The Original Poster (OP) is caught in a tumultuous family drama torn between financial responsibility and familial obligation. As the only stable income earner in the family, OP faces mounting pressure to fully fund his in-laws’ retirement, a commitment fraught with emotional and economic perils. When his in-laws propose moving in as a solution, OP must weigh the haunting memories of past cohabitation against the relentless guilt-tripping from his family.
The Financial Struggle Begins
OP’s father-in-law (FIL) and mother-in-law (MIL) are battling financial difficulties in their late 60s. FIL is still working, while MIL is dependent on him for support. A gambling habit leaves them in significant debt and without any assets.
Absent State Support
Unlike some countries, there’s no governmental financial support for older adults where OP lives. OP and his wife step in, paying half the in-laws’ rent and covering food and healthcare. Yet, the couple’s financial stability remains precarious. FIL continuously borrows money from OP, never repaying it.
The Aging Workforce
OP cautiously lends only what they can afford to lose. The lending becomes a repetitive cycle with no end in sight. His FIL is getting older, and it’s uncertain how long he can continue working.
The Unhelpful Siblings
OP’s wife has an older sister and brother who are also financially unstable due to their poor life choices. They are unable to assist their parents, increasing the pressure on OP. The burden of finding a solution falls squarely on OP’s shoulders.
OP faces mounting pressure from his in-laws and wife to fully fund his parents-in-law’s retirement. He is empathetic but hesitant to commit to such a hefty, ongoing financial responsibility. His reluctance triggers a family debate.
The Live-in Option
The in-laws suggest that living together could reduce expenses. However, past experience shows that their lifestyles clash significantly. OP quickly recalls issues with hygiene and the tension that arose from living under the same roof.
A Failed Fresh Start
Once before, OP had cleared all the in-laws’ debts, hoping they would turn over a new leaf. Within a month, they are back in debt. This experience only heightens OP’s reluctance to take on more responsibility.
Responsibility and Blame
OP emphasizes to his wife that he is not the cause of her parents’ financial instability. He believes he owes them nothing, either financially or physically. OP’s wife raises the ethical dilemma: Should they let her parents starve in their old age?
A Different Perspective
OP’s wife points out that OP’s parents are financially stable, implying he may not fully understand her emotional attachment to the issue. OP faces a moral crossroads, forced to weigh his principles against family obligations.
OP is the only person in the family with a stable income. He highlights that their family would be vulnerable if anything happened to him or his income. Savings for retirement or their child’s education are currently nonexistent.
An Unsustainable Path
Supporting his in-laws would risk leading OP and his wife down the same financially unstable path. OP is steadfast in his belief that their own family’s future cannot be compromised. Despite his explanations, his in-laws and wife persist in guilt-tripping him.
A Plate Full of Food
The emotional pressure piles on, exacerbating the already difficult situation. OP starts to feel cornered. The guilt reaches a point where OP feels like he’s enjoying a feast while others in the room starve.
Questions of Obligation
OP acknowledges he’s not obligated to help his in-laws but grapples with the emotional toll of their constant pressure. Torn between his principles and societal expectations, OP is left in a moral dilemma.
Was The Man’s Behavior Appropriate?
Unsure how to proceed, OP posts his story online for feedback and advice from the public. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter.
One reader said, “If your wife wants to support her parents, she can get a job and donate her salary. Do not let these people move in with you.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “I think you need to reposition this somewhat with your wife – you already ARE helping them and have helped them extensively. Paying half their rent, food, and medical needs plus other instances of loans that have gone unpaid.”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “If they were financially careful, then I think it would be one thing. However, the fact that the father gambles when they clearly cannot afford it and that you already bailed them out financially in the past precludes your responsibility to take care of them fully.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader commented, “Your wife sounds like she views them as children too young to care for themselves, whereas they are the opposite. Do not let them get to you. They need to learn.”
What Do You Think?
What are your thoughts on their actions?
What would you have done in this situation?
This story is inspired by a thread from an online forum.