Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I Can’t Stand My Mother-in-Law”

doris

When we were engaged, my now-husband’s parents asked us if we would be interested in buying their house (the house that my husband grew up in) because they were moving to Florida. After a lot of discussion and hesitation (mostly on my end because I had a bad feeling that my MIL, whom I don’t get along with, would want to control everything about the house, even though we would buy it from them, because it had been hers forever and she is VERY controlling), my husband talked me into it.

After we told them that we were interested, my MIL said that they would be doing an “owner finance” deal for us. They would pay off the house and have the house sale written up by a real estate lawyer so they were our bank and it would only have my husband’s name on the paperwork and NOT MINE. Even though we were planning a wedding and had a baby together at the time, my MIL still excluded me from everything. When my husband asked her why she was insisting on doing an owner finance deal, she said right in front of me: “That way YOU are protected and WE are protected.” She then told me I had to save a room for them in our house for when they came to visit, and she also tried to control EVERYTHING I did with the house, including all of the updates I made.

Anyway, I have not been able to get over this, and I am struggling with being around them. They come and stay with us ALL the time, and I am polite but I strongly dislike them and it’s getting worse. I thought over time maybe I would get over it, but I can’t. Am I overreacting? — Tired of My Controlling MIL

Honestly, as much as your MIL sounds like a piece of work, the real problem here isn’t with her, it’s with your and your husband’s inability to stand up to her. Why on EARTH would you agree to buy her house when she made so clear how little regard she had for you? Why do you continue to let her come visit as often as she wants to? Why haven’t you made clear to your husband that it’s time for him to defend you and quit letting his mother walk all over you? Get a backbone and tell your husband to do the same!

Here’s a crazy idea: say no sometimes. The next time your in-laws say they’re coming to visit, tell them it isn’t a good time. The next time your MIL makes some comment about what you’ve done with the place, tell her you think it looks a lot better and you’re quite happy with your choice. You may not ever be friendly with your MIL and you may not ever like her, but you sure as hell don’t have to put up with her shit as much as your do.

My guess is that a lot of the negative feeling you have for your MIL isn’t so much disdain as it is resentment. You resent how much control she has over your and your husband’s life. But you need to take some responsibility for the amount of control you’ve allowed her to have. I mean, you’re a grown woman. What are you afraid will happen if you finally stand up for yourself? I can’t imagine the consequences would be any worse than living in a house that you have no legal stake in, with a husband who doesn’t seem to respect you very much, where you’re constantly questioned for every choice you make by a meddling MIL who neither likes you nor respects your boundaries because you haven’t made them clear enough. Make your boundaries clear! And start demanding more respect from your husband.

***************

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223 comments… add one
  • avatar

    j2 August 29, 2013, 11:05 am

    The letter convinced me that LW will never going to be able to say “no” enough or get her husband to do it. There is simply too much history with the house and paper issues.

    Best I can tell, she really has only one option:

    Sell the house.

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    • othy

      othy August 29, 2013, 11:09 am

      Or, can they refinance with a proper bank, so the MIL is no longer the financial controller? And, the LW could be on the paperwork this time around.

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      • avatar

        j2 August 29, 2013, 11:38 am

        I do not think that would end it at all. The history of the house would always be there.

        Have you ever read the Brothers Grimm story, “Salem and the Nail”?

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      • landygirl

        landygirl August 29, 2013, 11:52 am

        Truly the “landlord” from hell.

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      • avatar

        j2 August 29, 2013, 12:15 pm

        Yes, and the house’s history will ALWAYS be the MIL’s “nail.”

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  • avatar

    kerrycontrary August 29, 2013, 11:07 am

    Yeh…WWS. Why the heck did you and your husband agree to move forward with buying the house knowing the financial deal she created? When you found out what she was trying to pull you should’ve said No and called in your own lawyer to write up a purchase agreement.

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 11:08 am

    Why would you ever agree to this?! Your husband sounds like an asshole for agreeing to this and letting his parents rule his life and treat you like shit.

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    • avatar

      Bunnycsp August 29, 2013, 1:11 pm

      How is protecting their assets treating her like shit? They gave her a house with an interest free mortgage. They weren’t married yet when this deal went through. Why would they not protect themselves.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 1:15 pm

        I did not find the letter to be clear that this happened before or after marriage, for one. Was there a mention of interest free mortgage? I didn’t see that in their either.

        Her and her husband are BUYING a house from his parents, not being gifted a house, and they refused to put her name on the deed even though it was HER and her husband buying the house. They treat her very much like she is not part of her own family, which I think is really treating her like shit.
        If this house was gifted to their son, I would think otherwise, but that’s not what happened at all.

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      • avatar

        Bunnycsp August 29, 2013, 1:34 pm

        See, when I read this, they bought it when she was a fiancée even though they had a kid together. That is why she says my “now husband” so they were not married during the transaction but are now. As far as Interest free, I am making a leap there but that is the sole reason that families do this kind of relationship, it is to avoid the interest. My in-laws did this with my SIL’s car. By doing this kind of arrangement, it saved her around 15k in financing charges. There has to be a reason for him to do this.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 1:35 pm

        I really hope LW pipes in to clarify the details and timing.

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      • avatar

        Bunnycsp August 29, 2013, 1:47 pm

        Yea, I just don’t see what is so enticing about this deal without a great financing deal. I do not believe this was purely about childhood memories. These kind of deals are usually very strategic. But the parents are fronting the value of this home to them and they didn’t need the value of the home to buy a separate property. This is a family with means.

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      • avatar

        Bunnycsp August 29, 2013, 2:40 pm

        Also, I hope she clarifies what visiting “All the time” is. because if they retired to florida, I assume that the LW is in a northern state (could be wrong). If she is a flight away, how often are they really coming up? every other month? I just think this LW is feeling powerless and skewing what a good situation this really is.

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      • avatar

        Jessibel5 August 29, 2013, 2:53 pm

        Even if she was just a fiancee when the deal went down, the second they got married the husband should have put the wheels in motion to have her name added to the deed or whatever it is that is done. Because what happens now if something horrible happens to him? I’m sure the house will revert back to his parents. LW, you HAVE to get the ball rolling on getting your name on the deed and insurance to protect yourself and your child(ren) at this point!

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      • avatar

        MMcG August 29, 2013, 2:53 pm

        They gave their son a house while making it clear his future wife and mother of their grandchild weren’t a consideration at all. They suck.

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      • avatar

        oldie August 29, 2013, 3:48 pm

        Why does everyone say they gave their son a house or they gave them an interest-free loan. None of that is in the letter. In fact, LW says she didn’t actually want that particular house and that she and her now-husband wanted to finance through a bank. This weird arrangement is all the doing of MIL and her subservient son. The goal seems to be to screw the LW. Either by controlling her life or by trying to set her up so that she would walk away from a divorce with nothing. The in-laws didn’t need any protection. If LW and her now-husband had financed through a bank, the in-laws would have had their full pile of money and zero risk. Can’t be any better protected than that.

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      • avatar

        MMcG August 29, 2013, 4:38 pm

        I agree! Poor use of gave in that sentence…

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  • avatar

    bethany August 29, 2013, 11:11 am

    It’s too late to fix this particular issue. You dug your grave when you agreed to the crazy idea.

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    • avatar

      Christy August 29, 2013, 11:20 am

      Not only crazy, but also stupid. Like, just a foolish choice. In what world was it a good choice, really?

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    • avatar

      MMcG August 29, 2013, 2:51 pm

      This is why I always comment about drawing bright line boundaries and worrying about precedent when dealing with ILs!!! What seems nice or a little annoying at first can eventually get you tangled up in their web and eventually hanged.

      LW. your husband sucks. You were the mother of his child and future wife when this happened… theres really no excuse for him to not at least put you on the deed (frequent visits are another issue alltogether). What happens to you and your child if something happens to your husband?? Methinks you would be homeless. think about that… thats how well your husband is looking out for his family. I would have never married him under those conditions, please get into marital counseling pronto – or find a good lawyer.

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    • avatar

      oldie August 29, 2013, 3:49 pm

      No, it’s not, which is why LW needs to see a lawyer. Unless they signed a loan with in-laws that contains penalty fees, then they can just take out a loan at the bank and pay off the loan to the in-laws.

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  • avatar

    Stephanie August 29, 2013, 11:14 am

    I don’t understand why you and your husband agreed to this. I’d seek counsel regarding the house and the marriage. The fact remains that your husband is complicit in this and that speaks volumes regarding his commitment to your family and marriage.

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  • theattack

    theattack August 29, 2013, 11:20 am

    Either sell this house or refinance it with both of your names on it. Never pay money toward something that you’re not getting credit for. Holy shit. Unless you’re familiar with property laws and family law in your state, you might not even have rights to this house despite paying your money toward it. Get on this ASAP. You can not live your life this way. Can NOT.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 11:21 am

      Good call. I wouldn’t pay a fucking dime toward this house that isn’t yours.

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      • katie

        katie August 29, 2013, 11:26 am

        well, i guess we dont know if she is paying for it or not…

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 11:32 am

        Right, but whether she is or isn’t, I’m telling her she shouldn’t. So either stop now or don’t start.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 29, 2013, 11:40 am

        I guess we don’t, but unless they’re rich, I just can’t imagine a middle class couple with split finances where the husband makes so much money that he’s the only one paying for the house plus half of the other expenses. And if he’s not also paying for half of the other expenses then she’s taking the brunt of that and is in essence paying for the house by paying for everything else. I’m definitely overthinking this, but either way, no one should pay for an asset that their name isn’t on.

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      • katie

        katie August 29, 2013, 11:46 am

        all very true, i dont disagree.

        what if she is a SAHM?

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      • theattack

        theattack August 29, 2013, 11:53 am

        Interesting twist. In that case, it’s likely that they share finances, so she’s definitely paying for the house. That also makes it a lot scarier for the LW legally. I think SAHMs especially should make sure their names are on everything because they have more at risk and less ability to correct a loss.

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      • avatar

        NavyWife August 29, 2013, 1:08 pm

        THIS, absolutely. My husband is a Navy pilot and I’m a SAHM. We have to make sure my name is on absolutely everything, because if anything happens to him and my name isn’t on a title, mortgage, or anything else, I’d be up a creek without a paddle. I could tell you horror stories of wives whose husbands were killed or injured, and the wife couldn’t get credit, or the bank/mortgage company/etc. legally could not give them information due to their name not being on a title or account. (I also have powers of attorney for everything but that’s typically not necessary for civilians whose spouses are around or not in a dangerous line of work).

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      • theattack

        theattack August 29, 2013, 1:19 pm

        Oh that’s a really good example! Divorce is not the only time these issues come up.

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  • avatar

    TECH August 29, 2013, 11:21 am

    I think it’s a big problem that the husband isn’t standing up for his wife. When the MIL does something disrespectful or is overly controlling, the husband needs to tell his mom to stop.
    I also agree that they should try to re-finance with a traditional bank, but something tells me that probably will never happen.
    I think the lesson to be learned is be careful about marrying someone when you know you don’t get along with their family.
    And if you decide to get married knowing you don’t get along with their family, don’t put yourself in situations (financial or otherwise) that trap you.

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    • avatar

      BreezyAM August 31, 2013, 2:07 pm

      I think a lot of men don’t really see these things as controlling, but rather parents “helping out” and blame it on W being “insecure” or “not getting along.” :-/

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  • katie

    katie August 29, 2013, 11:24 am

    if you have a problem with your husbands family and your husband doesnt remedy it, you actually have a problem with your husband. period.

    what does he have to say about all this?

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  • avatar

    TECH August 29, 2013, 11:29 am

    Maybe someone can explain this to me; the MIL’s statement: When my husband asked her why she was insisting on doing an owner finance deal, she said right in front of me: “That way YOU are protected and WE are protected.”

    How is everyone “protected”? Ostensibly, if they are unable to keep up with mortgage, the parents would step in because they own the house and they wouldn’t foreclose? That’s the only “protection” I can think of.

    Or maybe the parents think they technically still own the house (which they do, they own it until the son pays if off.) So they think they’re protecting their asset, which is their family home? I guess I don’t quite understand the thought process.

    The other thing is, are the parents charging them an interest rate on the mortgage just like bank would? If they are, the parents are actually making money off of them every month.

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    • katie

      katie August 29, 2013, 11:32 am

      yea im not sure about this whole thing either because if they are married, depending on the state i guess- isnt it “their” house anyway? like, if they were to divorce they would have to split up that asset?

      i assume thats what they meant about “protection”, in that if there was a divorce the house would remain the husband’s, being in his name only. but that doesnt make sense to me because i thought that wasnt how it worked?

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    • avatar

      j2 August 29, 2013, 11:35 am

      I interpreted the “YOU” to mean their son (by having only HIS name on the paperwork possibly because the two were not yet married).

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 11:37 am

        Yes, and if they aren’t married yet, its not a marital asset because it was his going into the marriage. (depending on the state I guess)

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      • katie

        katie August 29, 2013, 11:38 am

        oh ok, so then the question becomes when did the purchase happen- before or after the legal marriage?

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 11:42 am

        Just be rereading it, it sounds like it happened before the marriage, but its not totally clear.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 29, 2013, 11:49 am

        Well in TN, we also use intention to make something marital property. For example, my name is not on P’s car, but we both pay toward it. I’m okay with this because I know that by our state’s laws, it’s considered marital property since it’s been used as marital property and he intentionally made it marital property. ie: Because I drive it half the time, we call it “our” car, he’s stated that it belongs to both of us, etc. In reality though, I would be more protected if we added my name to the title. IMO, when you have a sketchy situation like the LW’s, you shouldn’t take any risks about ownership, and she needs to know her laws before doing something like this.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 11:53 am

        Yes, totally agree. She should get her butt to an attorney asap, tell her husband she’s going and if he doesn’t agree to join and find a way to fix this, I’d seriously consider using the attorney for a divorce too.

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      • katie

        katie August 29, 2013, 2:20 pm

        ah, see, i need to learn that kind of stuff. part of the reason im not all up on getting married is because i dont even know what it entails, like the specific details like this.

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    • avatar

      TECH August 29, 2013, 12:03 pm

      Here’s another thing I found weird about the financial deal. In most families, when the parents pass away, they leave their house to their child/children in the will. So it’s part of their inheritance. But not these parents, they are asking their son to buy their house from them. It’s almost like he’s losing out on his inheritance, and it’s a little odd to me.
      I know someone who happens to be an only child, and his parents own two properties, and he just lives in their second property rent free because they basically just say “Well, you’re going to get the house sooner or later, because we’re going to die eventually. So you might as well just live in it now.”
      Now, I know not everyone operates that way, because it’s very generous, but this seems to be the reverse situation. These parents are probably making money off their son with interest payments every month.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 12:07 pm

        Well he would still inherit back the cash he’s put into paying the house off, presuming they are leaving everything to their son. Right?

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      • othy

        othy August 29, 2013, 12:24 pm

        With this MIL, sounds like a big presumption. I can see her saying “You don’t get a dime because you married that bitch.”

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      • Lady_Red

        Red_Lady August 29, 2013, 9:08 pm

        Unless they spend it all!

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      • avatar

        Bunnycsp August 29, 2013, 12:27 pm

        This is actually better. So lets say they have a 30 year mortgage and the parents live 20 years, then the mortgage would be wiped clean. Plus, they won’t be charged financing. So with my first mortgage it was 250k but total we would have paid 500k with interest. This would save you 250k.

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    • bittergaymark

      bittergaymark August 29, 2013, 12:35 pm

      I think that what the MIL meant that they were ALL protected from her, the LW.

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      • avatar

        MissyC August 29, 2013, 1:17 pm

        Yeah it sounded like a verbal bitch-slap, that she (or they?) don’t trust the LW.

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      • avatar

        BreezyAM August 31, 2013, 2:12 pm

        I agree. My brother’s mother (no we do not share her) constantly talks shit about his wife, says she’s a gold digger, got knocked up on purpose, trapped him into marriage…. NONE of which is true. This MIL totally sounds like the same type. Note they had a baby prior to marriage. I personally give zero fucks about that but many many many women in the MIL age range will insist this was a woman’s attempt to “trap” her precious innocent son.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle August 29, 2013, 11:33 am

    Yeah, oh my god, what. My first thought after reading this was, “well, you already fucked yourself” but there are ways to fix this. And you SHOULD fix this. Wendy’s advice is good, but you need to sell/refinance/get your name on that house before you even make the smaller changes she’s suggesting. This is unacceptable in every imaginable way, and, to echo others, it ~should have been~ unfuckingacceptable to your husband as well.

    Second, I would examine why you chose this? Why did you let yourself get steamrolled by your MIL? Why did move into a house that your name isn’t on, under circumstances you were actually fearful of in the first place (” had a bad feeling that my MIL, whom I don’t get along with, would want to control everything about the house”)? Why did you simply hope “over time maybe [you] would get over it”? This isn’t something you should get over, it’s something you should backtack & remedy, because you & your husband made a colossal mistake.

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow August 29, 2013, 11:43 am

      Unfuckingacceptable indeed!

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      iwannatalktosampson August 29, 2013, 12:02 pm

      Everyone is making a huge deal out of the fact that her name isn’t on the house, but at least in Colorado (not making any statements about other states) it really doesn’t matter. She would be entitled to half the equity anyway if they were to divorce.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 29, 2013, 12:03 pm

        Well that’s what I’m saying though. She needs to find out that that’s the case for sure, because it isn’t everywhere. If she’s really truly 100% protected in her state then it’s no big deal, but if there’s even a chance that this could affect her, she needs to have it corrected.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson August 29, 2013, 12:14 pm

        Yeah I guess. But then it still depends on whether or not she’s paying towards the house. If he’s paying the mortgage she shouldn’t worry about it. I don’t know it just seems strange to me that she’s married – hasn’t listed any issues with her husband – just his mom – and to freak out and go to an attorney? I don’t know. Seems dramatic to me. I guess my advice to her would be just don’t be an idiot. Find a solution you like. But there’s no reason to be in panic mode. Take a xanax. And maybe find a time machine and go back to not marry a guy with a crazy mom.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle August 29, 2013, 12:27 pm

        Hmm, I really don’t know anything about it (the name & house stuff), it just seems like she’s getting cut out— if not legally (depending on the state) then, at least, verbally/emotionally (between husband & his mother)

        I totally agree with this: “find a time machine and go back to not marry a guy with a crazy mom” She really seems to have, um, made a series of poor decisions.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson August 29, 2013, 12:45 pm

        But keep in mind this exchange happened BEFORE they got married – when she really had no claim. And coming from a huge golddigger (allegedly) everyone saying she’s entitled to a house that was purchased when they were just engaged really rubs me the wrong way. Shaniqua ain’t entitled to shit. Entitled. I’ll say it again.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 12:47 pm

        Was it purchased when they were engaged though? I felt like it wasn’t clear. More like they discussed the plan while engaged and possibly the purchase took place after the wedding.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson August 29, 2013, 12:51 pm

        I don’t even care really. I don’t even know why I’m commenting on this letter. It’s just such a dumb situation for one (not saying you LW – you’re great) to find themselves in. I can’t believe we’re talking about it. I hate giving the advice of “well it’s too late sucka. make smarter decisions with the next husband and baby daddy” – but I really don’t know how to say anything else but that.

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      • avatar

        redessa August 29, 2013, 1:23 pm

        Okay, so I can see not putting her name on the house if they weren’t married yet. It might have been bitchy of the MIL to flat out say they were protecting themselves & the house from her, but I get it. MIL was probably holding out hope the wedding would get called off. The thing is though, once they got married, the paperwork should have been changed.

        My next door neighbor was single when we moved into our house. So, of course, his house was in his name only. But then he got married she moved in, it became “our” house instead of “his” house and her name was legally added. I don’t believe they had to refinance to do it either. Although this LW might have to since the MIL is the one who holds the title and could refuse.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 1:25 pm

        You can add someone’s name to the deed without adding them to the mortgage.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson August 29, 2013, 1:37 pm

        Yup. Also I am SO THANKFUL that my name was never on the mortgage when I got divorced – it’s such a huge pain in the ass to have two people on one mortgage – and your legal “right” to it doesn’t change at all. I don’t think my mom is on the mortgage to their house in Canada and I don’t think my Dad is on the one in Arizona. (No they aren’t each on one so that it’s “fair” if they get divorced – it just happened that way by coincidence). That has absolutely NOTHING to do with dividing assets in the event of a divorce. I get being prepared for the possibility of divorce – but the way everyone is talking about that possibility for that in this case is coming off very much as “divorce him now!” and not “protect yourself”! I don’t know. It’s just irking me and makes me feel like the advice on this letter is getting really sidetracked.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 1:40 pm

        I think the reason you’re hearing both “divorce him now” and “protect yourself” is because of 2 issues: actually protecting herself by getting on the deed and the fact that her husband doesn’t seem to have her back at all and pushed her into an arrangement she wasn’t cool with.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson August 29, 2013, 1:45 pm

        Eh – she allowed herself to be pushed into that arrangement. All this went down BEFORE marriage and she walked into it with eyes wide open. I’m not saying she shouldn’t divorce him – I’m just guessing if she was asking our permission to divorce him she would have asked for different advice. It seems like she’s asking what to do about dealing with her MIL, not how to save her assets in the case of divorce. That advice is still valid, don’t get me wrong – but offtrack in my opinion. And I’m grumpy today, so there’s that.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 1:51 pm

        I can tell you’re grumpy 🙁
        Good points.

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      • avatar

        MMcG August 29, 2013, 3:34 pm

        Iwtts – your parents might want to look into some estate planning. cant speak to canada but they could be setting themselves up for some unnecessary tax liability. I know wealthy people who have lost family homes bc of shit like that. the property got reappraised during the settling of the estate and they couldnt afford the tax liability. all because they didnt think ahead.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson August 29, 2013, 3:39 pm

        You only pay estate taxes if you die with over 5 million in assets as of 2013. I think it’s going up to 6 million in 2014. I have an LLM in tax, no worries I’ve looked into it for them.

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      • avatar

        MMcG August 29, 2013, 4:41 pm

        Gotcha iwtts… something I will never have to worry about then. 🙂

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      • avatar

        BreezyAM August 31, 2013, 2:14 pm

        I’m more concerned if her husband croaks than if she gets divorced really.

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      • avatar

        MMcG August 29, 2013, 3:29 pm

        She had his baby already. So basically all this reaffirms that the family was suspicious of her and didnt give a shit about their grandchild.

        how much you want to bet that if something happened to him the house reverts back to them and LW gets nothing? Not every state treats marital property the same way and shes so legally exposed right now its crazy to me

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      • avatar

        MMcG August 29, 2013, 3:30 pm

        Btw that Shaniqua reference was really uncalled for. call her a baby momma if you have to… ffs

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      • avatar

        Grilledcheesecalliope August 29, 2013, 5:11 pm

        Shaniqua?

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      • theattack

        theattack August 29, 2013, 12:34 pm

        Definitely yes to your last sentence. Or at least marry someone who can tame the crazy.

        I just don’t see it as freaking out about it, but I’m also really particular about this sort of thing. To me it’s just common sense to make sure you’re going to be okay if something happens. It’s just as basic as making sure you pay your electric bill or remembering not to leave your purse in an unlocked car in the projects. I see no other way really, but I realize not everyone is as anal about that sort of thing.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 12:43 pm

        Is that anal? I thought it was just being responsible, haha.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 29, 2013, 12:45 pm

        Well I definitely think so, but I’m trying to avoid saying anything about my own opinions that someone else can take offense to and accuse me of calling them irresponsible or whatever. I refuse to have that conversation ever again here.

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        lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 12:49 pm

        Haha, I think you are being too cautious now. Can one really argue that its anything other than responsible to make sure your bills are paid and that the house you live in you actually can live in for as long as you choose?

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson August 29, 2013, 12:46 pm

        We’re really arguing about the least important details. The real thing we should be arguing about is how to go about killing the MIL and making it look like an accident. Then the LW can be mother #2 to this kid and she can make all the decisions.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 29, 2013, 12:48 pm

        hahaha!

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster August 29, 2013, 12:23 pm

        That and I do sort of wonder WHY she’d allow herself to be backed into this situation. My guess is that she’s not contributing financially. And if she’s not capable of contributing financially she might get screwed in a divorce when her husband and his parents bring in a good lawyer to “protect” their house. That whole line screamed to me that the MIL has every intention of fighting tooth and nail to keep that house in her immediate family should anything go down.

        My parents had an ugly ugly divorce and the judge gave my father the house and the majority of the assets, leaving my mother with nothing. And they had both their names on it, and my mom WAS contributing. It can happen when one party has a good lawyer. And for the record, the judge was a fucktard for screwing my mom like that, I was just too young to understand how unjust it was.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 29, 2013, 12:29 pm

        Exactly! There are definitely cases where it’s split evenly, and then there are some where people get completely screwed over. Probable protection isn’t enough for me. I want solid, unquestionable legal protection when it comes to something as important as a house.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson August 29, 2013, 12:52 pm

        I know this is splitting hairs – but if your mother couldn’t afford an attorney she could have had your dad pay all her attorney’s fees. There’s provisions stating the same in most states. Many of my firms clients get their attorneys fees paid for by the other side.

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster August 29, 2013, 1:34 pm

        I never said she didn’t have an attorney. She absolutely did. My dad just paid a shit ton to get a fantastic one (which he couldn’t really afford either, but I guess when you’re intent on screwing someone you shell out for it).

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark August 29, 2013, 12:13 pm

        I thought this as well… It’s the same in California. I personally KNOW people that this happened to.

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      • avatar

        Boosker August 29, 2013, 1:47 pm

        Oh no, she can definitely lose her part of the house in Ohio, at least. Especially if the house is in his name and the money to pay for it is coming from his account.

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  • avatar

    starpattern August 29, 2013, 11:38 am

    Ugh, YES to everything everyone has said. You need to remedy this ASAP because the longer it goes on, the worse it will be for you. If you and your husband happen to split in the future, you will have nothing to show for all the work and money you have put into the house. You need to either get out from under that house altogether or refi ASAP with an actual bank (WITH your name on the paperwork!)

    Come to Jesus talk with your husband is well overdue. Honestly, I would have stomped the brakes on that engagement the minute I realized he was going to go along with his mother’s ridiculous plan. It’s his place to deal with his family, but you definitely need to stand up for yourself here.

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    • katie

      katie August 29, 2013, 11:41 am

      i would have questioned the engagement/marriage too. just the things implied by only putting his name on something big -that you will be a part of!- he planned on buying would be enough for me, the MIL not even needed

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      • avatar

        starpattern August 29, 2013, 11:49 am

        Exactly.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark August 29, 2013, 11:40 am

    Depending on where and IF they are married, it’s a good bet that the lack of her name on the house ISN’T really important one way or another as it falls under community property anyway.

    The problem here, as Wendy suggested, REALLY isn’t the controlling mother-in-law, but rather the CONTROLLABLE son. Which also leads back to the LW in that she was so fucking DESPERATE for a man that she “gladly” put up with this stupid-ass shit.

    Eh, LW, I’m sorry, but this is your fucking bed. Go lie in it. And stop blaming a cunt for being a cunt. Look, your Mother-in-law has been VERY clear, and VERY up front about who she is from day one. You were just too needy and pathetic to even mildly object to it.

    Hopefully, your story shall be a lesson to others… but somehow, I doubt it. Desperate people somehow never seem to think that they are truly desperate (Chapter 11 of my forthcoming book… 😉 .) NEWSFLASH, if you stupidly let somebody walk all over you, they will. Surprise, surprise. Surprise.

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    • avatar

      TECH August 29, 2013, 11:50 am

      “Look, your Mother-in-law has been VERY clear, and VERY up front about who she is from day one.”
      I think this is a really important point. I have a couple close family members with problematic mother in laws. The man’s inability to stand up to his mother and call her out on her shit is almost always half of the battle in these cases, but the other half of the problem is the woman who knowingly married a man with a difficult mother.
      The Mother in law is not going to change. She doesn’t want to change. She is who she is.
      A lot of women are so “in love” or maybe so fearful of being alone that they decided to marry a man with a crazy mother, and then spend a huge amount of time complaining about it.
      I try to be sympathetic to people I know who have crazy MIL’s, but the other part of me wants to say, “You married this man knowing his mom was a wackjob, and you thought that would magically change? And now you want to complain about it?”

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    • avatar

      MissyC August 29, 2013, 11:57 am

      I don’t know I think there are reasons to marry someone with less-than-desirable family members other than being desperate. Could that be one reason? Sure. But at the end of the day, the marriage is between the two people, so having a crazy family member shouldn’t necessarily be a deal breaker. (Perhaps I’m saying this because I have some crazy family members of my own and wouldn’t want to be judged negatively for that…) But then again, it doesn’t sound like this particular marriage is just the two of them when the MIL inserts herself (and the son/husband allows her to do so).

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson August 29, 2013, 12:03 pm

        In her case it absolutely should have been a dealbreaker. Not only was she marrying someone with a shitty family, she was marrying a man who refused to set up boundaries with said shitty family.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark August 29, 2013, 12:06 pm

        EXACTLY!!!

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        MissyC August 29, 2013, 12:35 pm

        Oh I tend to agree on that count. Just to play devil’s advocate. (To BGM? That was a not-so-smart Thursday decision!)

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      • katie

        katie August 29, 2013, 1:52 pm

        yea, a crazy family member is fine with me, as long as my partner does the right things towards them. that is the potential dealbreaker.

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    • Diablo

      Diablo August 29, 2013, 12:12 pm

      Chapter 11 because of their impending bankruptcy?

      Reply Link
    • meadowphoenix

      meadowphoenix August 29, 2013, 1:11 pm

      And yet another chapter for your second (or concurring to be fair) book about people who seem to have no backbone whatsoever!

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  • avatar

    Addie Pray August 29, 2013, 12:00 pm

    Meh, this problem is so weird to me that I am having a hard time figuring out who to blame. Ok, your BF’s mom is meddling and in your face and demanding. So do what Wendy says; get a backbone and say no and stand your ground!

    But in re the real estate matter, well, it sounds like the parents are being nice and giving you a deal. (I am not saying therefore you should WANT to live there; but that’s something you and your BF need to discuss, and presumably did, and you’ve made your compromise.) Of course I don’t know the details of the actual deal, but I’ll assume it’s such a good deal that your husband did not want to pass it up. I’d hope so, anyway (And I’d hope he didn’t accept the deal just because he was afraid of them; then you’d have bigger problems.) And LW didn’t mention anything about HER money going toward the house so I’ll assume it’s NOT going to the house. So why on earth would she expect to be listed as an owner? She’s not even married yet! If I were plopping down my life savings and my mom and I were entering into a mutually-beneficial real estate transaction, I don’t think I’d put my hypothetical, non-contributing boyfriend on the deed. I mean, “contributing” in the financial sense; unless my BF and I were going into a real estate transaction together, why would he be named?

    That you will eventually be married? Well then you’ll have marital assets, which depending on state law could include that house. So if you’re worried that he’ll up and leave you and you’ll be homeless, I think there are divorce laws that will likely prevent that from happening. But I don’t know. You didn’t raise a concern about *that* so I’ll assume that is not what is making you worried about the deal.

    p.s. I loved – nay, LOVED! – Everybody Loves Raymond. You guys? Especially the parents.

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    • landygirl

      landygirl August 29, 2013, 12:21 pm

      They are married…”my now-husband’s parents”

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 29, 2013, 12:54 pm

        Wait, so they’re married and just now buying the house? Oh I don’t know. The parents-in-law sound annoying so I’m not going to defend them.

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      • landygirl

        landygirl August 29, 2013, 1:09 pm

        No, the incident happened when they were engaged and they married afterwards.

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        Addie Pray August 29, 2013, 1:12 pm

        Ugh, ok, I don’t know which way is up so no one give too much weight to anything I say. That’s probably good advice in general though, ha.

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      • avatar

        Bunnycsp August 29, 2013, 1:14 pm

        but when the transaction happened, they were not.

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    • avatar

      TECH August 29, 2013, 12:25 pm

      I smiled when I saw Doris Roberts’ picture on this post. Speaking of Everybody Loves Raymond, how many people would be cool with living across the street from their significant other’s parents?
      I know someone who moved into her boyfriend’s house. He happened to buy a house across the street from his parents. And she says “Oh, it’s so great, I love his parents.” But something tells me even if your in laws “are great” over time, reality sets in, the honeymoon is over, and having your inlaws across the street would not be the best set up.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 29, 2013, 1:13 pm

        I think it would be great! But I love my own parents and family and think they’d all make great neighbors, so I assume my future spouse’s would be great too? Except maybe not. I wasn’t a HUGE fan of my ex boyfriend’s family. So there you go.

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      • avatar

        redessa August 29, 2013, 1:48 pm

        So….. my parents (who live in another state) own the lot next door to my house. They plan to build on it at some point in time (no specific time table – but they bought the lot a couple of yrs ago so it’s there when they’re ready for it). My mother is SOOOOOOOOO Marie Barone. It’s going to take some major boundary setting with her. She knows it too. She even jokes how people need to feel sorry for her son-in-law once they move here.

        The BUT (there’s always a but, right?) is that I’m an only child. Should my parents get to where they can no longer live on their own, it falls to me to take care of them. When my husband and I built our own home, we set up the (currently unfinished) basement to be finished into an in-law apartment. The idea being that we’re right here to assist them but they have a space that still offers some separation/privacy. Having them next door pretty much accomplishes the same level of convenience in terms of caretaking while affording a bit more independence.

        And that’s why my husband is “cool” with it. Not that he thinks it will be an idea situation, but he is seriously awesome in general and is just very understanding & accepting of the (potential) situation. (It’s also possible my parents will die where they live now and never end up moving here. So we’ll see how things go should they actually start packing one day.)

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      • avatar

        BreezyAM August 31, 2013, 3:01 pm

        I would really prefer they were much further than they are; about a 40 minute drive. We are expected to be there ALL DAY every holiday ON THE PRECISE DAY because husband is an only child and my parents are in another country. So if we want to go see *other* relatives, or say if one of the cousins is having a big family thingy, it becomes an “issue.” If MIL wants to go to the big thingy, then it’s fine… except for see, in my mind, that’s our holiday time right? NO not in hers! We have to schedule ANOTHER whole entire day for JUST THEM. And like by whole day we’re expected to go in the morning, and not leave until after supper. It’s exhausting. And I’d get it if we saw them a handful of times a year… but we spend a day or afternoon at least with them two or three times a month.

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    • avatar

      HmC August 29, 2013, 12:27 pm

      I couldn’t stand Everybody Loves Raymond. I thought the main characters’ relationship was poisonous and resentful and unfunny. The parents were funny though.

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    • avatar

      Nadine August 29, 2013, 12:30 pm

      I’m assuming you are being sarcastic about ELR, as it is widely agreed to be the worst show on the planet.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark August 29, 2013, 12:36 pm

        Actually, I don’t think it’s NEARLY so bad as Men Behaving Badly. Or, for that matter, the total shit show that is GIRLS…

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      • avatar

        Nadine August 29, 2013, 12:38 pm

        Well, I dont know what Men Behaving Badly is. But ELR’s great sin is that it is not only offensive, infuriating etc, it is also so fucking boring with all of that, that I want to scratch out my own eyes. I can hate-watch a lot of things – but not that.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 29, 2013, 12:43 pm

        Agreed! For the past six years or so, my parents have spent every single night watching Everybody Loves Raymond. If I go to visit, that’s all they want to do. It’s like the default setting in their house, and it’s miserable. They’ve even started talking about all the characters as if they’re people we know in real life. (“Oh, that’s just like the time Robert started dancing.” “Who’s Robert? Did y’all go dancing recently?” “No, Robert Barone.” Omg.) And they wonder why I don’t want to visit more often.

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      • avatar

        Nadine August 29, 2013, 12:59 pm

        Oh, that sounds dire.
        However, I sometimes talk about characters as if they were friends. The worst was when I rewatched Gilmore Girls.

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      • avatar

        rachel August 29, 2013, 12:40 pm

        There is a girl that rides my bus that reminds me SO MUCH of Hannah. She has a similar haircut, and has tattoos, and wears kind of awkward dresses/jumpers. She does look less frumpy though.

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      • avatar

        Grilledcheesecalliope August 29, 2013, 1:13 pm

        I hate girls sooooo much for a myriad of reasons. The biggest of which is that the plot is just dumb and a waste of television. Id rather watch reruns of the Wire.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 29, 2013, 12:53 pm

        No, I loved it! I didn’t start watching it until WAYYY later because it looked like such a dumb show. Then one boring day I started watching it and I was hooked. I don’t know why, I loved it so much. I thought it was really sweet and funny.

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    • avatar

      Bunnycsp August 29, 2013, 1:16 pm

      Addie – I totally agree with you. This is a huge gift. HUGE. and she acts like it is a burden.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 1:19 pm

        But how is this a gift?? They are selling the house to them. That’s not a gift at all. I’m really confused why some of you see this as a gift when it so clearly isn’t one.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray August 29, 2013, 2:48 pm

        Well we don’t know the details of the transaction and it’s *possibly* the parents are low lifes scheming to make an extra buck off their son, but I just assume the gave him a deal and didn’t offer him the price they could get out there on the market – or else why the pressure to take it? Could’ve said no and they’d get their $ from a sale. That, plus that it is a seller financing – that is not something you see often and they can save a lot of administrative/broker/whatever fees that way. So, the assumption is it’s a deal.

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      • avatar

        oldie August 29, 2013, 4:11 pm

        The pressure to take it is two-fold. MIL can’t stand the thought of a stranger living in her old home and her no longer being able to go there. Second, MIL wants to control DIL and protect her son from what she sees as the gold-digger who trapped him into marriage (or she is just a traditional old-country Mom, where the MIL rules the roost and the DIL has zero rights)

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  • Diablo

    Diablo August 29, 2013, 12:09 pm

    Simple rule for a happy marriage: your partner comes first. Before your parents. Before your partner’s parents. Or anyone else. If you don’t put your partner first, there’s not sufficient respect for the fact that they have joined their life to yours, in theory permanently. There’s not sufficient reason for them not to seek a better deal at some point.

    During wedding planning, my wife’s very Old World mother believed that as the parent (and because they covered lots of the costs) she could dictate the details of the wedding and guest list. At one point, I simply disabused her of the notion. I was not her child and was not cowed by her powerful personality. I told her we would be making the decisions and if they didn’t like it, they didn’t have to pay. We would hold our own wedding and probably even invite them. She tried to dominate me, look daggers through me, and i simply didn’t budge. We have a much better relationship now, based on her respecting us. But even if that respect had not happened, we made it clear that we were calling the shots in our life.

    Generally, it is the duty of the child, not the spouse, to set parents or other family members straight. Your greatest need now is to find out why your husband put his parents needs ahead of yours and his. This is important, because it will happen again, and possibly become a lifelong pattern. If he won’t put you first, you need to.

    Reply Link
    • othy

      othy August 29, 2013, 12:29 pm

      Mr. Othy had the same conversation with his mother for our wedding. He’s definitely worked to set the tone with her as far as what is and what is not acceptable (both for the wedding and in the many years since). If she pushes those boundaries, we don’t see her. But it all comes from him, never me, so I have a pretty good relationship with her.

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    • KKZ

      KKZ August 29, 2013, 12:49 pm

      Interesting, because I was just coming down here to pose the question:

      Can anyone think of a situation in which it’s right to side with one’s parents/family instead of one’s spouse?

      because this comes up a lot in letters like this and I have to say it’s always sort of confuddled me because I’ve never had a strong feeling or belief that Spouse Comes First Always or that it’s one spouse’s job to always defend the other from their own family, etc. I’m not saying it’s WRONG, I’m just surprised so many people feel so strongly about it to merit reactions along the lines of “your husband is not committed to you because he won’t stand up to his mom.” I see the point, I just didn’t think this was a universal Law of Marriage.

      My husband sure hasn’t taken my side when I’ve been ticked off or annoyed by his family, but I never questioned his commitment to ME over it, just expressed my frustration at the situation and the people I can’t change, and moved on. So I really don’t get the adamant “it is the husband’s JOB to stand up to his mother” kind of attitude. I do and I don’t. It just doesn’t seem like that big a deal to me.

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        Nadine August 29, 2013, 12:52 pm

        I agree. I’m getting married to my long-term BF in January, and the whole ‘seperating’ myself from my family of origin to be only his really confuses me. I’m still a duaghter and sister, why can’t I just add ‘wife’ instead having ti replace all the others with it?

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle August 29, 2013, 12:59 pm

        Well, I don’t think it’s a matter of replacing all of someone’s other roles (daughter, sister, etc.) with “wife”— it’s just a way to reorganize what roles are more important. I feel if you’re (collective “you/you’re”) with somebody whose judgement, character, behavior you love & trust, you’ll WANT to defend them over your family? Or from your family?

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        lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 1:01 pm

        Love this. Think of it like a team. You and he are a team now. Would you like your teammate to put someone else before you? No, they are your teammate, no one else’s. I struggle with the idea of after 30+ years of my family being my #1, bumping someone else to that spot.

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      • othy

        othy August 29, 2013, 1:31 pm

        And it only really becomes an issue when they’re being crazy. Minor disagreements are one thing, it’s the major ones that you want your spouse to have your back.

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        Nadine August 29, 2013, 1:57 pm

        I already think of us as a team (we’ve been one for six years!) but I guess the whole marriage thing is making me think I need to change something….. when I should really stick with whats working for us, right?

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        lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 2:01 pm

        Yea of course! Stick with what’s working. I feel you on this because like I said, it used to upset (?) me to think of having to demote my family. I don’t think it has to be that way though. But if my mom was being an asshole to him, I know I’d stick up for him. Like someone else said, minor shit won’t matter, only the big issue things are where you really need to put your spouse first.

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      • avatar

        Nadine August 29, 2013, 2:06 pm

        Yeah, you’re right. In fact I have stuck up for him to my family a bit, since he is a bit different from the sort of guy I think they expected me to end up with. But I always saw that as sticking up for myself and the right to make my own choice in partner? Perhaps I’m doing this terribly wrong! Or terribly right, of course.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 2:07 pm

        Hmm, interesting spin! I never thought of it like that, but wow, it really can be both-sticking up for him and sticking up for your choice in picking him. Hey, two birds, one stone, right? Nothing wrong with that.

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      • avatar

        BreezyAM August 31, 2013, 3:12 pm

        I think you have the right idea here. To me the problem is when parental preferences, choices,decisions, and opinions are dominating the preferences, choices, decisions, and opinions of the couple, against the wishes of one of the members of the actual couple. For instance, choosing where to live, weding plans, birth plans, home decor, child rearing, holiday plans, and general respect toward someone. There is nothing wrong with sharing one’s opinion on these matters, but many ILs act like they get a vote. And when they do, this is where the problem is. It’s also about backing off and recognizing the spouse has now earned the right to be the primary family member for your child. I have asked my own father to do a vulcan neck pinch if (outside of defending my child from an abuser) he ever hears any form of “I’ve been his/her mother longer than you’ve been their spouse” come out of my mouth, and he’s asked me to do the same. 😉

        For me it’s more about priorities, and the couple building their own nuclear family together. The rest shouldn’t be cut off, but the marital unit and keeping it strong, respected, and safe needs to be top priority.

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        lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 12:52 pm

        “My husband sure hasn’t taken my side when I’ve been ticked off or annoyed by his family, but I never questioned his commitment to ME over it”

        That’s surprising. I mean, it sounds like he is not caring if you are upset by something mean his family says to you. If your husband isn’t going to back you up, who is? If you were being totally unreasonable, then I could understand why he wouldn’t stick up for you.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ August 29, 2013, 1:58 pm

        It’s never been anything huge where he’s taken his family’s side over mine, nothing that I’d be like “OMG, if you’re really going to side with them on this, that’s IT!”

        Like, his dad has legitimate behavioral/mental issues of some kind, and when he’s in one of his “moods,” he’s tends to do and say things that really crawl under my skin. Almost never directed AT me, but we’ve been out in public before and witnessed 2 women dining alone together at an adjacent table and Dad can’t keep his mouth shut about how they must be lesbians and tee-hee, woohoo, haha. And he routinely calls his nieces sluts. UGH. What pissed me off most, though, was when he openly disparaged his long-suffering wife, in front of her and the family, at Christmas, with a big shit-eating grin on his face. I once said to Bear, “Next time he says something like that I’m going to call him out on it, LOUDLY” and Bear’s shoulders sank and he was like “Please don’t.” Because in his family, jerkdom (not just FIL, his brothers too) is tolerated with love and no one calls anyone out on anything because, you know, they’re *family.* So I end up being the ONLY one with a problem, and me seeing it as a problem is not enough for Bear to consider it a problem.

        And you know what, yeah it’d be nice if he stood up for me, but I’m really not surprised that blood is thicker than wedding bands with this group, and it really is my problem to deal with, not his. So it didn’t strike me that he didn’t care, just that he doesn’t want to make waves with his family when it could be avoided. The problem pretty much solved itself anyway when his folks moved to Cleveland because I only see them a few times a year now and can handle FIL in small doses like that.

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        lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 2:03 pm

        Oh, I guess that’s different than what I was thinking. He sounds intolerable! But I can understand not wanting to make waves when you can just try to ignore him. If his dad was rude to you directly, he would stick up for you, right?

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      • katie

        katie August 29, 2013, 2:12 pm

        “If his dad was rude to you directly, he would stick up for you, right?”

        yea, that would be a much better gauge. your FIL just being a general asshole and you not liking it is not really “side with your partner” territory. maybe, but not always. however, if he did something TO YOU, that would be the kicker. because doing something TO YOU is also doing something to your spouse, because you guys are now connected. thats the big difference.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ August 29, 2013, 2:22 pm

        Not sure, as there hasn’t been an opportunity for him to prove that to me or not. I can’t think of a time Dad was rude directly to me. He respects me, and Bear is kind of his baby so he plays favorites a bit compared to his other daughter-in-law (whom he trashes vocally whenever he can – not sure if to her face, but still).

        BUT, teasing is very normal in his family and that has come up as a disagreement before. The way they talk to each other is VERY different from the way I was raised to speak to family, and I’ve felt pressure to join in on the ribbing or to at least laugh when everyone else laughs. Any time I’ve expressed shock or discomfort with what was being said, I’ve been told to lighten up. So yeah, it’s more of a case of “KKZ has to adapt to Bear’s family” than “Bear has to ask his family to adapt to KKZ.”

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        BreezyAM August 31, 2013, 3:14 pm

        I would be fine with that provided my husband would be fine with me attending an absolute bare minimum of events with this person, and fine with never allowing this person to babysit.

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      • Diablo

        Diablo August 29, 2013, 1:02 pm

        Look, I don’t support my wife over my MIL when it’s Kung Pao cchicken versus lemon grass, but if it’s a house purchase, a wedding, a baby – a major issue, then yes, M always comes first. I also don’t dictate this to all people in all situations, but it works for us.

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        MMcG August 29, 2013, 3:50 pm

        I ♡ diablo. Based on these comments and the ones you’ve posted in the forums. Not that your wife should be jealous or anything… just seems we have a similar view on these things and express them in snarky ways 😉

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      • Diablo

        Diablo August 29, 2013, 6:06 pm

        Charmed, thanks. Please don’t mistake my jokes for wisdom – I’m not sure I actually have any. But thanks.

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      • avatar

        Grilledcheesecalliope August 29, 2013, 1:09 pm

        Its kind of biblical, when you get married you are supposed to turn from your mother and father and cleave to your spouse in order to form a new origin family for your children. Honestly in my experience it’s the best way to form a lasting partnership. You cant allow ideas, habits or even people from your origin family to screw up your new family.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ August 29, 2013, 2:02 pm

        Hmm, maybe that’s why it doesn’t resonate with me as much, the whole biblical “turn away from my family to start a new one” thing was never really reinforced with me. Then again, I got married before anyone in my family really had a chance to deliberately teach me lessons about what marriage means, and we were really young so it makes sense we were still both very attached to our families.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 29, 2013, 1:13 pm

        IMO, this is sort of the essence of marriage. Choosing to support your spouse, to protect them (sometimes from crazy ass family members), to help them when they need it (ie: when your crazy family is acting out), to function as a team, to make decisions around what is best for your team and for each other (ie: not buying a house in this fucked up mess), etc. Marriage is whatever you make of it, but almost all of our lengthy vows relate back to being there for each other above everything else. I want to know that if I went into a coma today, my husband would still take me into consideration with every single decision he made until I came out of it. I could trust my well-being with his every move. That’s what marriage is to me.

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      • Diablo

        Diablo August 29, 2013, 1:33 pm

        There are times when my marriage is like a coma too, but keep working on it.

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        kerrycontrary August 29, 2013, 1:37 pm

        I agree, I think it’s the basis of marriage. It’s not like you are actually leaving your family and you’ll never see them again, but you are creating your own family (even if it’s just the two of you). I think it’s functioning as a unit (or team) and always having each others backs.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ August 29, 2013, 2:12 pm

        Hmm, I think my marriage is not quite as unconditional as you’ve represented yours. Bear told me the other day that it would be a dealbreaker for him if I were diagnosed bipolar (not that there’s any risk of it, I was discussing a friend who was dealing with a bipolar spouse and he shuddered and said “I couldn’t do that.”). “Sickness and health” weren’t in our vows, I don’t think. And frankly, I don’t think I could ever be a caretaker for him if he got ill and couldn’t take care of himself, I just don’t have a strong nurturing impulse and am actually kind of disgusted by the thought of someone being dependent on me to that extent, no matter how much I love them (one HUGE reason I don’t want kids).

        Of course I trust him with decision-making stuff, we know when something merits coming to one another vs. decisions we can make on our own. I tend to be the one that fucks that up because I get ideas for things and then just kinda…decide… that’s what i’m going to do, without always discussing it with him before deciding. He was upset last year when I “decided” I was going to pursue breast reduction surgery and pay for it with my own money and just announced it to him pretty much, instead of discussing with him and giving him a chance to speak up. I’m very independent by nature and part of me does resist including others in decisions like that, although I do recognize the importance of it in marriage and make an effort to curb my enthusiasm for my own ideas, haha.

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        lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 2:18 pm

        Can I ask what marriage is to you, or what the point of it is to you? I hope this isn’t insulting, but I was surprised to read neither of you expect to other to be a caretaker in the event of illness. I’ve just never heard of a marriage that doesn’t somewhat mean you are there for that person forever, no matter what, barring extreme things like cheating, abuse, etc.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ August 29, 2013, 2:40 pm

        Well, we often joke that we don’t plan to live that long anyway; we were just talking about this the other day, my goal in life is not to live as long as possible, if the quality of my life gets below a certain level, I want to be done. And he feels the same way. And we say this in a joking-notjoking kind of way, I guess? Hard to explain. Morbid humor mixed with seriousness.

        I’m … not sure what marriage is to me. What’s coming up off the top of my head is that we love each other and are here to help each other navigate life. I never really put marriage on a pedestal of any kind or thought of it as any more ‘special.’ I guess it’s a pragmatic thing, rather than an idealistic thing to me? I’m having trouble explaining it.

        Of course, I did what so many LWs have been warned against here, went into marriage as a next-step of a long term boyfriend without any particular notions of what marriage itself meant or WOULD mean long term. I certainly wasn’t thinking about old age and sick-care when I said yes to his proposal or said I Do at the wedding. He’s someone I’m ready to make a life with, as long as that life doesn’t involve emptying his bedpan. (And that’s not specific to him, either, I don’t want to do that for ANYONE. But I don’t think that should stop me from marrying.)

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      • KKZ

        KKZ August 29, 2013, 2:44 pm

        Oh and I know illness/disability isn’t just an old-age thing and could strike at any time. I really don’t have any kind of preparation for that and don’t know how I would handle it or what it would mean for our marriage.

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        lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 2:46 pm

        Interesting! Thanks for answering 🙂

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      • KKZ

        KKZ August 29, 2013, 2:58 pm

        Yeah, no problem, and I wasn’t insulted by you asking at all. Seems a legitimate question to which I have not given much legitimate thought.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ August 29, 2013, 3:21 pm

        OK! I think I hit on something with my reply to Fabelle below.

        My definition of marriage doesn’t include a sense of duty. Like, we’re happy to build a life with each other and around each other and for each other, as long as it’s working for both of us. When it stops working, sure we’ll see if it can be fixed (in the process of that now!), and if not, then that’s that. I don’t sense that we are bound to each other by duty. So if he were to become ill or disabled, I wouldn’t see it as my duty as his wife to drop everything and be his caretaker. (I’m not saying I’d LEAVE him – I’d hire someone else to do the nursing, and try to support him in other ways as much as I could, and would probably be pretty uncomfortable with his condition at times. Just being honest.)

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        BreezyAM August 31, 2013, 3:20 pm

        I don’t think that’s at all unusual KKZ! I don’t know hardly anyone who feels they personally would do the home care nursemaid thing. I read an article in the Washington Post a while back about this guy who had a stroke in his early 40s leaving him basically in the state of an 8 year old mentally. His wife took care of him a few years but gradually fell in love with someone else. So she divorced her husband, but part of the deal was…. New Guy had to agree to help her always care for the ex! Not like a live in caretaker thing, but to make sure he had appropriate residences and aides, and facilitate the relationship with the children she had with him. Personally I thought that was totally honouring the committment.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle August 29, 2013, 2:35 pm

        In regard to the bipolar thing, does he actually know what a bipolar diagnosis would entail? Does he have any familiarity with bipolar? Because his response seems like one of those knee-jerk ones, where maybe he’s picturing you in an insane asylum or something, & you’re picturing it as just coming home one day like, “I’ve been diagonosed” & him up and leaving you (I know I’m focusing on something you kind of just wrote as an example, but I’m not getting the impression that his “I can’t deal with that” was thought out very well, & if that’s the case, then it makes no sense to use it to point to how he’d be unlikely to deal with you “in sickness”, you know?)

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      • KKZ

        KKZ August 29, 2013, 2:56 pm

        He’s had friends who’ve been bipolar, and has witnessed the extremes of that condition, and probably unfairly judges it by those extremes rather than a more moderate example. Like, he knows it can be controlled through medication but even the RISK of the extremes, or the potential for instability, sends him running for the hills. He hasn’t been the best at handling some of the extremes of my depression either. I think it’s sort of a shootoff of his elitism and difficulty empathizing with others. He wouldn’t have the patience to deal with a bipolar spouse.

        And you know what, I don’t even begrudge him that. I was surprised for a moment that he went straight to “leave” rather than “That would be really really hard,” but I understand his POV and it doesn’t really upset me. I’d rather him be happy with someone else than force himself to stay with my hypothetically bipolar ass out of a sense of duty or obligation or hell, even love. And I’m not entirely sure but I think he feels the same way about me taking care of him if he were to become disabled. (And on the flip side of that, I do and would hate being taken care of. I’d rather off myself than have someone else wipe my ass every day, husband or nurse or whomever.)

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        MMcG August 29, 2013, 3:46 pm

        High five to diablo et all!

        Ive been to counseling, read the books, etc and it isnt just biblical or tradition. Its about starting your own nuclear family and putting your chosen family first… and if you cant do that (esp if you plan on having kids) then you should probably just shack up.

        I mean if the role of son is always going to be more important than the role of husband… don’t become a husband.

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        HmC August 29, 2013, 1:26 pm

        KKZ are you from the U.S.? It’s a very U.S. thing to replace your family with a nuclear family, and it’s an idea I’m not totally on board with either. Actually, I think it’s ironically detrimental to a union to put so much pressure on one person to be everything for you. I mean yes, if you’re in a situation where you have to choose one over the other, then your spouse is your immediate family. But are there really so many situations like that? I feel like ideally, I like the way that a lot of other countries view marriage as the joining of two families. I think it’s actually better for kids, for the families, and for the spouses.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 29, 2013, 1:35 pm

        I don’t think these two ideas have to be mutually exclusive though.

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        HmC August 29, 2013, 1:54 pm

        They don’t have to be, no, but in practice a lot of people in the U.S. do highly value their nuclear family and in my opinion, undervalue what their other family has to offer. Especially relative to how other countries practice marriage. I honestly think living in a huge compound with a bunch of extended family can be a very ideal situation, but in the U.S. that’s basically ridiculed. In the U.S. (at least in some parts) it’s all move out when you’re 18! Marry and have kids and take care of them because THAT’S your family! My issue is with the value of placing a nuclear family on a pedestal with pressure to fulfill so many different needs.

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        Nadine August 29, 2013, 1:54 pm

        I guess thats what I mean. I think I would organically place my SO’s feelings and needs over my family of origin, but the thought of making them less important in my life is something I cant get my head around. Maybe I’m just a mama’s girl 🙂

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      • KKZ

        KKZ August 29, 2013, 2:16 pm

        I AM from the U.S. but grew up in a very european-influenced family – a lot of my social values come from my mom, who is Swiss.

        And I mentioned above but I do think a lot of my attitude comes from having married really young when I was still very attached to my parents. I didn’t see it as either/or, but both/and – my husband’s AND my parents’ opinions matter. As I’ve grown up a little more I’ve gotten a healthier distance from my parents and their influence, though lord knows my mom still tries…

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      • meadowphoenix

        meadowphoenix August 29, 2013, 1:30 pm

        it’s part of deciding to commit yourself to someone for everyone in the relationship to work to the good of the relationship. In a argument in which there is no right answer(i. e. one about wants and desires), in which a third party’s actions are directly affecting one person in the serious relationship, supporting someone outside of that relationship over someone who is in it is not promoting the good of relationship.

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      • katie

        katie August 29, 2013, 2:03 pm

        “My husband sure hasn’t taken my side when I’ve been ticked off or annoyed by his family”

        i have to wonder how severe this was. ticked off or annoyed is pretty meaningless- you have to deal with those feelings TOWARDS your spouse sometimes. but that is not what the “side with your partner” thing means- yesterday, we talked about the decision to have a child. that goes under the “side with your partner” thing. absolutely- no one else should be telling you when where if and how to do that, its something that just involves the two people in the partnership. today, this is about, i would say at the core, securing and sharing a future together. and again, that falls under the “side with your partner” thing, because the idea of a shared future -whatever that may mean to the two people in the partnership- should be decided by the people in that partnership alone. this mother seemingly just doesnt like the LW, and so she meddled her way into their future of sharing ownership of a house. that is a serious issue, thats not something you just let happen.

        furthermore, i dont think that this has anything to do with “leaving” your childhood family. this has to do with legal marriage, which attaches people in our country almost like a child and parent are attached, legally. if you enter into that, first off you should know what you are getting into, and then secondly, you SHOULD be looking out for their best interest, and siding with them over really anyone, because there is a stake in it for both of you.

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      • theattack

        theattack August 29, 2013, 2:06 pm

        Agreed completely.

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        bethany August 29, 2013, 2:23 pm

        For me, the only time my husband wouldn’t come first would be if my parent’s had some sort of need that they couldn’t take care of on their own- in my mind this is mostly relating to them being old and needing help one day. Like if one of them needed to live with us for a while or something like that.

        Other than that, I can’t imagine either my husband or parents ever putting me in a situation where I’d have to chose one over the other. It simply wouldn’t happen.

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        lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 2:26 pm

        Have you two discussed that yet? I think that’s forgotten sometimes and usually something very important for both to agree on, because I’d put my parents first in that situation too I think.

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      • katie

        katie August 29, 2013, 2:31 pm

        see, i think that situation is actually the other spouse (the one without the sick parents) who should be recognizing that their spouse (the one with the sick parents) need’s are their own.

        so its not so much “my parents come before your needs”, its “your needs, and by extension my needs, are to take care of your parents”

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle August 29, 2013, 2:28 pm

        “I can’t imagine either my husband or parents ever putting me in a situation where I’d have to chose one over the other” <– I don't think it's as literal as that though, you know? (& I'm kind of replying to the general discussion, where others are struggling with this idea also) Like it isn't that "If _____ & _____ were hanging off a cliff, and you could only save one, WHO WOULD YOU SAVE" game. It's more amorphous?

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    Amanda August 29, 2013, 12:25 pm

    LW, people treat you the way that you allow yourself to be treated. You allow your husband to disrespect you and your MIL to treat you like garbage. If you want that to change, then you make it very clear to them that you will no longer be treated this way. First, you tell your husband that it is unacceptable that your house isn’t your joint property and you insist that you refinance with a financial institution. You also tell him that he needs to stand up for you, his primary family, to his mother and set boundaries with her regarding visitation, control of your joint property, etc. If he is unwilling to do this, it’s time to consider leaving. Frankly, your decision to marry this person without gumption (i.e. balls) was a poor one. Neither of you seem to have a backbone, so it’s time to grow one.

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  • landygirl

    landygirl August 29, 2013, 12:32 pm

    Letters like this make me glad for my wonderful in-laws.

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  • avatar

    Bunnycsp August 29, 2013, 12:47 pm

    LW – I can speak to this situation because I lived it. After my husband and I got married, my in-laws said they wanted to give us money for a down payment. In order to get this money, I needed to sign a “Post-nup” agreement. (So did my SIL’s husband). This stated that if the marriage dissolved, my in-laws are paid first from the household estate in the amount they gave us and then everything after was split 50-50. I was mortified because I was his wife and they made me sign this after the marriage.

    Now, fast forward to today. My SIL just got divorced after 1 year of marriage. Had my inlaws not set up the agreement the way they did, then my ex BIL would have walked away with half of the money after only a year. So that is why they are protecting themselves. It isn’t betting on a divorce it is just in case.

    Here is what I know for sure. As you get more stable in your role as wife, you will get more confident to set boundaries. It takes time. My mother in law and I have figured out a system that works but it took years. Honestly, I feel like they use money to control us but we accept the money so we have to walk that line of being grateful and standing up for ourselves.

    Realize, at the end of the day, this arrangement will save you at least 200K in interest alone. This is also a way of slowly giving you your inheritance without taxes. This is very generous and will afford you and your child tremendous opportunities. As long as your husband and you are together, this is a huge step forward that most people don’t get. If your in-laws live far away, how often do you really see them? 5 times a year? remember that this opportunity outweighs any downside.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 12:56 pm

      But you could’ve just not taken the downpayment money from them, right? I feel like these stories are a good reminder to not accept money from people because it always comes with strings.

      I really fail to see how this is generous though, or a good deal for the son and LW. The parents aren’t giving them a house with some strings. They are selling the house and holding the mortgage. There is no mention of it being sold at less than value or that there is no interest being tacked on. Unless this couple couldn’t get a mortgage on their own, I see no good deal here.

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        Bunnycsp August 29, 2013, 1:21 pm

        I could have walked away from the money but frankly it was a huge opportunity. We were able to travel the world because we weren’t saving for a down payment. Our lifestyle is amazing and it is directly because of that investment.

        This deal is great because it is owner financed. They aren’t going to be paying interest. So the monthly amount is going to be all principal. Over the course of 30 years, this could save them hundreds of thousands of dollars. Plus, if the parents die earlier, then the remainder of the house will go right to them.

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        lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 1:24 pm

        Again, there is zero mention that this is interest free. Just because the parents are holding the mortgage doesn’t mean they can’t tack on interest. I think you are mixing your situation with this LWs, which seem to be pretty different. Your in-laws gifted you and your husband a downpayment. These in-laws are selling their house to their son.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom August 29, 2013, 1:29 pm

        There can be interest even if it is owner financed. It depends on the contract they wrote.

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        Bunnycsp August 29, 2013, 1:37 pm

        But, this deal makes no sense otherwise. The only two logical things are that there is no interest or that the LW and husband wouldn’t qualify for a good rate and this is better. I think this is a great gift but she is upset that it wasn’t given to both of them.

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        lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 1:41 pm

        Idk. I have a right of first refusal on my mom’s house, but if I ever chose to buy it from her I wouldn’t expect her to give me some sweet deal on it.

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        Bunnycsp August 29, 2013, 1:54 pm

        right, but would your mom be able to front the value of the home and just say “give me $1000 a month” instead of taking the value for her next home? Most people can’t do that. They need the money from the house to buy the next house.

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        lets_be_honest August 29, 2013, 1:56 pm

        My mom wouldn’t, but my dad could and even in that situation, I still wouldn’t expect a sweet deal. I’ve never been one to feel entitled to my parents money though, so that may play a role in my opinion. I honestly would not be sure that my dad would offer me a deal though simply because he could afford to.

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        Bunnycsp August 29, 2013, 2:34 pm

        I think the LW was bullied into this deal because it made logical sense. But emotionally she doesn’t feel like she has any power because the money is being held over her head. She wouldn’t feel so insecure if this was strictly a business deal.

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        oldie August 29, 2013, 3:42 pm

        I think LW was bullied into this, because she was a single mother, who wanted to be married to the father of her child.

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        MMcG August 29, 2013, 4:11 pm

        Oldie for the WIN.

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        oldie August 29, 2013, 8:16 pm

        You keep stretching and stretching, but what you say is a huge reach. We know MIL is very attached to the house. We know MIL is very controlling. Likely MIL has always dreamed of her son living in ‘her home’ which she gives to him. But she doesn’t want to live there until she dies. She wants to move south. Likely she needs the money from the house or the mortgage money from her loan to her son in order to pay the mortgage on her new home/condo/whatever. She clearly doesn’t like dil. This is a way for her to have control and also get exactly what she wants with regard to the house and to where she wants to live most of the time. In the letter, it is clear that this is not LW’s first choice where to live and that both she and husband wanted to get a regular loan from a bank. That means they can get and afford a loan and likely that they can afford a different house. They are in this particular house and this particular mortgage arrangement only because this is what MIL wants and husband can’t stand up to his mother and LW can’t stand up for herself to her husband. There is no evidence of any bargain or gift here, either on the price of the home or the rate of interest. LW never says that she or her husband found this too good a financial deal to turn down. She says they are doing this because MIL leaned on them to do this. Actually, leaned on her son at a time when LW was not married yet and thus had less voice in the matter.

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        Bunnycsp September 3, 2013, 4:38 pm

        Based on the new information, They are paying interest the first 10 years then interest free for the next 20. We don’t know the value of the house but based on national average (250k) it will save them 87000.00 over 30 years without a penny down.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom August 29, 2013, 1:50 pm

        The MIL assumes the marriage won’t last so she is trying to protect her son from losing any money in a divorce. She isn’t trying to give them an early inheritance, she’s just trying to keep her son from losing any money invested in a home.

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        Bunnycsp August 29, 2013, 2:37 pm

        It isn’t assuming the marriage doesn’t last, it is protecting the parents and husband in case it doesn’t. Legally, this only works on money that comes before the marriage. So any payments paid after the marriage began is common property. So if the in-laws give them a deal then the value of the deal is protected, but during the marriage, contributions are joint and shared.

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        MMcG August 29, 2013, 4:10 pm

        Bunny… you seem to be looking at this strictly from a transactional viewpoint where it worked for you. But you keep adding facts and I justifications that arent in the letter.

        Good for you it all worked out and you enjoy your lifestyle, but this situation seems very different from yours so maybe stop with the free interest its such a great deal line. We have no idea if thats the case.

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        Skiier18 August 30, 2013, 3:48 pm

        I am the one who wrote this post, and I would like to say that they charged us 4% interest which we are paying on for the first 10 years. (interest only loan) we also played market value for the house. This was absolutely NO gift at all, and I am a full time working mom who pays for half of everything

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        BreezyAM August 31, 2013, 3:27 pm

        Wow. So this was about wanting to keep the house in the family, and CONTROL.

        So sorry LW. You definitely have a husband problem, not a MIL problem.

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        MMcG August 31, 2013, 5:25 pm

        Get your name on that house Skiier! If your husband doesn’t have the balls to stick up for his family please consider the safest and easiest way to protect yourself and your child since husband doesnt seem to get it.

        Sucky situation. sorry things haven’t worked out the way you hoped 🙁

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        lets_be_honest September 2, 2013, 9:45 am

        DAMN! This was like the absolute worst case scenario we imagine!
        Hope you update with some good news. I’m super curious why you agreed in the first place. Do you plan on fixing this?

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        Addie Pray September 2, 2013, 9:51 am

        Yikes, not a deal at all. Agreed with breezy, this is definitely a husband problem!

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        Bunnycsp September 3, 2013, 3:58 pm

        I am late to the party because I was on vacation. So I need to know why you said ok? Is it that you get 20 years interest free? That isn’t too shabby. The reason I said that this was a gift was because I gave you the benefit of the doubt on why you did this.

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        Bunnycsp September 3, 2013, 4:35 pm

        I figured out the math. IDK how much your house was worth but based on 250k – this deal saved you 87000.00 in interest. base on 30 year mortgage at 4% if you only pay interest the first 10 years. if the house is worth less or more than you adjust that number accordingly.

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    • meadowphoenix

      meadowphoenix August 29, 2013, 1:41 pm

      That wasn’t a post-nup so much as your in-laws putting a lien on your marriage “estate.” All they did was state in writing that you both owe them. A post-nup in which they tried to get you to take on more of dept personally than your husband (or frankly vice-versa) would probably never have been upheld.

      The in-laws here are trying to sell the LW’s husband a house without acknowledging how marriage or the LW’s contributions to the marriage affect such a deal. That’s not the same thing at all.

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        Bunnycsp August 29, 2013, 2:01 pm

        Yes, the agreement was that my inlaws get paid first. Their money can’t come out of my husband’s half only.

        In this situation, I read it that the house was bought when they were engaged and have since gotten married. So she was just the “baby mama” at the time they were protecting themselves. She thought that they should respect her relationship since they were engaged. Look, marriages are supposed to be forever, but many times they are not. When it comes to inheritances and family money, people have to protect themselves.

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        oldie August 29, 2013, 3:13 pm

        There is no inheritance or family money here. The LW and her husband are buying the house from his parents with the LW/husband’s joint money. This seems an attempt to turn community property into the husband’s/MIL’s sole property. That’s why LW needs to see a lawyer, pronto.

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        Bunnycsp September 3, 2013, 4:49 pm

        There is definitely family money here. Maybe not epic money, but definitely money. How many retired people can live without the value of a primary residence? They were able to pay off a home and then put a down payment for a second home. And even if they are getting a certain monthly amount, it is a small fraction of the lump sum. These people have sustainable retirement without home value (maybe a large saved amount or SS + pensions). Either way, there is absolutely family money here.

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        MMcG September 3, 2013, 4:53 pm

        bunny… let it go. her inlaws are terrible and her husband is worse – letting her pay for half of everything when she doesn’t have her name on anything, and was told that it couldn’t be considered hers. FFS it’s not ok!

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        Bunnycsp September 3, 2013, 5:34 pm

        See, I totally disagree! And two intelligent people can disagree. If it was me, what I would stay in the house and let that happen. In the meantime, I would go on legal zoom and make sure that all documents were in order incase of death and get a life insurance policy that protected me incase of his death. After that, I would make sure that my retirement accounts were being funded to the same amount as was being paid that year on the principal of the house. So if they get 10K in principal, make sure those are in my Roth, 401k, 403B, whatever. Leave to Caesar what is Caesar’s and stay in the relationship with the man I love and the father of my child. If they stay together, then they both feel stable and have joint finances in their name.

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      MMcG August 29, 2013, 4:03 pm

      I guess I see this differently… and not just in the family vs family setting.

      Either give people a gift or don’t. Once you’ve given a gift then you have no business dictating what happens to it.

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  • avatar

    Grilledcheesecalliope August 29, 2013, 1:02 pm

    I don’t understand people who let their parents control their lives into adulthood. My bf does this but I have made it clear that his mother is not allowed to control me or question my decisions and that I won’t be accepting anything that comes with strings.

    You need to set boundaries right now, and research your state laws about marital property. Usually your husband should deal with his family but if he can’t you will have to, and if he doesn’t like it, make sure your next husband has appropriate boundaries.

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      MissyC August 29, 2013, 1:21 pm

      To some extent I feel like part of the issue is the standing up for yourself part (not your issue, the LW’s issue I mean!).

      In your case, you made it clear that your bf’s parents are not allowed to treat you that way. In the LW’s case, it seems like either she didn’t speak up about it not being acceptable, or didn’t really reinforce that this isn’t acceptable behavior.

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    oldie August 29, 2013, 1:02 pm

    LW needs to see a lawyer. It seems MIL had a lawyer to safeguard her and her son’s interests and you were just left floating to your own devices. You need to fix this and to know what your rights are. You also need to insist that your husband not allow his mother to control your family. As I read this, MIL sounds like an immigrant living by old-country rules. Is that the case?

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom August 29, 2013, 1:15 pm

    Sell the house. Really, sell it. Then purchase a house together that the two of you choose together and own together and all the rooms belong to the two of you and if you so choose, your MIL can spend a night in the guest room, not her own room, a guest room in your house. You should never have agreed to the deal in the first place when you heard the terms. You knew better but went ahead anyway. So now you need to try to do the right thing and fix the situation. You are responsible for putting yourself into this situation so let it be a learning experience that sometimes you have to stand up for yourself and make sure things are done right and not just hope that they work out.

    Tell your husband that the future of your marriage depends on him standing up to his mom and him putting your marriage first. Tell him you need for the two of you to sell the house and purchase a different house that has never belonged to his parents and that it must belong to both of you and that his mother will not maintain her own room in your home. If you need help I think a marriage counselor would be able to help in this situation. If you don’t have kids, please don’t have any until this situation is settled. His mom has basically stated that she doesn’t believe your marriage will last and so she is protecting his assets when the divorce occurs by not having your name on the title of the home. She is assuming and betting and lining everything up so that the two of you end up divorced. You don’t need that in the middle of your marriage.

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      Lucy August 29, 2013, 2:37 pm

      Yes. This x1000. Sell the house and get this woman out of the middle of your marriage. Otherwise it will only get worse.

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  • mylaray

    mylaray August 29, 2013, 1:45 pm

    If you sell the house (which I think is the best option at this point), I’m sure that would piss off your MIL more. She’s not going away, and both you and your husband need to learn to stand up for yourselves. And you have to make sure that your husband is on your side. But really, I don’t see things going well and it seems damned if you do, damned if you don’t. I would strongly reconsider if you want to stay married, if it bugs you this much, because his family is not going away and unless you and your husband both step up big time, it’s only going to eat at you more. And I also think therapy would be a good place to start with learning how to have a backbone and say no more.

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  • kare

    kare August 29, 2013, 2:53 pm

    So I hate to be this person….

    But this definitely happened on everybody loves Raymond. The parents move to a retirement community and sell the older brother and his new bride the house for the price they originally paid (so super cheap). Then the parents get kicked out of the retirement community and move back in to their old home. So be prepared to possibly acquire roommates in the future.

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    Sara August 29, 2013, 3:28 pm

    I am more concerned over the *having* to save a room for them when they come visit. That’s the crossed boundary that bugs me the most. A lot of great points have been made so far over the financial benefits to the LW and her husband, the timing of the transaction, and the need and maybe right of the MIL to protect her asset. Let’s ignore that for a second, and consider this transaction in the light of a renter and a landlord, where the renter just happens to be renting to own. Does a landlord have the right to insist that a room be saved for them? Does a regular bank have the right to insist on the same when they have a mortgagee? I think not.

    I think the LW should redo the room as her office but provide an uncomfortable pull-out sofa or futon. Just a little passive-aggression to go with the lacks of backbone in that house.

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  • Lindsay

    Lindsay August 29, 2013, 7:13 pm

    So, you predicted this would happen and then agreed to buy the house anyway. I think you need to figure out what went wrong within your decision making process. Do you have trouble communicating with your husband? Do you have trouble standing up for yourself to him? Does he have trouble standing up to his parents? Do you have trouble listening to your instincts?

    I also don’t really see the problem in what the MIL said about them being protected and you being protected. Was your point that you think she meant your husband singular? Because “you” often can be plural, especially when spoken by people who don’t say phrases like “y’all” or “you guys.”

    Anyway, I don’t think that quietly seething over someone for doing things that you don’t tell them bothers you is right. If you haven’t attempted to fix things with them, then I think it’s kind of silly to sit and stew and hate them over it.

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    • Lindsay

      Lindsay August 29, 2013, 7:15 pm

      And the thing about them having a room, did you not plan to have a guest room? I feel like for people who own actual houses, that’s not that unusual or inconvenient.

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        BreezyAM August 31, 2013, 3:28 pm

        Being TOLD to sure the hell is.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay August 31, 2013, 4:40 pm

        Yeah, it’s annoying, but if you’re told to do something you’re already planning to do, it wouldn’t be my biggest issue with this situation.

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    bananaramaphone August 31, 2013, 3:58 pm

    LW/Skiier18, thank you for writing in with that additional information. Yes, given that you paid market value and are paying interest (at a rate that is standard for my part of the country anyway) this is certainly no gift. I am not sure why Bunny and others are projecting their experiences with their generous in-laws onto your letter. Seeing that this is not at all the case for you makes this situation even more baffling. I am not at all sure why your husband would go for this when it was not a better deal for you than traditional financing. You are paying for half so your MIL’s attitude is bizarre and inappropriate. You need a serious talk with your husband. I’m sorry to say this but he needs to decide what is more important: your sanity or satisfying the caprices of his mother.

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      BreezyAM September 2, 2013, 11:35 pm

      I don’t get the “gift” talk either. Just wow. They’re paying market value with interest for a house that MIL has legally engineered to be her and her son’s property rather than LWs, AND MIL has the nerve to dictate the decor and demand a room for herself? What the actual fuck? Is this the guy who toasted to the SECOND most important woman in his life? Seriously, da hell?

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      Bunnycsp September 3, 2013, 4:55 pm

      I said it up top but since I was called out here, I will respond here as well. She is only paying interest for 10 years. So it still saves them a tremendous amount of money based on home value. The mother in law is hedging her bet on the length of this relationship but assuming this marriage goes the distance, they stand to save a ton of interest over the long term.

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        MMcG September 3, 2013, 5:25 pm

        Are the MIL? Because you are defending this situation like your life depended on it… or you have a personal stake.

        No one is criticizing your choices, but your situation is very VERY different. If you’re not the MIL 😉

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    Bunnycsp September 3, 2013, 5:42 pm

    No, I believe that when it comes to money, you need to not be emotional. Everyone on here is telling her that this isn’t right, and I am saying that she better take a measured approach. Go over the finances, find a way to protect herself, and don’t alienate the family of her husband. Look, there is ALOT we don’t know about these people’s finances. There are a lot of reasons why refinancing or selling the house could have catastrophic impacts on her finances and her marriage. What if they don’t have the credit to refinance or don’t have enough down. Is it really worth refinancing at a higher interest rate on principal? What if the best interest rate she can get is 6-10% on a 30 year fixed versus paying 4% for 10 years. She could literally make a decision that could cost her 200K depending on the size of the mortgage. Seriously, those kinds of things make me physically ill. There are other financial options that could make sense here. She is working and qualifies for all sorts of retirement benefits. Heck if she gets a roth, she can take the principal out without any penalty in an emergency. There are so many options here that don’t require her to alienate her inlaws, shake up her marriage, and set them back financially.

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      lets_be_honest September 3, 2013, 6:15 pm

      First, could be a 15 year mtg. Second, no matter what, she’s paying a mortgage on a house that isn’t hers! So she’s basically renting at an exhorbitant amount for nothing. You said go on legal zoom and make sure all docs are in place if husband dies. It’s very likely their biggest asset is the house. So what are you recommending? That she’s named on a possibly non existent 401k? Would you pay off someone else’s mortgage and consider that a good deal? Seriously?

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        Bunnycsp September 4, 2013, 6:33 am

        If they did an interest only loan. And they are paying 4% interest after two years they would only have 5k in principal on this house(assuming 250k mortgage). If she spent 30 bucks a month on life insurance she could have 250k-500k in insurance. If she made sure that she put more than 5k a year in a 401k then added 1% a year she would do better on the 401k then the home. If she refinances the home, then she would need to front a year of property taxes and pay at least 5k in closing costs. That is even if they can refinance because there is so little principal in the house. now the best interest rate you can get is 4.75% which over 30 years will cost them at least 50k. That money could go toward her daughter’s college. This house is still a deal. Honestly, I wouldn’t go to a lawyer, I would go to a financial planner. There is a way to not cut off your nose to spite your face.

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        lets_be_honest September 4, 2013, 9:05 am

        Sure, she can put her own money into other things, if she can afford to after paying half a mortgage on a house that is not her’s. Maybe the house is a small deal for the husband (IF its a 30 yr mtg) but if he dies or if they divorce, the deal the husband got helps her nothing. If he never changes the deed, it doesn’t help her. She is STILL paying a mortgage on a house that is not her’s. There is no way that is a deal for her. She’s essentially renting a room from her husband and in-laws. A room she is not even allowed to decorate on her own. At least most landlords allow that.

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    Skiier18 September 9, 2013, 2:14 pm

    Thank you all so much for your input. I guess I am just struggling with the fact that she had such disrgard for me and my place as the mother of her sons child, and the fact that we had a wedding planned. And above all of that, she tried to continue to act like the owner and have control over things with the house. She also made comments that the onyl reaosn why she sold the house to us was so they would have a place to stay when they come home to visit- becaue her and her daughter don’t have a relationship so she can’t stay with them (now I can see why) I am unsure of what I will do at this point, I have a lot of thinkign to do- I would rather they don’t stay with us at all and get a hotel. I actually brought it up to my husband that I would rather they stay in a hotel while they are here because they are so disrespectful to me (dont remove their shoes at the door even tho they are aware I have a no shoe policy, make messes, don’t offer to cook dinner while we are work, and stays in her room reading 90% of her visit) but he wont ask them to get a hotel. i Just can’t wint!

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