OP, not to pile on, but I agree that your FH should have disclosed this amount a lot sooner. Maybe he just didn’t know. Whenever FH spends a big sum, he gives me a heads up.
I don’t think a wife is necessarily “entitled” to her husband’s money “more” than his mother is. I also don’t believe that a spouse always has to come before a parent. But when you’re married, your finances are legally entwined. If a large sum of money is going somewhere, you both need to know and get a say. His debt becomes your debt, and vice versa. You become a become a legally recognized unit with rights AND liabilities that a mother and son relationship doesn’t get.
With your updates, here are my thoughts:
-FMIL is highly manipulative
-she is entitled and selfish
-she cares more about her son’s money than his happiness or his financial health
-she is unlikely to change
-your FH is easily manipulated. He succumbs to emotional blackmail at the first sign of tears
-your FH is enabling your mother and has a hard time setting boundaries
-your FH is a bad financial planner. He can’t afford these payments if he wants to comfortably be a father and homeowner. His salary is not luxurious by any standards. If he were forgoing a haircut here and there to treat his mother to a manipedi, that would be fine. But he’s giving away 20% of his pay every month to someone who CHOSE to retire early. She wants her cash cow to go without while she splurges. His money is going towards his mother’s manipedis rather than a home, education for his future children, baby supplies. Now that he’s getting married and is closer to certain goals, his priorities have to change.
-your Future Mother-In-Law is probably dependent on this money by now. The kindest thing to go would be to gradually wean her down to an amount that is acceptable to the both of you
-yes, there may be cultural elements at play. But in cultures where the child is expected to care for the parent, the parent also cares for the child. It goes both ways. I come from such a culture. Did MiL scrimp and save to send FH to college? Did she scrimp and save so he could have a car? Does she feed him like a king whenever he comes over? Is she scrimping and saving for his wedding? (We all know the answer to that one.) Is she nagging at him to properly save and invest his money so HE can have a comfortable retirement? To say that “culture” is an excuse to be a lazy, selfish mooch is a bastardization of culture.
-no matter what happens, there is likely to be resentment on all ends. MiL is likely to scapegoat you. To some extent, your FH may resent you. Every time you run up a credit card bill, you might resent FH and MiL. You need to decide if FH has the backbone to divorce his mother and stay that way. It is HARD to break away from the woman who birthed you and raised you and is a champ at guilt tripping you.
-maybe I’m looking too into this, but did you have no idea at all that a proposal was coming within the next 3 months when you renewed your lease? Had you discussed timelines, the desire to get married beforehand? If the proposal was completely out of the blue, it MAY be part of an overall pattern of how your FH shoots first and asks questions later. Ex. Give mom the money now, deal with the reality later. Propose now, deal with the nitty gritty of finances later.
FH and I had these discussions before engagement. Part of that is on you, but not so much if he sprung a prooosal on you
You seem like a sweet, level headed person. Personally, this would be too much baggage for me. I say this as someone who is more in your FH’s shoes than yours.