(Closed) Got in a fight with DH about FIL

posted 5 years ago in Married Life
Post # 3
Member
2607 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

$400 a month isn’t much.  He would probably still need your help even if he used all $400 to pay his own bills.

Do you know the financial situation of his siblings?  I am guessing that they are even worse off than your FIL, so he feels obligated to help them since he has you to help him.  Even when you’re poor, there is always someone with less.   

Post # 5
Member
424 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

Like Miss Apricot suggested, you should probably find out what the financial situation of his siblings is.  

True, you are his wife and your needs should be met before those of the external family, but helping relatives is all a part of family life and should not be neglected entirely.

Post # 6
Member
756 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I agree helping relatives is important but not at the detriment of your own financial future.  Obviously if you are working on credit card debt then y’all aren’t rolling in the dough.  You’ll never be able to get ahead if you allow others to treat you like an ATM.

I am happy to help in a bind, but I believe in personal responsibility as well.  Some people are just takers and won’t stop taking until you put a stop to it. 

How you and your DH spend your $ is something you should agree on.  He shouldn’t get to decide what goes where all on his own.

Post # 7
Member
3699 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I take it you’ve married into a culture different than your own?  Me too.  🙂  You need to take some time to understand why he sends the money back (either they reallyreally need it or he feels obligated), and why your husband feels like he has to support his father (guessing a sense of obligation, here, too). 

True that your wife should come first.  You guys need to come up with a budget, then have extra money that you can have either to help your FIL or save for vacations, something like that. 

Post # 8
Member
3887 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I think this may be more about the cultural differences than anything. I’m assuming that FIL is Indian, since he is sending money “home” to India. The role of the parent is quite different in the Indian society than it is in the States; it is considered quite expected for the younger generation to care for (i.e. pay for housing, medical care, etc) the older generation as they age and leave the workforce.  It’s considered beyond taboo to neglect your parents’ care as they age, to the point that it may even be classified as a crime (I’m not sure if this legislation passed though). Kind of like how neglecting your child in the US and other countries is a crime.  So culturally, your FIL’s children, especially his sons, are culturally expected to cover FIL’s living expenses and medical care.  

The money incoming from Social Security could be seen as not being a part of that expected care. It’s “found money.”  I’m not saying that it truly is found money— you do have a good point that the money is better used to help defray your FIL’s expenses— but because FIL is not earning it as a traditional salary, it’s found money or a boon, and culturally you’re expected to pass that around.

Since this is not really in line with how American culture views the elderly, I would first speak with your husband and have him explain how Indian culture works, and why your FIL may be making the financial decisions he is. Once you get a better understanding of their background, you may be able to put forth a case where the SSI goes into an account to help cover those bigger medical expenses, and whatever’s left over after 6 months or however long, can be then sent to relatives in India. I would expect these to be very long conversations and perhaps not overly comfortable to have, because the concept of the elderly/aging adult role in the Indian family is deeply rooted in the culture, and has a lot to do with male pride and other emotions.

Post # 9
Member
3699 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@fishbone:  Yeah, exactly.

My husband is “supposed” to support his parents, too.  Luckily FIL still has a good job.  But he only still works to support two of his deadbeat siblings. 

Post # 10
Member
2263 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I see why this upsets you. One rule of thumb that DH and I follow is that if supporting his extended family, providing things they need takes away money from the things that WE need, as a couple- we usually draw the line. When you marry, two become one. That usually goes for finances, too. (sometimes, but not always) First and foremost, your own family unit should be taken care of before the family of origin is thought of. Yes, it’s important to take care of family in need. However, that should never put a strain on your finances and what’s best for you as a couple. Hope that helps! Setting this idea at the top of our finances has really helped us as we’ve merged finances and gotten used to ‘our’ money and how that is spent. 

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