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My husband and I have been married for 12 years & have 3 boys (10, 7, 3).*My husband is 43 & I am 34.*He is very laid back and I am the entrepreneur of the couple. We have always had a balanced & open relationship, where we would complement each other. We were best friends and our marriage has been very good.

We lived in CO, while my parents were in France (I'm French), & my in-laws lived in CA, near their other son & wife.
From the very first day, my Mother-In-Law wished for us to move near her & was sad to see her son get a job in CO, where we went to live.

All was well, visiting the in-laws often, until 4 years ago, I got seriously ill & my husband got overwhelmed with taking care of me, our young children & work. My Mother-In-Law offered to come & stay with us for 3 months to help us out (or help him help me). I had been bedridden & made many trips to the hospital. It'd been a very stressful time for all of us.
My Mother In Law then returned to CA after 3 months for her husband got diagnosed with cancer.

A few months later, my husband & I agreed that I had to leave CO for my health had a hard time copping with the altitude. My Mother In Law saw, at once, the opportunity to convince us to move to CA, near her. However, for financial decisions, we opted for my home country, France, where we qualified for a program that offered to pay us $1000/ month plus cheap housing, for families like mine with 3 children (not insignificant!). It was buying us time to rebuilt our shattered life without emptying all of our savings.
Thus I left CO with our children in 2009, leaving my husband behind in the States to sell the house.

We remained separated 3-6 months at a time, on several occasions for 2 years, during which time he flew many times back & forth & visited his folks as well. The physical seperation had been very hard to cope for us as a couple, but our ties I thought remained very strong.

When my husband finally returned to us to stay, I kept finding him distant & not involved. I first blamed the fact that he had a hard time adjusting to the French language, which he did not speak well, that it'd take time for him to find work here, etc.
However, he kept telling me “he felt guilty that his Dad had been sick in CA & he was so far away”.

Then, listening to his phone conversations with his parents, I slowly started realizing that my Mother-In-Law was at the source of this guilt. She'd been crying on command on the phone, saying that the dad was so sick, agonizing, starving to death, that she did not know what else to do, that his dad loved him so much, etc. I saw my husband go through so many ups & downs emotionally, it was mental torture for him & for me.

I asked him 'do you think your Mom is upset we moved even further away from her?', he answered 'no, I asked her & she is fine with it.” At the time, I believed it innocently, but now I am realizing that she carefully chooses her words & knows how to lure without asking.

It is important to note that my husband left the States in August 2011, that we saw his parents 4 months later, in CA, for an entire month, then again 5 months later, they came to France for another month. We had seen the dad who was in poor health but able to travel & do quite a bit physically.

Then two month later from their last visit, my mother-In-Law called, sobbing, telling us that dad was under morphine & did not know how to get him back home since they were at her sister's house, & she wanted him to die at home not anywhere else. Their special travel insurance had refused to cover his return home (odd to begin with), & she almost convinced my husband to fly from France to the States to help them fly home. However, I could not understand why the other brother, who lives right next to them, was not asked to help. The answer was that the other brother was not attentive to the dad & was too busy with baseball season. I had a hard time believing that the dad was dying and yet the other son who has a fair relationship with his dad, was playing baseball. Finally, because my husband asked his uncle to help, they ended up returning home by regular plane without any help or any problems.

Two weeks later after this event, we receive another call, claiming the dad was dying, with much tears & drama, she convinced my husband to drop everything to come see his dying dad. We thought that there was a sudden complication & he was suddenly dying.
I asked him to verify the situation with his brother & wife. They all seemed to be convinced as well that these were the last days of the dad (as they talked to us from the Mother In Law's house). My husband flew to CA, panicked, fearing to miss seeing his dad alive one last time, one day before our 12th anniversary (3rd wedding anniversary apart), to be with his dad..... or should I say his mom, for once he got there, he realized that his dad was still kicking & was not about to die (thank God!!).

Before my husband left, I had noticed that my Mother-In-Law's tone changed drastically from weeping & wailing to joyous and laughing after my husband said 'I'm coming' , which made me suddenly doubt her motives.

She never once asked for him to come, but played it so that my husband felt guilty. When he asked her 'Mom, do you want me to come?”, she answered while crying “I don't know”. When he finally said, “I'm coming”, she responded with a normal & happy voice, 'I've been praying for you to come. You need to be here”.
I had received the most lovely email from her a few days before, saying how much I was like a daughter to her, the one she had always hoped for... and made sure she cced her son.

*I had a hard time realizing what was going on because she never did that before or at least I never realized she had.**If you met her, you would think she's the nicest MIL in the world, devoted Christian, etc.***I had always loved my Mother In Law, believed her & I have been nice to her, doing it her way, fading away during their visits to let them have a good time together with their son, etc. I had been warned by her close entourage that she seemed to 'exaggerate' her stories. I had also noticed that she was the most helpful & nice individual to others & then would criticizes them heavily when not there. However, I had never judged her for it.

Now that my husband is in CA, she is telling him that without him coming & his help, his dad would have died, she tells him sob stories that she has never been loved by her parents, siblings, in-laws, even by her other son, despite her loving them and caring for them so much. That the only 2 people that love her are the 'dying' dad & her favorite son. In other words, she burdens his conscious with the necessity of his presence, to keep the dad alive thanks to his care. It also implies that if the dad ends up dying, she'd be all alone & miserable. My husband believes her without a glimpse of a doubt, and gets overly mad at me for trying to open his eyes & tell him the manipulation he is under.

My husband had always been 'different' in the presence of his mother, but it never affected me much. I was just being patient waiting for the visit to end to have my real husband back; however here I feel my couple & family unit is being threaten. He blindly trusts her, believes her rearranged truths & rejects violently my warnings. I am left with 3 kids, trying to work , rebuild our lives all by myself. I have the greatest fear to see my husband leave us .... for his mother.

His plane ticket is for 3 months (not 3 weeks, he opted all by himself to go for 3 months). He says he will return before the 3 month mark if his dad does better, but this would require a miracle. I am fearing it'd stay longer if the dad's condition gets worse. However, even if he returns home before, I am afraid it'll be with a bad conscious towards his dad or his mom. He will continue growing more & more lukewarm towards us, & on my end, I am afraid that I will grow resentful for him leaving us on a wimp of his mother, and barely looking back.

I am torn with the feeling of wanting him back & yet the hurt because he left us, me and our children, neglected. Should I tell him, should I not? Should I show my support for his dad's condition or should I show him I'm unhappy & stop pursuing him openly. If I express my worries, I appear as the bad guy, the heartless wife that does not care of the family trauma. If I don't, it is going to eat me alive. If/when he returns, it will be difficult because he would have been under the control of his mother & on my end I'll be disgusted by his choices.

I am very heartbroken and hurt.**I love him a lot and I know deep down he loves me too.**We were the perfect couple, we had such magic. But now that my mother in law sees the end of her own couple, she wants her favorite son back & is using the dying dad as a lure. She remains flawless in her acting, always loving, smiling, caring & is always the victim.

The worst might still be coming if she starts brainwashing him against me, criticizing me like I have witnessed her do it to others. This is all based on a selfish desire to have him near & to control him.**He blindly trusts her, he doesn't have the guts to stand up for what's right.***I want my husband back, but he fails to see the truth.**I would have never thought she was like that, but boy was a I wrong!*
I don't know how to get through this.**

PS sorry this is a bit long, but too many details.
 

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What a tragic dilemma! Imagine how this must be for your husband, who is being pulled in two directions by the people he loves most in the world! Poor guy!

Is there any way that you *can* move to California? It would certainly relieve an awful lot of pressure if you could get adequate care and still make ends meet.

Your husband has been cast in the role of caretaker for you and for his dad. If his father passes when he's not there, he will never forgive himself (or you) for it. He learned these things when he was young, from the very same woman who's reinforcing those lessons now. You'll benefit from having a wonderful provider who takes great care of you and your children as long as he's able to, but the current situation limits his ability to meet all the demands he's facing.

As his wife, if you can help him to meet life's demands in any way, you'll benefit your marriage and your family. However, if you pose obstacles that prevent him from doing all that he thinks he can, you harm your relationship. Telling him his mother's manipulative isn't helpful to him right now.

Maybe moving isn't an option, but something else might ease the burden if you can find it - like finding someone who travels regularly between France and the U.S. in a private plane, or if your husband has a military background, getting him on MAC flights that would allow more frequent travel between the two locations for less cost.

What non-confrontational solutions can you brainstorm to ease his conflict for him?
 

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My husband and I have been married for 12 years & have 3 boys (10, 7, 3).*My husband is 43 & I am 34.*He is very laid back and I am the entrepreneur of the couple. We have always had a balanced & open relationship, where we would complement each other. We were best friends and our marriage has been very good.

We lived in CO, while my parents were in France (I'm French), & my in-laws lived in CA, near their other son & wife.
From the very first day, my Mother-In-Law wished for us to move near her & was sad to see her son get a job in CO, where we went to live.

All was well, visiting the in-laws often, until 4 years ago, I got seriously ill & my husband got overwhelmed with taking care of me, our young children & work. My Mother-In-Law offered to come & stay with us for 3 months to help us out (or help him help me). I had been bedridden & made many trips to the hospital. It'd been a very stressful time for all of us.
My Mother In Law then returned to CA after 3 months for her husband got diagnosed with cancer.

A few months later, my husband & I agreed that I had to leave CO for my health had a hard time copping with the altitude. My Mother In Law saw, at once, the opportunity to convince us to move to CA, near her. However, for financial decisions, we opted for my home country, France, where we qualified for a program that offered to pay us $1000/ month plus cheap housing, for families like mine with 3 children (not insignificant!). It was buying us time to rebuilt our shattered life without emptying all of our savings.
Thus I left CO with our children in 2009, leaving my husband behind in the States to sell the house.

We remained separated 3-6 months at a time, on several occasions for 2 years, during which time he flew many times back & forth & visited his folks as well. The physical seperation had been very hard to cope for us as a couple, but our ties I thought remained very strong.

When my husband finally returned to us to stay, I kept finding him distant & not involved. I first blamed the fact that he had a hard time adjusting to the French language, which he did not speak well, that it'd take time for him to find work here, etc.
However, he kept telling me “he felt guilty that his Dad had been sick in CA & he was so far away”.

Then, listening to his phone conversations with his parents, I slowly started realizing that my Mother-In-Law was at the source of this guilt. She'd been crying on command on the phone, saying that the dad was so sick, agonizing, starving to death, that she did not know what else to do, that his dad loved him so much, etc. I saw my husband go through so many ups & downs emotionally, it was mental torture for him & for me.

I asked him 'do you think your Mom is upset we moved even further away from her?', he answered 'no, I asked her & she is fine with it.” At the time, I believed it innocently, but now I am realizing that she carefully chooses her words & knows how to lure without asking.

It is important to note that my husband left the States in August 2011, that we saw his parents 4 months later, in CA, for an entire month, then again 5 months later, they came to France for another month. We had seen the dad who was in poor health but able to travel & do quite a bit physically.

Then two month later from their last visit, my mother-In-Law called, sobbing, telling us that dad was under morphine & did not know how to get him back home since they were at her sister's house, & she wanted him to die at home not anywhere else. Their special travel insurance had refused to cover his return home (odd to begin with), & she almost convinced my husband to fly from France to the States to help them fly home. However, I could not understand why the other brother, who lives right next to them, was not asked to help. The answer was that the other brother was not attentive to the dad & was too busy with baseball season. I had a hard time believing that the dad was dying and yet the other son who has a fair relationship with his dad, was playing baseball. Finally, because my husband asked his uncle to help, they ended up returning home by regular plane without any help or any problems.

Two weeks later after this event, we receive another call, claiming the dad was dying, with much tears & drama, she convinced my husband to drop everything to come see his dying dad. We thought that there was a sudden complication & he was suddenly dying.
I asked him to verify the situation with his brother & wife. They all seemed to be convinced as well that these were the last days of the dad (as they talked to us from the Mother In Law's house). My husband flew to CA, panicked, fearing to miss seeing his dad alive one last time, one day before our 12th anniversary (3rd wedding anniversary apart), to be with his dad..... or should I say his mom, for once he got there, he realized that his dad was still kicking & was not about to die (thank God!!).

Before my husband left, I had noticed that my Mother-In-Law's tone changed drastically from weeping & wailing to joyous and laughing after my husband said 'I'm coming' , which made me suddenly doubt her motives.

She never once asked for him to come, but played it so that my husband felt guilty. When he asked her 'Mom, do you want me to come?”, she answered while crying “I don't know”. When he finally said, “I'm coming”, she responded with a normal & happy voice, 'I've been praying for you to come. You need to be here”.
I had received the most lovely email from her a few days before, saying how much I was like a daughter to her, the one she had always hoped for... and made sure she cced her son.

*I had a hard time realizing what was going on because she never did that before or at least I never realized she had.**If you met her, you would think she's the nicest MIL in the world, devoted Christian, etc.***I had always loved my Mother In Law, believed her & I have been nice to her, doing it her way, fading away during their visits to let them have a good time together with their son, etc. I had been warned by her close entourage that she seemed to 'exaggerate' her stories. I had also noticed that she was the most helpful & nice individual to others & then would criticizes them heavily when not there. However, I had never judged her for it.

Now that my husband is in CA, she is telling him that without him coming & his help, his dad would have died, she tells him sob stories that she has never been loved by her parents, siblings, in-laws, even by her other son, despite her loving them and caring for them so much. That the only 2 people that love her are the 'dying' dad & her favorite son. In other words, she burdens his conscious with the necessity of his presence, to keep the dad alive thanks to his care. It also implies that if the dad ends up dying, she'd be all alone & miserable. My husband believes her without a glimpse of a doubt, and gets overly mad at me for trying to open his eyes & tell him the manipulation he is under.

My husband had always been 'different' in the presence of his mother, but it never affected me much. I was just being patient waiting for the visit to end to have my real husband back; however here I feel my couple & family unit is being threaten. He blindly trusts her, believes her rearranged truths & rejects violently my warnings. I am left with 3 kids, trying to work , rebuild our lives all by myself. I have the greatest fear to see my husband leave us .... for his mother.

His plane ticket is for 3 months (not 3 weeks, he opted all by himself to go for 3 months). He says he will return before the 3 month mark if his dad does better, but this would require a miracle. I am fearing it'd stay longer if the dad's condition gets worse. However, even if he returns home before, I am afraid it'll be with a bad conscious towards his dad or his mom. He will continue growing more & more lukewarm towards us, & on my end, I am afraid that I will grow resentful for him leaving us on a wimp of his mother, and barely looking back.

I am torn with the feeling of wanting him back & yet the hurt because he left us, me and our children, neglected. Should I tell him, should I not? Should I show my support for his dad's condition or should I show him I'm unhappy & stop pursuing him openly. If I express my worries, I appear as the bad guy, the heartless wife that does not care of the family trauma. If I don't, it is going to eat me alive. If/when he returns, it will be difficult because he would have been under the control of his mother & on my end I'll be disgusted by his choices.

I am very heartbroken and hurt.**I love him a lot and I know deep down he loves me too.**We were the perfect couple, we had such magic. But now that my mother in law sees the end of her own couple, she wants her favorite son back & is using the dying dad as a lure. She remains flawless in her acting, always loving, smiling, caring & is always the victim.

The worst might still be coming if she starts brainwashing him against me, criticizing me like I have witnessed her do it to others. This is all based on a selfish desire to have him near & to control him.**He blindly trusts her, he doesn't have the guts to stand up for what's right.***I want my husband back, but he fails to see the truth.**I would have never thought she was like that, but boy was a I wrong!*
I don't know how to get through this.**

PS sorry this is a bit long, but too many details.
Wow. I dislike in-laws. Sadly. I always wanted to be close to my in-laws, until I actually had them. I don't know why, but I just had to get the kind like you're writing about.

Your husband should care more about you and the kids. His mother *should* already have a good social circle, where she lives, to help them out. If she's made absolutely no friends, that says a lot about her. Likewise, if she isn't like that with the other kids.

I would tell your husband's siblings everything that's going on. They have lived with her, they would know far more about what's going on in her head. The fact that you almost lost your own life, yourself, and she's pulling that is unimaginable. It's just horrible. I would tell his siblings she's got your family near the point where he's going to lose his wife and kids. It sounds like you're there. If there are any trusted family friends, I would also be tempted to ask them for advise, but only with those you trust to keep it confidential. She doesn't even want your grandchildren to have a father, let alone want him being a husband.

She's probably doing that because he lets her. If he put his foot down, she would stop.
 

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I too am in this situation. Mine won't marry me legally though and keeps coming and going back and forth. He says he left due to his dying grandmother but he had plans to leave before that. He says we have a covenant marriage but won't make that legal commitment with me. His mom I think coexed him into living with her again and i'm very confused by all of it. I have kids from another relationship and they see all of this confusion too. He seems to lack the ability to empathize and sees it one way only..his way. The last time he left I told him to go because of the marriage confusion and how I had consulted with a counselor. Then I asked him to stay not really meaning he should go but just wanted him to realize how hurt I am. I asked him to stay but he went storming off without even saying goodbye. He said my family is the most messed up family he's ever met, so after that I just left things alone. How can I be in love with a man that treats me so cruel. I have just found my peace with moving on..he's lost me too many times to count and I've been a sucker and stuck around. Not this time, i'm too tired for this.
 
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