My in-laws want keys to our house!?

Home Forums Complicated Situation / Mixed Signals My in-laws want keys to our house!?

This topic contains 19 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  dixit 6 years, 3 months ago.

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 20 total)
  • Author
  • #526280 Reply

    Lisa K

    Hi ladies! I’m desperate for your advice!

    Long story short, my in-laws are asking for a set of keys to our new house. My MIL is struggling from empty nest syndrome and my husband is the only child… And we’re Asians, so you know the story. We are living an hour away by flight. They would always abruptly pop in to town without letting us know ahead and we’ll have to change our plans last minute just to accomodate them, or else.. MIL would think I’m stealing her son away! I’ll spare you more stories…

    Now, the problem is my husband will never say no to his mom no matter how reluctant, how disagreeing he is. But I know once they have the keys… there would be no turning back. They would come and go as they please. I love them and treat them like my own parents, but I think this is a bit overboard. Even my own parents won’t invade our privacy. Reasoning with them even in the gentlest way would do no good… she has a very different mentally and a different approach in loving her son. More importantly, I don’t want to get into any argument with my husband because of this.

    I really don’t want this matter to put a dent into our beautiful and loving marriage!

    What would you do? :(

    #526283 Reply


    Just say, No… No… No!

    #526288 Reply

    Lisa K

    Raven, I wish things were this easy!

    It happened once before on a different scenario, I got into a little bawl with my hubby because of my MiL. We never really argue about anything.. Our relationship is wonderful! Whenever there’s a quarrel.. You know why.. I know how much he loves and listens to his mother no matter how absurd she is… So there’s no way he would say no to her.

    #526292 Reply


    Boy oh boy, what a pickle….boy oh boy.

    I am sorry…this is a very tough situation. He wants to be a good son and he loves his mother which is good for you since he will love you very very much.

    You are already accomodating them when they come into town…putting your plans behind theirs so honestly this is not too different (I feel for you I really do). There would be one stipulation I would insist on…that they call before they come over. Since the son is giving up the keys he (and you) should get something in return….that is respect both ways.

    I also lived in a family that insisted on very strong respect going upwards….my father was very demanding in his relationship with me…even after marriage….it was hard on me to say to the man that had given me so much “I am an adult and I need adult distance to create my life”. I never said those words but we had some fights about my responsibilities to my parents over different things during my marriage. My husband at the time never got involved, he let me handle it…and that was good. But, I did succeed in creating some boundaries without too much damage.

    The son can also have a calm discussion with his mother and say, “Mom, I love you. You do understand that I am married now and I do want you and Dad to understand that things have changed and I am starting my own life with my wife and hopefully children some day. I very much want both of you to be a large part of my new life and feel free to come over, but I also want adult respect that you would call ahead first so I can plan my days with my family too.”

    You do not get involved in this…you stay in the background. You cannot win a fight regarding his parents…you can influence but cannot win. I am sorry but this is the man you married and you married his family as well.

    Also, give them a key to the front door but keep it locked from the inside when you are home so they cannot just walk in on you.

    #526308 Reply

    Lisa K


    Yes, you’re absolutely right. Thanks for sharing your story. I totally understand how you feel/felt.

    My hubby could try doing the whole “sit down and talk” thing, but it could go very wrong as the MIL might think “What’s the big deal?” and just totally miss the point and instead, get upset that we’re rejecting her request. We’ll have to think how to do this tactfully, but it’s a toughie.

    I like the compromise that they at least have to call (way) ahead before dropping by as I would hate coming home after a tiring day at work, to see the MIL sipping tea on my couch, saying “I am here to surprise my son! Tadah!!”

    Thanks for the advice on not getting involved as I definitely don’t want to be the woman between him and his mother. I think that’s very sound advice.

    #526317 Reply


    I would advise you to have two different locks, the bottom lock and top lock (deadbolt). Give her the key to only one. Always lock the other one.

    If a time comes when she tries to get in and cannot, tell her you’re sorry she couldn’t get in and you will have another key made for the second lock. Never have it made. Just keep saying you will do it.

    In this way you’ve given her a key, and if it comes to it you’ll tell her you’ll get her the second key. Just don’t do it.

    This may seem silly, but really, your situation is very complicated and requires tact to save face for her while also maintaining your own personal boundaries. I’m afraid the direct approach just won’t work.

    #526326 Reply


    I would tell your husband you would like him to attend several family counseling sessions. One with you and him, one with him and his parents, one for just his parents, and one with all of you together. There are deep underlying issues here that would best be solved by a professional. Ultimately and unfortunately your husband has to pick between his wife and his mother.

    I was in a similar situations with a very LTR ex, where he would never defend my and always defer to his mom. Ultimately I left him because I didn’t feel like I could depend on him.

    You have to know this is only going to get worse if you decide to have children. She will dictate how you raise them, and then what?

    #526548 Reply


    This is a difficult situation that most of us have to go through!

    Non-westernized Asians believe that any sort of counseling, therapy etc is for abnormal or crazy people… The last thing you do is to tell your typical Asians in-laws to attend a counseling session.

    #526568 Reply


    Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea…

    Hollie is right- counselling won’t do anything except make the MIL raise a stinker in the house and drive a possibly insurmountable wedge between the family.

    Like what RCS says, make sure they call before they come- just say, “Mum, we hope to know when you can come, so that we can buy (her favourite food/drink) for you, or prepare the room for you so you can rest/sleep after that long journey” etc. Just twist so that they think you have their interests in mind.

    Keys wise…good idea. just make sure your husband is on the same page. You don’t want her to ask you twice for the keys, then get fed-up and ask your husband and he gives her his straightaway…

    #526574 Reply


    This is not helpful advice… But I would surely do some processing about my relationship – if I have no say to who gets to enter MY house …

    #526579 Reply


    Sorry for the bad advice. White people love therapy.

    #526590 Reply

    Lisa K

    Thanks, everyone for the valuable advice. I’m truly at a lost on this.

    I’m actually chuckling to myself imagining the MIL’s face when she realises there’s another lock. That could actually work

    That is actually very good advise, but yes, unfortunately, it wouldn’t work in my situation due to the clash of cultures

    @Hollie and @Mierin
    Yeap therapy/counseling would indeed make things much worse, in my case

    I do hate being in this situation

    To clarify, my husband does his best in standing up for me and has occasionally gotten into fights with is mom (with her ignoring him/cutting him off for many days). I guess in this situation, it’s a bit more sensitive because he can’t give an acceptable (by the MIL’s standards) reason to say No.
    Privacy is of course, very valued by me and many people in the world. But obviously to the MIL, she is not an “outsider”, so she wouldn’t understand the need for privacy…from her.

    I am just trying to give her point of view and why she thinks it’s perfectly OK to request for a set of our house keys.

    It is this very reason why I am in such a pickle…sigh

    #526600 Reply


    This is not ‘Asian culture’ alone…

    Over protective/over bearing mothers & mamas boys have been around for ages in all cultures.

    Is there someone who could mediate for you?

    #526603 Reply


    First you have to realize that you’re not doing anything wrong or being “disrespectful” for not allowing his mother to dictate your life. Then you have to discuss how you feel with your husband in the most direct, yet assertive way possible and just tell him that got love and air his mother but there’s just things you don’t feel are appropriate and this happens to be one of them. Mom’s that use guilt trips as control ploys are used to making their children “feel bad” for things that are absolutely absurd in the reality of life. It’s going to be difficult to stand ground but if you budge on this, expect MANY future instances of dictation *the worst being how you should be raising your children. Deal with it as directly and respectfully as you can. You’re an adult, you’ve made this decision, it’s not something you’re willing to compromise on, end of discussion. Obviously be as tactful and gentle as possible, but don’t flinch. She sounds like a bold, commanding woman herself, maybe she’ll “like” you more as a doormat, but she’ll RESPECT you more with a backbone. Which do you prefer?

    #526604 Reply


    Tough situation! Good luck!! I’d also recommend appeasing her in every other way possible and continuously stroking her ego/giving her control of things where you can afford to do so in order to remain on her “good side”. It’ll make her feel that this isn’t you “fighting her”, just something you feel strongly about

    #526605 Reply


    *you love & adore his mother

    #526612 Reply


    I do understand it is a culture thing…and it can be a non-culture thingy too.

    Your husband can also slip into a conversation that although your parents are also Asian they have not requested a set of keys. Again, very very carefully.

    That might get the MIL thinking a little…when she sees that her daughter in law does not have these bindings. If I am wrong say so but in your culture would not the MIL be the head of the family in the sense that traditionally you would have lived with her and her rules your rules? Or is that old European culture only? The reason I ask is if she is harkening back to the old ways your husband might also very carefully point out where she herself has not totally followed tradition anymore being in a freer culture…how she has changed to fit where she lives…just a thought. Like, “Hey Mom, I noticed your new haircut, getting stylish now huh?”

    Like I said, I would not say all these things at once…but slip these things in during other conversations…like, “yeah, a friend of mine Jack is having a problem with his sister who wants to live with him and his wife…blah blah…. This brings up shadows of this problem and how your husband feels about situations like this to his mother indirectly without direct confrontation with her…she can freely state her opinions on Jack and his sister and so can your husband…but she will also get a sense of just how her son feels about things… One has to be very clever to pull this off over time but it works.

    #526614 Reply

    Miss Missy

    Ask her for keys to HER house. See if she likes the idea of poor boundaries and privacy invaded!

    #528638 Reply

    Lisa K

    @Jenny, your advise made me feel a lot better!
    The first line, “First you have to realize that you’re not doing anything wrong or being “disrespectful” for not allowing his mother to dictate your life”…really helped because I guess part of me does feel bad and sometimes I wonder if I’m just “kicking up a fuss” (although I know I’m not, really). What I like about forums like these are that I am assured that I’m the sane one haha

    Just to share a little bit, I did lose it once and yelled out my feelings. While I felt good and don’t regret it one bit, it only served to make her angrier and her telling my husband how She never raised her voice at Her MIL

    @redcurlysue yet again, great advise from you
    I never thought of slipping in stories about “other” people to make her think.

    @MissMissy haha I should

    #528644 Reply


    I’m sorry you’re going through such difficulties. I really don’t see why she should have the keys when they live so far. My parents have the keys of my sister’s house but that’s because she lives a mile from them and they often bring her or her children something, or go out with her dogs or water her flowers when she’s not home. And once when she lost her keys it was really handy she could just come to our parent’s and take use their keys. What’s more important, they would never just show up in her house without calling her first. Also, my brother lives much further and they don’t have keys to his house and never even asked for it because there’s no point.

    I would try to explain that there really isn’t a single reason why she should have your keys. Furthermore, letting you know she’s coming in advance is the basic courtesy. Or better, she should ASK whether she may come, not just let you know. If she accepted this, there really wouldn’t be much difference in whether she has the keys or not. Good luck.

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 20 total)
Reply To: My in-laws want keys to our house!?
Your information:

<blockquote> <code> <pre> <em> <strong> <ul> <ol start=""> <li>