Post # 1
After 23 years of marriage, my in-laws have decided to get divorced. I won’t get into all the messy details but it has been extremely hard on my poor husband. His father is crushed. I have never seen anyone in a worse mental state. In order to try and move on with his life, my FIL is moving in with us. We live in a 1000 square foot home, with two full grown mostly inside dogs (labs). Needless to say, I’m feeling a little stressed out about space. I’m worried about us being squished and on each other’s backs, causing tension. I want him to feel loved and welcome, but he’s moving into our office/ spare room where I currently store all of my things that won’t fit in our already cramped master bedroom. There’s only so much I move around. Is it wrong for me too feel this way? It’s already causing tension between my husband and I and he (FIL) hasn’t moved in yet. Any advice on how to make this situation work? Also, how should I try and console my FIL and husband when they’re having a hard time with the divorce? I’ve never known anyone that’s been divorced/ in this situation so I don’t really know what to say.
Post # 3
Wow that’s brutal – I’m so sorry to hear. 🙁
Do you have any sense for how long your FIL will be staying with you? Or is it more of an open ended thing…
Post # 4
Whoa…so sorry to hear that
Have you and FI had atalk yet about your reservations? There’s no easy way to have a talk like that…it is his dad afterall. Is there a time-table for him to move out or is he crashing with you indefinitely?
If dad is only going to be staying 2-3 months, I dont htink it’s worth bringing up.
Post # 5
He’s staying with us until the divorce is finalized, so it could be a couple months or it could be well…awhile.
Post # 6
Hi Mrs. Hudson,
Having watched my MIL go through something similar I can totally relate to your angst. It’s really hard to watch them suffer first of all and it’s really hard to watch your loving husband suffer as well. For me, I had to adjust to no longer having a sane FMIL (she lost it there for awhile, understandably) and I also had to adjust to no longer being the center of my FI’s attention. Selfish as that may sound, one of the reasons I fell for him was how focused he was on me and our relationship. I am proud of the amazing son he is to his mother though and we have adjusted our relationship as needed. I am sure you are proud of your husband for being such a good son too.
Since you aren’t blood, presumably you aren’t as emotional about the situation so my suggestion would be to stay as rational possible. Divorce is ugly and involves a myriad of logistics that you never knew existed (seriously, brush up on your states divorce laws). Remain calm at all times and help your husband and his father organize his affairs. We went to a number of my FMIL appointments with her lawyers b/c she needed help processing all that had to be done (and still needs to be done).
For your living situation I suggest you clean out your office as much as possible. Your FIL will want space and will be less likely to be in your face if he has a room to go to. I know you mentioned you store a lot in your office but move as much as you can out: rent a storage unit, use this as an opportunity to get rid of old things etc.
And lastly communicate as much as you can with your husband. I like to start conversations about my FI’s mom by first stating that I am not complaining nor am I trying to be insensitive, I just want to understand what is going on and discuss my feelings as well. When I approach subjects with my FI in this rational manner we’ve been able to clear the air and move on (and its’ hard b/c holy cr*p do I want shout from the roof tops: your mother is batsh*t CRAZY! but I try really hard not to. I may have said that once or um, a few times though. Oops).
One last thing, create a timeline with your husband about your FFIL moving out. Just say to him: in xx mos if he hasn’t moved out I’d like to seriously discuss why and how we can help him to start his own home again.
Post # 7
I think your FI and his dad should really talk about a concrete timeline for how long he will be staying with you guys and what steps he will take to get back on his feet – like looking for his own place, saving enough for the rent/deposit/whatever so that he can move into it, maybe lending a little bit of money to get him started?
In the meantime, be sure to make some time for just the two of you. Schedule date nights and make sure you establish clear boundaries! Also, encourage your FFIL to get active and make new friends and reach out, socialize, stay busy, etc.
Post # 8
So sorry to hear that!
Divorce is hard on so many more people than just the couple involved. I was married nearly 10 years and chose to leave a bad relationship – even with it being my choice, the divorce was incredibly hard. I took a class through my church called Divorce Care – I’m pretty sure they have a website – anyway that class changed my life. At the very least, you might find some resources on their site.
I’m sure that your FIL has a lot of feelings going on right now and I would guess that he’s crushed and feeling pretty bad about himself. He will prob want to get on his feet and get himself together, but it will take time. All you can do is be supportive and loving and be there for your hubby. Divorce is like a death – you have the same kind of grief over the life and the love you had with that person – they call it grieving the dream. Your hubby’s bound to be grieving some too.
As far as the room is concerned, I would just make it liveable – he is a man, afterall, so it doesn’t have to be pretty – just a place to crash and a place for clothes.
Like emileee said – be sure to get some one on one time in with your hubby. You’ll need the space and the FIL will too.
Hang in there!
Post # 9
I think you are kind to open your home. I would do the same. However, I think Mr. Bee has touched on something important. If it’s open ended it can seem interminable. If you know how long he will be there it may be easier to make it though knowing it is temporary and will only last X weeks/months.
Perhaps have a plan in place before he moves in/soon after he moves in- ie what is his next step? Apartment? Buying a new house? That way he can start looking.
Also- I think alone time is gonna be really hard to come by. You and your FI should definitely start a date night- where you go out solo (maybe even get a hotel room and let your FFIL mind the dogs and have the house to himself). It might be hard to leave your FFIL, but you and your husband need to be able to go out and discuss stuff without FFIL being within hearing distance.
I also think your FI and his dad should have a father/son night once a week that gets them both out of the house so that you can have a few hours at home to yourself- take a bath, walk around without a bra on- just relax.
Does your FI have any other siblings? If so- your FI needs to press them into service. (If not- then cousins, family friends, other relatives) Ask them to invite FFIL for overnights at their homes, have him over for dinner, ask him to house sit, keep him busy. My maternal grandmother lived with us for many years. She was a great help with childcare, but it was hard on my parents’ marriage. They felt they could never have a disagreement that my grandmother woud overhear and it definitely put a damper on their sex life. My mom was always grateful when her siblings ‘took’ my grandma for a few days so we could just be a nuclear family.
As for how to help your FFIL- I think at first distraction is the best option. Go out to movies, rent movies, play golf, go bowling, go for walks, etc. Anything to help him not think about the divorce and keep him busy.
You and your FI are wonderful to do this for your FFIL. Good luck.
Post # 10
I’m sorry to hear about the end of your in-laws marriage. As the others have said, it’s very good of you to open your home to him in his time of need. I agree with Rosy’s advice about how to help your FIL through this, and also that the Father/Son night out will be both good for them, and good for you.
I did want to add that FIL may NEED to talk about it and you and your husband should probably discuss a plan to deal with that. It might get awkward for your husband because of loyalties to both parents but sometimes just lending a sympathetic ear can help someone so much.
Wishing you the best during this trying time.
Post # 11
Thank you,everyone who wrote in, thank you very much for the advice and love. Reading these comments has made me feel so much better. I love the idea of having father son night out. I’m definitely going suggest it. My hubby and I already have a date night so we will be sure to keep that up. The hive is awesome, thanks again.