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Boundaries with MIL

Helpagirlout21's picture

Very new to this site (so happy I found it though),


My Fiancé and I starting dating over a year ago and got engaged in November. We both knew right away we were meant for each other and I got along with my future SS who is 8 right off the bat. I love that kid more than anything and I the day he told me he loved me was amazing! 

So all that being said my Fiancé about 4.5 years ago moved into his parents place to help them out financially and it was easier for him being a single dad, he has 50/50 custody and is primary guardian which is good because his BM has some issues, but we are all on good terms for my SS sake.

so with my fiancé we were planning on getting our own place last year but with COVID things got messed up and I left my job (with provided housing) to save money and work for FMIL which meant moving in with them so we could save up money to buy something. My FMIL is a very type A controlling personality and I knew this when I moved in but was going to make this work. However I started seeing how manipulative she is with her husband, my FH, his brother, my FFIL, and especially my SS, now my Fiancé has realized how bad it really is and we are trying to set boundaries that keep getting broken, my FMIL has help raise my stepson and often says that she is his "mommy" (gag), she now has my SS tattletaling in my FH and I when we take him anywhere, and tries to keep it so my SS won't come to my FH if he needs anyth And only her. As of right now our hands are tied because as long as we are under their roof they won't respect our boundaries.

one of the reasons I moved and why my FH and SS didn't move in with me was because my FMIL said the custody agreement said my FH have to live in their town, and I lived 20ish mins away. After going over the agreement I with FH we realized that it says no such thing and several things in the agreement she said where in there are not. My FH is pissed that he didn't look closer to the agreement and believed his mother. 

Good news is we have put in a few offers on places and looks like we could be out by them end of the month and BM said that we can work out a scenario for pick up drop offs once we find a place, and since one place we really want is about 15/20 mins out side of town she said that she will sign and we will get it noterized with the living Arangement and details (win!).

however my in-laws are not happy and said that my SS is going to stay with them several times, which will not happen because they literally have no legal rights to do so in the custody agreement. We know it is going to be a bit of a rough patch with my FILs but I want to have a positive relationship with them and let them be grandparents, but I am afraid that my MIL is going to go off the deep end and make it where she talks shit about me to my SS just like she does about his mom. 

I am venting have asking for advice because I literally don't know what to do, and my FH is amazing at defending me and relationship with my SS. Because since I haven't birthed children my MIL made the comment that I don't know how to be around children, never mind my years of experience as a babysitter and a live in nanny in college. If someone has book recommendations I'll take them, or even sonata to vent with me let's hear it!

lieutenant_dad's picture

Your MIL is abusive. Not toxic, abusive. She gaslights to maintain control. She tries to alienate SS from his dad. She says very hurtful things.

How do you handle abusive people? You cut them off. You keep them away. SS has ZERO business being in the care of ANYONE who bad-mouths his father. So, your FH needs to cut this all out by cutting his family off.

They will come back and say that you're abusive and the reason why they can't see their grandson anymore, but the truth is that their ABUSIVE (I'm going to keep drilling that word in their) behavior has ruined their relationships with their son, grandson, and you.

And if your FH isn't willing to cut them off, then you need to reconsider whether this relationship is worth the abuse.

caninelover's picture

Your MIL says her grandson is her son?  WTF.  That is so not right.

advice.only2's picture

How does he not know what his own CO says? Why is he relying on his mother to tell him what is in it?

tog redux's picture

Sounds like your SO is a bit of a Mama's Boy. Stop discussing it with her and move out on the appointed day. Then set very clear boundaries on her going forward. 

Rags's picture

I wrote your FDH off when I got to the part where you said FDH and FSS did not move in with you because FMIL said the CO would not allow them to move out of the town that your FILs live in.

How much of an idiot, adult failure, failed man, failed father, and failed mate does this dipshit have to be to not know what his own Custody/Visitation/Support order for his kid says and has to have his mommy tell him what is in it?

What about this abject failure of an infantile adult semi-man is so appealing that you want to marry him?

Please, tell us.

 If you do not end this travesty of a relationship now, you are going to be at this Hags beck and call for the rest of her life and neither your FDH, nor his kid will ever be normal autonomously functioning adults even once this evil Hag of an FMIL kicks the bucket.  Guess who will have to change their failed man diapers and facilitate their juvenile crap then?

Two guesses and the first one does not count.


Exjuliemccoy's picture

Both you and your bf have made a lot of mistakes, and some of them are going to continue to cause problems for years to come.

You both were wrong to move the relationship along so quickly. Your bf should be very cautious about who he allows in his son's life, and you should be very leery of dating men with kids. The general belief around this site is that you should date for apx two years before considering joining households. This gives both parties enough time to get through the "honeymoon period" of best behavior, really get to know the other person, vet the overall dynamic thoroughly and critically, and allows the kid(s) time to adjust. 

We've had other posts from women who became involved with single dads who abdicated their parenting responsibilities to their parents, and it seldom ends well. I find it troubling that you say your bf moved in with his parents in order to help them financially. Why couldnt he help them while maintaining his own home? And why has he allowed his mother to overstep and essentially become his son's pseudo mom? The answer probably involves being a bit of a mama's boy, taking the path of least resistance, and doing what serves him best. Now, thanks to the lack of appropriate boundaries his son is damaged. Then he met you, and quickly moved you into his parent's house. We all know there can be only one queen in a household, so his mother probably assumed you'd adapt to HER arrangements.

This all is DYSFUNCTIONAL and TOXIC, and you will likely be blamed for upsetting their sweet yet screwy arrangement. If it weren't for YOU, none of this would have happened, and they would all still be happy ... Yes, you will be the scapegoat, and odds are your bf won't be able to adequately defend you. In times of weakness, he'll resent you, and his son will resent and see you as the cause of all the upheaval and change, too. Worst of all, you've put yourself at the mercy of this woman by quitting your job. That's a hard lesson you need to learn ASAP - no matter how into a guy you may be, NEVER give up your career or independence.

If you TRULY want to set your relationship up for success, it's going to take some hard work, sacrifice, and backpedaling. You need to reclaim your independence by regaining traction in your old career and moving away from the dysfunction - ALONE. This is so you can see how committed your bf actually is to cutting those apron strings and being a functional single parent. HE needs to move out, make a stable home for him and his son, and wean his son away from toxic granny. ON HIS OWN. He needs to build a healthy foundation BEFORE adding a partner to the mix, and that includes creating healthy boundaries for his mom so she can enjoy being a grandma instead of a surrogate mom. All of that is HIS responsibility, and if he can't/won't do that, he doesn't deserve to have you.

SeeYouNever's picture

I've said it once I said it a million times the in-laws are by far the worst part of step life. 

Your overbearing mild is not going to go anywhere she is always going to put herself between you your SO and SS. The fact that she calls her grandson her son just shows you how overprotective and possessive she is of him. so you must ask yourself what is she protecting him from? It's clear that she's protecting her grandson from her own son and from you. She is going to be very territorial about your presence in his life no matter what you do.