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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep. 24, 2009

    Default Trapped between Spouse and Inlaws

    I have a situation with my spouse and inlaws. My spouse was/is not the most financially responsible person. Spouse parents keep coming to me with "items" such as we need to buy a house or the horse cost how much. I am trapped in the middle with just saying a simple "we can not afford a house". Don't ask what I want to say about the horse as I am financially responsible and had horse before. However each time we are all together it comes back up.

    I have asked that spouse own the fact that spouse was financially irresponsible, as in a simple, "mom, dad I was financially irresponsible before we got married and have not really helped that situation by dropping my mess on my spouse and not doing as asked to help address that situation. Please give this a rest it is causing my spouse a lot of stress and anxiety." But spouse refuses to. Says that "I don't want them knowing". I get that spouse is embarrassed by it as EVERYONE in family is MEGA MEGA successful and loaded. We are doing better than ok now but we are working class normal folks. I am not ready to do a large purchase with spouse as all the above has hurt our relationship, caused me a great deal of stress and anxiety. I don't 100% trust spouse to make good financial decisions or do as asked. So not ready to make any big purchase with spouse.
    I am already stressed out about the holidays and seeing spouse's parents. I am in a no win situation. I feel so trapped. I have anxiety for days before having to be with everyone. I used to like inlaws now I just dread, dread, dread being with them. I am to the point I just want to say "look I paid off enough credit card debit that was your childs to be a down payment for a house. I am exhausted, stressed and having anxiety. I am uncomfortable being in the middle of y'alls mess." However that would be throwing my spouse under the anxiety however is already going up with just thinking of the holidays.
    Any suggested tactics? By the way we are very early 30's. Both employeed, cars paid off.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug. 12, 2010
    Westford, Massachusetts


    Spouse is choosing placating parents over supporting you. And, it sounds like you've been plenty supportive of spouse...both financially and taking heat from spouse's parents. That would piss me off.

    If you want to stay with spouse until spouse decides to grow a pair of something, I'd separate your finances and let spouse's family know that that is the deal. Then spouse can explain why spouse doesn't have enough for a down payment on a house.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 4, 2000


    Say as many times as needed "thank you for your concern. We are doing fine." Keep repeating, repeating, repeating until they stop making comments. It may take a lot of repetitions but if you do not change your response and do not rise to their baiting, they will stop.

    "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
    - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2006
    Evansville, Wisconsin


    I agree that your spouse should talk to his family, but I disagree that he needs to air all his dirty laundry to them. Maybe you could compromise, and he could just give them the "Our finances are none of your business" speech?
    "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
    -Edward Hoagland

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 11, 2004


    Just keep it simple....if they ever bring it up, and say, "Talk to your kid".

    If they make more noise, repeat, "Talk to your kid" and don't explain.

    They're a coward by not telling the parents what the problem is and who caused it....I hate cowards who don't support their partner and spouse.
    "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006


    First, ((hugs)).

    I married into a similar situation. Though I've not been told "you need to buy X", the fact is that my husband's parents are not totally aware of our financial situation since he was laid off, he doesn't want them to know, and they make a lot of comments regarding how much I work vs doing all the family stuff they plan. They just don't seem to get that I'm not a lady who lunches, I've been supporting their son and grandkids for the last two years, plus paying on debts that are not my own.

    So. I haven't come up with anything good to say. I think that Star's suggestion is a good one. I will say that I have had major convos with hubby about this and his deal is that he's just absolutely mortified that his parents will think he's a loser which is SO not the case. There's a lot of mental stuff there that I will never understand because I grew up pretty poor--so being honest about not being able to afford something doesn't have shame attached to it in my world. It does in his.

    Good luck. But I hear you on the anxiety. Love my inlaws. But when they plan events for 4pm on a Thursday and I work an hour away til 6? Hearing the semi-snarky "so glad you could finally join us" comments at 7pm don't sit well. I recommend wine.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep. 5, 2007


    Your finances, and how you choose to spend your money, is none of the in-laws business and quite frankly, I think it's rude that they are poking their noses where they don't belong. I agree with the picking one answer and repeating it over and over. Whether or not you buy a house is not their concern.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 25, 2011


    I don't have any advice, but I do feel your pain. DH's sisters are all grossly successful, very well off, well educated, big deal jobs, fancy cars, nice houses, etc. DH works hard to earn an honest living and I am a teacher by trade, but my position was cut in the budget last year and I'm currently unemployed. We are okay for now, and I'm hopeful that the right job will come along. However, even when I was working, the inlaws were constantly nagging about buying a house. Any purchase we made, no matter how small, their response was "Oh, so that puts the house off a little longer..." and "It's okay, Uncle Charlie lived in an apartment his whole life and he was very happy"... I know they mean well, but it's frustrating, especially at the holidays.
    Chin up. Your financial status is no ones business but yours and your spouse. Good Luck.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2008
    Dutchess County, New York


    Have you had counseling? It sounds like there's a lot of anger and mistrust you're feeling towards your husband and counseling could help you work through that. I bet if you do that, what your in-laws say won't bother you as much.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 19, 2010


    Your I laws are way out of line! If it wasn't this subject it would be something else they would find to grate on you. Try reading
    Toxic Inlaws: loving strategies to protect your marriage. By Susan Forward. She explains why your Inlaws are out of line, why your husband is reacting the way he is... and most importantly how to stop it from putting so much pressure on your marriage.

    Dealing with your obvious anger with your husband is a completely separate issue in my opinion.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug. 2, 2004
    Whidbey Is, Wash.


    Some counseling is in order. It'll help you both separately and together, or point out if it will even work out. Just sayin'.
    COTH's official mini-donk enabler

    "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 26, 2011
    Just west of BFE


    You're not trapped. You are choosing to not out your spouse. Who should really put you before their parents. Lay down the law and mean it.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Saddle View Post
    Perhaps I need my flocking adjusted.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May. 15, 2006
    Eastern WV Panhandle


    "Our finances are none of your business."

    I would be polite the first time. Subsequent times would get ugly.

    Thankfully the "parents" in our family don't discuss finances with the adult children unless specifically asked. The most they do is email a link every few months to an article in the WSJ that they think is worth reading.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2010
    S. Calif.


    Quote Originally Posted by rustbreeches View Post
    You're not trapped. You are choosing to not out your spouse.

    Quote Originally Posted by helpmealter View Post
    I just want to say "look I paid off enough credit card debit that was your childs to be a down payment for a house.
    Sounds fine to me.

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