Family Matters
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Issues with MIL

First, backstory: 

So back in January, my husband had was let go from his job while we were trying to save up to move to my home town. But now we had no where to stay while continuing to save money and try and get jobs in said town, so my husband ask his mother if we could crash with her, in her unfinished basement apartment. She had offered us this apartment a while back, but because we didn't want to live in that area, we turned her down. My husband explained to her that we just needed a couple months to pull together some more money so we could get a decent apartment and job in my hometown. 

 Then out of the blue she tells us, she wants to finish off the basement first because she felt we needed more space. Of course we told her that it wasn't needed, and we would be perfectly fine with the two rooms that were already finished, but she insisted so we just figured it was her excuse to do something she had already really wanted to do.

Now we are super close to being able to move and we've been looking for jobs in my home town. And now she has begun to dangle "what she did for us" over our heads. She doesn't want us to move, because then it would be like she "wasted her money." She keeps talking about how much debt it put her in and how much she really needs us to stay and keep paying her rent. Every time I am up late at night because I can't sleep, she talks about how I should get a night job. My husband thinks I am being too sensitive and that she is just concerned about us, or joking. I am so frustrated. Helping her pay for things is making it really hard to get to our savings goal. I am really grateful for all she has done for us, but this just feels like she is taking advantage of us.Am I wrong?  Am I being selfish?

Re: Issues with MIL

  • It sounds like it was 100% her choice to redo the basement, and it's not something you demanded or asked for. I can't stand it when people give you something and then try to obligate you because of it. If something is done as a gift, and not as an arrangement (you do this for me and I'll do this for you), then they have no right to dangle anything over your head. This is why I refuse to accept things from my parents, and am very wary of accepting things from my in laws (although my in laws are much better than my parents, they don't hold things over our heads, but I'm still very cautious because of past experiences).

    Would it help to sit your husband down and let him know you want to discuss this further? He may be used to this kind of behavior from his mother and does not take it seriously. Maybe he doesn't quite understand how much this is bothering you. 

    Living with anyone when you are married and on your own is tough in itself. I wish you the best!

  • It sounds like she's grasping at straws here.  Ick - it always grosses me out how some women don't want their adult children to move out, it's creepy.  But I digress.

     If she's laying this on you, tell her "We appreciate everything you've done for us, but we're ready/it's time for us to get out on our own."  If she mentions the work she did in the basement I'd tell her flat out "We didn't ask you to do that, we figured it was something you wanted done anyway."  I think you really need to get your husband on board too - it's simple... you are his wife, and you two need to approach these issues as a united front. 

    Helping her pay for things... Are they normal expenses (i.e. groceries, utilities, etc?)  If so - I get that it keeps you from reaching your savings goal as quickly as you'd like, but I see it as the least you can do.  Think of it this way, she still provided you with the opportunity to save more than you could had you not moved in with her.

    Just save like mad and get out as soon as possible!!!


  • I agree with the PP who said that she has a right to ask you for money for rent, groceries, etc. But if she's asking you to stay longer because she spent so much to redo the basement that she needs your rent money, well, that's just too bad. You guys can tell her, jointly, that you did not ask her to redo the basement, and it therefore isn't your responsibility to make up the cost.

    From the way you've explained things, it sounds like your MIL almost planned this to keep you guys in her house as long as possible--she redid your room, is now asking you to stay longer to pay for said room, etc. I don't know what what her motives are, but it comes across sounding almost devious. If she's trying to manipulate you, don't let her. Thank her for all she's done, repay her kindness by helping to pay rent and such while you're there. But when you're ready to go, make sure you go. (And given her behavior, I might even step up the moving out process a bit).

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • Well then, it will suck for her when her plan to trap you and leach off of you doesn't work.

    Oops. Expensive mistake. Maybe she'll get a border or something. Oh well.

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