Is there a compromise??

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2004
Is there a compromise??
Tue, 08-21-2012 - 9:42pm

My DH of 4 years is going through a very, very hard time.  His father, best friend, the single parent that raised him is dying.  He has stage 4 lung cancer that was diagnosed just 2 months ago and is now in hospice care.  I lost my mom almost 4 years ago so I can kind of relate to what he is going through but admit that I did not have the unusually close bond with her that he has with his dad.

I mention that he has an unusually close relationship with his dad because in his eyes he dad has never done wrong.  He has put him very high on a pedestal and I understood that when I met him.  I knew that I would be basically marrying both him and his dad.  They are very close, best friends.  He even lives 5 houses down from us.

The dilemma is that he is inheriting his house down the street.  The house is completely paid for.  My DH wants us to sell our house and move into his dads.  His plan is for us to sell our house, use the money to pay off my student loans, then move into his dads house and save some money and buy a house and land outright in a couple of years.  We have no other debt.

That sounds like a great plan BUT.......his dad made him promise him that he would not move my 2 cats into HIS house.  I have had my cats for over 15 years.  They are my babies and he has always known this.  His dad doesn't want the cats ruining his carpet.....

Does this sound reasonable???  My DH wants to come up with a compromise.  I have no idea if there even is a real compromise.  His ideas so far are for us to keep the cats but put them outside.  They are INDOOR cats.  His other idea is for the cats to stay in the garage and only come in a little while during the day while we are home.  He thinks there is some kind of compromise that we just have to come up with.

I am heartbroken.  I love my cats but am more upset that he would even ask me to do anything with them.  He has never had a huge issue with the cats before.  All of the sudden he thinks the cats are a financial burden because they ruin carpet and furniture, exactly what his dad has always believed.  My oldest cat is 17yrs old and has pancreatitis.  He does throw up sometimes but it is very easy to clean.  My other cat is 12yrs old and basically is always hidden away unless its quite in the house.

I won't even go into the fact that I would be moving into his DAD's house and not OUR house.  I know that he won't want to change anything.  Basically in his eyes, his dad has everything in his house that we will need and because his stuff is soooo much better than our stuff (in his eyes), we can just put our stuff in storage or sell it.  I just don't think I can agree to that.

Am I being unreasonable?  Is there a compromise?  I have told him that I don't even want to talk about it right now.  His dad hasn't even passed yet and I've always heard you aren't supposed to make any major decisions "during emotional times".  But......he is a planner, as am I, and he keeps wanting to talk about it.

I love him with all my heart but have no idea how to solve this problem.  Any ideas???

Thank you!!






iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Wed, 08-22-2012 - 8:37am
HI Mame--

As a cat owner of an increasingly elderly cat, I can share your concerns.

Forgetting the immediate *what to do about moving into dad's house*----here's my BIGGER concern-------------how will he ever want to move back OUT of dad's house, into this place in the country you'll be (supposedly) purchasing--------and I can see all sorts of disagreements springing up re: when is it *time* to move (you= TODAY, we can do it......him= NEVER, everything perfect at dad's place.........y'know?)

It seems like eliminating that "middle" space (you two moving into dad's) is the best answer-------not sure how that could happen except to rent out dad's house, and save until selling your house would give you enough $ for the country house purchase...............(and I'm guessing he's not wanting to rent out dad's house----BUT WHAT IS HIS EVENTUAL PLAN FOR DAD'S HOUSE, if/when you DID move to country place? ---I guess that's my big question, reading your post.....................??

Has dad told you to your face that he doesnt want your cats living in "his" house after he's gone? I guess one "compromise" is to discuss it all with dad while he's still alive----would dad truly prefer *strangers* living in his house so that your cats dont? Or can DAD think of what would be acceptable to dad? ----, so that you truly ARE talking about DAD's realy wishes/intentions----*not* DH's THOUGHTS on what dad's wishes would be........(however this might be a difficult conversation to broach.....)................................... I mean, ....carpet DOES have to be replaced eventually anyhow...., etc. I suppose there are compromises like you'd build a door you could keep cat in, part of house, and that you'd use your furniture and put his into storage so it doesnt get ruined, etc etc.......................but, ...(to me), the big *red flag*---is how will DH/son **ever** be able to let go of this house? I'm guessing you'll have ALOT more frustrations getting him back out of house ---------------------it seems a "real" issue is his attachment to dad/underlying grief, etc------------maybe seeing a counselor a few times (go together, or him alone) would help him work through these grief/etc issues ? ??

((hugs)))) and BEST WISHES!
Keep us updated !
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2004
Wed, 08-22-2012 - 9:38am

Ugh!!!  I never even thought about the possibility of him never wanting to move out of the house.  It would definitly be a possibility.  I hope the fact that HE has been the one to always talk about moving to the country will keep that from happening. 

I just don't know what to do.  I have told him that we are not going to make any decisions about the houses until at least a year.  Our house payment is only $400 a month so it's not like we are out a lot of money each month.  My oldest cat may not even live another year.  I'm shocked that he's lived this long.

He would never agree to renting out his dads house and won't even agree to selling his dads house while we are still living down the street.  He said that he couldn't WATCH someone else living there.


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 08-22-2012 - 11:31am

I think it's good that you said not to make any major decisions while he is still grieving--most people will say to wait a year.  One problem is that it is difficult to get insurance on a vacant house so leaving it empty for a long time probably wouldn't be an option.  I just think that asking you to put indoor cats outside or in the garage is not a good solution--the cats came with you.  I married a guy w/ a cat & I'm not a pet person but I recognize that i coudn't ask him to get rid of his cat.  If you look at it objectively (which he can't do right now because of his grief)--what his father wants or wanted to happen about his house is really irrelevant if he doesn't live there--I mean if you sold the house to someone else, then they could have cats, dogs or a whole menagerie living there--so does it make a diff. if it's your cats or strangers' cats--or other people could totally change the house by painting, knocking down walls, etc.  I do kind of understand your DH's issue about feeling bad seeing other people living there if he is down the street.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2004
Wed, 08-22-2012 - 11:56am

Our current house is still completely in my name, the mortgage, insurance, property tax.  DH and I have never combined our insurances so his cars and boats are on a totally different policy with a different company than mine.  His dad's house will be completely in his name, insurance (which of coarse is the same as his dads) and property tax.  Will that still be an issue transferring the insurance policy to DH's name?  I assume he will tell them that we are moving into it even if we aren't right away.   

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Wed, 08-22-2012 - 1:01pm

Hi Mamebl! 

Oh gosh sweetie, this is quite the interesting place to be in. 

I guess the only detail I can comment on is why do you two need to move into dads house at all?  If it is eventually going to be sold, why the middle step of moving, selling, moving, selling? 

Is it possible for it to sit vacant?  Being just down the street, you could go in and out enough that it would remain in good sellable condition.  That is, if he doesn't want to rent it out or sell too soon. 

But I think the bigger concern is your DH wanting to figure all of this out NOW.  You are so right that this is NOT the time to make these kinds of decisons. 

Laurena also had brought up some very real concerns, and so have you.  Moving into a furnished house, especially of a parent, can be quite the mess.  We had a poster here a long time ago that was in a similar situation, except the mother was still alive.  The W had a horrible go of it all.  What made it worse is her DH did not follow through on his promise that the house would be "theirs" and like you already have predicted will happen with you, the W was living in the shadow of her MIL.  If I remember correctly, she couldn't even move anything, let alone get rid of anything and use her own. 

First things first though.  I say that you insist that this discussion be tabled.  From what I gather, there is no reason to rush into anything.  I think the cost of maintaining the vacant house would be money well spent to keep your marriage together. 

Keep us posted.  And oh, by the way, I am sorry to hear this is happening so fast with your FIL.  It is probably better this way, but hard, never-the-less. 



iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2006
Wed, 08-22-2012 - 6:39pm
I feel like there is something missing from this...why not take some time, sort through his dad's things, take what is 'nicer' than yours, and sell the dad's house? I would not, under any circumstances, sell the house that is in your name, pay off his loans, and move into a house he inherited...I realize that the cat issue is an emotional one for you, and everything is emotional for him, but do not ignore the financial part of this. You did not say your ages, or how long you have been married, but it seems Iike he is not really living the life of a married man with a wife but still very involved as his Father's smart and responsible for yourself, and (not to make light of what you feel for your cats) make sure you are not being tricked out of the equity in your house...he cannot make you sell your house...he might go live at his dad's, and then you will need to decide how much time you are going to give him to grieve and would be sad if you lost your cats over this, but it will be tragic if you lose your house....
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-10-2003
Wed, 08-22-2012 - 6:51pm

All of the posters have given you great advise.  As a cat parent myself, I would never compromise on the care of my cats--they are family, like my children, and you need to be firm about  this.  It is cruel to even consider putting your elderly cats outside or in the garage--cruel to both them and you.  No, that is not a compromise.

I agree with the other posters that no quick changes should be made.  It is commonly said to wait a year after the death of a close family member before making any big changes like moving.  And I do suspect you would not feel like his father's home is really your home and it is likely  your DH would never want to leave. 

If you and DH cannot agree, it might be a good idea to consult a therapist together.  He would benefit greatly after his father's passing from speaking to a counselor.



iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 08-23-2012 - 12:30pm

Maybe it won't be so bad since you live down the street & can keep an eye on the house.  I remember when my MIL died, my SIL & her kids had been living there & we expected that she would stay there until the house was sold but she moved out right away--I don't know why she didn't want to save the money.  But I kept hoping the ins. company wouldn't find out the house was vacant cause it took 6 months to sell.  It's only a problem if you made a claim--they could try to deny it.

Community Leader
Registered: 10-22-2001
Sun, 09-23-2012 - 12:57pm


I couldn't do it!

I have two cats myself, Mother and Daughter and like yours they are "Indoor" cats.

Not a good situation.

Why do you have to be the ONE to compromize.

If you are willing to move into his dad's house you should be able to bring your cats and your own things, and make changes.

Until it happens though I see no reason to talk about it unless he is willing to listen to how you feel.

Sorry Mame for what you are going through.

Like you said it is a very "Emotional" time right now.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2004
Wed, 09-26-2012 - 8:00am

Hello everyone,

I wanted to give you guys an update.  FIL passed away about 4 weeks ago.  DH is still an absolute mess.  I am trying to be there for him any way I can right now without stressing too much about our future.

We had talked a little about moving and he seemed to be getting a bit softer on the issue.  I had made it clear that I'm not getting rid of my cats or putting them outside.  Sooo, we have just stopped talking about it.... I know that's not the ideal way to deal with problems, hoping the issue will just go away, but I'm just sooo tired of even thinking about it. 

He has come to realize that his dads house needs alot of work before we could even think about moving in.  I still don't think he will let me decorate it the way I want but I'm not moving in with the intention of staying for long so I'm going to let that one go.  I'm thinking it will be next year sometime before the work is done and we can move so I still have plenty of time to think about and stress about the situation :-(