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Living with In-laws.

Community Member

Hi all,

How do we all cope with living with in-laws that are different to you? I’m struggling coming to terms with this could be for the rest of my life if I choose to stay with my partner. I don’t think I can do that but don’t want to leave the person I love. I know someone like him is extremely rare to find but I’m feeling anxious, exhausted, depressed and worn down.
Often my partner sides with the in-law and gets defensive when I mention the slightest thing about what I am struggling with. I cannot see this working long term.

what do I do??

7 Replies 7

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

The warmest welcome to you DairyQueen95

What do you imagine your future looks like, together? Do you imagine your own home, perhaps renting for a while or staying with the in-laws short term as you make your way toward having that home? Do you imagine a little garden you could perhaps potter around in, adding to it whatever your heart desires? Perhaps you imagine decorating your home with a lot of little personal things that make it yours. Do you know why your partner either doesn't want to imagine or can't imagine what you can? Do you know what stops him?

You sound like a natural visionary, a great ability to have although a deeply challenging one at times. If you can easily imagine or easily see things not working, under the circumstances, it's probably because you're right. Would it be right in saying you can see a bright future where you experience challenges, growth and independence from your in-laws but your partner cannot see it as clearly as you can? Does he choose to see what's right in front of him instead; comfortably no challenge, no 'unnecessary' growth or change (in his mind) and a happy level of dependence on his parents? Would you say he has no problem with what suits him?

Stagnation or depressing sameness never suits a seer or visionary, who is always envisioning a difference, always envisioning exciting growth of some nature. You sound like the natural leader in your relationship, holding the ability to lead the both of you in an exciting direction.

I'm actually married to a guy who doesn't share the same vision I do, when it comes to the future. He's actually very comfortable in sameness. It's so easy to feel a sad disconnection through such differences. Although he cares for me very much, like you, as soon as I mention a significant challenge I'm struggling with, it's almost as though he puts his hands over his ears while saying 'La la la la la, I can't hear you'. Of course, he doesn't actually do this, it just feels like it. The challenges he needs to meet, in my opinion, for the relationship to move forward are often challenges he doesn't want to hear about because they disrupt his sense of comfort.

What you deserve is comfort, excitement and adventure. What you deserve is to have someone share your dreams, your visions. What you deserve is...to experience your own evolution. Within evolution there is love. Within personal evolution there is self love. How do you envision loving yourself more? What comes to mind? What do you see?


Hi, currently I am renting with my partner and my in-law later joined us as he had nowhere to go. It was expressed this would be short term maybe a couple of years then he would go travelling. Since then he has been diagnosed with cancer and needed surgery and now it looks like it may be longer than initially said. We are in a 3 bedroom house and my partner has kids to someone else previously so all the bedrooms are taken. I want to buy a home a 4 bedroom with enough space for my own children with my partner down the track and was hoping very soon.. or a house with an extra lounge room for the extra space so my in law and myself could have space away from eachother. That’s what I en vision and I thought my partner was on the same page. Since covid but it’s been a reality check that we may not be able to get the deposit needed to buy and will need to rent but rent out in the suburbs is so expensive for a 4 bedroom plus home.. in-law doesn’t financially contribute so this is again not an option. I’m just stuck.
I think my partner has low self confidence I have helped him a lot emotionally and financially and I don’t know if he truly believes we can achieve this either and maybe he is just saying we can. He doesn’t depend on his father at all he has lived out of home from a young age always working, but he isn’t goal driven like I am this is the first relationship he has been in that he has had any aspirations to do better or have a plan or a goal to work towards. I definitely do think he is comfortable the way things are and would be happy to live like this in a small little farm house until we decide to move..

loving myself more could include doing more things for myself and not for others, putting myself first and not questioning my actions or decisions. Other than that I am unsure I don’t know.

thanks for your reply 😊

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi there DairyQueen95 and welcome to our forum!

Does your nom de plume mean you were Miss Dairy Queen in 2095? if so CONGRATS, if not, Oops!

Your post is very descriptive and well written, making it clear how you feel. Thank you for that.

A little more info on exactly what creates the clashes would be helpful - is there a common and recurring theme, who 'starts' the argument, are the differences resolved each time or left to fester?

To me, living with the inlaws should may be regarded as a bit of a privilege. I am not sure why you are living with them (hopefully short term) but if I may say so, it is their house and their routine and so it calls for heaps of compromise on the part of you and your husband. You are guests in a way.

Something a bit similar - I was married to my first wife for 17 years and our relationship nearly didn't get off the ground. Her father was an over protective tyrant. Not interested it talking at all. We would be sitting in the lounge watching TV and hoping for a quiet few minutes later on and he would get up or come in, humming away, turn off the TV and open the drapes without a word! Wow talk about dropping a strong hint! Anyway my girlfriend, like your partner, was extremely rare so I made it my goal to gradually break his indifference down and earn his respect and courtesy. It took nearly two years and was tough going, but it worked and was very worthwhile. We are still friends long after his daughter and I divorced, and I even stay at his house with my new wife of fifteen years and have a great relationship.

I figured that he was defensive of his daughter, questioned my intentions and I was right.

So - onto your situation. What starts the arguments?

What if you were to ask to sit down with them to have a chat. Make it clear that you love their son, respect them immensely, and want to build a long term friendship with them and their son. However you are disappointed with the bickering and want to discuss how they feel, do they have any issues with you, and how you want to try a lot to have a great relationship with them. Make it clear you are also disappointed with yourself and are happy to try and change in line with getting to know them and what they want a little better.

I reckon their reaction to this meeting will be fantastic. They will respect you for the person you really are, and how you feel about them. BUT you must be careful and very calm.

Give it a try - I look forward to hearing back from you!

Regards, The Bro.

Hi DairyQueen95,

Thank you for your most honest and descriptive posts. From what you have written I gather you are a very tolerant and accepting person, extending your good willingness in order to help your partner (with his kids) and his father. I admire you and take my hat off to you for being so understanding.
You are already doing so much for your partner by helping so many people who are important to him. It would be good to know you can count on the same in return not only from him, but from his father and kids as well.
Hiw would you feel about having a chat to your partner first, trying to explain your feelings, wishes, love but also things that are not working for you? And then, possibly having a conversation also with the in-law? Just so everyone contributes in one way or the other and your living together becomes more of a collective effort rather than mainly your and and your partner’s efforts.

Let us know your thoughts and look after yourself.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear DairyQueen95~

I'm sorry things are working out this way for you. Blended partnerships are probably the hardest to cope with, and it takes both of you, that's you and your partner, to make it work.

There will inevitably be problems relating tp in-law(s) and to the children you inherited. They can under a lot of circumstances be overcome.

In addition wishing to have your own children with your partner is only natural

While I realise the size of the house and your father-in-law's conduct are hassles I believe the main problem is you do not seem to have anyone on your side.

When forming a partnership at any stage in life one has to cherish and make livfe as good as possible for the other person, which means in practical terms (with the possible exception of children) that that person has to come first.

You have to be able to rely they have your back.

You are coping with his kids and his ill father in a too small house and are simply not getting the support with makes the partnership work. You are doing all the heavy lifting and he seems content for things to be that way.

Unless you want this to continue permanently I'm afraid there have to be changes. Someone has suggested talking wiht you partner and explaining where things are gong wrong. Another has suggested family counseling (I'd suggest Relationships Australia - 1300 364 277 as a possibility) if you are going to try that

Whats left? Stay as things are or move out?

I realise all these alternatives are simplistic, perhaps there are in-between alternatives.

What do you think is the best to try?

The other question I'd like to ask you is if you have anyone else in your life to lend you tier support, a family membver or friend perhaps you can talk things over with frankly, feel cared for and maybe gain a clearer picture of how things are

I hope to hear more from you


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello DairyQueen, can we offer a warm welcome.

If I may ask a couple of questions, why has your father in law (FIL) have nowhere else to go and are you sure he has cancer, although he needs an operation, and excuse me for asking because it interests me as your partner doesn't depend on his father and has lived away from home at an early age.

You can still love someone and be on another page as they are, in other words, have different ideas to what your partner wants, however, long term it requires both of you to help each other and only wish I could see this happening, but I am unsure, as your inspirations are much higher than what your partner wants.

Please get back to us when you are available.


Hi DairyQueen95

That sounds so incredibly challenging, taking into account all the needs and challenges of so many people. You're an amazing person.

For you both to be supporting so many people financially would definitely add to the challenge. That's a massive responsibility. I'm assuming it's not possible for your in-law to financially contribute in any way, otherwise he would be.

If there was a 2 year short term kind of plan, what do you think it would look like? It may not look ideal but still be of some relief. Do you feel renting a slightly bigger place in the countryside would be possible at this point? If it is possible, this might give your partner a taste of your incredible vision when you both have the ability to buy in the future? Kind of like leading him to graduate to new stages in life, while having come to fully trust in your visions of the future. I suppose some people are more into gradual changes rather than major ones. Do you feel, at this point, your greatest need is the extra space, more than anything else?

It's definitely tough when you're care provider to so many people. Whether it's basic care or complex care, it can take its toll. Sometimes, it's like you just turn around one day and realise the only person you're not seriously caring for in a significant number of ways is yourself. It can be a little like 'How did I get here? How did I manage to put myself last and not realise what was happening along the way?' I can't help but wonder about all the ways in which your partner's raising you.

While it would easy to bring your partner down through stress and demands, it sounds like you're raising him instead, to feel supported, optimistic, goal driven. You're raising him to be a visionary, like you. I imagine you're also raising him to feel more confident in himself, to trust in himself more. Is he raising you through a sense of gratitude, for all that you're doing and currently sacrificing in order to support his family? I hope he hasn't lost sight of how truly beautiful and amazing you are 🙂