To think the in-laws are being very unfair to us(119 Posts)
This is long and complicated and I genuinely want to know if I'm being unreasonable. So.
My in-laws inherited a large sum of money from my MIL's parents a few years ago. My in-laws were never wealthy (MIL didn't work, FIL had ups and downs so they knew periods of limited income). They used some of the money for having fun which they richly deserved, but they aren't extravagant and have a lot left over. They own their house but are very aware of nursing home expenses etc they may have in the future, which is sensible, right, good and proper.
MIL is one of two. Her sibling got half of the inheritance, although she was never very involved in looking after the parents (whereas MIL was). MIL's sibling kept most of her part of the inheritance but gave a large sum to each of her two children so they could buy houses etc, and it was gratefully received.
MIL also has two children. One, my DH, has received almost nothing - a few hundred pounds. The other is financially disastrous. Whatever DH's sibling wants, MIL pays for, from buying them a house outright (because they couldn't get a mortgage as one is bankrupt and anyway they had no savings for a deposit) to buying groceries, paying for nursery fees, childcare, redoing their garden THREE times, swimming lessons for the children, expensive hairdressing, regular massages and therapy, clothes and shoes, between three and five new cars as far as I know (of the Range Rover sort, not Nissan Micras), thousands of pounds of business investments, hundreds on jewellery repairs, eye surgery, private cosmetic dentistry... DH's sibling works part-time and has turned down full-time jobs because it's too stressful to work full-time (remember, they have no money at all, massive debts, and no childcare expenses). DH's sibling's partner is 'an entrepreneur' but has never made a profit in any business. The expenses are constant and MIL pays for everything. DH's sibling is very close to the in-laws geographically and emotionally and has always been good at handling the in-laws.
Meanwhile, DH and I are self-employed. DH is struggling financially thanks to government cost-cutting, which the in-laws know. I am in a marginally better position at the moment and have been keeping DH out of his overdraft with my savings, which I'd put aside for badly needed home improvements. Our (very ordinary semi-detached) house is barely functional and needs new bathrooms, a new kitchen and some structural building work, desperately. These are not cosmetic improvements - everything is broken and nothing works. We've lived here for five years in very poor conditions. My in-laws have complained for years about how cold the house is when they come to stay, and about the bathrooms not working properly, and about how shabby/untended our garden is. We work all the time and I keep the place clean and tidy but I cannot relay a lawn. Now that my children are old enough to notice, they have started asking why our house is so cold and dirty and why nothing works. We have to live in London for DH's work and we can't afford to move anywhere better, even if it is a smaller house. Until the major work is done on the house we can't do smaller improvements like sorting out the garden, so we are stuck. We basically have no choice but to do the work on it, somehow. We have started getting quotes, hoping that we can borrow more on our mortgage (which could be problematic given DH's situation), and MIL asked how much it was going to cost. I told her our first estimate (which is five times the amount I've saved in five years).
'Oh, that's such a lot of money. I wish we could help you.' (in a wistful tone of voice, not offering.)
I said, 'It is a lot of money.'
End of conversation.
I don't think adult children should expect anything at all in the way of support from their parents as a matter of course; I've never asked my parents for money for anything in my adult life (not that they have it). My DH doesn't ever ask his parents for anything. I believe in saving up, working hard, budgeting and waiting for the chance to do things.
But this is boiling my piss. They don't seem to see that they are treating their children totally differently. MIL's parents would be devastated to know DH (who they adored) was being cut out. Even though they were closer to MIL they were scrupulously fair about dividing their wealth between their children and would expect MIL to do the same, and MIL's sibling has set that example (which MIL thinks is WONDERFUL and told us about!). MIL has said that their wills allow for DH to get the equivalent of what his sibling has borrowed for the house before the remainder is divided between him and his sibling but I really think there won't be anything left by then (and anyway, I hate the idea of waiting for someone to die to see what we can get). (Also, real talk: it could be decades.) I do not care what MIL does with her money if she's spending it on herself - she can throw it in a hole if it makes her happy. But I think she is being unfair to DH (who is quietly upset about it) and to half of her grandchildren. My sibling-in-law is very irresponsible about money and all I have said to MIL is that she's not helping by bailing them out constantly as there will come a point when the money is gone or my in-laws will need it and they'll be stuck. I've NEVER hinted that I think the situation is unfair. I've NEVER criticised them when they say, 'Oh, we've put another 10K into the business because it will fix this problem and then everything will be fine' (and it never is). I don't even talk to DH about it because I don't want to pressure him into complaining. Still.
If anyone's still reading, AIBU?
YANBU for thinking this is unfair. But as there is nothing that you can do, you may have to let it go and prepare for the fall out when the money is gone and the sibling is no longer bailed out. You have my sympathy.
Sorry I'm going to have to post and run, but thought that might be better than not posting. I can totally understand why you feel annoyed by it and it says a lot about you that you know you don't really have the right to feel that way. Sadly I think you will have to live with it and make your own way regardless. That's a good thing to pass on to your kids too. You have saved a little you say, so gradually get the basics fixed for yourselves. It doesn't need to be s complete refit, mend and make do instead. And find out how to lay a lawn, it's really not that hard- it's more difficult to find the time in my experience. So, sympathy, but no answers I'm afraid.
God, I really wish we were practical people who could lay a lawn! But there are major issues with it that go into landscaping/building territory. It really is a professional job and it would get destroyed if we do it before the building work.
Thanks for sympathy, folks. Sometimes you just have to vent.
Sounds exactly like my in laws. Their stock line to all and sundry is "we'd never treat our children differently" and they genuinely seem to believe it. Which is very odd, because it's about as far from the truth as you can get. Recent corners include proving SIL with free childcare for both her children, full time, for seven years, because BIL "doesn't help out". When we asked for her to babysit for my two, for the first time ever, when I was giving birth to number three she said "I will if I'm not looking after SIL's children."
SIL has had a free house off them, a job for life, horses, two cars and as much emotional and financial help as she needs. We get absolutely fuck all.
So I know how you feel and YANBU.
That sounds shit, Leanne. Especially the horses. We haven't (yet) had horses...
Serious question OP: why are they still part of your lives?
They love our DCs and our DCs love them. Also, I am really trying not to be someone who falls out with family over money.
Just to add to that in case it looks sanctimonious, they are very lovely, well-meaning people with a huge blind spot about this one issue.
Ex PILS were just like this. Had three DC and would tell anyone who would listen that they treated them all the same.
No they fucking didn't!! SIL2 got free childcare, new cars, a MAC notebook, money hand over fist, holidays.
So glad I don't have to deal with their shit any more.
Hats off to you OP. I couldn't have people in my life who showed me that much disrespect regardless who they were and how much they loved me or my children. They love your DC, but are willing to let them live in a house with broken bathrooms and kitchen? Right
Yanbu. I would have to confront it with them, pointing out the differences factually.
I wouldn't care about the money but would care about family obviously being unfair towards siblings.
I'd probably raise it with them next time they helped the inlaws (explain that as you are struggling financially old they please stop telling you every time they give the inlaws money that they just piss up the wall) and wouldn't give a shit if they thought I was rude or greedy.
YANBU. Would you feel able to approach them for a loan? Maybe offering to pay a token rate of interest as a conversation starter about how you really do need some help?
I've got to an age (50) where I think I'd would speak up in this situation. There's just no point in letting things go on, without clearing the air.
Why not just say "we don't like to ask but, we were thinking of fixing the heating, we can't afford it at the moment and were wondering if it would be possible to have some of our inheritance now".
Then see what their response is.
I don't know how they rationalise it, altctrldel, but they do. Total break in logic.
Also, they did live with a shabby house for a long time when they were less well off. They are not extravagant themselves but they can't bear to see DH's sibling suffer. Suffering, in this case, includes having hair with dark roots.
I don't think I can speak up when they're not my parents, and DH wouldn't ask.
YANBU. What they are doing is at best grossly unfair and at worst, incredibly spiteful.
I'd consider asking to borrow from them but I don't know how much cash they have now. There are lots of investments I believe, so not so much in large, accessible sums.
It's all so boring. And they were staying with us recently and MIL asked if we could have the heating on all day because FIL feels the cold.
YABVU Why do you expect your MIL to pay to do YOUR "cold draughty dirty house up" and also pay to have your garden landscaped? I am afraid these are your problems which you and your DH should deal with yourselves. Just because your inlaws are scrounging and bleeding your poor MIL dry does not mean you should jump on the gravy train. Shame on you! People like I you make my piss boil. Your MIL owes you nothing.
Totally understandable. YANBU at all.
My parents insist they've always treated sister and I equally, utter bullshit! Sister has benefited financially I estimate (and a family member who is told more honestly than me confirms) around £100k over the years, plus tons of free childcare, emotional support, groceries and clothes bought for her and her kids.
Me, less than £5000 in the form of loans almost all repaid at this point.
There are other issues too and it is NOT ABOUT money its about being treated and thought of and loved equally!
Way I see it now after years of being hurt by it is fine, but when they need me when they're old and lonely and ill I will be returning the favour!
Ask if you could move in with them as your house is "unsafe" for your children to live in at the moment and that you will leave once you have managed to save up and get the work needed done on your house. 2-3 weeks of that and they would be willing to lend the money to you...
Tricky. Their money, their choice on how to spend it and you should never ever expect parents or anyone to bail you out. Your choice to buy that house, live where you do, be self-employed when it doesn't cover your bills and so the more sensible thing would be to move somewhere cheaper and get a stable job.
However, you're right that it's not 'fair'.
I'd love to know what goes through parents' heads when they treat their children so differently. How do they justify it to themselves?
I suspect a lot of it comes down to your DH's sister (? I assume) being female and needing to be provided for, and your DH being male.
I'd still rather be you and your DH than your S/BIL.
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