A little resentful towards boyfriend's family

posted 2 years ago in Relationships
Post # 2
90 posts
Worker bee

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paigelove :  I put up a post last week about not being able to keep dealing with my SO’s codependent family. I have similar circumstances.

How long has your boyfriend been living there and supporting them financially?

My SO has been living with his parents for about 4-5 years. We’ve been together for 2. His parents sunk themselves financially without saying anything until they were about to lose their house and go bankrupt. My SO has siblings but has always been the one to do everything for everyone. He has a sister living with the parents (never left) who doesn’t help at all financially. Anyway, when this went down, he sold all of his things and moved in with his parents. My SO has full custody of his daughter, so she lives there too. Everyone in that house has a bedroom except my SO, who has slept on a couch for almost 5 years and keeps all his clothes in a laundry basket (this includes both of his parents having their OWN bedrooms). For years my SO paid for everything and has lived that way. His parents are also hoarders so it is not a pleasant place to live, period. When we met he was still paying for everything. Then his dad took an early retirement without telling him, and I think between that and me pointing out to him how unfair it all was and how he was being taken advantage of, he finally started making changes.

He’s worked on getting them to take back over their bills slowly but surely over the past year. The last thing he was paying for was satellite TV, which he cancelled several months ago. I’m sure they eat some of the food he buys, but he mostly shops for himself and his daughter now, as opposed to feeding all of them every day.

My SO is stuck somewhere between feeling proud of what he’s done/is doing for his family without expecting anything in return, and feeling totally depeleted by the constant taking taking taking. Even though they are paying their bills, there are monthly health issues landing his dad in the hospital (self-inflicted health issues that he refuses to correct) or one of their cars breaking down and they can’t afford to fix it. The things he’s expected to handle just keep popping up.

My SO is close with his sister and I don’t think he likes thinking of her as also being a freeloader, but you have to call a spade a spade. I’ve told him he needs to sit her down and talk to her about pitching in. We are both 35 with his sister being a year or two older than us – it’s not like it’s unreasonable for her, a grown adult, to help pay for her own way. We’re working towards plans for him to move out and in with me in 2019, and if she’s the one who’s going to keep living there rent-free, things need to change.

Your SO needs to work on an exit plan. Do his parents get social security or other benefits? Medicare? Are they able to pick up part time jobs? Can they sell their house and downsize to an apartment? He needs to take a look at how much he’s putting into their household a month and what their deficit is without his help – for the things they NEED to live. This doesn’t include things like TV packages, cell phone plans, etc. A roof over their heads, water, electricity, food on the table, clothes on their backs, medical care, transportation (this can even be public transportation if they don’t have jobs).

I know this is a sensitive topic. My SO and I have argued about it quite a bit. I hate seeing his parents take advantage of his kindness, as they truly are not appreciative of what he does. They’ve been used to his generosity since he was a teenager/young adult and just expect handouts. That’s the kind of people they are. It’s up to your boyfriend to set the limits.

Post # 3
2557 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

This is a huge thing to consider prior to considering marriage. It doesn’t sound like there’s an end date in sight. Your SO’s situation goes far beyond the normal, “If you marry someone, you marry their family.” If you get married, will you move into the granny flat too? Will you be expected to help contribute to his family’s debt? He’s already shown that he will forego things (even something as simple as a meal you cooked) to give to his parents. That’s not going to suddenly stop. Before I would commit to a man in his position, I’d want to know the end date and the plan for reaching it. His parents have likely become accustomed to your SO taking care of them and their finances. They may even resent you if it appears you’re the reason the current agreement ends.

Post # 4
1460 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2019 - City, State

I might suggest considering where your resentment is coming from.  It doesn’t really sound like you’re legitimately “resentful,” it just sounds like you’re worried about the long term implications of this situation and how it will affect your future family.  I think that’s a legitimate concern.  Really, it’s not something to “get over” imo.  It’s something you need to speak about with your boyfriend and make sure you both are REALLY on the same page, and that’s he’s ok with somehow transitioning out of his “duties” when he ties the knot with you.  It’s just a conversation, that’s all.  An important one, but a necessary one.  I really think most guys know this stuff already…they just don’t know how to talk about it.  Just have a kind convo with him about your worries, and hopefully you’ll be able to come up with a transition plan for both you and his family.

Post # 5
1282 posts
Bumble bee

You probably need to let go of the fact that they’re quiet and not as boisterous as your family; being quiet isn’t a character flaw. Their personalities may not mesh with yours in that way, but there’s nothing wrong with two personalities not meshing. From what you’ve said, they’re very nice even if quiet–his mom wrote you a thank you note? Seems pretty friendly and welcoming to me. 

As for them allowing your husband to help them, they didn’t exactly do that, it sounds like? You said “they wouldn’t accept overt financial help” from your boyfriend, so it doesn’t sound like they’ve set out to mooch off of him as if they’re entitled to do so. And since they’re so quiet and don’t seem to share much, it sounds like they probably don’t know how stressed he is with taking care of them, and that’s partly his fault–he needs to tell them and figure out a solution. You seem to be villainizing his parents quite a bit, Bee. 

Post # 6
2048 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

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DeniseSecunda :  You said it exactly.  According to OP, his parent’s haven’t asked for this….he took that burden upon himself and then decided to leave them out of the discussion!  He needs to take a step back and have a conversation with his parents so that a workable solution can be found.  I’d bet they’d be horrified if they really knew the situation.  Very proud people usually are.

Post # 7
842 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I don’t think it would be wise to put him in the position where he needs to chose between you and his family.  He is obviously devoted to them and feels responsible for taking care of them in their “old age”.  I, for one actually can see why you are bothered by their dynamics and his willingness to put his parents above all else in his life but I feel like this is one of those things you either accept, or move on because it is a fundamental part of who he is and he isn’t gonna change.  Maybe, just maybe some healthy boundaries can be put into place but chances are it still won’t ever get to a point where you would be satisfied (my hunch is that he will continue to put his parents before himself, that’s just the dynamic there).  

To summarize : I don’t think much about the situation will change, you have to figure out if you can live with it or not.

Post # 8
1034 posts
Bumble bee

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paigelove :  This is a boyfriend problem, not an Inlaw problem. Don’t blame his parents for choices your boyfriend made. 

Post # 10
1034 posts
Bumble bee

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paigelove :  Do you honestly think declining would have worked? From what you’ve said in your posts, I doubt your boyfriend would’ve let them decline. 

Post # 12
839 posts
Busy bee

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paigelove :  it might not have been declined, but why was it even offered in the first place?

Post # 13
338 posts
Helper bee

I agree with PP here and like Shoot4theMoon said, this sounds like a boyfriend problem not an in-law problem.

Or maybe you can hope his parents die soon. I don’t mean that but the parents are not going to go anywhere nor are they doing anything wrong. They are not asking for money or imposing themselves. The boyfriend is the one who wants to help out and that isn’t a negative trait in my eyes. Who wouldn’t feel stressed out about aging parents? Everybody makes mistakes, and perhaps they are not well prepared to take care of themselves at old age but by the info we have we don’t know if its their fault. Sometimes things just happen. And even if its their mistake, we don’t get to choose our family, but we get to choose our spouses.

His parents aren’t going anywhere. You may want to discuss with your boyfriend on how to move forward. Obviously he needs to make it known to his parents that the financial situation is a burden on him, but that is still his problem.

Post # 14
330 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

All you can do is encourage your boyfriend to discuss this with his parents.  It’s not like he’s dropping the ball on them but they need to better figure out how to live and work together as a team… and not him as the caretaker.  Maybe he should move back into the main house and rent out the granny unit?  At least they can gain some sort of income.

Also, if he’s spending quite a bit of money to pay for their expenses… then I can’t blame them for declining nor proudly accepting.  To accept is losing their pride and admitting to burden their son.  But to decline is them having to face the financial struggle again.

And lastly, if your boyfriend and you are discussing about the future… then the conversation should include if he’s expecting you two to live and care for his parents.  If yes then you need to decide whether you are willing to live with them.  If no, then he really needs to figure out how to generate an income for his parents to live off from.  Is there government aid?  What kind of investment can he use to generate an income for them?  Etc.

Post # 15
149 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

These are two separate unrelated problems you’ve laid out here — one is valid, one is not. 

I’ll start with the one that’s not. It doesn’t matter that his family is different from yours. That’s not a character flaw. Honestly, my Fiance and I are in the same position as you but reversed. His family is loud, emotional, energetic and overbearing. I hate it. I find it suffocating and smothering and invasive, and often need long periods without seeing them in between visits bc they are so overwhelming. My family on the other hand is quiet, everyone is very independent, we don’t pry into each other’s business, everyone kind of does their own thing. I’m sure my Fiance feels the way you do when he’s with my family. Sometimes it’s probably cringey that we’re not boisterous and loud and talkative bc that’s what he’s used to. Oh well. There’s nothing wrong with either of our families, they’re just different. Happens a lot tbh. 

The other problem is valid. He financially supports his parents by choice, and lives with them in order to do so. If you’re talking about the future, you have a right to be bothered by this. YOu need to have a serious conversation with your bf about expectations and what your joint future looks like. If you aren’t OK with him supporting them (I wouldn’t be!) then you need to make that clear. Don’t make it personal, just explain that you work hard for your money and you want all your joint money going towards your new family (house, children, family vacations, etc.). That’s totally reasonable. If he isn’t willing to withdraw all his support, maybe you can find a compromise you’re both comfortable with. But if it were me, I’d be walking from a guy who has a savior complex with his parents where money is concerned. 

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