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Living with the mother-in-law :(

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
Hi guys,
My name is Shane and this is my first post. I'm looking for some advice with a situation that is ruining my life. In December 2009, my younger brother, Luke, passed away at the age of 21 very suddenly. My GF and I were living in a shared house at the time and in the November of 2009, she was made redundant and I was forced to pay rent and bills until she got back on her feet. Following Lukes' death, my world seemed to fall apart and I made a decision that I would move back home to my parents in order to be with them and also to save money from a financial point of view. My GF agreed that this was going to be the best course of action. It proved to be a bad mistake for my GF as she felt guilty for not working and also felt awkward being around myself and my parents following my brothers death. She felt as though we should be together as a family. Naturally, I was grieving as were my parents, I was having to hold down a fulltime job in order to keep some semblance of a normal life together and my girl was stuck living with my parents on a day-to-day basis. even though she was actively looking for work, there was nothing coming about for about 4 months and she began to get depressed at being on the dole and her guilt at what she felt was "sponging" from me and my parents, made her feel worse. My folks didnt mind that she was living there as they love her to bits. In the April of 2010, my gf's mum left her abusive fella and my gfs brothers after 24 years of unhappiness and announced she was going to heading towards where we were living and was wondering if my parents could put her up for a week or two while she sorted things out. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place - things were hard enough going through a terrible loss, dealing with my girlfriends insecurities and now having to deal with her mums situtation. My folks were not happy at all but they didn't want to upset my girlfriend and agreed, reluctantly, to allow her mum to stay with us. This lasted 3 months and things were very tense at times. Luckily, my MIL hada family friend who lived locally who had a house on the market and agreed to let her mum live there and claim housing benefit. The situation seemed to be ideal but then my gf and I started to argue every single day and out of the blue she announed she wanted to go and live with her mum and help her with her problems. I felt that my GF was putting my loss behind what her mum was going through and I felt she was deliberately causing arguments or making excuses just to go and live with her mum. We broke up for a month and I was at my lowest ebb. My gf begged me to go and live with her and her mum for a few months and then we would get our own place properley. I relented and explained to my mum and dad that I would be moving back out. Understandably, they were very upset but they knew they would see me every week regardless. I moved in with my gf and her MIL and for the first 2 months, everything was fine. The home is a 3 bedroom terrace house and not huge. However, the MIL was starting to act as though as she was doing me and my gf a favour by living with her and was referring to the house as her own despite me and my gf (who found a job) paying rent and bills. It has been over a year now and the situtation is the same - my girlfriend and I do not have enough space and to top it off, she is 7 months pregnant with our first child. I have explained that it would be in our best interests in 2012 to get our own place for us and the baby. However, the MIL has not sorted out her issues, she hasn't worked since leaving her bloke and she is making excuses for not getting her life back together ( she is too old, she is not trained in anything, etc). It is depressing me every day now when I finish work that I have to be treated like a teenager and that I don't have a chance to unwind. The MIL has got a boyfriend with his own house but she is unwilling to move in with him. She keeps talking about how fantastic it will be when the baby comes along in febuary and how we should feel fortunate to have a nice home with decent rent. My girlfriend has said she is unwilling to move in with me again until she knows her mother is fine and able to live her own life but personally I don't think she is willing to help herself and while she has a home where the rent is minimal with all three of us paying equally, she feels she will be there for ever. Her boyfriend is over the house constantly and often brings his granchildren over on weekends and all of them are very noisy and I feel I can never unwind. My gf thinks I am being childish when I moan that I would like to have some peace and quiet on the weekend with just her, to chill, watch movies, socialise, etc. I feel completely trapped in this situation. My GF and I could afford to move out but she won't do it because of her mum. Am I being selfish for wanting our own place to raise our child and have a close relationship with my gf or should I just allow my MIL to effectively dictate where our life should be heading? I apologise for such a rambling post but I am desperate for some outsider advice!

Thank you

Shane :)


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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hi there Shane,

    Welcome to the boards :wave: Everyone here is really welcoming and often has some real pearls of wisdom, so hopefully you'll enjoy your time here! We also run general chat sessions where you can chat to users in real time, in a moderated room. There'll be a chat tonight from 8-10 after our Christmas quiz from 7 - 8. You're welcome to either/both :)Access it here.

    It sounds like there's a lot going on for you at the moment, with both you and your girlfriend having had difficult family experiences which have taken your attention away from your relationship. It's really admirable that you are both such caring people, who put your families first so often. However, it sounds like you are feeling like it might be time to focus on your relationship and your soon to be family, and want to move into somewhere where you can be your own family. This isn't in itself an unreasonable thing to want, although it sounds like it has to be balanced against all the other things going on.

    You said you have spoken to your girlfriend about your concerns, but it sounds like you didn't really feel like things have changed. Could it be worth speaking to her again, at a time when you have space and time to really explore both of your concerns. Have a look at this article on communicating as a couple. It might be worth planning what you want to say in advance and explaining how the current situation is making you feel. One good trick can be the five minute technique, where you talk for five minutes uninterrupted, and then she does and then you have ten minutes to chat about what each of you have said. This helps to give a complicated discussion like this some structure, enables both people to have their say, and helps prevent it disintegrating into an argument. It sounds like it might be a good idea to focus on a compromise - perhaps setting a time limit for moving out or for reassessing the situation with her mother for example.

    In addition, if moving out at some point in the future is a possibility, it might be a good idea to do some research about moving out, and where and how you might live. This might help her to see it as a potential reality and not just something that you *could* do. In addition, if she is concerned at all about the finances and complexities involved in moving out, it might help to have information to hand so you both know what to expect.

    If you continue to find it really hard to come to a compromise, you might find it helpful to consider relationship therapy. Although it sounds scary, more and more people are taking advantage of it these days - it's actually often a good way of getting help to try and resolve a particular issue. You can see info on Relate here - they also run a webchat service and have a helpline to help you decide if you would like support from them.

    Hope this helps a bit - other board members might have some good advice if they have been in similar situations, or had to come to difficult compromises with their partners. Let us know how you get on :)
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