In Laws Moved In My Home

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-01-2003
In Laws Moved In My Home
Sun, 06-01-2003 - 12:01pm
Hello Everyone. This is my first time writing, and I hope to get some good advice. I am 41 years old, and I just got married (first time) in January 2003. My husband and I moved close to his mother and step father 1 1/2 years ago (before we were married) because he was offered a job close to them and because of their ages, he wanted to spend more time with them. My mother in law is 84 and her husband is 80. In April 2003, they had a fire in their home and while their home is being repaired, they are staying with us. They have had a lot of trouble with various insurance companies, and work on repairing their home has not started yet. One of the insurance policies pays for their accomidations, whether it be a hotel, or family member. They stayed here for a week, then went to a hotel for a week, then came back. They have been here ever since, two months now. We were told that the insurance company would compinsate us for them being here. My Mother in law was sent a check two weeks ago, part to cover the hotel costs for the one week, and the rest was to go to us. My husband and I knew that they had received the check, but they never gave us the money. I told him that he needs to ask them about it. He finally did, and my father in law knew that the check was itemized and knew that the money was to go to us. My mother in law didn't seem to know that the check had been deposited in her account. I told them that a check would be sent each month for us (in her name, because it is her policy) They didn't say anything. My husband said that he will handle it. Two days go by, and there is a check from my mother in law for about 1/20 the amount we were to receive. This is very stressful to me, as while they are here, things are broken, and I see my home needing much repair once they leave. My husband says I am a control freak. He doesn't seem to understand that our life has changed dramatically since they have moved in, to the point where I am stuck in my bedroom upstairs every minute that I am home (the downstairs living area is a bedroom now, and they sleep a lot) My husband and I fight almost everyday, and at this time, we are barely speaking. At this point, I am growing resentful that they would keep the money that should go to us. We struggle each month and we cannot afford to support them much longer. Thanks to all that reply.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-2003
Sun, 06-01-2003 - 5:59pm

Hmmmm...I can see both sides.

You're talking a lot about "compensation" for them living in your house--well, truthfully, how much EXACTLY have they cost you to live there, other than having to emotionally and physically accomodate them? Often family members don't think they should have to pay their relatives (especially their children, to whom they have given so much) to stay with them when a house burns down. His parents don't feel obligated to pay their own son to stay in his residence when their own has been destroyed, even though the money is "supposed" to go towards living expenses. I can see that.

BUT, from what you say your place is VERY small, and accomodating them is a hardship. Since they ARE receiving money for living expenses, I would say that instead of asking them for cash to stay with you, you ask that they instead go back to the hotel.

This should be handled by your husband, however, and not you. If he refuses, then, I guess what you have to do is pick your battles. Is the fact that your husband is trying to help out his parents (and NOT forcing them to PAY for that help) worth letting your marriage crumble?

I would not let my marriage disintigrate over this. I would TRY to be as helpful and accomodating as possible. They're old and their house has just burned down! Obviously, they're not rich!

Pressuring your husband to put his parents out of his house when their own is in ashes is not going to win you any friends. Asking your in-laws for what amounts to the equivalent of "rent" while they stay with you isn't going to make you popular, either.

Be as KIND as you possibly can to them. It's understandable that you feel resentment, but they are not your husband's college buddies, or his ex-girlfriends. They are his parents. (his mother at least!) He will greatly appreciate you backing off and trying to accomodate them.


Avatar for wishfulkittn
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 06-02-2003 - 1:03am
I am sooooooo sorry that you are going through this. I understand that you are upset, but your husband feels it's his duty to take care of his elderly parents since they lost their home. He probably feels extremely bad about everything that has happened, and doesn't want to *demand* they hand over their only funds. What if it were your parents? Would you be so hard on them? Imagine being over 80 and losing your home. Imagine being that old, and not having a sufficient income. Maybe compassion is what you are lacking in this situation? Now I could see if they had been living with you for a long time, but they have only been there a couple of months. I guess the only way you can deal with this is to try and put yourself in their position, and your husband's and see how you would react. You are entitled to be selfish and not want to have people bothering you, but are you being a bit too selfish?
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-01-2003
Mon, 06-02-2003 - 4:02pm
Thanks for the reply- One detail that I did not state when I first wrote is that money is not a problem at all for my in laws. They are both very comfortable finacially, so this is not the issue. They are actually paying for the repair on their home themselves ($50,000 cash)while they fight with the insurance company. My husband and I on the other hand live paycheck to paycheck. Thanks again
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2003
Mon, 06-02-2003 - 4:12pm
It sounds like you and your husband need to come to an agreement and really listen to each other's feelings. Have a nice heart-to-heart conversation about this. Get out of the house and got to dinner while you do this. Decide what is the best strategy and work it out with your in-laws but your husband has to agree with you and be assertive with his parents about boundaries (reasonable ones). Stick to the plan. When will their house be finished? How can they reimburse you for the things that are breaking? Can they go back to a hotel?

You don't have to hurt their feelings or compromise your own peace. You need to be comfortable in your own house. If you have to stay in your bedroom all of the time then I don't blame you for feeling the way you do.