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Hey all, just looking for advice on my current situation.

Backstory: My parents have two houses built on a 5 acre plot of land-- one they built about 13 years ago and a 115 year old farmhouse, which I grew up in. When they moved into the newer house after it was built, they started renting the smaller farmhouse out to different couples. Fast forward to about a year and a half ago-- my husband and I are wanting to save for our own property. My parents offer their rental house which is unbelievably adorable, is away from the city, has land for our dog, space to garden and entertain, has two bedrooms and two bathrooms and is far less expensive than any apartment we've rented previously.

 

Here's the thing: While my parents are loving, generous and ridiculously kind people, my husband is getting overwhelmed by the lack of boundaries that we have with them. They've always had an "open-door" policy to friends and family and they don't mind when people visit unannounced or come into their space. My parents often walk over to our house and into the garages because much of their lawn equipment and hobby equipment is over here. My dad has recently taken up pottery and has set it up in our garage and is in there daily. He has had a few neighbors stop by and it makes my husband feel trapped and that his privacy is violated. My dad is also a busybody and will finish projects that my husband doesn't (i.e. repotting something that he has dug up halfway and walked away from, or finished tiling a walkway that he hasn't) and my husband becomes irritated that they are completing something that he should've done in the first place. My parents just like to help and have always been very relaxed and I guess that's why I don't have much of an issue with it, but I can understand how someone that's not used to that, would be.

 

My husband is so upset and is desperate to move because he feels he doesn't have a say in what goes on here. I'm a little irritated because I want to save money and I also know we won't find anything like this home elsewhere and frankly, I don't want to move again!

Any ideas on what to do or what kind of boundaries to set?!

 

You should also know-- my parents love my husband and he loves them! I think he just loves his privacy more ;)

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The fact that it is your parents property means they have every right to do as they please. I can totally understand why your husband feels the way he does but there are only two options: 1) ... learn to accept that this is how it's going to be for as long as you live there. Or 2) .... Find your own place.

 

You also say: ..."I don't want to move again!" Do you mean you want to live there, on your parents property for the rest of your life? If so, is your husband aware of this? If not, maybe it's time you tell him. This could make or break your relationship/marriage.

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I see both sides of this problem. You can either hope your husband can accept your dad's help or you can move. With luck you can have a talk with your parents about boundaries. Maybe get them to call you before they head over. Maybe have them come only after a certain time of day. If your husband knew he would have his time to himself at certain hours, maybe that would work.

 

Until you talk to your folks, nothing will change.

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The fact that it is your parents property means they have every right to do as they please. I can totally understand why your husband feels the way he does but there are only two options: 1) ... learn to accept that this is how it's going to be for as long as you live there. Or 2) .... Find your own place.

 

The saying is true with adults who live under their parents roof. Why my mom said "don't like me barging in to your room, find somewhere else to live." Even when I moved out, I had an opportunity to work with my mom at her company and be her boss. Fat chance your parents are ever going to stop being your parents so I declined.

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Move.

 

It's not fair to expect or even ask your parents to change. You are living in their house, on their property.

 

Your hubs might be a great guy, but if he wants to be the man of the house, then he should get his own castle... they're doing you a huge favor so you can save money. you can't have your cake and eat it, too.

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Move.

 

It's not fair to expect or even ask your parents to change. You are living in their house, on their property.

 

Your hubs might be a great guy, but if he wants to be the man of the house, then he should get his own castle... they're doing you a huge favor so you can save money. you can't have your cake and eat it, too.

 

^ I agree.

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I'm not sure if I'm understanding this correctly. Your husband is upset about your parents finishing work that he doesn't finish?

 

Why doesn't he just finish the job or start early in the morning and finish it by the evening with breaks inbetween? I'm thinking of the tilling here in the yard.

 

I think both of you as a couple need to sit down and listen and communicate with one another. Work this out in a less heated and ultimatum-y fashion.

 

It sounds like your parents and your husband have different work ethic and on top of that your parents are retired? Semi-retired? They may have much more time on their hands than you or your partner.

 

Bring the resentments down a little by communicating things out and find ways to compromise.

 

To me, this sounds more like a time management issue and disorganization/miscommunication. It can be helped.

 

Once the both of you are calm you might want to talk about what parts of the house are just yours and your husband's. Create some boundaries, theoretically and physically!

 

Stay calm. Be kind to one another! You're family.

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Well he knows your parents so he knew what he was getting into. Tell hubs to take up golf and stop puttering around your parents guesthouse as a hobby. He needs to create his own space and boundaries.

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Did your husband ask his landlord ( your father ) if he could tile a walkway?

 

It sounds to me like your husband doesn’t respect the boundaries as a tenant but expects your father to respect boundaries as a landlord?

 

It doesn’t work that way!

 

He has cheap rent and there is a non monetary price to pay for that .

 

Your father is only in the garden ! It’s not like he is walking into the bathroom while he is showering!!!

 

You are renting the house not the land. Remind your husband of that!!

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It sounds like your husband is perfectly fine with the trade off of paying rent elsewhere and having enforceable privacy rights. That is ultimately what this is all about, not that he doesn't have a golf kit. Not wanting people coming into and hanging out in the garage or wanting to be able to partition his tasks as he pleases without someone else finishing his work for him are both perfectly respectable wishes. Not a whole lot of people would be comfortable renting a house while other people have and regularly exercise unmitigated access to the yard literally right outside their windows. That would be a way different feel than simply having the walls of an apartment. It sounds like he's grounded enough to know the issue isn't your parents, but your living situation. You on the other hand want to set boundaries for your parents on their own property.

 

It's really one way or the other here. You stay and put up with it, or you move. It's time to sit down with your husband and figure out the best course of action for your marriage. If you're dead-set on staying in your parents' guest house until you two can buy a home, then be prepared to defend just that. A lot of people don't share the same value in being beholden to parents for the sake of saving money, and if that's the hill you want to die on, you need to defend your position just so.

 

Your position isn't unreasonable, but neither is his. Some people's sense of dignity goes further beyond simply maximizing EOM savings than it does for others. At the end of the day, you're really not in any position to dangle a "boundaries" carrot when it means policing what your parents do on their land and property, so it's hard to see any sort of middle ground.

Edited by j.man
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What happened when someone rented the house? Did they just walk in.

 

I would start locking your doors during the day while you are home. You need to "train them". Keep the doors locked and meet them at the door.

. A simple "EEEKK I am changing!!" when you hear the door opening could do it.

Honestly, though, you need to have a conversation with your parents. "Mom, dad, I know you are just walking right in, but we are a married couple and would like our privacy.

We appreciate you allowing us to live here, but with paying rent, we have some expectation of privacy. We love to see you, but we need our space. Please call and find out when its a good time to visit.

 

Also, ask if the pottery can be moved out of the garage.

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The fact that it is your parents property means they have every right to do as they please. I can totally understand why your husband feels the way he does but there are only two options: 1) ... learn to accept that this is how it's going to be for as long as you live there. Or 2) .... Find your own place.

 

You also say: ..."I don't want to move again!" Do you mean you want to live there, on your parents property for the rest of your life? If so, is your husband aware of this? If not, maybe it's time you tell him. This could make or break your relationship/marriage.

 

No they do not. My guy's parents have a rental property adjacent to theirs and the renter is entitled to peaceful enjoyment of the house whether they rent it to someone a real estate agent found, a coworker, a family member. They can enter in an emergency (they see smoke coming from the house, pipe bursts) but otherwise need to give notice. They do not just walk in. They do mow the lawn when someone lives there can't (is not able bodied) but its not random, its a certain day of the week.

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You might be comfortable because these are your parents, but what you are describing for most people would be a living nightmare to deal with and not worth the savings in lesser rent.

 

As for you trying to set boundaries with your parents, not only is it going to be an uphill battle, but liable to cause some really bad blood between you. In that respect, your husband is absolutely correct that moving is the best option here even if it costs more in rent. It will keep the peace all around and ultimately be money well spent.

 

When you got married, you agreed to build your own life and family. Time for you to focus on your marriage and what's best for your relationship. Emphasis on relationship. Saving for a house is all good and well, but your savings won't do you much good when you are spending that on divorce lawyers instead. Time to leave your parents and cut the apron strings. Focus on the health of your marriage and your relationship instead of buying a house. House will come and whether it's a bit sooner or later is not that important.

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I'm not sure if I'm understanding this correctly. Your husband is upset about your parents finishing work that he doesn't finish?

 

Why doesn't he just finish the job or start early in the morning and finish it by the evening with breaks inbetween? I'm thinking of the tilling here in the yard.

 

I think both of you as a couple need to sit down and listen and communicate with one another. Work this out in a less heated and ultimatum-y fashion.

 

It sounds like your parents and your husband have different work ethic and on top of that your parents are retired? Semi-retired? They may have much more time on their hands than you or your partner.

 

Bring the resentments down a little by communicating things out and find ways to compromise.

 

To me, this sounds more like a time management issue and disorganization/miscommunication. It can be helped.

 

Once the both of you are calm you might want to talk about what parts of the house are just yours and your husband's. Create some boundaries, theoretically and physically!

 

Stay calm. Be kind to one another! You're family.

 

I took it to mean that he put some bushes in and then took a break - or was doing a big project over a few days. I have done that where i unload the plants when i get home after work and then do it the next day. If i take several days to clean up, plant and mulch -- who cares.

 

She needs to set boundaries with them. They MUST knock. That is common courtesy. They PAY RENT. she can say "we love to see you but please knock. I understand you own this, but we are paying rent and would like to not have to be "guest ready at all times"

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You both need a compromise.....if you want to stay you need to set some boundaries with your parents. That space is YOUR space, not your parents when you are living there. They may have an open door policy but that's not for you and your husband. Communication is key here. Talk to your parents. Let them know you really appreciate their generosity, but you and your husband need some privacy and not comfortable with this open door policy. If they don't accept it, then you will have no choice but to move. I'm a private person and me personally would rather live in a one bedroom apartment with my sanity, rather than deal with communal living.

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I took it to mean that he put some bushes in and then took a break - or was doing a big project over a few days. I have done that where i unload the plants when i get home after work and then do it the next day. If i take several days to clean up, plant and mulch -- who cares.
This I agree with 100%. If a project absolutely needs finishing in a single go, I'll tackle it for 12 straight hours. If it doesn't, I'll do it on my own time and at my own leisure. Renovating the basement, I was fine doing some framing as I felt like it. Ended up being over the course of a couple weeks. When it came time to run wire, you better believe I was knocking out the whole floor plan that day instead of dealing with cutting off power to the house intermittently the whole week, admittedly for my wife's sanity more than my own. Same sentiment goes into yard work or pretty much anything else I'm not being paid to do and during my own time.

 

She needs to set boundaries with them. They MUST knock. That is common courtesy. They PAY RENT. she can say "we love to see you but please knock. I understand you own this, but we are paying rent and would like to not have to be "guest ready at all times"
My interpretation wasn't that they are necessarily coming into the actual dwelling without knocking, just accessing the garage they've got stuff stored in. I don't know how much the OP is paying. but from the sound of it (while understanding city apartment rentals are going to run higher despite the lack of amenities), they're not paying market rate if they're saving enough to where it's worth it. My guess is it was an informal "just toss a few hundred our way for upkeep and we'll let you stay here and save" deal.

 

Not to necessarily say whether or not the OP should put her foot down and tell dad to ask permission before accessing the garage, but it's worth thinking about whether it makes the situation any more redeemable sitting mom and dad down and drawing out a formal lease dictating who has access to what and which part of the property for the amount of money OP and her husband are paying. My guess is if OP wants to be treated as a tenant, they'll either oblige at the expense of some familial strain and possibly higher rent, or they'll prefer actually renting out to people they can get more money from and under more definite terms so long as that's going to be the environment anyway.

 

But maybe I'm wrong and the OP is getting the shaft paying a fair market rate and while not enjoying some liberties of her own under the present dynamic. Would be a good point for clarification.

Edited by j.man
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What happened recently that irritates him if he was ok with the whole idea in the beginning and for the following 1.5 yrs? Was there a timeline for saving to rent elsewhere ever established? Is it the money or the proximity to your parents that you are disagreeing about. Don't use the money argument if it's really your need to be right next to them and his need for more autonomy.

a year and a half ago-- my husband and I are wanting to save for our own property. far less expensive than any apartment we've rented previously.

 

My parents often walk over to our house and into the garages because much of their lawn equipment and hobby equipment is over here.

 

My husband is so upset and is desperate to move because he feels he doesn't have a say in what goes on here.

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OP is not going to "train", change, or otherwise talk her parents into being different people from who they've been their entire lives. Any attempt at that is liable to lead to a whole lot of hurt feelings, tensions, and resentments. People without boundaries do not understand boundaries and will get offended if you assert them. Yes, they might be very different with complete strangers, but when it comes to family and friends, the whole my house is your house and your house is my house is pretty impossible to override short of moving away and good locks.

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Invite them over for dinner and have a calm, intelligent, mature discussion with your parents regarding requests for notifications BEFORE they visit you and let them know you or your husband will decide if it's a good time or not. Or, invite them for coffee or tea and have a talk with them. Remain polite though. Don't approach them harshly because they're saving you and your husband a lot of money every month. Be respectful and kind otherwise a heated argument will ensue and do you want that? Sound grateful and show gratitude. Tell them you love them dearly. However, you and your husband need time and mutual space afforded to everyone out of respect and consideration.

 

If this problem cannot be resolved in a mature way, then move and rent elsewhere because your money spent on higher rent will be the peace of mind, common courtesy and privacy you and your husband desire. Keep in mind, the discount you're receiving every month on your parents' property is not "for free." Nothing in life is free nor at a discount. You will pay the price in other ways such as lack of freedom of choice. Remember that. That's the catch or in other words, the sacrifice.

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The father in law is NOT walking into the house unannounced.

 

He is simply using his OWN garage that is attached to both properties.

 

The OP and her husband are renting the house (cheaply) , not the property but are allowed to use the property despite not renting it for their dog etc. He should be grateful!

 

There should be no discussion between husband and father in law , husband telling his father in law that he can not use his own garage??! That is absurd.

 

This is not a father in law / son in law issue at all.

This is simply the son in law wanting his cake and eat it too.

 

Husband is super ungrateful. End of story.

And if he is not happy with his cheap rent on a house plus the bonus of being able to use land he is not renting , then yes he can rent elsewhere but at what cost?

 

He sounds like a fool to me.

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The father in law is NOT walking into the house unannounced.

 

He is simply using his OWN garage that is attached to both properties.

 

The OP and her husband are renting the house (cheaply) , not the property but are allowed to use the property despite not renting it for their dog etc. He should be grateful!

 

There should be no discussion between husband and father in law , husband telling his father in law that he can not use his own garage??! That is absurd.

 

This is not a father in law / son in law issue at all.

This is simply the son in law wanting his cake and eat it too.

 

Husband is super ungrateful. End of story.

And if he is not happy with his cheap rent on a house plus the bonus of being able to use land he is not renting , then yes he can rent elsewhere but at what cost?

 

He sounds like a fool to me.

I'm not reading anywhere that he's ungrateful. He's not the one posting here about setting boundaries. Sounds like he's taken the situation for what it is and come to a very valid values-based conclusion that paying more in rent is worth not sharing a public garage and not having someone fumbling around his yard and outside his windows looking for projects to finish up for him. On top of it, a lot of people are inherently uncomfortable with relying on mommy and daddy, whether bio or in-laws, for a financial break. It's definitely understandable if everything being married together here makes the situation untenable for him. I also wonder how much of the quaintness she finds cute in the 115 year old farmhouse she grew up in doesn't exactly enjoy the same level of appreciation by him.

 

If OP even hinted that he was nagging her to tell dad he can't store things in the garage anymore or enter their yard, that'd certainly be another thing. That would be wanting his cake and eating it too. He sees the cake. He doesn't want the cake. He's told OP exactly why he doesn't. He's presented a solution wherein the cake can do its thing and they can do their own. OP doesn't frame the situation as a financial necessity, but rather for the simple benefit of saving for a home quicker. In which case, while I can respect the OP's desire to save more money, his argument for living independently insofar as they can comfortably afford to do so is almost objectively a better one. That's of course if we're going to go the route of weighing attitudes against one another.

 

IMO it's a no bad guys situation. OP wanted to see if it could be a sustainable option for saving extra money. If the parents are giving them a break on rent, then I don't see anything wrong with dad taking liberties with the garage and the land. Still, I don't think the husband is obligated to appreciate having zero private access to anything outside the front door of the 1910s house they're staying in simply for getting a break on the monthly rent. At least as far as I'm reading it, he's entertained the situation for a solid ~18 months. The obvious and most neutral solution is chalk up the year and a half of extra savings as a success, thank the parents kindly, and move out.

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When my husband and I were newlyweds, we could've rented space from my very affluent in-laws for cheap or for "free" if we pulled our weight by doing chores, errands and their bidding. However, that idea was out of the question. We rented elsewhere even though it was expensive and made it on our own even though it took a while to save money for our first house. During this entire time, we had freedom and strong boundaries with relatives and in-laws. Everyone knew their place and no one barged in on each other.

 

Money buys you enforced boundaries, rules, independence and power.

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What happened recently that irritates him if he was ok with the whole idea in the beginning and for the following 1.5 yrs? Was there a timeline for saving to rent elsewhere ever established? Is it the money or the proximity to your parents that you are disagreeing about. Don't use the money argument if it's really your need to be right next to them and his need for more autonomy.

 

You cannot predict how things are going to go until you live it.

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