Hello everyone, this is my first post here. I'm looking for some sort of way to vent my thoughts. I'm hoping for some suggestions as well. Maybe someone has experienced the same situation. This is going to be a longer post so bear with me...here it goes...
My husband and I have been married for a year now. For 2 years of our relationship, we lived in his family home in the basement. The family consisted of his mother (who is divorced) and a younger sister. We luckily had the entire basement to ourselves so we definitely had privacy. Now I don't know if it is because I was brought up differently and maybe this has to do with culture as well but I definitely wanted to save for our own house alone. My husband is Indian and the only son/oldest child. He has one younger sister, 27 years old.
After about 8 months of living in the family home I began bringing up my desire to move out into our own house. Before living with his family I didn't really know what the family dynamic was like, but after about 8 months it was clear that his mother made all of the decisions. If she wanted to buy something for the house, they would buy it. This started to get to me. Let me explain why.
My husband owns his own business. He began this business with the help of his mother. He was young, 23 years old, so she helped him sort out a loan (in his name), a building to rent, equipment etc. She quit her job as a office receptionist and assistant to start this business with him as office reception/helped him maintain his office (really it was the same job as before but just working for her son instead).
At the beginning of our relationship his mom took money out of the business account to pay mortgage and expenses as needed to support their family household. His mother was in complete control of the finances for the business. When I came along, my husband and I would talk a lot about finances and saving for a down payment of your own. Instead of taking money from the business as needed, he began to pay his mother and himself a salary every month and out of his salary he would pay her mortgage payment. Therefore he took over the finances for the business.
Things started to change at work, his mom began to come part time to work and soon not at all. She hired an office receptionist and is currently on a month vacation abroad. She is taking time to "find herself". She is desperately trying to find herself a husband. Currently my husband pays her a salary whether she comes into work or doesn't. He believes because she helped him in the beginning he owes it to her to take care of her financially. So ultimately this is my issue: he supports her whether she works or not financially and he doesn't ever refuse her money if she wants or needs it for something. There is a whole other post coming for how emotionally dependent she is on her son. Do all mother in laws demand this much emotional and financial support?
We decided together to purchase a house in a new development and our house is currently being built. My husband will occasionally bring up the fact that if it was up to him he would still be living with his mother. But I know he is just as excited as me for this new house. I don't believe he really feels that way, but he definitely feels bad that his mother now lives alone. He wants her to find happiness of course.
We both hold separate bank accounts, but after getting married we changed them into 2 joint accounts. My husband wanted our money to be put into one joint bank account but I couldn't bring myself to do it. I still feel like my husband is tied financially to his mother. If she needs money, he will give her what she needs. This always comes out of his business account , so it doesn't affect our personal joint accounts but I have a hard time trusting that it never will because he always tells me if she needs the money he will give.
Obviously this causes tension in our marriage because he feels that I don't trust him.I guess he is right in that aspect. But I am very focused on saving for our future and not his mothers. She is very bad with money and I don't want that ever to put a strain on us. We are hoping to start our own family this year.
Please please comment!
Thanks for reading.
This is a tough spot to be in. I assume you are caucasian while your husband is Indian. Indian culture is very different from Western culture, I know this as I am also married to an Asian. The parents often commingle their finances with their children, particularly eldest sons and it is expected that the eldest son takes care of them. I had similar problems for the first 10 years of marriage, where properties were jointly bought under my H and her (MIL) name, not mine, although it was supposed to be ours. I eventually got that changed, but it took time.
I complained but was dismissed. Only after we moved away did that dependency all change. Your H sounds like a mama's boy, they usually are and the ties to the mother are usually very strong. You have to explain your culture and that now you are married you also have certain boundaries and expectations.
I assume you do not have children yet. It is likely your MIL will interfere in their upbringing too. Moving to your own home will solve many of these issues but you sound as if you do not want to pay her salary. If she has no other means of financial support, you may have no choice in the matter, his family do not follow western values and you have to be cognizant of this. My H's parents still get substantially financial support here and there and I have learned to live with it as long as it does not affect my own children or myself. You may have to do the same and learn to pick and choose the battles you take on.
You have to move out, staying with the family will only make matters worse. When will your house be ready? I refused to live with the family and only did so for around 6 months when waiting on new house. That was tough. Explain to your H your need for independence and the setting up of your own family unit.