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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.

TheCatThatSmiled Tue 31-Dec-13 14:07:02

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.

FetchezLaVache Tue 31-Dec-13 14:12:00

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?

FetchezLaVache Tue 31-Dec-13 17:47:55

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 bt.com 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.

FetchezLaVache Sun 05-Jan-14 20:53:50

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?

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