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My Burden, My Parents in Law

DEAR AUNTIE ABENA,

I don’t know if I need advice. I do need it even though I know what to do but I’m just a fed up human being with what’s happening.

My wife and I have been married for 13 years with 3 adorable kids and a thriving business together. She’s my soulmate and my ride or die partner. We have issues often but it’s normal between partners and she’s always willing for us to resolve those differences so we’ve never gotten to point of thinking of separation. I’m nothing without her.

My problem is with her family especially her parents. They were suddenly thrown out of their rented house in our 5 year of marriage. Their former landlord died and his junky son removed all the slates on the tenant’s rooms and sacked them. I quickly rented an apartment for them and paid the usual 2 years.

I thought I was done until 3 months before the rent renewal was due, they told my wife to inform me to renew it. I asked her if they expected me to be renewing their rent for them henceforth because they have kids outside the country. She spoke to her eldest brothers who refused to help so I was forced to renew the rent on behalf of my wife if you will call it that. The next 2 years too the same thing.

My parents live in their own house so they’re sorted but I still take care of them, I’m taking care of my family as well as other responsibilities, I can’t carry an extra weight of rent renewal so I sat my parents in law down last year and told them to gather some money and buy a piece of land. Either half a plot or full.

I’ll renew their rent for 2 years and then build a single room with toilet and bath on their land for them so that by the time the 2 years is up for another renewal they can move in. Instead of having to pay another rent making 10 years.

The first question they asked me was why would I build just a single room when their other 2 kids are living with them. (I’ll explain about those 2 later). I told them that I can’t pay 2 years rent and build 2 or 3 rooms within 2 years. If they can talk to their kids outside then we could all contribute to build a room each. They didn’t look happy but I’d said my piece and wouldn’t back down.

Now back to the two staying with them. Their youngest is in UPS and will be returning to school next year January. The one born before her is currently working but got into a fight with his landlord over his bad acts in the house and was sacked. He doesn’t do anything to help his parents. He takes a very good pay and can save for just 3 months to get a decent accomodation but his parents aren’t pushing him to do it and he’s refusing to listen to any advice. He can help me with some funds to build but he’s not interested and has never liked me anyway because he’d wanted his sister to marry his friend but she refused.

Now back to my issue with their parents. I renewed their rent and waited for them to buy the land. I always called to ask them but they started talking as if I was forcing them and would give me an excuse after another. I told my wife to inform them that I won’t renew rent for a 10th year so when the next one is due which is to pay for the 4th time, that’s it I’m done. By next year February I’d have paid for rent for 8 years for them.

What they told her was that if I continue to pay rent for them, is it a sin? That it’s my contribution for being their son in-law. Herself got angry and called her elder siblings abroad on a conference call and called them irresponsible and stingy for refusing to help me when I told them about the building. One of them is building his own place (left with plastering and other finishing works) but is refusing to accommodate his parents because of his wife. She also went to inform her younger brother to quickly go and rent his own house because he can’t continue to live with his parents rent free for almost 4 years without contributing a dime. This is currently a fight between them as he’s bearing grudge against her.

Auntie Abena, my parents inlaw are begging me to renew for them because they haven’t bought the land but are promising to do so by the end of the next year. They are also begging me to build at least 2 rooms on it for them. My wife says no, I shouldn’t renew the rent next year and shouldn’t build anything should they buy the land before then.

She wants them to face eviction to force her siblings to help pay the rent. I understand her but my problem is the backlash will fall on me since I promised them to renew their rent next year. My wife’s problem is her family is too comfortable with me doing this for them that should I renew the rent, they still won’t buy the land. What do you also think? Thank you.

Let’s chat on Hujambo

Written by Abena Magis

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