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Guy Clashes With His Wife After He Forbids His Mother-In-Law From Moving In With Them

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The age-old joke is that spouses and mother-in-laws (MILs) do not get along.

In every movie we can think of about this trope, such as Monster-In-Law, the spouse and in-law can’t even be civil at the dinner table.  It’s played for laughs, but there must be some degree of truth to it, right?

Perhaps 31-year-old Redditor OrganicInitiative8 was experiencing that truth when his 33-year-old wife suddenly asked if her mother could move in with them in a time of duress.

Unsure how to proceed, he went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for feedback on their decision.

The Original Poster (OP) asked:

“AITA for putting my foot down and saying my MIL can’t move in with us?”

OP began by setting up the relationship between he, his wife, and his in-laws:

“My wife is an only child and extremely close with her parents. We live on opposite sides of the country from her parents but they talk up to 4 times per day and as far as I’m concerned my wife acts as their remote personal assistant/shopper/accountant/tech support specialist.”

“I’ve been really up front with my wife to say I’m a bit jealous of the attention they get, as anything between my wife and I is subject to being derailed if her phone rings. My wife is sympathetic but says she’s not going to pick favorites between me and her parents.”

With that in mind, OP elaborated on how intrusive his in-laws can be on his space:

“When they do visit, particularly at Christmas they and my wife insist on them staying with us for a week in our 1 bedroom condo. We’ve done this the last 8 years, which has actually turned into a bit of a miserable time or year for me as a result.”

“I love my wife, so I deal with it. It’s not a secret I’m not a fan of the arrangement but I’m not interested in ruining Christmas so I’m a good sport about it.”

And then went to the situation at hand:

“Anyway, my father-in-law (FIL) is suffering from Alzheimer’s and I have suspected that he has been for as long as I’ve known him (8 years). My MIL has been in complete denial about this up until very recently where they have just started with the process for having him placed in a care home as his condition is quite severe.”

“Meanwhile the pandemic has affected my wife and I to a point it makes sense to move into a bigger place out of the city. My wife has expressed her interest that once her dad is placed, she would like her mom to come move in with us and so our home should have an in law suite or other suitable accommodations.”

“My MIL can’t afford to move on her own, they made some bad financial decisions and aren’t able to move to a higher cost of living area.”

But OP was not thrilled about this arrangement whatsoever:

“After years of being patient and respectful about this I’ve finally put my foot down. And I’ve cited the following reasons:”

“1. My MIL will be contributing nothing financially to this arrangement, but selecting a home with accommodations for her is both limiting our housing options (my wife and I will both have to sacrifice things we want in a home).”

“2. I’m extremely insecure that there will be no boundaries in this arrangement, even if they are established ahead of time.”

“3. I simply cannot think of a time where I shared a roof with her and felt any level of comfort, satisfaction or enjoyment about the situation. I just can’t, and the idea of committing to a long term arrangement like that makes me completely queasy.”

But now has no idea whether or not he is being the bad guy in the situation:

“Naturally this hasn’t gone over well, AITA?”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Reddit had a hard time even focusing on OP, as there were several details that made them focus on OP’s wife and mother.

“‘My wife is sympathetic but says she’s not going to pick favorites between me and her parents.'”

“If she always attends to her parents’ needs even at the expense of disregarding yours, she is picking favourites.”

“NTA.”~curmudgeonchief

“It sounds like some counseling is needed. Your wife IS picking a favorite, and it’s never you it sounds like.”

“It sounds like this is something that HAS to be resolved – otherwise I can promise you if MIL moves in it sounds like a good bet your marriage will crumble.”~HunterRoze

“This is exactly what I was going to say. She IS picking favorites. And you’re in second place.”

“Talking to her mom 4 times a day most days is excessive. It’s hard to tell if your wife is very attached to her mom and doesn’t have boundaries, or if your MIL is manipulating her to keep her enmeshed, but whatever is going on here is not healthy for your relationship with her.”

“It sounds like you two desperately need some couples counseling to find boundaries that work for both of you.”

“And you definitely shouldn’t have to pick your house based on your MIL’s needs or wants. Bringing someone into your home should always be a ‘two yes, one no’ situation. You both have to live in the house; you both deserve to be comfortable in your own home.”

“I get along just fine with my MIL, but I still wouldn’t want to invite her to live in my house indefinitely. NTA.”~Purple_Midnight_Yak

“NTA. She’s saying she isn’t going to pick favs, she already HAS by the looks of it, I’m surprised if the marriage has lasted this long if she drops your plans and wants with her at the ring of a damned phone.”

“Seriously her mother moving in is a flat no go. If she tries to do it anyways, you need to sit her down and tell her the consequences of what that will result in, as much as you may not want to, you may be forced to divorce her if she always puts her parents over you.”

“If it was an emergency I’d understand, her house burned down, she needed a joint to stay at for a week or three, but live with you until the day she dies? N-O.”~shadowflameking

Redditors were also really confused about the nursing home arrangement:

“I was a CNA and I can tell you, residents in OP’s FIL’s situation either die very soon after being abandoned, or they hold on for as long as they possibly can to see their family again. They may not know who their family is anymore but the concept is still there.”

“NTA OP, but your wife and MIL are despicable for wanting to abandon your FIL. I hope your wife changes before you require care in a residential facility.”~TheSwamp_Witch

“NTA. Don’t do it. That would be your uncomfortable holidaytime but ALL YEAR ROUND. She will take over your house and it will always be 2 against 1 and you will be that one.”

“Their bad money management is not your responsibility. That’s your boundary and your wife should respect that.”~cultqueennn

“OP, for the sake of your marriage you shouldn’t allow MIL in. Yes, your wife might protest, but if you give in you’ll ultimately resent both of them and break down/be miserable or just simply leave (run) this toxic environment.”

“Boundaries are set up for a reason. Wish you luck!”~Gromslav

“Enmeshment is a description of a relationship between two or more people in which personal boundaries are permeable and unclear. This often happens on an emotional level in which two people ‘feel’ each other’s emotions, or when one person becomes emotionally escalated and the other family member does as well.”

“A good example of this is when a teenage daughter gets anxious and depressed and her mom, in turn, gets anxious and depressed. When they are enmeshed the mom is not able to separate her emotional experience from that of her daughter even though they both may state that they have clear personal boundaries with each other.”

“Enmeshment between a parent and child will often result in over involvement in each other’s lives so that it makes it hard for the child to become developmentally independent and responsible for her choices.”~Skinned_Potato_Lady

And boundaries have already been violated, so some people are telling OP he needs to refocus his priorities.

“NTA. Oh god I lived this. I lived this situation.”

“My mom persuaded my reluctant dad to let Grandma live with us for a long time til she passed in her 90s. Nobody involved was a bad person but I literally had to go to therapy for years afterward in adulthood to recover from how miserable the arrangement made dad, and subsequently grandma, and subsequently mom, and subsequently me.”

“Grandma thought she was getting a full time caregiver but didn’t want to admit she needed one. Dad hoped he would still have his marriage the same.”

“Mom thought it would be fun and easy and good for the FAAAAAAMILY and it wasn’t any of those things. It was… a tense, angry, dysfunctional 2 decades.”

“Mom still apologizes for how that turned out because Dad’s gut feeling about it was right all along. If you’re both not 100% on board then FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DONT DO IT!!!!”

“I know it might be a dealbreaker for your wife but listen to me, you are not bad or wrong for looking at the misery that would cause you and saying no.”

“It sucks but you have some very hard choices to make and you would NOT be an a**hole or the a**hole by any means if you say no to your Mil and your wife by saying YES to your sanity and happiness.”~Job_Moist

“NTA. I agree with above, but I think this might be a dealbreaker on both sides. OP, think really long and hard about what you want.”

“You love your wife, but you’re already getting less of her than you wanted or expected. No matter what happens now—if MIL moves in, or if she and FIL just move close to you—you’re going to get even less of your wife.”

“It’s been eight years and nothing has changed or improved, and your wife has made her priorities clear. There’s very little chance she’ll change her priorities, and the only chance of that is couples therapy, NOW, but only if she says she’s willing to change.”

“Otherwise, you’re looking at a miserable life or a divorce.”~usernaym44

“NTA at all, but this is a serious problem and incompatibility. Something very major needs to change in order to have healthy boundaries and a clear agreement about what support/contact you will have with MIL moving forward.”

“Marriage counseling seems like a good next step.”~AussieinHTown

“NTA My in-laws live with us and for us it is great, but it isn’t for everyone. Frankly, if you can’t work out the arrangement between your wife and yourself beforehand, it won’t work.”

“The reason it works for us is that my husband and I discussed at length what it would mean and got on the same page. Then the four of us discussed it together and got on the same page as a team with boundaries and expectations firmly established.”

“Sure, we have all made adjustments, but no one compromised to the point of being ignored – we all ended up equal.”~CheckeredBumblebee

OP and his wife may have a bigger problem on their hands than they originally bargained for.

Hopefully this can all be resolved.

Mike Walsh

Written by Mike Walsh

Mike is a writer, dancer, actor, and singer who recently graduated with his MFA from Columbia University. Mike's daily ambitions are to meet new dogs and make new puns on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikerowavables.