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Wife Called 'Cold & Uncaring' For Refusing To Rehome Her Dog So Her Mother-In-Law Could Move In

Photo: Stock-Studio / Shutterstock
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Pets are more than just good company. For most, they are furry family members. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same way when it comes to where pets fall in the family hierarchy.

A woman wrote to advice columnist Carolyn Hax, with the Washington Post, about this exact issue. Her husband and mother-in-law want her to rehome her dog.

Her husband called her ‘cold and uncaring’ for refusing to rehome her dog so his mother could move in.

The woman explained to Hax that her mother-in-law's health had been noticeably declining, and her husband suggested she move in with them. Although originally reluctant with the addition of a roommate, she eventually agreed, but unbeknownst to her, her husband promised his mom that if she moved in they would get rid of the family dog.

“So imagine my surprise when she casually asked when we would be giving up our dog,” the wife wrote.

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Understandably in shock, she confronted her husband, asking what his mother was talking about. Apparently, he forgot to mention that his mom did not want to live with a dog.

He suggested they rehome their lab “for a little while," but she knew that was just his way of trying to talk her into what would eventually turn into a “forever” situation.

Wife Refused To Rehome Her Dog So Her Mother-In-Law Could Move InPhoto: vientocuatrostock / Canva Pro

Hax said the wife should keep the dog, regardless of what anyone thinks of it being in the house.

Although the husband claimed to have forgotten to tell his wife about his mother’s refusal to live with a dog in the house, Hax didn't believe that was true. She thought he was simply trying to delay the inevitable discussion that he knew would not go well.

Instead of putting his foot down with his mother, he turned the tables on his wife, calling her “cold and uncaring” in an attempt to guilt her into rehoming the family pet. “This is why so many of us choose canine companionship over human,” Hax said.

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This mother-in-law is testing her boundaries in this instance. Her son and daughter-in-law are inviting her into their house, so she should not be making demands. Unfortunately, instead of being grateful, she is attempting to divide the couple in an effort for more control.  

Wife Refused To Rehome Her Dog So Her Mother-In-Law Could Move InPhoto: New Africa / Shutterstock

In order for this living arrangement to work, the husband needs to set clear boundaries with his mother.

There is no reason why this situation can't work if the husband and wife remember that they are a team, first. All decisions need to be made together. 

That involves not only open communication between husband and wife but also a willingness for the husband to say no to his mother. 

Licensed social worker and Talkspace therapist, Ashley Ertel, explained, “Setting boundaries with parents is one of the most important and most challenging relationship situations to navigate. You may have spent your whole life being expected to act, think, or feel a certain way. Once you are able to set fair and firm boundaries, your relationship with your parents has the opportunity to actually thrive.”

This mom has a choice: she can accept the help of her son and daughter-in-law and move in with the dog, or she can make other arrangements for herself. The one thing she cannot do, however, is demand specific accommodation from the people offering to help her.

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Lauren Reams is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news.