My husband died and I don’t want to keep living with his parents

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a woman in my 40s. My husband died from an illness last year, and I am now living with my daughter and his parents.

I’ve been living with my in-laws for about 10 years, and my mother-in-law bothers me with her cruel words and actions.

She verbally abuses me with her shouting when she doesn’t like or is dissatisfied with something I do, and she has no problem lying to me. No matter how busy I am, she never cooperates with me — not one bit.

Furthermore, my in-laws, even though they have their own room, leave their things in the living room and just stay there, which means I can’t invite my parents or friends to the house.

It has come to the point where I want to leave the house and sever my relationship with them. But my husband built the house and I would like to leave it to my only daughter.

I put up with living with them because I thought the time would come when it would be just the three of us living together.

But my husband died and the unbearable pain and burden of living with them are weighing me down.

On the one hand, they are my husband’s parents and I think I should take care of them in the future. But on the other, I don’t want to be involved with them because of the years of horrible experiences.

Is it selfish that I don’t want to live with them?

J, Fukuoka Prefecture

Dear Ms. J:

I understand the feeling that as your in-laws are not related by blood, you no longer want to be involved with them. Some people completely disassociate themselves from their spouses’ relatives by submitting a “notification of termination of marital relations” after their spouse dies. It is sometimes called a “post-death divorce.”

If they had taken good care of you, it would be another story. But since it seems your memories of them are generally negative, no one would considerate it selfish if you terminated your relationship with them.

The problem is the house.

You said your husband built it. Who is the nominal owner of the house? If you and your daughter inherit it, which is what commonly happens, your in-laws would be the ones leaving.

If you feel sorry for them, though, you could let them live there for free or rent it to them cheaply, then give it to your daughter in the future.

But if you have issues with them about the house, you should consider using free legal consultations or mediation with the family court.

Never be at the mercy of your in-laws.

I imagine you must be very tired from the sadness of losing your husband. However, you’re still in your 40s, just halfway through your life. I hope you will continue to live life in your own way.

Masahiro Yamada,university professor