Our expert says:
In my experience ALL mothers-in-law recognize boundaires - their own. It's just Other people's boundaries they don't recognize.
A problem with the sort of set-up you describe is that it often arises almost by accident - either it's not expected to last long, or nobody thinks of the implications of it lasting long. So nobody negotiated proper rules and boundaires from the start.
Its more difficult to introduce rules later, but still possible and worthwhile. She needs to be gently reminded that she is a GUEST who does not pay her way, and should respect the needs of her hosts. Although you are not asking her to pay rent, you do expect her to contribute towards household expenses rather than spending whatever funds she has on unnecessary things.
She should be given a specific and limited amount of space, and told that she cannot hoard, and if there are newer things she wants to keep, she must select older objects to give away. She must not be messy and must clean up any mess she makes, as well as sharing household chores.
And privacy is not negotiable. Maybe you need at times to lock your doors so she cannot intrude, until she learns that she cannot barge in when she pleases.
Maybe your husband is giving up too easily. You don't mention her actual age, but at any age one can learn these fairly simple things, unless one is seriously dementing.
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