our own place. His mother has also offered to look after the baby for 1 or 2 days per week if I chose to work part time. 

BF wants to buy a house eventually, and renting to him is not an option but we don’t have the right criteria for buying a house yet which is a permanent work contract. It looks like BF will get that this year though so we’re edging closer to that bit by bit. 

I stand by the decisions we made to live so close to his parents considering it is saving us heaps of money because we don’t pay rent.

But I also really feel that it’s important to move out to have our own freedom and independence and to be ‘adults’  

Now a particular problem has surfaced and it’s become apparent to me that his parents just won’t allow him to grow up. They like to still give him advice but in a way of actually telling him what is right and wrong. They are a very strongly opinionated family which I’ve become quite used to, but the way in which they still want to control him and us as a couple annoys the hell out of me. With them living so close they are able to knock whenever they want or even ask us questions in passing. The do respect our privacy, they don’t let themselves in or anything, but it’s more the way that they need to know everything we are up to, where we are going at the weekends etc. etc.. and even if we aren’t going anywhere they’ll mention it by passing a comment about us ‘sitting on the sofa all day’

We both work full time and we both like to be lazy at the weekends sometimes. I feel that they don’t approve of this, but in my opinion it is none of their business if we want to live like that whether we’re living in their place or not. It’s a contact juggling act between them being helpful and them interfering. If I go away for a weekend to visit my family, I come back to find that his mum has washed our clothes, I find that strange. This list goes on… there are lots of other things that get under my skin with the way they behave. I’m sure they still think that their little boy isn’t capable of being an adult. I’m hoping that him becoming a father himself might change that. He has started to be more assertive with them when it comes to their opinions on how to live and what’s right and wrong etc. So that’s good. I just wonder if whilst we live in their property, they will always be the one in control. 

I really feel that it’s important to move out to have our own freedom and independence and to be ‘adults’  

But I’m also torn by the fact that we have a baby on the way, we don’t have a money tree and are quite comfortably not paying rent. If we move.  

Friends tell me I’d be crazy to move out when the cost of living nowadays is so high.

 I’m sorry to ramble on. I might sound like an ungrateful brat and don’t even know it.

But if this comes into your mind please tell me straight because I’m struggling to understand where my boundaries lie and what it is I actually want.. I miss my family a lot and yet I feel like I'm suffocated by his :(

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002

I'm not sure what country you and he are frome--but I"m thinking this is primarily a cultural thing?

How do other people in his country act?

Here in the USA, I'd say this type of behavior is somewhat rare, but very "normal" for some---again, depending on their family and culture of origin.

It sounds like they are trying to be helpful......but I'm afraid you're going to keep getting more "stifled" feeling as they start giving you advice re: raising the baby/etc.

On the other hand----you dont want to have to add financial stress to stress of being new parents..........I think keep talking with your BF re: appreciating his parents but wanting to still plan the move......ALSO, maybe give him some specific boundaries he can enforce with them to keep your sanity.............

For stuff like the laundry---yeah, I'm sure she's wanting to help, I'm a mom of grown that they are gone and I never see them....I actually LOVE when they come home to visit and I can do their laundry for them.....makes me feel wanted/needed/like I'm still their mom...........

maybe telling her how much you appreciate the help (so she feels helpful without having to do MORE)--AND simultaneously setting some boundaries re: what she does NOT need to be doing may help? 


Keep us posted!!

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999

I'm sure that part of the way the parents are behaving is cultural, but I also see that, altho you claim you want to be treated as adults capable of caring for yourselves (AND a child), you do not behave like it. 

You BOTH "...relocated with no money and no job..." and  happily lived off his parents while unemployed.   You are STILL not paying rent, even tho you are employed.  Yet you state you want to support yourselves, a child, and a house with the money that now cannot even pay rent.  You like to spend the weekends being lazy.  You like to go away for the weekends, leaving undone laundry, among other things, which his parent feel they must do.  WAKE UP.  You are living in his parents house for free.  The LEAST you could do, would be to spend your weekends cooking, cleaning and doing house repairs for his parents, thereby PROVING that you have the incentive to care for a house and children of your own.  To say nothing of doing SOMETHING to repay these people for supporting you.  And finally, you are 4 years living together, and are not married.  In many cultures, this makes you disposable--pregnancy or not. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-07-2014

Thank you for your replies! It really helps to get a different perspective on this. I realise that we are probably still treated like kids because they see us act like kids sometimes. But I don't think there is anything wrong with being lazy on a weekend when we have worked a full time week. Thats up to us. If there is laundry to be done then its really our problem. I don't walk around their house spotting things that could or should be done. His mum does just want to help but my BF should be the one to say no and then do it himself. Part of the problem is that he doesn't do as much a sme in the house, so I fall behnd and then he'll happily let his mum do it. That's a habit I want to break. I guess that while we live in their place though they will always have a right to opinion on how we live. But I also see that this is a cultural thing bewteen us that requires finding the right balance.

We offered to pay rent for living at their place and they refused. They told us that they want to help us by allowing us to save for our own place. Which we are doing by the way. Its not like we are just spending money here there and everywhere on what we like and having fun. We moved country because my BF was not happy any longer in mine. There will always be a part of me that feels sad about that because I am the one that eventually had to give up everything to be with him. But I love him very much and therefore sacrified what I had to in order to be together. I don't resent him for this, I work through these feelings and talk to him we have good communication bewteen us, yet it just doesn't help when his parents are ready and waiting with the next set of questions or overly strong advice. We were raised very differently. My family were loving but dysfuctional and I learnt to grow up fending for myself. My boyfriend had a very secure and (in my opinion) sometimes overly protective upbringing, which is no doubt where these feelings and culture clash derive from. I know we just need to talk about it, and make a plan for when we can eventually get our own place. I don't hate his family, I love the fact they look out for us something I didn't always have as a child, but I just find them suffocationg at times. And yes I am afraid the advice will get even stronger once we have a baby. I just want some space to make our own mistakes and to learn for ourselves. You don't need protecting in every situation. I just need to talk to them and be honest sometimes and otheriwae just learn to accept it the way it is... that is the only way I suppose.

Thanks all !

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Sun, 02-09-2014 - 12:48pm

<<<...But I don't think there is anything wrong with being lazy on a weekend when we have worked a full time week. Thats up to us. If there is laundry to be done then its really our problem...>>>  As long as you are living with his parents, in their house, it is NOT just your problem.  I owned rental property for many years.  Even tho my tenants paid their rents, if they were slovenly in MY BUILDING, I was outraged.  I was the one who saved, and worked to buy and maintain the building, and I wanted people to have the same standards I did. If they didn't want to do that, they got out.  Same things with my kids.  At certain times in their lives, they "boomeranged".  We never charged them rent, and never had a problem with that, because they kept their spaces, laundry and car clean, cleaned up after their pets, AND they pitched in around the house on an equal basis, realizing that they owed us SOMETHING for putting a roof over their heads.

And your previous statement, along with this, <<<...he doesn't do as much as me in the house, so I fall behnd and then he'll happily let his mum do it....>>> tell me you are NOT acting like adults.  Things need to get done.  Work comes before play, or rest.  If your bf were dead, your space would STILL need to be cleaned and maintained.  If you live by yourselves,  the cleaning fairy (his mom)  is not going to come in and do it for you, so you might as well get up and do it NOW.  This attitude does not bode well for when the baby comes.  There will be TWICE as much work and stress.  If your bf doesn't "do as much as you" for the baby, are you going to sit on your rear and let it cry?  Are you going to let the dirt and unwashed dishes and laundry pile up around you?

All of this, together with your statements about how YOU had to give up everything, YOU had to move, & YOU had to sacrifice, lead me to believe you harbor a LOT of resentment, ESPECIALLY because your bf took a long time finding work( in HIS country) and has NO problem sitting on his ass at home.  You need to REALLY think about this situation, and decide if this is how you want to spend the rest of your life.  Doing what HE wants, while you do take the hit.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Sun, 02-09-2014 - 5:25pm

Hi New Girl--

Maybe I missed this in your post, but does BF have other siblings? What is dynamic there---How involved are parents in their lives?

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-07-2014

His sister has 2 children and doesn't work. She relies on them a lot to do things for her, they look after her kids a lot which is nice but in my opinion she takes advantage of them a lot and then when they disapprove of something she does she gets stubborn and doesn't listen. She does what she wants when she wants really. And that seems to be the norm.

However they do have a close relationship and so it is not only us that they still try to parent. They still parent her too, as well as doing more than their fair share with their grandchildren.

I try to stay out of the family business as much as possible because I don't want to be involved in their disagreements etc. 

I appreciate your comments thanks for giving me a bit more insight, its good to stop and look at things from a different angle.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 02-13-2014 - 11:08am

I doubt that when you had tenants, you went into their apartment & checked to see if they did their laundry & washed their dishes.  They are living in a separate apt. not in the parents' house so the fact that they have their own laundry piled up should not affect their parents at all.  I agree that tenants should not do things to damage the property but this is not the case.  I also agree that if they were living in the same place as the parents, they should be keeping the place clean so as not to annoy the parents or make more trouble for them.  I think the big problem is that the man has reverted to being a little boy by living w/ his parents--he knows if he doesn't pitch in around the house then mommy will clean up after him.  My former MIL used to say things like her DILs wouldn't appreciate her because she did too many things for her sons!  When I met my exH, there were 5 kids over 21 all living at home and the mom did all their laundry.  I just looked at him and said don't expect me to be waiting on your like your mom does--he had been in the Army and lived on his own in an apartment in Germany when he was just out of high school so he certainly did know how to take care of himself but his mom babied him.