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I told my wife to stop enabling her adult brothers. Now, she says she has to return to her family.

My wife’s family comprises of her mother, two brothers, and one of their boyfriends. Her family was on the brink of having their apartment lease expire this month. One more brother had decided to move out and was eager to withdraw his name from the lease. Seeing this, my wife, whose name was also on the lease, wished to follow suit. They’d been aware of this impending situation for several months. Even during the last week when they discovered they had until a specific day to either sign a new lease or vacate, they chose to spend their days sleeping and indulging in video games, rather than taking decisive action regarding their housing situation.

It was only when they were denied at the very last moment that my wife approached me, asking if they could stay with us for a few days. We, my wife and I, are parents to three children, all living in a three-bedroom house – we just don’t have the space.

The family claimed to have applied to another apartment complex and if approved, they would only have to stay with us until the upcoming Saturday, a significant ‘IF’. Judging from their history that I have been privy to, they have a habit of losing jobs and show no urgency in securing new ones. Their lifestyle primarily revolves around playing video games and sleeping. They consistently ask my wife for financial aid, they drove her car to its limits and then needed help to fix it. This predicament they found themselves in is a result of their own idleness.

In a previous instance, one of her brothers and his boyfriend decided they no longer wanted to work and fled to the reservation with the boyfriend’s family, leaving the entire burden on the older brother who was the leaseholder. This forced him to max out his credit cards and work two jobs. After a few months, they returned and remained jobless for a considerable period before finally securing employment. Given these circumstances, I felt it was justified for me to decline. I offered my assistance to my wife’s mother, but that’s as far as I would go because they are all able-bodied men capable of solving their problems independently. They shouldn’t need to rely on their elder sister for every minor difficulty they encounter.

I told my wife, “You need to stop spoon-feeding them! They are adults.” Had there been other factors, like an increase in rent, or an emergency eviction, I would understand, but the root of their problems is their sheer laziness, and for that, my answer was an unapologetic ‘No’.

This decision has sparked resentment in my wife, who is now throwing accusations at me, such as “I can’t believe the man I married is refusing to help,” and making it seem like I am the villain. My focus lies on her and our boys; they are my priority. She even suggested that she might have to return to her family to assist them, effectively tearing our family apart because her adult brothers can’t fend for themselves.

What do I do? Do I allow them to stay?

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