Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Fiancé Wants to Buy His Mother’s House Even Though I Don’t Want to Ever Live There”

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My fiancé, “Dan,” (28) and I (24) have been together nearly three years. Before we met he moved in with his mom to help her out after her divorce. I also live with my single mother as I was broke after college. Now his mom is talking about selling her house and my fiancé has every intention of buying it. He wants me to move in and I do not want to live there under any circumstance, especially considering he intends to co-buy it with his brother (30) and his brother’s girlfriend. His mother also has no plans for after she sells, and she has even suggested she just stay and rent a room.

Dan is just absolutely hung up on the idea of a house without a mortgage despite the fact that he recently came into a great deal of money. I understand a mortgage can be financially trying but many people seem to manage. Also, he said he’d rather use this inheritance to buy things and go on trips instead of spending it on a mortgage. He has already spent a good portion of it on “man toys.” He could be using this money to buy a place of our own, and trips and toys are of little importance to me.

This house will never feel like my own. It is full of his family’s things and memories. I am not comfortable living with his family and I don’t care for the house itself. He is a very busy person who likes to help out others at the expense of our time together, and I feel that, if we lived elsewhere, maybe we could focus on us and our future. Our relationship already revolves around him and his schedule, and I am expected to adjust so he can go about without any change to his life.

I don’t want to get married until we live together, alone, in our own home. Some place neutral and new where we could establish ourselves and find stability before we take the leap. I do not want to move from the area, but all of his neighbors and friends are centered here and I feel like I am just an addition to his collection he has gathered around him.

I have absolutely no say and there is no compromise. His mind is made. I am the one who looks bad for putting our life on hold by refusing to move in. I suggested he live there only for a short while to save money for a different place and he says maybe one day, like five years from now. This would mean pushing back getting married, having a family, and our life together in general. This house is apparently more important than me, and it hurts that he won’t consider my opposition. Why do I have to make change and not him? How can we make an equal life together when he is obviously just incorporating me into his? — Put On Hold

So, your fiancé doesn’t consider you or your feelings when making huge life (and financial) decisions that would very much affect you, your relationship revolves around him and his schedule, his actions don’t suggest he cares about your desires at all but simply wants you to adapt to his life and choices, he invests his time in other people before you, and you feel like nothing more than an addition to his already-full life? And you want to marry him WHY? Because, at 24, you’re ready for a marriage and family and stability? Well, this isn’t the man who is going to give it to you. He is showing you his colors very vibrantly, and you can either choose to see them and MOA before you invest more wasted time in this going-nowhere relationship, or you can continue burying your head in the sand hoping he will somehow decide that you and your desires are important to him and will begin compromising and making decisions with you jointly. I wouldn’t hold out on the latter. And the former, as much as it will hurt in the short-term, is your best bet for getting the life you eventually want. You’re not going to get it with this guy. MOA and make yourself available for someone who will have more interest in you as an equal partner and not just an addition to his life.

RELATED: “We’re Buying My Boyfriend’s Mother’s House, But She Won’t Move Out!”

and: “How Can I Tell My Boyfriend’s Parents That I Don’t Want Their Crap?”

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

39 comments… add one
  • Raccoon eyes

    Raccoon eyes November 20, 2014, 8:54 am

    WWS!!!
    LW, nowhere in your letter do you attribute any redeeming quality to your fiance. It also sounds like he isnt great with money, which is not helpful with the whole buying-a-house-and-starting-a-family bit that seems to very much interest you. MOA and find a like-minded guy. This one isnt the one for you.

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    • avatar

      Wendy_not_Wendy November 20, 2014, 10:31 am

      I think he has a lot of redeeming qualities–that comes through even in this dismissive letter–they just don’t happen to be qualities the LW appreciates or that fit with her vision of their life. Which is fine. But this is a guy who is clearly well-loved by family, friends, neighbors, who cares deeply about helping others, who spends money on the things he really wants instead of what others think he should spend it on. Plenty of women here would be thrilled to meet a guy who meets that description–and this is how he’s described by a LW who doesn’t even seem to like him that much. No, he doesn’t seem committed to the relationship above all else and they don’t seem right for each other, but it’s not because he’s a bad person.

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      • avatar

        ktfran November 20, 2014, 10:49 am

        When you describe a man that way, you are correct, he sounds lovely. But, you’re forgetting ONE MAJOR THING, he doesn’t seem to care what his fiance thinks or feels. He’s making decisions based on his wants and desires and not even considering his fiance. Yes, I think she might be a little too set in her ways as well. Neither one of them are willing to find a compromise.
        .
        I just don’t think he’s the prince you described. And I think she still has some growing up to do.
        .
        Personally, I would not want to meet a guy like this LW’s fiance. Could you imagine? “Hey, I want to marry you, but I want to live with my brother, his girlfriend and my mom.” Umm, I’m pretty sure you would be hard pressed to find a woman who find that acceptable.

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        RedroverRedrover November 20, 2014, 12:05 pm

        He sounds like a good friend and son/sibling, but not a great boyfriend/husband.

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      • avatar

        ktfran November 20, 2014, 12:13 pm

        You’re right, I would love him for a friend. I would not marry him.

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh November 20, 2014, 9:09 am

    I can’t figure out after reading your whole letter why you want to marry him. He doesn’t sound interested in marriage or very interested in you for that matter. It also sounds like you both have very different ideas of how to use money. At the moment you have no say in how he spends his money, you’re not married, you’re not living together. I realize you want that, but he’s made it very clear he doesn’t, at least not at the moment.

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  • something random

    something random November 20, 2014, 9:15 am

    WWS. You are completely right not to move in with him. I would stop pouring energy into trying to convince him why a move in necessary. He is happy enough with the way things are, even if that includes you feeling unhappy and like you can’t move forward. Even if you got him to move, this attitude probably wouldn’t change unless he wanted to change it. I know it hurts but you know you want different things out of life. MOA.

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  • avatar

    Essie November 20, 2014, 9:42 am

    Rule one of relationships/marriage/moving in together/etc:

    You have to love them and accept them as they are, now. Right now.

    If you can’t see dating, or spending the rest of your life as their spouse, or living in the same home with someone, as their habits and values and personality are right at this moment, you don’t do it.

    Your fiance’s basic personality is not going to change if you get your own home together, or if you move away from his family and friends, or if you get married, or if you have kids.

    He is who he is – self centered and dismissive of the person he claims to want to share his life with. Key word there – ‘share’. Right now, he’s not sharing, at all. He spends his money on himself. You want to invest money in your family’s needs. You don’t even see eye to eye on the most basic financial priorities.

    I’m sorry. I know that breaking an engagement is no easy thing, but I would not marry this man.

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie November 20, 2014, 10:05 am

    Wendy dearest, maybe it only a play on words but no matter what the nature of a relationship is, it remains an “addition” to your life no matter how important he/she is.

    At last an opportunity to espouse my views on paying off (or never having) a mortgage. The home loan rates are around 4% and even low risk investments are returning 10%. You can put the cash you have, or borrowed funds, into a variety of investment offerings, have the payment withdrawn automatically, reap a tidy profit in cash, enjoy the tax savings of home loan interest and have the appreciation of the real-estate.

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    • Portia

      Portia November 20, 2014, 10:39 am

      The present situation is not necessarily an indicator of future success. Did you miss the whole mortgage crisis that basically brought on a recession? Thinking that a house is always a good investment (mortgage or no mortgage) is a dangerous path to go down…

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      • Kate B.

        Kate B. November 20, 2014, 12:56 pm

        I agree. Real estate is not the investment opportunity it used to be. However, please understand that those people who bought more house than they could afford? Nobody made them do that. Yes, the banks were dishonest, but they didn’t have to take the money. It’s a two-way street. If you’re going to involve a bank, know how to play the game, and know what’s at stake. Know your limits and stick to them. Don’t let anybody convince you to spend more than you can afford, and be careful who you take advice from. Advice from someone who’s been there.

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        RedroverRedrover November 20, 2014, 1:10 pm

        I think the biggest problem there is, banks used to be trusted financial advisors. Banks were careful, and would only give you what they thought you could afford to pay back. So for a long time, if the bank told you that you could afford something, you could believe them.
        .
        Then the banks started selling the debt. That’s not ideal in my opinion, but it wouldn’t have been so bad if they had only sold it for what it was worth. But they misrepresented it and got way more than they should have, which had the result of making it desirable to give people loans that they would likely default on. In a normal world, that would never be desirable because you’d lose money. But the banks were getting their money anyway by overselling the debt, so they didn’t care.
        .
        That’s when they stopped being a trusted advisor, and turned into something more like a loan shark. But ordinary people didn’t know that. They still believed that the banks would be conservative and wouldn’t lend them something that they obviously couldn’t afford. And unfortunately, the state of financial education is abysmal, which means that many people rely heavily on the bank’s advice, because they don’t know how to figure it out for themselves. The banks took advantage of that.
        .
        So while I agree that it’s a 2-way street, I think it’s a street that’s a one-lane country road in one direction, and a 4-lane superhighway in the other.

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    • FireStar

      FireStar November 20, 2014, 11:11 am

      What low risk investments are giving 10%??? Not where I live. Send the link.

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      • fast eddie

        fast eddie November 20, 2014, 6:55 pm

        Your right that low risk = low return. I’m heavy into FSEVX 11.2% (dow index fund) and FUSVX 17.21% (S&P 500 index) and more moderately in FBIOX 37.94% (Biomedical). In the last 5 years our portfolio had averaged over 15% per year. Not every year is positive so you need to be prepared to ride out the low ones. http://www.fidelityinvestments.com

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B. November 20, 2014, 10:14 am

    Although I agree with Wendy that the LW should not marry this guy, the opportunity to have a house without a mortgage is nothing to be sneezed at. I would have done it if I had the chance.

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    • something random

      something random November 20, 2014, 10:27 am

      When I was younger I was stupid enough to suggest that my mentally-ill awful MIL move in with us because she was having trouble taking care of herself and we couldn’t afford the upkeep of moving her someplace nice and local. Thank god my husband had much more sense than me.

      Even in a healthy situation, I think it takes a really special MIL/DIL relationship to make living together a good idea. And it being MILs house, that’s owned by multiple family members? No way.

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      • Portia

        Portia November 20, 2014, 10:50 am

        Yep. My friend’s boyfriend decided to buy his mother’s house (with an uncle) so that she could continue living in it, even though he moved to a different place. (This decision predated their relationship) For 5 years, he paid rent and mortgage payments on a house he wasn’t living in. My friend told me the boyfriend had mentioned them all moving in with the mother, since he wasn’t going to pay a second mortgage one day. My response to her: hell no!!! What the heck are you thinking??? This sounds terrible! And I like the guy too and think he’s a great guy for her. They’re still together and planning on buying another house together when they get married, but in another place. I cautioned her not to consider marriage until they dealt with all this, and I think they’re stronger for having done that. Most importantly, I think he’s figured out a way to give his mom back most of the financial responsibility of the house.

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        ktfran November 20, 2014, 10:54 am

        Wait, what?!? They communicated to one another and are finding solutions together?!? Blasphemy! Don’t they know because of this, they’ll never last? I give it two years, tops, after they spend an exorbitant amount on a wedding.

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      • Portia

        Portia November 20, 2014, 11:20 am

        Hahahaha

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      • Kate B.

        Kate B. November 20, 2014, 12:00 pm

        I’m not implying that the LW should move in. I completely understand her reasons for not wanting to; I wouldn’t under identical circumstances. But I am saying, that if my fiance told me he was going in on the house to keep it as a rental property, I would say do it, if he had the money. Especially if there was no mortgage. But I would not live there.

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      • avatar

        RedroverRedrover November 20, 2014, 12:13 pm

        I agree with this. Since he has all this extra money, he should buy it and get rent from the mom (as long as she would actually pay it, that would be my concern in renting to a family member). Then they should buy a place together to live in.
        .
        The real issue is that the fiance is just unilaterally deciding to buy it, without taking into account his future wife’s feelings about it. That’s messed up.

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      • Kate B.

        Kate B. November 20, 2014, 12:48 pm

        My cousin ran into this when she rented her condo to friends. Because they were friends, they thought that meant they could get away with not paying on time. That didn’t fly, so she evicted them and added a clause to the lease stating that the tenant must agree to an automatic EFT to pay the rent. No sign, no rent. It’s worked well for her so far.

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      • Pamplemousse Rose

        Pamplemousse Rose November 20, 2014, 12:37 pm

        It would be an ideal rental property situation. I wonder if the LW has suggested this as a compromise, rather than flat out saying don’t buy the house?
        .
        As an accidental landlord, I have to say that keeping my condo as an income property has been a good investment.

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      • Kate B.

        Kate B. November 20, 2014, 12:45 pm

        This is exactly what I plan to do with my condo if I am ever in a position to buy more property.

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      • avatar

        RedroverRedrover November 20, 2014, 1:01 pm

        We kept our condo as well. The only thing is, it limited us when we went to buy a house. Because we were moving from one house to another and we wanted to overlap them – we didn’t want to sell first then take a chance on whatever we could find to buy. Which meant we had the mortgage of the old place, and the mortgage of the new place at the same time. PLUS we had the mortgage of the condo. The result was that the bank told us we couldn’t waive our financing condition, which is a disadvantage in a hot housing market like we’re in. And I don’t even want to tell you how big our three mortgages together were, it was crazy. Of course we had the assets to show for them, but still.

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  • FireStar

    FireStar November 20, 2014, 11:07 am

    It sounds like he has his life planned out. He has scripted his life to have a secondary role available for supporting girlfriend/fiancée/wife…did you not want that role? Then move on. Find someone who wants to build a life WITH you and does not expect you to just to go along with his shot calling like you are a member on team HIM with no goals, opinions, values of your own. For how obtuse and self-centred he is being, I can’t help but think that this can’t be the first manifestation of this behaviour. If it is – maybe outside counselling can help him see how ridiculous he is being and shake him out of his delusion – but if this sense of entitlement is engrained in him then there is no hope here. On the plus side you have plenty of time to find someone more compatible o the life you want to create for yourself.

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  • Crochet.Ninja

    Crochet.Ninja November 20, 2014, 11:40 am

    if you’re not allowed a say in what happens in your life, move on. it will not get better if you get married – been there, done that. and it will never feel like ‘yours’.

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  • avatar

    Vathena November 20, 2014, 12:21 pm

    “I feel if we lived elsewhere maybe we could focus on us and our future.” – This really stood out to me. Your fiance’s attitude will go with him wherever he lives. This is a pretty slim hope to stake your marriage upon.

    ” I do not want to move from the area but all of his neighbors and friends are centered here and I feel like I am just an addition to his collection he has gathered around him.” You are trying so hard to get his attention and feel important to him, that you want him to move away from all his friends and neighbors? So if they’re out of the picture, he’ll finally be the man you want him to be? No. It’s actually pretty unfair of you to want him to give up that closeness with his family and community (which you must have known about after three years of dating). And, YOU don’t even want to move away! The fact that you are willing to make your OWN life more difficult, on the off-chance that he’ll finally focus on you and your relationship, indicates just how frustrated you must feel. You shouldn’t have to resort to such a desperate measure just to get him to think seriously about your future.

    I don’t think he sounds like a bad guy, as someone said above, but you two really don’t sound compatible. The ways in which you deal with money, family, and compromise have to be solid and healthy, and it doesn’t sound like you are in agreement about any of it.

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  • mylaray

    mylaray November 20, 2014, 12:36 pm

    It’s important to discuss how important family is in each of your lives and what that looks like. What does that look like when a kid is involved? When a family member is sick or needs help? Some really want to be close with and live with their family;others don’t at all. But he doesn’t want to compromise and consider your feelings which does not bode well at all.
    .
    My husband (and my in laws) would love for us to move in with his parents when we have a kid, for the first year or two. I love my inlaws, but we’ve discussed ideas like living there during the week and staying at our place on the weekends, or some other plan where it’s not 24/7. I’m sure if his parents didn’t live in the sticks he would want to buy their place eventually. The thing is he considers my feelings and we both give and take to reach a mutual decision. And this is all stuff I’m okay with. But when you’re not okay with it (I don’t blame you) and your fiance won’t budge, it won’t end well, that’s for sure.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones November 20, 2014, 12:39 pm

    Playing devil’s advocate here, but to me, her fiance is making some smart longterm financial decisions to own a house free and clear. Many people use that as a longterm investment strategy. That house can be rented out for income, etc. He doesn’t even have to live there. I think he is thinking more longterm, and she is thinking more “I want marriage and babies and MY agenda NOW!” Perhaps neither of them is really ready for marriage yet.

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    • avatar

      ktfran November 20, 2014, 12:52 pm

      I actually don’t fault him for wanting to make this investment. What I do fault him for is basically making this decision and not finding an acceptable compromise with the LW. And I believe she’s at fault too. Both of them want it his or her way. Neither one of them are making the best decision for “us.”
      .
      You’re right, neither one of them are ready for marriage. They don’t have the communication skills necessary to make it for the long haul.

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    • avatar

      RedroverRedrover November 20, 2014, 1:19 pm

      Actually though he won’t be “free and clear”. He’ll share it with his brother, which to me is already an obstacle, because what if he wants to sell it down the line and his brother doesn’t? Especially since his brother is going to be living there.
      .
      The second obstacle is the mother. It seems pretty clear she means to keep living there, and although she’s mentioning rent, is she going to really pay it? Who knows? And you can’t really kick your mom out of “her” house, especially if she can’t afford to go anywhere else.
      .
      If he wanted a house free and clear it would have been a lot smarter to take that windfall the LW mentions and invest it in a small house, or a condo to start. This situation isn’t a smart investment, in my opinion. If the guy wants to do it to help out his mom, that’s one thing, and that sounds more like what he’s actually doing.

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      • Portia

        Portia November 20, 2014, 3:21 pm

        Yes, so much this.

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    • something random

      something random November 20, 2014, 1:22 pm

      But it isn’t just him. It is also his brother and his brother’s girlfriends money. They will all have to agree on so many decisions. What if brother lands on hard times wants to move in? Or if at some point brother breaks up with girlfriend and she wants them to buy her out at a ridiculous cost? If boyfriend lives there and brother doesn’t, will brother expect boyfriend to pay for all the maintenance and upkeep? And even if boyfriend doesn’t live there forever (and there isn’t a guarantee) how much time and energy is this house going to take to rent and eventually sell? If the lw does move in she has little to no claim on anything in that house even if they do get married. Wall colors, floors, etc will all have to be negotiated.

      On another note someone who is too broke and young to have ever lived on their own (student housing doesn’t count) shouldn’t jump into moving in with someone who has been there done that and has a pretty firm vision on how he will live and support himself-join in or move on. It sounds like a power imbalance and marriage doesn’t magically make those go away.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark November 20, 2014, 12:40 pm

    Dear Wendy. My fiance is okay, I guess. Well, except for a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, and z. All of which make it impossible for us to be happy together? Oh, what to do, Wendy? What to do?

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    • Lyra

      Lyra November 20, 2014, 1:01 pm

      Spot on, Mark. Spot on.

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  • Lyra

    Lyra November 20, 2014, 1:07 pm

    So…I’m going to ignore the fact that he is planning his life without you and expecting you to be ok with it…and focus on the financial side.
    .
    As his fiancee you should be part of the financial decisions that he makes at this point. ESPECIALLY a financial decision that has to do with where you two will live. Mortgages and houses are a big frigging deal and he basically is telling you that your opinions don’t matter because he is not getting your input.
    .
    As an example, I’ve been having a lot of big talks with my boyfriend recently regarding the next step for us. He lives about an hour away now as he is finishing his college degree, but we’ve talked about what is coming next for him and for us. We’re not engaged at this point, but we’re both happy and we both want the other person to be in our future. Thus, we’re talking about things like who will move to be closer to the other person and when we would potentially move in together and where we would want to live and what kind of place we would want to be in. No it’s not a guaranteed thing and you never know, we may break up, but we’re addressing these things now — BEFORE we’re faced head-on with these decisions. Your fiance is making decisions for HIM, and not for you as a couple. That should be concerning to you.

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  • kaluu

    kaluu November 20, 2014, 7:23 pm

    I couldn’t stand this guy just for the fact that he wants to buy his moms old place and live with her. Added to that the sharing commitments with his brother and the girlfriend, and his attitude to you as an addition to everything that’s already set in stone and you have no say in, I would totally move on already! You’re 24 and have no kids with this person. It’s not worth it at all.
    I would just be honest with him and give him a chance to change (doubtful) then move on.

    Some people are very into having no mortgage to the point that they act against what would benefit them. Like saving for the house price for years while you pay rent. You’re not saving any money like that!

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  • avatar

    Put On Hold November 24, 2014, 9:03 pm

    This is the LW here. I have read many good points here and I would like to add some additional insight. My fiancé has many redeeming qualities; his kindness and generosity are one of the reasons I fell in love with him. It is when this desire to always be helpful to others comes to directly interfere with our relationship that I have an issues. For instance, we both work quite often so I ask him to leave the days that we both have off as open as possible. I will make plans for us for that day when he agrees but there have been many times a friend will mention to him they are working on their truck and he will decide he needs to go help them the day that we have together. He will even suggest I come with and hang out with them but when I do this it is me sitting around while they interact and talk shop. I accept that he will want to help others but if they weren’t just down the block from us maybe he’d be a little more likely to stay home and give some attention to what we need. And the friends I speak of moving away from are my friends as well; I do not want to take us away from them. But they seem to be involved in much of our lives. I suggest we go out to eat and he often wants to invite others. I see him maybe twice a week, generally late in the evening for just a few hours. I would like to have those precious moments to ourselves.
    .
    I have tried to open the door to compromise. Suggesting, since he has already lived there and has essentially been paying rent in the form of taking care of the bills he still continue to do this, even if his brother buys the house. He can rent from his mother or his brother and build some funds for a while. I even suggested renting it out but this isn’t when he actually physically wants to live there and his brother is actually moving in. When we speak about it now it has gotten down to him saying, “I’m buying the house.” Period. He speaks as he’ll be there forever but his brother seems to be under the impression my fiancé will move out in a short while after purchase and it will be his and his girlfriend’s with my fiancé’s money staying in the house as an investment.
    .
    I am trying to be flexible but when he won’t budge it is difficult to just give in because I am compromising my own feelings. I have actually supported myself and lived on my own for three years after moving out of student housing at my university. I am in no rush to get married and children are certainly not in the near future. I would like to live together as sort of a test before marriage but I can’t imagine finding our footing as a couple living with other people in this situation. He is the one who wants to get married sooner than later, he wants me to move into the house with him, he wants children before too long. I just can’t understand how he sees these things as plausible in this situation.
    .
    As a final note, I see his planned housing situation as a trap for every reason mentioned above. With the way he spends money he won’t be able to save up for another place if he ever feels so inclined to move. If his brother or his girlfriend bail or become difficult, where will he be? All the decisions will be joint and he already treats the house as his and his alone. He has already put a great deal of money into renovating the garage this week but what did his brother contribute? I understand the importance of money as schooling has depleted my funds so it is difficult to watch him put it to poor use. I want a life with this man because he really is a wonderful person that I deeply love. But I agree that he has his life figured out and I am merely filling a role. I have pointed this out to him long ago and he has been working to change this. He is just so hung up on this house I literally feel like he is choosing it over me. If he wants this life with me so bad why can’t he consider my feelings?

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