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bullying parents
January 20, 2003
3:03 pm
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Anonymous
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My partner's parents are making our lives a misery. His father stopped working 20 years ago. When the money ran out to pay the mortgage, he and his wife persuaded my (now) partner, his son, to pay it for them. My partner was then 23 years old, and could not really afford this, but sold his car and lived in a small rented flat himself to be able to afford their house, which is a large luxury 4 bedroom one. He was basically emotionally blackmailed into it by his mother, who is a snob. However, the situation now is that we cannot afford to buy a place of our own, and we have also both recently been made redundant. Before that we would have tried to scrape a deposit and mortgage together. My partner's parents are completely ungrateful about what he does for them, his mother has told me it is 'a drop in the ocean' for him. It is not - every penny of his assets are tied up in that house. He is now 36 and I am 40, and we want to get married and have a family and buy a house of our own. However, his parents will not maintain the house, even with money he has given them, and his mother will not speak to either of us except to scream abuse and accuse me of manipulation her son. I don't know what to do - this situation is ruining our relationship both practically and mentally.

January 20, 2003
3:08 pm
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January 20, 2003
4:22 pm
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You are British! Hello from Texas! (What county are you in?)

Let me see if I understand you correctly. Your partner is paying all/most of his income to his parent's 4 bedroom home. Your partner's parents expect him to continue paying a mortgage that he agreed to start paying about 20 years ago...and today, the situation is changed because you are both laid off and unemployed from your jobs and cannot even get a place for yourselves let alone handle the mortgage that he agreed to keep paying 20 years ago. Is this correct?

I lived in England (Bucks) about 20 years ago, myself...just want to make sure that I understand your terms correctly.

Whew! What does your partner have to say about this? Is his name on the mortgage? Is he legally bound to this arrangement or is it all on a verbal agreement? Is he doing this voluntarily? How does he feel about it? Is he willing to give you up to continue this arrangement?

It looks like he may have a decision to make. You may have to make one, too, if he is passive and he doesn't do anything about this....

January 20, 2003
4:34 pm
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God, your husband needs to put YOU first or move on. It sounds horrible but he is still acting as a child although he has proven to be a man and responsible. Its contradictory, but he is allowing his mother to manipulate him at the expense of his own happiness and future.

Love him by telling him he needs to see the seriousness of what he is doing to you, to himself and to your futures.

He has to set boundaries and make his parents stand on their own two feet.

IT sounds absolutley horrible for you. I really hope this works out for you.

January 20, 2003
7:57 pm
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Urghhh! I feel for you! My boyfriend was in a similar (though not quite as drastic) situation to your partner. In my boyfriend's case, his father became severely depressed (probably understandably) after losing his house, business and wife (divorce) and decided at the age of about 45 that since his business was bankrupt and no other work was 'worthy' of him that he would cease working altogether and spend his days migrating between his bed or lounging in front of the TV in his dressing gown. He also decided that since he'd been a 'good father' by sending his sons to a 'good' school that they 'owed' him and should therefore be responsible for his expenses. My BF's older brother doesn't have a reliable income, whereas my BF does, so in actual fact responsibility for his father fell on my BF. For over a year my BF paid the rent, gas, electricity, water, paid the phone bill (which was around $500 a month as his Dad made 5 hourly interstate phone calls each week), bought his dad food, paid for his Dad's medical bills, bought his dad a car etc etc. My BF was 23/24. Additionally, his father basically coerced my BF into guaranteeing a $15,000 loan by threatening to commit suicide (a very real possibility given his depressive state) if my BF did not sign the form. At this stage I'd been dating my BF for 2 months and whilst I suggested that it wasn't a very good idea given that it was a lot of money, he'd already 'repayed' his father back for his fatherly 'duties' and that since this was his father's wish, his father should be responsible for it, I didn't have much say and my BF (obviously not wanting his father to kill himself) signed the form. At the time my BF wanted to do something that would make his dad 'happy' and also didn't think it would be a 'big deal' since he had 'lots' of money in the bank. He did, but that was before he decided to buy a new car (since his old one blew up) and decided to move out of home because his dad was sucking all of his funds (and insultingly enough was, at the same time as my BF was paying his living expense, blowing money drinking and gambling), which meant he had to buy new furniture (and his family gave him NO help at all) etc etc. At this stage there is no hope of saving up for a house as we are still have a few thousand dollars credit card debt...not to mention that for the next 1 1/2 years we also have his Dad's $15,000 debt hanging over our heads (fingers crossed). His father doesn't care. His father has absolutely no comprehension of what my BF (and since we live together and plan to get married soon) and by extension me have had to sacrifice so he can fulfill his little dream. When my BF once mentioned that he had some debt (with all our new expenses) he remarked that he was 'surprised, since my BF didn't have to look after him anymore'. To make matters worse, there is no written contract to the effect that his father will pay him back should the money need to be payed. Instead, his father has verbally assured him that he will 'cash in his superannuation money to pay him back' - the same money that he is now spending on new household items in an attempt to impress his new wife. I have begged my BF to get a legal document drawn up to protect his (our) finances, but he has refused as he doesn't want to 'upset' his dad.

hds, it is all MANIPULATION! It should not be the responsibility of the children to be financially bailing out their parents, at least not to the extent your partner and my BF have been. I understand the need for children to 'do their best' for their parent and to 'help out whenever they can', but that needs to be realistic! Your partner's parents are being SELFISH! Your partner needs to look out for HIMSELF (and you), not his parents. His parents need to be responsible for themselves. At what point does it stop? When is enough enough? There needs to be some point where your partner is 'free' to go off and live his life and your partner's parents are 'supposed' to be happy that he is doing that. They are 'supposed' to want the best for their child, not to drag him down further. Your partner has been supporting them for 16 years, if they want to maintain that kind of life style, then they need to be doing it for themselves. If they are unable to afford the lifestyle they lead, then it really should be a case of 'bad luck, you need to modify your lifestyle to what you can afford'. It's all about setting boundaries. For my BF it was about him moving out, removing him of the responsibility to pay all the household bills. And as I predicted, it was the best thing that could have happened to his dad. His dad suddenly realised that if he wanted electricity and a phone, HE needed to get off his a** and do some work, to earn the money to pay the bills. As far as I am aware, my BF has not supported him (other than this bloody contract) since and his Dad has been a lot happier for it. You need to sit down with your partner and work out what he wants (does he want to buy a house with you?), work out what his legal responsibilities are (is he obligated to continue paying for the house?), work out what he is going to do about his parents (move them to another, smaller house, have them pay rent, kick them out if it the house is in his name etc) and work out how to set boundaries with his parents.

Good luck.

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