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Living with my BIL is creating tension, anger and anxiety
My husband and I recently eloped, and a few weeks before the elopement he said that his brother from overseas was wanting to live in Melbourne, and that he said we would let him live with us. I was so shocked and against the idea from the beginning, but my now husband comes from a traditional family helps family upbringing and he didn't really allow me room to discuss fully, and before we knew it, his brother was living with us. Fast forward to 2 months later and my brother in law, 19, now is living in our spare room. He is respectful, quiet and a little bit reclusive and awkward. He has applied for jobs online but other then that he spends 24/7 in his room, sleeps in until 3pm, wakes up and plays video games, assumes when i cook its for him and doesn't leave the house unless its with me or my husband. As context, I am a product of my environment, and my house is my sacred place. Before BIL moved in, my husband and I were happy with little arguments and my anxiety, stress and overall mental well being was the best it had been in a while. Now that my brother in law lives with us, everything has came crashing down hard. I'm irritated, anxious and my husband and I argue about him living here every single day. I've asked my husband on numerous occasions to give him a set date to move out, to give him house rules to follow - simple ones such as cook your own food, contribute to house work, don't spend all day in you room etc His brother has issues of his own, but this was another reason I was against him moving here, as we work full time, and we don't have the capacity to nurture and school him through adolescence. My husband comes from a history of mental health issues too, and I know that this is something I see in his brother everyday, but it's rarely discussed. I'm at my wits end. Every day I'm irritated - irritated at my husband for allowing this and irritated at the situation. I'm scared that if this is not resolved, I will want to end my short lived marriage and I'm even MORE scared that even after this event in our lives is gone, I will still be angry that my husband allowed this to go on, knowing very well how I felt and how it was affecting me, his brother and our relationship. If he only thought about the consequences this could have all been avoided and I feel a better outcome for everyone. His brother can't find a job, so he is looking to move home, but again there is no set dates or hard lines here. Suggestions welcome.
I do agree with you that living with relatives in particular young adults is not going to work.
Your husband has basically just gone ahead and not fully consulted you, that clearly means he doesn’t treat you as an equal partner.
Unfortunately it comes down to “choose, it’s your brother or me” scenario. This is if your husband doesn’t ask his brother when is he moving out.
I don’t see resolution and I don’t see consideration on behalf of your husband
You don’t have a brother in law problem, you have a husband problem. To suddenly announce that his brother will be living with you two weeks before the wedding is unacceptable.
Couples in healthy marriages discuss these issues before decisions are made. Yes I know there are always going to be compromises and you have to be prepared to give and take but this is a step too far. I’m afraid that the omens aren’t good Shannelle, especially coming so early in your marriage.
I agree with white knight, you need to calmly tell your husband that for you the situation is intolerable. A solution must be found and the brother must be gently assisted to find alternative accommodation or return home.
I am afraid this will put a stain on your marriage but it is necessary if you are going to build a life partnership. Your husband needs to clearly understand your boundaries.
Your husband's behaviour definitely sounds disappointing. I believe it's irresponsible for someone to suddenly throw us in the deep end without any support. Do you believe it would have made a difference if your husband had said 'My brother is going through an incredibly tough time and is looking for the best people to support him. If we take him in for 2 months, this is the step by step plan when it comes to raising him so that we can proudly send him on his way as a new person...'? Would it have made a difference, knowing there was and end date and a stack of support and guidance for you in between? Your husband could have sold this idea to you instead of dictating 'Deal with it!' I believe he's given you much of the responsibility when it comes to managing. He really needs to step up.
Sounds like your husband is not entirely raising his brother to the challenges he may be best facing. I suggest you get your husband to first look at a date as a guideline for your BIL leaving. Second, there should be a plan for some skill development taking place in this environment. Your BIL should learn some cooking skills, for his own sake and yours (to give you a break occasionally). It would be good for his self-esteem. If jobs need doing, this could be a form of him paying his way while he's with you. The list of possibilities goes on.
Is it possible your BIL stays in his room because he doesn't want to feel like too much of an inconvenience? He wants to stay out of the way. If you challenged him, in a positive way, to do more around the house would he be happy to serve?
It's tough when you're living with an 'It'll be right!' partner. When he says to you 'It'll be right!' and he says to his brother 'It'll be right!' but has no plan for making it right, it might be up to you and your BIL to sit down without your husband and come up with a plan for making things right. Is it possible to develop a good friendship with your BIL, beyond the resentment? Is it possible he ends up being a friend who, through his own mental challenges, relates to you and ends up helping you? I know, this is pretty outside the square but, still, is it possible? Or maybe he needs a good listener, in you, regarding his challenges when no one else has ever truly listened to him before.
I know all this may be difficult to consider but in truth nothing is going to change unless changes are made. It's a tough reality to face and a deeply frustrating one, without a doubt.
Thank you everyone for your suggestions and especially therisings comments.
My husband and I went away for the weekend and fought it out for quite a while. He has never been great at admitting he is wrong or openly discussing his feelings, but we argued/healthy argued for hours. He has told me that he actually has spoken to his brother, and because of covid, and the notion hes brother will probably not find work anytime soon, that he will move back to NZ middle of April. He agreed to keep him held accountable and make him be more productive. My husbands main issue is that he thinks I'm too controlling in this scenario, and that I can't tell his brotherinlaw to do his washing when it's on the laundry table or to keep the spare room tidy. I completely disagree here and I just want him to man up and become a father figure to his brother, other then a mate.
Glad you got somewhere with your partner. It's a start.
The 'controlling' aspect led me to smile a bit because I can relate. With control defined as 'effective management', sounds as though you like to effectively manage. Good on you. Personally, I like to raise myself and others this way, within reason of course. Compromise/negotiation is a biggy, for sure. I have a bit of a rep (as mum and wife) in my household for shooting out directives. I call it my commander role. It's part of a triad that also includes my roles as nurturer and free spirited fun loving child. Some of those directives are definitely going to be a challenge to rise to but I always ensure they are definitely achievable. No point setting anyone up for unnecessary sufferance or sense of failure.
The father figure call is a good one, especially if your BIL needs this sort of figure. It's a combo of mate and tough love which requires...you guessed it...effective management 🙂
Sounds like the weekend away was somewhat managed effectively, with some positive results. Good on you!