Legal & Controversies

I Refused to Be My MIL’s Caregiver and My Husband is Furious

Seeing your parents grow old and unable to care for themselves is a natural part of life. The roles reverse, and the care they once provided you becomes your responsibility now. However, when this duty falls to a spouse instead of their children, it can create additional challenges.

This woman shared her story on Reddit and asked for help.

“My husband of 16 years asked me if I would be willing to care for his mother, and I told him no. My husband asked why not and I told him the truth. We never got along, she has always been passive-aggressive towards me. I have been told that it is a thing many mothers do when no one is good enough for their child. We are civil towards one another that is the best we can do.

My husband even dared to bring up the fact that he supported me when I took care of my dad who had cancer. I told him the situation was different because he offered I did not ask, I also had other family members that were helping. He is an only child and has no one else so everything will mostly fall on my shoulders since he does work long hours we are talking sometimes 12 to 18-hour days. Last week alone he worked 84 hours.”

“I told him I understood it may seem unfair but the situations are different, I had support on my head when it came to caring for my dad. I will have nearly zero support. Yes, he has offered to pay extra support but that will just eat into our budget. We are currently trying to save for a house, and I am currently not working as I am in school trying to finish up my degree. Took time off from teaching to care for my dad, and after he passed I did not want to go back to teaching. So ATM I am in my third year of my engineering degree. I do not wish to put that on hold either taking care of his mother.

After I explained all of this my husband just left and has not returned any of my phone calls. I spoke with my mom, but she was not far from helpful. She found it silly that I even went to school in the first place. Got me thinking am I wrong for not wanting to put my own goals and life on hold again for a sick parent?”

Here is what people had to say about this situation:

  • “You are the caregiver in both scenarios. That is a heavy responsibility with lots of physical and emotional stress in the best of situations. Dad’s relationship was most likely a hell of a lot nicer than the passive-aggressive hate from MIL. Suggest to the husband that you can finish your degree and get a better-paying job that can ease burdens, time, and money so the husband can be a caregiver to his mom. He can cook, clean, change bedsheets, chauffeur, etc. Something makes me think he won’t be down with that.” UnlikelyPen932 / Reddit
  • “You should not have to care for his mother but you should also not stop him paying for care for his mother. You quit your job to take care of your father — that financially penalized your family (husband and you). He should have the same flexibility.” hello_reddit1234 / Reddit
  • “No one should be forced to be a caregiver. Your husband could cut back on his work and take care of himself or organize something else for her care. You shouldn’t have to put your studies and life on hold. They should have had a plan for this in place a long time ago. Also, he helped out with your dad, he was not the principal caregiver. I’m sure that you would help out with his mom too, but you’re refusing to be the principal caregiver.” Recent_Body_5784 / Reddit
  • “I will say, if my husband supported me while I supported my dad, supported me while I went through a second degree because I didn’t like the first, and worked 80+ hours a week, I’d do whatever I could to support him. Whatever that looks like, whether it’s making him lunch, taking care of the things at home, or taking care of his elderly mom who has no one else. I’ve personally accepted that my mother-in-law will be in my care one day. It’s what we do for family. But I can understand your desire to do things for yourself, and not get lost in being a caretaker. It’s hard work and truly a labor of love. You quit your job to care for your father. You shouldn’t be so unsupportive of him wanting to financially care for his mom. If you don’t want to do it, fine, but don’t stop him from paying for proper care for her.” kben925 / Reddit
  • “I think OP is wrong. I wouldn’t care for his mother, but I would offer to go back to work and pause my studies if needed so he could care for her. OP offered nothing at all. That isn’t for better or worse.” delirium_red / Reddit
  • “100% also I think it’s crazy she went back to school full time even without all this. If her husband has to work 80 hours they can’t afford her not having an income. She could have gone back part-time and still worked.” Scion41790 / Reddit
  • “You can say no to you not doing it but not to him not using his money to pay for her care. If he’s working 84 hours a week, he absolutely earned the right to use that money to support his sick mother.” Asailors_Thoughts20 / Reddit
  • “So you won’t care for his mom, and you are saying that the money he does use for the care of his mom will eat at your budget. Why not just throw her on the street? You are wrong. Also, do you have kids, I hope once you’re old they take care of you, that’s what family does. That’s the cycle of life, care for each other.” Loud_Indication8826 / Reddit

A daughter-in-law, happily married, finds her relationship strained by her mother-in-law’s possessive behavior. She shared her story online, detailing the family tensions and seeking advice from others who have faced similar situations, capturing the drama that could be a plot for a novel or movie. Read more here.

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