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Author Topic: Family member long term guest..  (Read 18814 times)

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saki

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Family member long term guest..
« on: September 15, 2010, 12:07:05 PM »
Background:  my brother-in-law has a job in our city which may or may not turn out to be permanent, until he knows whether or not this will be the case, he doesnít want to commit to renting a room in our city for various good reasons.  He is not doing well financially generally, he was unemployed for quite a while before this job so he has a fair amount of debt Ė Iím not exactly sure how much but itís clear that heís only just scraping by.  We said that he could could stay with us for three months as that was the trial period.  Itís pretty much the end of that three months now.  Also potentially relevant, my husband works away from home during the week so itís basically just me who sees his brother as he goes back to where his fiancee lives at the weekends.

Now, the situation with his job has changed and it looks like the company wonít need him for a couple of months and then heíll come back but still on a trial basis. Understandably, he would still like to stay with us Ė he hasnít explicitly asked yet, but heís hinted around it and I know itís coming.

Iíd rather not have him back at all, to be honest.  For the first six weeks, he didnít pick up after himself in the house Ė e.g. would spill something and just leave it Ė and, although thatís improved since we had a serious talk with him, he still only does the very bare minimum (e.g. heíll put his own stuff in the dishwasher but will ignore even just a teaspoon or a mug that Iíve left by the sink) and when heís staying with us rent and bills free, I do find that a bit on the ungrateful side.  He seems to think that picking up after himself is a big favour that heís granted us and occasionally announces in a very ďgive me my medalĒ way that heís taking out the garbage or whatever.

Iím also a serious introvert and heís not only very extroverted Ė so likes to talk to me a lot Ė but is also someone who is somehow very there in the house.   He works shorter hours than me and never goes out in the evenings so heís basically there all the time that Iím in the house, whenever heís in the house heís either watching TV or playing Xbox or having a loud phone conversation with his fiancee or talking to me.  It drives me kinda nuts that I canít, even for a couple of minutes, have quiet in the house.  Our house is one where sound carries so itís not that heís got the TV or Xbox on really loudly, itís reasonable volume, itís just still audible around the house.  He also has a tendency to ask about what youíre doing and stuff, e.g. ďWhatís that letter? What are you eating? What are you looking at?Ē etc and it drives me crazy.

I am Ė though it may not seem that way from the above Ė genuinely very fond of him and I want him not to lose this job because he canít afford to stay in our city.  I think heíd have a tough time finding another job and I would like to help him out.  My husband and I have discussed it and weíve decided that six months in total with us would be our hard limit - i.e. another three months after he comes back from his sabbatical. 

I have two questions:

Firstly, how can we tell him politely but firmly, when he asks that six months in total is the most that weíre happy to have him to stay?  Iím worried that he simply doesnít have the financial resources to rent a room in our city and so, after the six months, will tell us that he doesnít have the money and guilt trip us into having him to stay for longer.  At the moment, he claims at least that he barely has enough money for food and I canít really see how heís going to a) save up money for a deposit and b) have enough free every month for rent.  Is there a way that we can ask for more details of how he plans to get this money together?  Or do we just have to trust him and be firm at the end of the six month period?

Secondly, Iíd be ok with him staying for longer than six months if he committed to spending an evening a week outside the house, doing an activity or something Ė it would really help me to stay sane and control my introvert crazy issues.  Is this something that is just too rude to say to someone and liable to offend him totally or would it be unfair not to offer this as an option given that it would a big financial difference to him if he could stay with us for longer?  Or is this perhaps something to bring up if he asks to stay for longer than the six months?  My husband thinks itís just too rude to bring up as an option.  Iím inclined to think heís right but Iím not totally sure.

wheeitsme

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Re: Family member long term guest..
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2010, 12:19:24 PM »
I'd ask him if he doesn't make enough to save up for a room while living rent-free with you'all, how is he EVER going to afford a place to live if he ends up staying in your city?
And see what he says...

saki

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Re: Family member long term guest..
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2010, 12:22:20 PM »
I'd ask him if he doesn't make enough to save up for a room while living rent-free with you'all, how is he EVER going to afford a place to live if he ends up staying in your city?



Well, if he gets made permanent, his salary will go up.  I don't think that the increase will quite cover it but it will go some way to covering it.  The problem is that I don't know if or when he'll be made permanent.  I could ask my dad (he's working for my dad's company) but I don't want to pressure my dad into making him permanent so I'd rather not.

atirial

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Re: Family member long term guest..
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2010, 12:25:12 PM »
I'd ask him if he doesn't make enough to save up for a room while living rent-free with you'all, how is he EVER going to afford a place to live if he ends up staying in your city?
And see what he says...
POD.

There is nothing rude about setting a time limit on how long someone can stay, as long as you do it politely. Since you are doing him the favour of letting him stay surely he should be at least helping around the house and trying not to inconvenience his hosts. A serious question, but is there a YMCA or hostel near you that he could stay in? The rents are usually a lot lower than an apartment, and you could store any stuff he was worried about without having to give him space.

Oxymoroness

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Re: Family member long term guest..
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2010, 12:29:31 PM »
Well, the good news is that it was a trial...

So have another sit-down and layout some terms and house rules that he must agree to. If he doesn't sign, or doesn't follow them, then he will not be staying with you.

saki

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Re: Family member long term guest..
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2010, 12:30:06 PM »

There is nothing rude about setting a time limit on how long someone can stay, as long as you do it politely. Since you are doing him the favour of letting him stay surely he should be at least helping around the house and trying not to inconvenience his hosts. A serious question, but is there a YMCA or hostel near you that he could stay in? The rents are usually a lot lower than an apartment, and you could store any stuff he was worried about without having to give him space.

I know I can set a time limit, I'm just not sure how to say it?  I get the sense that he thinks we're big meanies for not wanting him to stay indefinitely because we have a spare room.

Hostels in my city are just as expensive as a room in a shared house which would be nicer.  Apartments are totally out of the question - most people in my city rent rooms in shared houses at this stage in their careers.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Family member long term guest..
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2010, 12:39:54 PM »
I think I'd start off the conversation before he asks.  And I'd put the condition of having an outside activity 1 evening a week as part of the offer to stay with you guys for another 3 months.

BiL, we've discussed and would we are willing to have you stay with us for another 3 months but with a couple of conditions.  First, we need you to take on more responsibility for keeping the house up.  You'll need to handle empyting the dishwasher every day, take the trash out nightly, and do the yard work so DD doesn't have to do it when he comes home on weekends giving he and I more free time (or whatever chores you want to hand out).  I also would like to have one evening a week with the house alone.  I'm sure you can find an activity that will get you out of the house for a 3 hour period each week.  Just remember, when you return, it's for 3 months only and you'll need to plan your finances accordingly.  I know being off this coming 2 months could put a strain on you but you'll want to keep that in mind.


wheeitsme

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Re: Family member long term guest..
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2010, 12:44:09 PM »

Secondly, Iíd be ok with him staying for longer than six months if he committed to spending an evening a week outside the house, doing an activity or something Ė it would really help me to stay sane and control my introvert crazy issues.  Is this something that is just too rude to say to someone and liable to offend him totally or would it be unfair not to offer this as an option given that it would a big financial difference to him if he could stay with us for longer?  Or is this perhaps something to bring up if he asks to stay for longer than the six months?  My husband thinks itís just too rude to bring up as an option.  Iím inclined to think heís right but Iím not totally sure.


I don't think it would be rude if done at the right time, in the right way.  

For the present, I think maybe you could say:

We've discussed it, and at this time we feel we can help support you by letting you stay with us rent free for 3 months, again.  We were all a little new to the situation at the beginning of the last 3 months, and with that experience under our belt, we have been able to set up some ground rules for when we let people stay with us for longer than 2 weeks.  

First, we aren't comfortable sharing our home for more than 3 months at a time. We expect those we let stay with us to respect the rules of our home.  In this house, people pick up after themselves.  The help out with cleaning and chores on a regular basis.  We have quiet hours.  We respect each others privacy.  (add anything else you feel is needed - just make it neutral about ANY long term person, and not just him).
« Last Edit: September 15, 2010, 01:18:32 PM by wheeitsme »

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Family member long term guest..
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2010, 12:44:20 PM »
Can you talk frankly with him?  I'd just flat out tell him that having him there all evening every evening is totally stressing you out because you are an introvert.  You need some time to yourself.  That you are willing to help him out but that he has to make an effort to be as unobtrusive as possible.  Which means he picks up after himself, helps you out doing things around the house when you need him to, gives you space and privacy, etc.  I don't think asking him to absent himself for a couple of hours one evening a week to give you recharge time is unreasonable.  There are lots of things he could do that wouldn't cost any money and a lot more that might have a small fee.

Write up an agreement which clearly states what you expect of him, what he can expect of you, consequences for not adhering to the agreement and include a date by which the agreement ends.  If he holds up his end of the bargain then you can renegotiate at that time.

And may I say, saki, that you are a wonderful SIL to have even agreed to this in the first place.  There is no way I would have for my brother or SIL.  I would have killed them inside three weeks if I'd had to live with one of them.   :)

ETA:  Apparently pame and I think alike!
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Kaypeep

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Re: Family member long term guest..
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2010, 12:51:31 PM »
I think if you are willing to let him stay again, albeit with different house rules, then have a sit down with him and tell him that you are open to having him live with you, but he needs to understand there will be changes this time if he wants to stay.  Let him know what is expected of him beforehand (including extra chores, not just cleaning up after himself) and let him know that if he's not comfortable with these changes then you won't be offended if he looks for another living option.  There's nothing rude with setting the terms up front.  In fact, I would draft up the new term house rules and have him sign a copy if he agrees to stay. He should be giving you money for groceries and utilities, too.


He should be doing more if he's going to be a semi-permanent part of the household, especially if you're doing him such a favor since he can't afford to stay on his own.  And you are entitled to let him know that his long-term visit requires sacrifices on YOUR part, too such as your routines, your quiet and your privacy.  

Also, I think you CAN tell him that you want some alone time once a week, and suggest he go out with coworkers or whatever.  It's your house. You and DH should be allowed some private time.  So perhaps say that one of the terms to him staying over is that every other Friday (or whatever night) is you and DH night, where you want to be alone at the house until 11 pm.  So he should plan to be out of the house and not come home until 11.  In a way, this might force him to socialize and lead to him going out more nights, too.  

I know this is an interesting assumption on my part, but it sounds like your BIL isn't acting very mature and a talk like this might help wake him up to adulthood a bit.  The job might be giving him some valuable work experience but it sounds risky that it may lead to a promising career that will let him live on his own 2 feet, along with a wife.  I think  you'd be helping him by being firmer, and giving him a bigger taste of reality.  Working and then coming home to a rent-free place to play games and watch TV isn't "reality".

secretrebel

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Re: Family member long term guest..
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2010, 12:56:32 PM »
I think you are worrying a little too much about hurting your brother-in-law's feelings and I think perhaps your husband doesn't quite understand how much having someone (and an intrusive unhelpful someone at that) in your space is impacting on you.

To start with BIL should not be hinting, he should be adult enough to ask you for this favour outright. He also should not be so ungracious about doing chores around the house or implying that you somehow owe him because you have this house.

I think it's only reasonable to set some ground rules if you're willing to have him stay longer. I suppose if he's a hinter he may not get around until openly asking for a awhile but either he will or you can bring it up, sit him down and say something along the lines of what pame suggested.
Quote
BiL, we've discussed and would we are willing to have you stay with us for another 3 months but with a couple of conditions.  First, we need you to take on more responsibility for keeping the house up.  You'll need to handle empyting the dishwasher every day, take the trash out nightly, and do the yard work so DD doesn't have to do it when he comes home on weekends giving he and I more free time (or whatever chores you want to hand out).  I also would like to have one evening a week with the house alone.  I'm sure you can find an activity that will get you out of the house for a 3 hour period each week.  Just remember, when you return, it's for 3 months only and you'll need to plan your finances accordingly.

You don't have to make excuses for not wanting him living with you beyond 6 months. But if you want to explain then you could say "we don't want a full-time house guest" or "since [your husband] works weekdays you want to be able to spend more time alone together". Also, I think you and your husband only recently got married? It shouldn't be so surprising that your plans as a married couple didn't include another person living alongside you.

AdakAK

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Re: Family member long term guest..
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2010, 01:20:22 PM »
I've been there, and I agree with PP.  Tell him what you need from him clearly.  I would ask him to tell you what his plan is for leaving.  He doesn't have to give you every detail of his salary but enough details that you can be sure he has one. 

Sometimes it's that they do not see how hard it is to have someone living with you all the time.  It's disruptive.  It increases your electric bills.  As an extrovert he may think he's keeping you company, since that's what he'd like and your DH is gone all the time.  He may think that offsets some of the trouble and not realize it IS at least part of it!  I have a family member who is like this.  They lived totally expense free with us for almost a year, we even provided all transportation.  They'll tell you they were so much help and they did so much for us, but they don't see what having them here cost us as a family at all.  They truly don't see it and that's hard.


wx4caster

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Re: Family member long term guest..
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2010, 01:32:48 PM »
I think if you are willing to let him stay again, albeit with different house rules, then have a sit down with him and tell him that you are open to having him live with you, but he needs to understand there will be changes this time if he wants to stay.  Let him know what is expected of him beforehand (including extra chores, not just cleaning up after himself) and let him know that if he's not comfortable with these changes then you won't be offended if he looks for another living option.  There's nothing rude with setting the terms up front.  In fact, I would draft up the new term house rules and have him sign a copy if he agrees to stay. He should be giving you money for groceries and utilities, too.

POD

Given the circumstances, he's more of a room-mate than a guest.  Make a list of house rules and if he's not willing to follow them, then wish him luck finding other accommodations.  If he squawks about the new rules, let him know that you found things difficult last time and the new rules are for your comfort in your home.
The days are long but the years are short.

saki

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Re: Family member long term guest..
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2010, 01:57:20 PM »
Quote
I know this is an interesting assumption on my part, but it sounds like your BIL isn't acting very mature and a talk like this might help wake him up to adulthood a bit.  The job might be giving him some valuable work experience but it sounds risky that it may lead to a promising career that will let him live on his own 2 feet, along with a wife.  I think  you'd be helping him by being firmer, and giving him a bigger taste of reality.  Working and then coming home to a rent-free place to play games and watch TV isn't "reality".

Might have been an assumption but it's right on the money.  He's a nice guy, fundamentally, but he's young (23) and comes from a well off middle class family.  I think he feels entitled to the same sort of lifestyle that his parents have and that my husband and I are starting to have but his qualifications and work experience aren't really good enough to get him there.  He looks at the types of rooms that he could rent and he whines about how they're so minimal - he doesn't say this but I'm pretty sure he thinks about how they compare to the set up that he has for free at ours and thinks "oh, it doesn't cost them anything to have me here so why won't they let me stay indefinitely?"  His fiancee has even said to my mother-in-law that she thinks we should have him to stay indefinitely.

Quote
And you are entitled to let him know that his long-term visit requires sacrifices on YOUR part, too such as your routines, your quiet and your privacy.

I think this too is part of the problem as a couple of people have picked up on.  I don't think he realises that I'm not relishing the company, I do find it disruptive and annoying to have someone else in my space, and we've only been married two years and frankly just don't want to have any one living with us on such a long term basis.  It's just that these concerns seem so petty compared to his financial issues and his employment future. 

Urgh.  I don't think it helps that I grew up in a community that expects you to live with extended families - it's really common for sons to live with their parents after they get married and have kids - and so there's a part of my brain telling me that I'm being selfish here.

AngelicGamer

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Re: Family member long term guest..
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2010, 01:59:57 PM »
I agree with the PPs on the house rules.  If he doesn't sign for your comfort, then he needs to go.  Get your DH on board here and explain you need them for your comfort. 

Also, if he's going to not be working for a few months, why isn't he moving in with his girlfriend/fiance before coming back? 

If that's not a good idea and he won't sign the house rules, have a list of Extended Stay Hotels ready.  They're really cheap and usually have a good month rate.