How can I talk to my SO about his mom and sister depending on him to much?

My SO and I have been together for about a year and a half. We are planning to get engaged soon. We have lived together for the past year. Before we lived together, he was staying with his mom temporarily. He’s grown 22 year old sister also still lives at home. Here is my question I would like advice on. In my opinion, SO’s mother and sister depend on him entirely too much. Now before I go further, I definitely believe you should step in to help your parents if they need help. (Mom is middle-aged, not elderly.) His dad passed away three years ago. Since he and I have lived together, I’ve noticed they depend on him for EVERYTHING around the home. From taking care of yard work to home maintenance, to even minor things like hanging pictures on the wall. They won’t even make an attempt to do any of it, even though they are fully capable. There is a lot of major work needed to do the house, and they fully expect him to take care of it physically, doing the labor and pay for it. There have been many times he had to bail mom out and catch up on her car or house payment. I’ll also mention So’s sister almost seems almost jealous of our relationship. She constantly seeks his attention and acts like a child when I’m around, horse playing like they are still kids. He’s 30 years old. It got to the point it made me uncomfortable because she was always stand-offish with me and ignored me half the time. I brought this up to him, and I guess he talked to her because it seems like it has gotten better. I also owned my own home before we got together, and we have started doing repairs on my home; for example, we recently built a porch. His mom and sister act like they get an attitude when he does things for OUR home when there are major things needed at theirs. I don’t know how to handle this, especially with us planning to get married in a year. I hate feeling this way because I know eventually it will drive a wedge and cause problems all the way around. How do I discuss this with him delicately that in order for us to move forward with our lives, his mom and sister need to stop being a burden and not depend on him for everything financially and otherwise?

29 Likes

I think it’s hard for families who are dependent on the husband/father to cope when that person dies. They’ve probably never had to do simple things like hanging pictures. Maybe his dad was the one who did all of those things you’re describing. Makes sense they’d lean on your husband. He’s the “man of the house” so to speak.

I get your point, but instead of complaining why don’t you work to solve the issue? Teach them. My husband had to teach me almost everything about cars, bills, taxes, repairs, whatever. I was never taught that (most women aren’t).

Never hurts to offer to teach them how to be more independent from your husband.

22 Likes

I lost my mom so I can understand where you they are coming from but also do understand where you are coming from too. My dad and sister can not move past my mother’s death and it will be 3 years in November. Dad/husband dying and son/brother leaving and starting a new family they could feel abandoned or forgotten… Why not try to take his sister to lunch or to get her nails done try to befriend her. Be the adult she is grieving.

10 Likes

Show him this post…be honest with him about how you feel. If things don’t improve after a few months it may be time to rethink your plans if his mother and sister aren’t willing to let go a bit and if he’s not willing to have some boundries. Discussing it with him, he may see your point of view as you’ll be his wife and one day maybe the mother of his children. Codependency isn’t healthy.

2 Likes

They were together & have more history with him than you ever will. You’re not going to change things without them all resenting you. As the saying goes when you marry into a family you marry the family. You have to think long & hard before you get engaged. Do you want to deal with this forever? Or do you want them resenting you? A MIL can make life hell if you mess with her relationship with her child. Js

10 Likes

Does your SO mind doing these things for them? If he doesn’t, let it go. If he does, tell him to grow a backbone and say no.

3 Likes

He just being a man.

3 Likes

You wouldn’t have made this long of a post if it was the other way around
Step into your SO’s shoes and u will get your answer

1 Like

Go to the book store and buy the book “ Boundaries “ . Both of you read it ASAP

1 Like

Maybe make everything a family project with all hands on deck so everyone learns how to do everything and gets out of their dependent rut. Do you help your man work on your house?

See if you can enroll them in a personal finance/budgeting course so they can better handle their expenses and learn about investing for the future. This way with luck you won’t need to bail them out again. Maybe have hubs approach them about moving to a less expensive place so they can have more of a financial cushion. This would be a project over several years as they’re already still reeling from what sounds like a premature death, so tread gently and slowly.

Or sign them up for homeowner repair/maintenance classes with the county, schools, or Home Depot or Lowe’s. Take it with them so they don’t feel singled out, and encourage them to have a “Girl Power” attitude. Make friends in the class so you can all help each other out. Add wine and pizza and make home improvements a party! Watch home improvement shows with women doing the work as encouragement.

Talk with them about what they think they would do if your fiancé weren’t available, either because you move away, are consumed with work or baby, or—god forbid—he becomes disabled. Have them start a list of other friends and family (and those friends from classes) who could help out, and recommended paid professionals who could do things for them. Maybe when they see how much handypersons cost, they will learn to do things for themselves.

When they do pick up a hammer, paintbrush, or screwdriver, make sure you encouragingly teach them how to do the job right, and be lavish with praise for their efforts and results. Hopefully they will derive enough pride and sense of independence and accomplishment from these little tasks that it will be enough reward for them to continue to learn, grow, and take care of themselves.

Introduce them to other independent women, and encourage them to socialize (when safe) and learn new fun stuff too to get them out of their isolation and grief. How about kayaking, learning ballroom dance, volunteering at a park, participating in church/religious institution activities? Coaching girls in a sport they like?

4 Likes

Sorry, husbands and wifes aren’t always forever, and it’s rare if it is. Sisters, mothers, brothers, fathers are. I get families have toxicity in it. That has to be up to you how to deal with it. His mom and sister were mostly extremely dependent on the father and now that the father has passed, they shifted to him. If this is coming up only a 1½ years in, might as well walk away now. Better now then 10 years from now with kids involved. I know my SO’s mother has an opinion of me. Out of respect I leave it alone. I don’t communicate with her as I have her blocked on Facebook. If she tries something while in front of me, I’ll tell her. That’s just my opinion.

I’ve always wondered if the “fan” who asks these questions actually read this answers…

10 Likes

I would just tell him that you want to build a relationship with him but you believe that theres a fine line between helping and doing alittle too much and you think that eventually if it doesnt stop that its going to cause issues in the relationship and you dont know if you want to deal with it but you love him.also financially,idk if you all share accts,but also say kindly its not my job to support your family.

3 Likes

And tell him you dont wamt him to choose,but to at least make an effort and put a stop to it.

1 Like

One thing is helping but to an extent… he can’t be paying car and house payments all the time… but let me say if he is Hispanic it will never stop… I say this because I totally get it

5 Likes

I horseplay with my siblings and I’m nearly 40. That’s nothing childish about that. Siblings who are close still act like kids around each other. Be thankful your man has that kind of bond with his siblings and mother. Nothing wrong with the man in the family to take care of house things. I’m grown and I still go to parents who are capable & clean something, fix something and cook something. We have that relationship. We are close.

9 Likes

I would be ok with him helping them with the more physical things but financially no. If they were in a position to need financial help every now and then that’s one thing but to have to catch up house payments etc, no. His sister needs to get a job and help in that area if she lives there. Just tell him how u feel but try to do go about it in an understanding way, then address the concerns

2 Likes

Some people just aren’t compatible because they don’t value the same things.
His dad passed away 3 years ago. Just because you think that’s enough time for grieving, doesn’t mean that either he, his mom, or his sister, have to agree with you.
You will never be able to do anything to change the family dynamic in a positive way. Some families are close, and they always have a reason for that closeness.
All you can do is decide for yourself if you can handle being with a man that values his mom and sister to that point.

9 Likes

You’ve only been with him for a year. You should be grateful that he’s being a man and taking care of his family. My husband helped clean his dad’s garage while I was at work. When I got off, I’d drive across town to go help until about 10. Then we’d go home and eat dinner together. I would never tell my husband to stop being there for his family. Just like he wouldn’t tell me to not be there for mine.

5 Likes

Sounds like he is stepping up to be the man of the house and you’re upset that he helps them a lot which is understandable i would say tell him not to help 25/8 like with small task like hanging pictures etc. and paying stuff for them all the time.

but yard work? Definitely shouldn’t be an issue with him helping, that seems like you have an issue, as far as him and his sister playing around you telling him that he has to stop horse playing with HIS sister is pretty messed up. Theirs siblings she’s allowed to horse play with him when he comes around. You sound a little controlling with that aspect. I don’t agree she should be rude to you and I’m glad that got better but you have no right to tell a brother and sister how to interact.

Kinda sounds like you’re making him choose between him and his family. Idk sis :woozy_face: good luck

13 Likes

I would just say, it’s time for your mom and sister to try and do things for their own home. I would also say that they can pay for work to be done on their OWN home. That’s a little nuts that he’s the son and paying for multiple things. Hang in there!

3 Likes