Male Psychology: Why I Can’t Entertain the Thought of Moving in with Father In-law

Well, here I am again.  This time less political and more focused on self reflection.  You may not be aware, but I am a husband and father.  With this comes many primal instincts.  One very important one is the role of provider and protector.  My wife is an incredible capable woman and we both work full time to afford our life and care for our family.

One thing we need to get better at is budgeting and following the budget we set.  It is a will power thing and we both need to hit the old will power gym to strengthen that particular muscle.

Recent events created a scenario where we needed to discuss our finances and it came up that we could move in with her father and save a ton of money.  The idea of that makes me sick to my stomach.  I told her that I am having a hard time entertaining the idea because it says failure to me, but it isn’t just that.  It is a visceral primal feeling, not only of failure, but of emasculation.  I would be abdicating my role as father and husband with this decision.  Beyond that, it shows her father that I cannot take care of his little girl and our family.  It is as good as showing the alpha ape that I’m a weak member of the group and can’t be counted on to pull my own weight.

The only circumstances, from my perspective, that justify this decision are an inability to achieve the housing requirements for my family on our own (lost job and no safety net left).  In that case, the situation will be such that we have to burden her father with this and my feelings of failure will be rightly justified.  To do it as a means to save extra money is a bitter pill to try and swallow.

I work to provide for my family.  That is the main reason I grind out the days.  If I didn’t have a family to provide for, I’d be far more willing to do something I enjoy even if it paid little or no money.

Aside from that, it doesn’t even solve our problem.  Our problem is, we suck at budgets.  We can make them, but we do a shitty job of following them.  I’m the first one to receive the blame on this and I have to do better, but moving in with the father in-law doesn’t solve that.  In fact, I think it would make it worse.  If we are living rent free, going “over budget” here or there isn’t as big a deal.  We aren’t forced to practice the good habits that will lead to long term monetary health.

We want to buy a house now, but we can’t afford it.  We are working our way out of debt and are not in a position to pay down debt and save significantly for the down payment on a home.  In reality, it will be ten years before we can realistically afford to purchase a house.  In order to achieve that goal we will need to have much better practices with our money.  This is an opportunity to learn.

I think my wife see’s it as that as well.  I think she would say, why can’t we do both, and that’s valid, but there is still the matter of my role identity. It isn’t a simple thing to overcome.  Writing this now, I feel somewhat better in general, but I still have beyond no desire to move into her fathers house.  He is a great guy and I respect him, that’s part of the reason I don’t want to do this.  I respect him and we both have similar feelings on self reliance.

Even though I don’t think he would judge me, because it was actually his idea, I would judge me.  Our money problems aren’t so great that we can’t overcome them on our own, but he suggested it would be nice to have us living with him because his wife recently passed and he is lonely.  I totally understand that, but is it really a good reason to uproot our lives?  There are benefits, but I believe it would destroy me.  In order for me to willingly walk to my own identity destruction, the stakes must be very high, they aren’t that high yet.

At the end of the day, I’m probably being a bit of a chauvinistic asshole, but I rarely am, so I’m listening to my instincts right now.  Since I turned eighteen, I’ve always had a place that was mine, even when it was half a living room in the ant infested basement of a chopped up rental home.  I will gladly sacrifice myself for my family, but I wont sacrifice myself for money.

It would probably mean we could afford a house in five years instead of ten, but is the fallout worth it?  I would never be the same person and I don’t think I would be a better person.  I think this is a decision that makes me weaker.  It is taking an easier road when difficulty is presented.  I would always have that hanging over me.

Perhaps there is some challenge to be had.  If the primary motive is to help her father with his loneliness, then it is a valiant decision for me to put aside my personal issues and do something difficult for me in an effort to help someone else.  I would insist on paying rent, but that would defeat the secondary purpose of the move.

On the other hand, if the goal is to prevent him from going into a deep depression, then I don’t think it is right to put our family into that environment.  The odds are very low that we will prevent the depression and we will be more likely become victims in the depressions wake if it come to that.  I don’t know what it’s like to lose someone so close to you, so I can’t imagine the grief.  I want to be sympathetic, but I don’t want to subject my family to the difficulty of the grieving process for him.  I don’t think he would harm anyone, but it wouldn’t be fair to put our family into that position.

We all have our own paths to walk.  This isn’t how I saw my path, it seems there is a fork in the road.

Stay Safe Out There,

~SH