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Recent Letter to the ElderWisdomCircle™

FAMILY: He Wants His Mother to Move In
Letter #: 403117
Category: Family

Original Letter

My boyfriend asked me how do I feel about his mother moving in but I don't know how to say it

Elder Response

Say it nicely; Say it so he knows how you feel. I speak as a woman who has had my mother-in-law move in with me twice... once right after she was widowed... for a year... and once again when she was getting too old to live alone... for a year. Each time was really difficult for me. 

Your boyfriend is imagining the best of both worlds! Both of the women he loves under the same roof! He loves you both and thinks you'll love one another. He'll be pampered and stroked! He can't imagine that all three of you living together would be a problem. (He's WRONG!)

It is probably a problem. Everyone has their own way of doing things. It's hard to live with someone who already has a way of doing things and doesn't want to change. My mother-in-law was used to a lifestyle where certain things were done each day of the week, I wasn't quite as structured. We drove one another crazy. She wanted me to wash her sheets every Monday. I didn't. She wanted to eat all sorts of pasta dishes, I didn't. 

She'd complain to her son/my husband when I wasn't around. I'd complain to my husband/her son when she wasn't around. My poor husband heard complaints from both the loves of his life... and didn't know what to do. Stressful for him. This sort of thing might happen to your boyfriend.

Another part of the problem, is no private time. When his mother is there the two of you will have trouble talking about issues. Solving issues will become difficult. She may put in her 2 cents worth or she may take a side, more often his side, making solving issues unfair. 

Another part of the problem is no space to invite friends. Your mother can't easily invite her friends over because you two will be there. She can't talk frankly about things without the two of you overhearing and, maybe, butting in. You two can't easily invite over your friends because his mother will be there. You two can't talk frankly about things without her overhearing and, maybe, butting in to give her opinion. 

My mother-in-law would get upset if we would go out to eat without taking her. She even got upset when we would go out to eat with our friends who she knew without taking her along. Problematic. No time to ourselves. We had a long standing tradition of eating Thanksgiving dinner with friends... my mother-in-law wanted to come. So awkward! Afterwards she was critical and said they made too much food and cooked it incorrectly. More awkwardness! 

Lastly, Meeleh, once she moves in, you two may find it nearly impossible to get her out again. I don't know the reason your boyfriend wants his mother to move in, but, realize once there she may not move out. If it's financial, there may be a better way to manage money. If it's because of her old age, I'd address the fact that the elderly do better if they stay as independent as possible. You two need to discuss this at length... and you must express your opinions. IF, perchance, she is newly widowed or divorced and has no where to be. encourage your boyfriend/her son to place a time limit on the stay. 

I hope I've armed you with both the will to address his mother moving in and some good arguments against doing this. Write anytime! 

Best Regards,



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