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Help me to talk positively to DH about MIL's influence over our marriage

(74 Posts)
seoladair Tue 31-Dec-13 13:35:49

I've posted before about MIL's problems and estrangements with various family members. I have read toxic In-Laws but am still finding things hard going (probably exacerbated by having spent Xmas at her place.) Fear, Obligation and Guilt describes my husband's stance perfectly.

The carping, interference and manipulation are one thing, but a separate problem is that she is indirectly (or possibly directly) dictating where we live.

Our daughter is 2 and I have a very clear idea about where I would like her to grow up. I'd like to make the move before she starts school.

DH used to be positive about this in the early days, but since I have got serious about making the move, he won't do it for fear of his mother exploding with rage.

When I pushed the matter the other day he said very firmly "this is the best thing for all of us." When I disagreed, he said "I have to protect my inheritance". He agrees that our daughter would have a better quality of life in the place I want to go, but can't upset his mother.

He already has a guaranteed inheritance as before FIL died, he made MIL a life tenant of the house rather than actual heir (due to MIL having children from her first marriage - FIL wanted to be sure that his own son would inherit the bulk of the estate, not his step-children).

There are other bits of the estate which have been left to MIL but my husband will definitely inherit a huge house (with a hefty mortgage attached, but still a great thing to inherit....)

Part of me is distressed about the actual fact of where we live, but I also have a more general sense of having no agency IYSWIM, no control, that my plans for my child's life have no importance, and it's all about pleasing MIL.

FunkyBoldRibena Tue 31-Dec-13 13:40:47

Can you give him the choice of coming with you or staying with his mother?

Jenijena Tue 31-Dec-13 13:41:53

Is it all about the inheritance? Holding out for an inheritance is a sure way to guarantee that there will be hundreds of thousands if pounds if care bills to pay. Or that MIL will out last you all.

winkywinkola Tue 31-Dec-13 13:47:18

Gosh. I'm not sure you have anywhere to go from here as a couple simply because your dh refuses to eliminate his mother from the equation, so to speak.

I am so sorry he has put you in this position. It is him that is the problem. Your mil sounds unpleasant as anything but he is refusing to manage her.

Walkacrossthesand Tue 31-Dec-13 13:47:46

Agree with jenijena. Your DH could toe the MIL line 100% dutifully for decades, and still find she'd willed her estate to someone else....or there was no estate to will, for whatever reason. It's absolutely not a reason to act in a certain way now, in fact it's slightly distasteful for a grown man to be metaphorically tugging his forelock with one eye on the inheritance. I hope that's just his excuse for not rocking the boat - you'll find out, when you outline the above points to him!

seoladair Tue 31-Dec-13 14:02:51

Well, there's already a guaranteed inheritance for him.
It's more about not upsetting MIL, and it all come down to FOG.

He knows what she's like, but just expects everyone to toe her line.
Here's an example.

MIL told me on Xmas day that her step-daughter had stolen the contents of the wine cellar while she was on holiday a week after FIL died. When I mentioned it to DH he said "No, my father wanted his daughter to have his wine collection. He hadn't got round to including it in the will but had told her to take it." I was shocked that MIL could have lied about her step-daughter stealing from her but DH just said "Oh you know what my mother's like".

glammanana Tue 31-Dec-13 14:03:42

Ah! I see now you late FIL made your MIL a tenant of the house rather than have her registered as the owner ? am I right in thinking that when she "pops her clogs" the house and full title will revert to your DH,if this is the case the arrangement has to be water-tight as her family may contest it you will be surprised how many relatives we have when £s are concerned.
As to moving for your DDs future education and upsetting his DM I would insist on the move you married him not his mother, and why should she hold all the power of decissions concerning your child,if my DD wanted to move to an area of her choice there is no way I would interfere its not my place.

CailinDana Tue 31-Dec-13 14:06:29

Why does your husband think he can make this decision for the whole family?

Bloodyteenagers Tue 31-Dec-13 14:06:42

Tell him to man up and stop being a greedy fucker who wants to live his live based on a dream. Her money is hers, it's up to her if she gives him a penny. You say she has other children? For all your hubby knows she could give her money to her other children, knowing that he already will get his inheritance.

If she wants to play games and use the possible inheritance as a way to rule him, then she is a callous woman and he is just an idiot.

I would be telling him well we are moving to the area, if you come great, if not good luck looking after the mum in a few years time when she is old and infirm. Hope you and your money will be happy.

I think for the sake of your daughter it's time to draw that line. Tell him you love him, but if he chooses you MIL over the well being of you DD he's leaving you with no choice.

Sod the inheritance.

I think the inheritance is an absolute red herring, tbh. It's just the excuse he uses because it sounds better than "I haven't got the balls".

How far are you hoping to move, OP, and would it affect how much MIL gets to see DD? Not that makes any difference, you should be able to move wherever you like it that benefits your family unit, but I'm just wondering whether MIL is just trying to get you to bend to her will just for shits and giggles, as I rather suspect she is...

seoladair Tue 31-Dec-13 14:15:06

Yes, MIL is the life tenant with DH the eventual heir. I think it was drawn up to be water-tight in order to exclude FIL's oldest son (another estrangement caused by MIL sad )

She will be 80 soon but is very fit. DH also says we need to stay near her so we can care for her when she needs it, but that just fills me with horror. MIL is estranged from her daughter so wouldn't be able to expect her to look after her, but she has another son who gets on OK with her (although he doesn't take any of the rubbish that my husband is expected to tolerate).

seoladair Tue 31-Dec-13 14:16:43

Fetchez - she doesn't get to see DD all that much (every 6-8 weeks, though sometimes more often). I keep contact low as MIL had a tantrum at DH and me in front of DD when she was 15 months old.

MrsSquirrel Tue 31-Dec-13 15:01:08

I agree, the inheritance is a red herring. You are going to have to brave it out with your dh, I'm afraid. You need to prioritize the needs of your dd, who relies on you, over the desires of your mil, who is a grown woman.

(If it is the inheritance, dh is saying he prioritizes money over dd's best interests, which is even worse.)

seoladair Tue 31-Dec-13 16:58:32

Has anyone successfully persuaded their husband to man up where a domineering mil is concerned? Or is this type of mil always a relationship killer?

So how close do you currently live to her and how far away are you planning to move? Doesn't sound like she'd actually see DD much less if she only sees her every 6-8 weeks atm.

Has your DH read the book, specifically the bit about FOG?

...and re your last post, you are right, absolutely right, in that your DH needs to man up rather than your MIL back down.

Meerka Tue 31-Dec-13 18:49:09

I'm afraid you have to think of your daughter and her overall wellbeing. Not your MIL ... because your DH is choosing your MIL over your daughter.

A good education etc will give your daughter the tools she needs for the rest of her life. She has the tools to be able to help herself. A big inheritance? Nice, but not a patch of independence and self-reliance

And Im afraid that MIL sounds way too toxic for your daughter to be near.

Sorry but for both reasons I think you need to make the move away, with or (very sadly) without your husband. He's married to his mother, not to you.

Meerka Tue 31-Dec-13 18:50:25

seoladair some men do manage to man up and cut the apron strings. Sometimes they can build a ok, if not great, relationship with their mother after.

Some men don't and remain under their mother's thumb the whole time.

hamptoncourt Tue 31-Dec-13 19:37:34

If your DH is so motivated by money then he will be shaking in his boots if you threaten to leave him if he doesn't stand up to his mummy.

If, as others have suggested, the money is a red herring and he is just so unhealthily enmeshed with her that is he unwilling or unable to leave her side then he will stay there and wave you goodbye.

Either way OP, I think it is very clear what you have to do. And whatever happens, keep your DC as far away as you can from MIL.

Mummys Boys. Soooooo Sexy! fgrin

seoladair Sun 05-Jan-14 14:51:00

Sorry for absence - was caught up in new year duties.
Thanks for your replies.

I am feeling very confused and sad. Right now I would rather like to walk away from my marriage but I think that's just post-Xmas stress combined with house-moving stress.

I went on last night and found the number for DH's half-brother (FIL's son) and his wife. They have gone completely NC and I have never met them, but when we invited them to our wedding a few years ago, they sent a shocking letter saying they wouldn't be attending, that MIL is very manipulative (it wasn't complimentary about my late FIL either) and that they "wished Seoladair luck in joining that family".

I'd love to talk it all over with them, but don't know if it might upset them. When FIL was dying, they chose not to visit him, and didn't attend the funeral.

There is also DH's half-sister (MIL's daughter). She is low contact rather than NC, and she lets her children see MIL a few times a year. She attended our wedding, our daughter's christening, and FIL's funeral, but other than that she is estranged from MIL. She would like to meet up with us, but again I feel that although she would be a good person to talk to, it might distress her too much. I also fear that blood might be thicker than water, so that if I tell her my MIL problems, she might resent me for it.

TeenyW123 Sun 05-Jan-14 17:56:58

But you haven't got MiL problems. You've got dh problems.

I think you should def make the move
if you don't think how much more controlling she will be of him as the years go on.

That's veeeery interesting... Clearly it is many years since BIL went NC with her, so I wonder if she's sort of using that as emotional blackmail ammo on your DH ("you're the only son I have left... sniff sniff...") and that's why he's finding it quite hard to stand firm. Doesn't mean he shouldn't, of course, but if she knows how to press his buttons...

Meerka Sun 05-Jan-14 21:22:04

I would talk to the BIL. They have made their decision and stood strong, and they cared enough to send you that letter. Or they were angry enough.

I suspect they might offer support rather than anythign else and if not, they can say so politely.

Having said that yes, its the DH is the problem not the MIL. But no way live near her, no no way.

Nanny0gg Mon 06-Jan-14 00:44:35

As your husband just wants to stay to protect his inheritance' rather than care for his mother and he's putting that before his family? He's a prince, isn't he? He's just waiting for his mother to die.

If the will is watertight and it all reverts to him anyway, what's to protect? Does she have a share of the house as well as lifetime tenancy?

seoladair Mon 06-Jan-14 00:55:10

Nannyogg it's not cynical like that - quite the opposite in fact; he loves his mother and is partly blind to her flaws whilst being aware of how difficult she is. By that I mean he always minimises her bad behaviour and makes excuses for her for the sake of an easy life.

Meerka Mon 06-Jan-14 10:37:35

HOw did it go yesterday seoladair?

seoladair Mon 06-Jan-14 12:21:56

I didn't call them. I think I'd have to tell my husband first as it would feel like betraying him if I spoke to his relatives without telling him.

diddl Mon 06-Jan-14 12:38:44

I had no idea that you could will a house with a mortgage!

Is MIL paying the mortgage then?

seoladair Mon 06-Jan-14 13:34:49

The house comes with land and she is life tenant of everything. PILs rebuilt and couldn't get mortgage due to age so used my husband to get mortgage but the land income pays mortgage.

CustardoPaidforIDSsYFronts Mon 06-Jan-14 13:39:46

to be quite blunt

I would tell dh, that he can't fuck his mother

and move

and I mean it - not being glib in the slightest

he chooses right now - you and child or his mum

his inheritance is legally tied up - that is bullshit

move and your dh can visit whenever he likes

seoladair Mon 06-Jan-14 13:56:19

A few days ago, after I started this thread, I had a talk with DH, and said that I didn't really care about the inheritance, and that the house was a good thing to inherit, why not just walk away from everything else. He said he'd got it wrong, and he hadn't inherited the house, just the garden (about an acre).

I feel like a lightbulb is going on in my head. Why would he be confused about what he had inherited? Initially he told me he had inherited everything, then he said it was just the house, now he says it's the garden. I'm wondering if he has lied to me, as his mother was hoping to control us through the inheritance.

If his name was put on the mortgage a few years ago, wouldn't his name have to be on the deeds of the house?

Bogeyface Mon 06-Jan-14 18:31:58

As his name is on the mortgage he owns it (or at least a share of it).

He lying to you to control and manipulate you, just like his mother does.

So what are going to do now?

You can (I believe ) check who owns property with the Land Registery. For £15.

goonyagoodthing Mon 06-Jan-14 20:05:02

Something very fishy going on here OP and I hope it ends up resolved in a way to suit you and your daughter.

seoladair Mon 06-Jan-14 20:08:49

I don't know much about mortgages. Can someone clarify please?

His parents were too old to be allowed to re-mortgage a few years ago in order to expand their house. He agreed that his name could be used (nobody asked me about it!) although he doesn't pay that mortgage.

What rights does that give him? Does it make him the owner?

Bogeyface Mon 06-Jan-14 20:18:25

If he is the only one named on the deed then yes he is the owner, however he could have added his parents onto the deed later. My understanding is that as the mortgage is solely in his name he must be named on the deed.

This is a bit risky because unless he is personally responsible for collecting the land income and paying the mortgage through his account, his mother could just stop paying and although she will lose her home, he will be the one who is legally defaulting. This might be why he doesnt want to move as he is worried she may do this.

Something isnt right here. His father could not have given his wife the right to live there if he never technically owned the property in the first place, which says to me that there is far more to this than your DH is telling you. Either he (DH) gave her the life tenancy or there was never a life tenancy in the first place and he is lying to you about that too.

You need to insist on seeing the paperwork I think, and if he has one, a copy of his fathers will. I am sorry but this stinks to high heaven. A thought has just occurred, this property could be considered an asset of the marriage (he owns it after all and it was purchased after you married) so you could use that as a bargaining tool as I am sure neither of them want you to force a sale in the event of a divorce! Just mentioning it might be enough to get him to stop and think.

Bogeyface Mon 06-Jan-14 20:20:42

Another thought, if this wasnt bought with a buy-to-let mortgage then it will very likely affect your ability to buy another home if you want to move, especially if it would mean paying a higher mortgage.

You cannot (as far as I am aware) get a mortgage on property that you do not own.

Blu Mon 06-Jan-14 21:34:02

If FIL and MIL were married then surely he could only leave his half of the house to your DH, with your MIL allowed to live in that half, along with her own half, as a life tenant? Because surely as a wife she had a 50% stake in all the assets of the marriage - including the house! But then maybe the total assets were divided differently. I am not experienced inn wills, inheritance or anything legal. But surely the house half belonged/s to her anyway?

Also, although your MIL sounds incredibly difficult and often unpleasant, I do feel for her in the matter of the 'stolen wine'. So her DH was newly deceased, and while she is out of the house her DSD goes into her house and removes a load of wine, without notice or any other courtesy? And I presume this woman is your DH's sister? What a vulture!

Actually your DH sounds the only reasonable and kind member of this family, in expressing actual love for his mother and a will to care for her in her old age. Is it possible that he is actually having second thoughts about your plan to move the family away? How much of a mutual plan was it, and how far? In truth I wouldn't be keen if DP wanted us to move to somewhere I couldn't get to my elderly parents if they needed me.

I think you need to talk seriously with your DH, not just about MIL and the will but about everything that is important t you both - and listen to him, to.

seoladair Mon 06-Jan-14 21:46:05

Aaah it's all so complicated. DH is a good person: he just lets himself be bullied. I don't want MIL's house, I just want ddecisions over where our family lives to be taken by me and DH instead of MIL and DH.

At the heart of that issue is the threat of disinheritance. I don't care much about the inheritance
I do care about having a voice in my marriage.

Blu Mon 06-Jan-14 21:46:19

Though I do agree it sounds fishy that he is not giving you a straight story.

If his name is n the mortgage, surely he gets statements? Knows what he signed?

Could it be the case that he inherited and your MIL bullied him into mortgaging it and giving her the money?

Blu Mon 06-Jan-14 22:26:11

I think the OP has got to the bottom of it on another thread.

Which, if it is the case that he signed as a guarantor on the mortgage he would be held liable for the payments if MIL stopped paying for the out of the income, but would have no rights over the property itself.

And would explain why he is so keen not to cross MIL.

OP - I really do hope this is not the case. sad

Twinklestein Mon 06-Jan-14 22:26:14

I guess the house could be in FIL, MIL & his names which meant he could guarantee the mortgage, but it also means he doesn't own it outright. It may be that FIL left him his portion but MILs portion could be willed to anyone, or that FIL left his portion to MIL, in which case your husband is totally dependent on her good will to inherit.

It's hard to know whether MIL is playing games and changing her story and her will - it's a very tricky thing to get details of someone's will out of them. Or he's known the status quo all along and has lied. Obviously he knows how his father's will was left, but he may not know what MIL up to.

Either way I don't think it's worth staying near this woman for the sake of an acre of land.

Twinklestein Mon 06-Jan-14 22:27:57

Ah blu we posted at exactly the same time. Thanks for the update.

Blu Mon 06-Jan-14 22:29:10

Not for an acre of land, no- but what about paying a hefty mortgage payment every month if MIL starts refusing to pay it?? And if in no position to sell the property because he doesn't own it and / or she has life tenancy?

Being guarantor holds exactly those risks!

Blu Mon 06-Jan-14 22:29:38

We are doing synchronised x-posting!

Onefewernow Mon 06-Jan-14 22:37:38

Lying to your wife is not good.

Onefewernow Mon 06-Jan-14 22:38:33

But then, I wouldn't ring round the estranged family to stir the pot either. Your problem is with your H.

Twinklestein Mon 06-Jan-14 22:49:55

To be the guarantor of the the mortgage he must own at least a portion of it. The property is security on the loan, so no ownership no security.

He may be a co-owner which would be a nightmare. It may be that his parents added him to the deeds to enable him to get the mortgage.

As the mortgage is dependent on the income from the property then MIL could stop giving him the money, but it wouldn't be in her interest as the provider could repossess.

myroomisatip Mon 06-Jan-14 23:12:23

This seems to be a horrid can of worms and if your DH cannot sit down and discuss this truthfully with you then I really do not know what you action you can take because of your lack of knowledge sad

For me this would put a massive strain on our relationship and without honesty it would be the beginning of the end.

Bogeyface Mon 06-Jan-14 23:40:41

I am sure that being a guarantor will affect his ability to pay a new mortgage if they want to move as they will want to know his outstanding commitments and until the MILs mortgage is paid off, that is one of them.

Cerisier Tue 07-Jan-14 00:02:16

There is no getting around this in a non-confrontational way. You do need to see the paperwork to see what his legal position is, and as his wife you have every moral right to see this (I don't know if you have the legal right).

However if he refuses to show you then I think you will either have to suck it up for the next thirty years or you will have to see a solicitor to see what your legal and financial position is. It might shock him into opening up.

How awful that your DH is being so secretive to his own DW. Shocking behaviour. Plus MIL is complicit (even orchestrating it). What a nasty family.

Bogeyface Tue 07-Jan-14 00:32:56

Hang on. If the FIL is so up on wills, inheritance etc, how come he didnt have life insurance to pay off the mortgage on his death? Seems a significant oversight for a man who was clearly not stupid when it came to planning for his death.

OP, are you sure that he didnt have this? Or could it be that he did and that your MIL hasnt bothered to tell your DH that the mortgage is now paid in full?

Bogeyface Tue 07-Jan-14 00:34:13

Or.....he did have an insurance policy that he intended should be used to pay off the mortgage and she has spunked it all on something else?

BillyBanter Tue 07-Jan-14 00:42:55

Have you ever got your DH to read toxic parents or whatever it's called?

The differing stories about what belongs to him is worrying too. I'd certainly check with the Land Registry. Is he lying now or was he then? Or has something changed? Has his mum persuaded him to sign stuff over to her?

Also the wanting to be near her so as to look after her in her dotage? Who will be doing that looking after? your DH or you?

Toecheese Tue 07-Jan-14 07:22:09

How far away are you wanting to move? Miles? Hours travel?

aaaaaaa Tue 07-Jan-14 07:39:27

A person does *not" have to be on the deeds, to be a guarantor on a mortgage

larrygrylls Tue 07-Jan-14 07:58:15

The inheritance thing is a red herring. If you move miles away, what would you do if your mil collapsed or needed regular care ?

Blu Tue 07-Jan-14 08:12:01

Bogeyface - if they took the mortgage out in their 70s I'm not sure a life insurance co would be keen to provide cover for a mortgage pay-off on death.

captainmummy Tue 07-Jan-14 08:51:54

Larry - what does that matter? If she has estranged her own children, that is something she will have to think about. DC are not 'legally obliged' to look after parents.

She will have to do what chlidless people do and sort it out herself.

aaaaaaa Tue 07-Jan-14 13:35:52

I am wondering if husband just doesn't want to move, and is using his mother as an excuse?

him not wanting yo move, is as valid as OP wanting to move, as they are equals in the relationship

I'm not dead sure, his reasons are all that relevant anyway are they?

CarriesPawnShop Tue 07-Jan-14 13:53:19

How long ago did FIL die? Have you applied for a copy of his will?
That with the land registry would give you some hard facts, because at the moment you don't know what you are fighting.

Twinklestein Tue 07-Jan-14 15:44:51

aaaaa could you clarify your above claim? Afaia that is only the case with a joint mortgage.

aaaaaaa Tue 07-Jan-14 17:41:36

My dad was guarantor on my mortgage for 2 years. He isn't and wasn't on the deeds

Twinklestein Tue 07-Jan-14 18:17:50

So you had a joint mortgage with your father, that's fairly common.

But that's not apprently the scenario here. According to the OP, the PIL were too old to get a mortgage on their property, thus the OP's husband got one instead. You can't do that without some interest in the property.

It may transpire that the mortgage is joint with MIL, perhaps she wasn't too old but her husband was, or joint with another family member, but that's not the information we have thus far.

aaaaaaa Tue 07-Jan-14 18:37:52

No, it wasn't a joint mortgage with my dad. He was a guarantor. He was removed after 2 years when my earnings had increased sufficiently that the lender would allow me to have the mortgage without a guarantor. It was a very simple removal process. I don't think that is the case if it is a joint mortgage?

the PIL could have a joint mortgage in their names, or just FiL name and husband could be named as a guarantor. So he is liable for payments if his parents cant/dont....but does not own the house.

i imagine though if he does male the mortgage payments he would have good grounds to claim against the property??

aaaaaaa Tue 07-Jan-14 18:39:31

Also, i think it is the case that if the mortgage is joint, then both names are on the deeds. Isn't it?

Seabright Tue 07-Jan-14 18:52:00

Hi OP,
You need to find out the true situation - owner, life tenant, guarantor before you can decide on a strategy.

PM me if you want me t help you look into it - my day job is a property lawyer.

Twinklestein Tue 07-Jan-14 19:04:42

A guarantor mortgage is a joint mortgage - parents often act often guarantee their offspring's first mortgage. You're jointly liable, but your dad guaranteed it. It's easy to remove the parent when no longer needed.

A joint mortgage doesn't require joint tenancy (ie both names on the deeds).

HoneyandRum Tue 07-Jan-14 21:37:28

A poster a page or so back said your DH seems the nicest one in the family. He reminds me of my SIL who is also a very caring person. However her mum and dad and extended family have all sorts of issues that of course no one talks about. I understand how my DH fits in their family dynamic (he is the Golden Son who can do no wrong) but I always wondered, what is the deal with my SIL - I can't put my finger on it. Last year her marriage fell apart, although her DH had an affair they also had been under tremendous emotional pressure for a long time from my MIL which I think really put the Kibosh on everything. SIL is now back home in the "heart of her family" living in one room with her two kids.

I think her role is the one her mum (my MIL) has assigned her, as the Caretaker. She is able to guilt my SIL into constantly rescuing and caring for her - I think your DH may be in a similar role. You ask if men can escape their mother's well obviously at least two of your DH siblings have escaped their mum and he has not managed to. Is he the youngest?

seoladair Wed 08-Jan-14 11:13:09

Thanks so much for your replies; food for thought!
Will reply properly soon. I only have phone internet for now, but am still checking.

MistressDeeCee Wed 08-Jan-14 13:11:37

Bloodyteenagers well, thats harsh - but you are oh so right.

I do feel for you OP. I dont know how you put up with it in fact, you may eventually get rid of this man, he is making a mockery of your marriage. One eye on the money?! There are no guarantees in this life. & he'd rather disappoint you than his mother. Says it all, really. You know who is most important woman in your marriage - and its not you. Do look after your emotional wellbeing as well as you can, wont you? Your situation sounds very stressful.

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