Is This The End?

My wife and I have been together for 15 years and married for just over 8. Shortly after we were married her father passed away and we gave up our apartment to move in and help her mother, aged 72 at the time. Her mother could not afford to keep her house our maintain it without some help. My wife's family is Italian and very old world in that regard.

So, fast forward 3 years and my sister-in-law (never married) also moves in due to financial difficulties. Her sister is basically a dead beat. She moves from job to job, unemployed for months at a time and on top of that is a degenerate gambler. Constantly broke and never has money to help out with the bills.

As time passed I found myself more and more sitting downstairs in our suite by myself as my wife would be upstairs with her mother and sister. It felt like we had no sense of a marriage anymore and no space or boundaries from her family.

Over the years my mother in law and I have had our share of conflicts. She is a very controlling person and every time an issue flares up her response to it is a "this is my house" remark. This weekend after years of holding my tongue I finally let loose. I am for sure not blameless and feel very bad about some of the things I said, but they needed to be said. I basically laid it on the line to her mother that while yes it is her house, without the money me and my wife lay out she and her other dead beat daughter would be homeless. Who did she think pays the bills and buys the food. How did she figure she was going to pay back the mortgage she took out to pay off her other daughters debts and buy her a car if she also had to actually pay for anything else?

Well, as they say, the truth hurts and hurt it did. So here we sit in what appears to be an unfixable breach. After the blow up I sat down and had a long talk with my wife. I told her I can no longer live here any more under these conditions. That things need to either drastically change our we need to move into our own place. The kicker, she tells me she can't leave her mother and sister. She knows financially they can not make it without help nor at 80 now can her mother look after the yard and house.

So now I sit at a crossroads. I love my wife dearly but her statement that if I left she would not bares me to the bone. To a point I do understand, it's her mother and I have no idea what I would do if the position were reversed. Would I let my mother lose her house and everything? But where does that leave me? Do I just accept her decision and move on?Stay and, god I feel horrible saying this, wait for her mother to die? It would be much easier if I hated her or we fought all the time, but I don't and we don't (other than about her family).
billm100 billm100
36-40, M
3 Responses May 14, 2012

hope everything works out fine my friend...take care

Well it will be a week tomorrow since I moved out. Not an easy week by any stretch, but in many ways a good one. Space has given me lots of time to think and reflect on things. I know I still love her very much, and hope we can work things out. But, I have come to the realization I need to also, well get ready to move on. While I am able to compromise on certain things, the big one, the deal breaker as it were, is I will not be moving back into that house with her Mother and Sister. That's done. <br />
We have been together for close to 15 years in total, but of those have had less than 1 year of just us together. The rest of our time together had been immersed in her family and their problems. If she can't stand to move 2 or 3 miles away and see her Family "only" a couple times a week, well that tells me where I am on her priority list. <br />
I've started looking for an apartment as no matter what the eventual outcome is, if she is with me or not, need a place to live and call home.<br />
Meeting her for dinner tomorrow night to talk and spend some time together.

I usually side with the family on these issues since I believe the needs of the many generally outweigh the needs of the few, but this situation deserves a second look. Before I answer this question I want you to know that there are always at least two sides to every story. For example, I would say that my wife went behind my back to have sexual fantasies with other men. She would say that I wasn't there for her sexual and emotional needs. We are both wrong. I work three jobs and am a fulltime graduate student to support my family. My wife doesn't work outside the home, but works extremely hard with everything she does. I admire her. I know a thing or two about feeling overworked and underappreciated.<br />
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It isn't fair that you and your wife have to support her sister and her mother. In my opinion, this is not a respect issue, but rather a priorities issue. You wife does not want to disown or even lose her family. You cannot blame her for feeling the way she does. But I also feel she is taking your love and commitment for granted. Tell her that you need a "break" from this for a while. Go on a short vacation without her. It could be to visit your family, or to the beach, or something cheap. If she misses you terribly and begs you never to go again, tell her you need change now, or your marriage won't last. If she didn't miss you at all or seemed happy that you left, that's your signal that it's time to move on.<br />
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Good luck.

Thanks for the reply. I truly do understand where she is coming from. As I said, were the positions reversed and it was my family I honestly don't know what I would do either.

I've read so many stories here about abusive spouses, spouses with substance abuse issues, cheating, sexless marriages etc etc. I think about our situation and it seems in so many ways like a ridiculous thing to end a 15 year relationship over. But, at the same time the thought of staying in the current situation is untenable as well.

I haven't told her yet, tonight should be interesting, but after talking with my folks who thankfully have a fully self contained suite in their house, I will go spend a month or so there and give us some space to try and work things out. I don't want to feel like I am rushing her into abandoning her family.

The love I have for her is worth the effort to try find a solution.

You are a good man, buddy. Take care of your family. There are only so many good men left.