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MIL and social bubble

(23 Posts)
Thetimehascometochange Sat 13-Jun-20 13:13:25

My MIL is on her own. I get on well with her and we talk often. However, she can err onto the side of CFery (she once came to stay and then had post redirected to us.... and if we go to her it is expected that we contribute towards shopping/pay towards trips out but if she comes to us .. we pay for the shopping and trips out and she has gone as far as making a call when a bill arrives). For clarification, she has a good income.

When BJ announced about the social bubble concept, MIL used social media to say we, and/or DH's DB should find her a place to stay so she can social bubble with them or us. Cue a few jokey responses (certainly not from me) and I think we all thought that was that. Except that a few nights ago, she raised it again with me directly this time, for about half an hour.

Apparently we should find her a place as we would know what would be right for her. She doesn't want to sell her own property but she did want us to think about how it could work. She has a good income, but multi property-owning - so there is no way she could stretch to that and therefore the only obvious solution would be she comes to us (or DB's but ours is bigger and it's funny that whilst I often hear about how "family need to share and share alike" from him, he passed this off with a joke).

As I say, after about half an hour she finally looked to move on with the statement that she was only "joking" but I don't know. If someone explores something for that length of time - I don't think they want the idea dismissed. We normally speak to her over the weekend, so now I am just wondering how I handle if she raises it a third time.

DH is with me on this so I am not worried there, but I don't want to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut if I am taking all this too seriously and should just ignore. However, I am nervous that if she came she wouldn't leave ...

OP’s posts: |
Turin Sat 13-Jun-20 15:43:00

Can you tell her your not comfortable with having visitors despite BJ saying it’s okay? Why can’t DH tell her if she does bring it up again?

SionnachGlic Sat 13-Jun-20 15:56:43

Does the 'find a place' comments mean that she wants you to find somewhere closeby to rent for her or is it her wanting to move in with you & her DS...for the covid duration? Or with her other DS, one of them?

What age is she? Aside from present covid-19 situation, does she need support? Does she live far away? Do hers son live near each other? I am not really understanding. If it is she lives 100s of miles away, maybe she should sell up & find a,smaller place nearer so her sons can be nearby if she needs help?

She does sound a bit mean with money. Are you afraid she'll overstay AND be a financial burden also?

You should talk to your husband about this & tell him you feel that conversation on ph with you was her trying to get a point across & he needs to chat with his Mother about what is on her mind. If there is no way ever ever that it is on the cards that she will be living with you both then he needs to know that so he won't deflect & say things like 'maybe down the road' or 'we are not at that stage yet..' But if she wants to move ..she has to sell up to fund it. If it is about her not being happy, he & his brother need to discuss & BIL will have to leave his jokey remarks at home!

hadwebutworldenoughandtime Sat 13-Jun-20 16:13:30

If you suspect she is expecting you to foot the bill can you not just say, 'But could you afford that?' And put her on the spot?. If she wants to move in just say you're not ready to mix that closely.

Thetimehascometochange Sat 13-Jun-20 16:48:54

I think it would certainly be interesting to hear her response to a direct question about how she would afford it.

She said find a place for her to rent or buy nearby but as she has specifically said she wouldn’t want to sell her own place that would be practically impossible. So if we are looking at realistic options it would be us to buy or rent on her behalf (which we could do), or for us to stay with us or DBIL (where it would be cramped).

I don’t see her habits changing so yes I am sure it would be an extra cost to us. I don’t expect guests to pay for things when they are here but when they add on a few days with the words ‘i am not going until x’ and then still don’t look to make even minor gestures it gets a little grating especially if we turn up there without the requisite shop we are normally asked when we plan to go.

OP’s posts: |
Thetimehascometochange Sat 13-Jun-20 16:50:56

I told him that he would be choosing between his marriage to me and his morher

OP’s posts: |
Thetimehascometochange Sat 13-Jun-20 16:53:58

Sorry that makes me sound awful but I have the added complication that the house was mine And no mortgage before he moved in. As my SIL put it to BIL ‘why didn’t you come with a house like this’ hmm

OP’s posts: |
recycledteenager24 Sat 13-Jun-20 17:04:00

this sounds abit ' i want to you to suggest i move in with you, then i can say i couldn't possibly do that but if you insist' my dm has done this in the past on the pretext of offering to help for a couple of weeks post c section and staying nearly 3 months. i nearly had to get her evicted, - no joke, i lost my collective shit in the end.

MatildaTheCat Sat 13-Jun-20 17:13:02

How far away does she live? There is a middle ground here; she doesn’t come to live with you but comes to stay for a week or two and possibly another week or two with her other son.

Unless she has wildly extravagant tastes I would expect her to contribute anything much for that period of time.

If she’s been completely alone during these last few weeks it might be kind to do this for her. That kind of isolation leads to awful loneliness and depression.

Polkagirls Sat 13-Jun-20 17:16:41

Perhaps give her the number of a mortgage broker, or some rental companies near by, and tell her when she has worked out how much she can afford - you can of course help her to find some properties in her price range?

NeutrinoWrangler Sat 13-Jun-20 17:19:29

Unless she's the type to simply turn up one day with several bags and the expectation that you'll put her up indefinitely, I'd probably not mention it again unless she brings it up herself.

It would help for you and your husband to agree on the response, in case she does bring it up again. I'd suggest saying that he'll be happy to help her find a property nearby, if she'll supply details of what she wants in the way of size, price, and location (that is, if he actually is happy to do that), but I'd make it completely clear that it simply isn't feasible for her stay with you at the moment or for him to foot the bill if she rents elsewhere. Doesn't matter if it's within your means; it's not something you want to do right now, so it's not feasible. She doesn't know exactly what's happening behind the scenes in your marriage. Maybe you've incurred some debts. In any case, it's not possible, and that's all she needs to know.

If she has the nerve to bring it up yet again, it's time to be blunt. It's asking too much, and the sooner she accepts that, the better.

bridgetreilly Sat 13-Jun-20 17:46:34

I think she has completely misunderstood social bubbles. She can come and stay with you now, as normal (unless you've already invited another single person to bubble with you). She doesn't need to move house. That's ludicrous.

JennyWoodentop Sat 13-Jun-20 19:56:45

If she has form for being tight with money & pushing limits, which it sounds as if she does, I would be very clear that :

1. she is not moving in with you
2. you will not be financing a property for her by buying or paying rent for one
3. if she decides to move & buy or rent nearer to you at her own expense that is a choice she can make and if she does.....
4. be clear about how much, if any, assistance you are prepared to offer in order to facilitate this

I would leave no room for misunderstanding especially if she keeps dropping hints. I also wouldn't let her stay "temporarily" while trying to find a place as that could end up being the start of her moving in & not making further plans.

I am not in the UK so not familiar with advice about social bubbles, I am talking about dealing with people who push their luck & given an inch take a mile etc

MaggieFS Sat 13-Jun-20 20:02:46

I'm missing something. Is she a long way away? Why can't she just visit for the day or odd night at a weekend?

Lazypuppy Sat 13-Jun-20 20:06:03

I think she has misunderstood? You don't all move in together, you can just act as ig you are all from same household - so no 2m distancing etc.

My mum is on her own so we can now hug and have dinner at eachothers house etc

slipperywhensparticus Sat 13-Jun-20 20:09:37

Just laugh and say to her oh no we couldn't afford you long term

MadinMarch Sat 13-Jun-20 20:41:35

I think MIL has misunderstood forming a bubble with another household.
OP why won't you say how far away she lives from you and her other son?
Cut her a bit of slack ffs- the poor woman has just spent nearly 3 months on her own without social contact. Do you have ANY idea how hard that is?

Cherrysoup Sat 13-Jun-20 21:00:19

Ensure you and your dh say the same thing ie no fucking way!

Thetimehascometochange Sat 13-Jun-20 21:05:47

Sorry I didn’t mean to kiss anything out. It is not a commutable journey. She has family near where she is as well as a good support network.

I would like to see her, but then I would like to see my parents - one who has proper medical issues. The point was seemed to be proposing something that was unmanageable unless we paid. Anyway, it was raised again so I said it sounded like she needed to work out how much she could realistically afford and the whole idea was apparently ‘a joke!’ So I obviously read too much into it.

OP’s posts: |
Thetimehascometochange Sat 13-Jun-20 21:06:11

Miss not kiss

OP’s posts: |
GalwayGrowl Sat 13-Jun-20 21:20:14

Send her some right move links saying "this is what's available".

Do not offer to pay for anything on her behalf, and leave it in her hands.

Lou898 Sat 13-Jun-20 21:49:53

I’d get in there first and say laughing I’m so glad you said you were joking the other night because for one horrible moment I thought you were serious. That way you’ve cut off the possibility but made it her decision.
I’d find it very difficult to have anyone else living with our family for more than a week. I like my own space.

SionnachGlic Sat 13-Jun-20 23:36:39


I think if MIL raised it again a third time, she was floating it for reactions & when she d8dn't like it then it became a 'joke'! If you wouldn't have any objection to her being nearby then if it comes up again you maybe could suggest estate agents for her etc. & any level of assistance ye can give...i.e. viewings etc. But it should not be yours & DH's money..even if you could manage it. It just seems an outlandish idea that a MIL or parent would put that out there. Why should you when she has a house she can sell? I don't know if ye have kids but if they feature, or msy in the future, you'll have enough hands out for your money without MIL's as well. I'm not for helping out, nice lunch outings, dinners & gifts etc... but hinting for an apartment or house is a bit (alot!) cheeky.

You are right to be clear with DH as to what your limits are irt should he irt your parents shd similar suggestions pop up ftom their corner in the future.

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