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#464682 - 04/28/14 09:29 AM My mother-in-law and 15 year-old sharing a bed
learning2remember Offline

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 403
Loc: Europe
I'm a male survivor of sexual abuse, which means I often question my own perspective. I love my mother-in-law and my son. The reason he is staying with her is that her husband recently died.

Our apartments are right next door to each other, so my son hasn't moved out. He just spends a lot of time there. Now've discovered he sleeps in the same bed. Another relative is visiting for a few days so the other bedroom is occupied.

Is this automatically wrong? What can I do?

I've brought it up with my wife and she seems to think I am being insensitive to her mother's loneliness.
"This is not my shame, this is their shame." Mona Eltahawy

#464684 - 04/28/14 09:48 AM Re: My mother-in-law and 15 year-old sharing a bed [Re: learning2remember]
On The Fringe Offline

Registered: 09/21/13
Posts: 326
Loc: Southeast USA
Sounds weird to me.

It may be perfectly innocent. It would be very easy to go bad. I'm not one to judge that though. I have a history of going bad.
I feel more like I do now than I did when I got here.

#464693 - 04/28/14 02:02 PM Re: My mother-in-law and 15 year-old sharing a bed [Re: learning2remember]
sugarbaby Offline

Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 382
I don't think it's his place to be the stand in for her husband. She should know that.

I have a son a bit older and I'd nix that (for a lot of reasons) if it was my kid.

I think your perspective is right on with this one.

#464702 - 04/28/14 04:16 PM Re: My mother-in-law and 15 year-old sharing a bed [Re: learning2remember]
HopeDiesLast Offline

Registered: 01/15/13
Posts: 62
I didn't quite understand whether this is a short-term arrangement (for a few days while another relative is in town) or a longer term arrangement? If it's a short-term thing out of necessity (no other room available), I'd say it's more likely that it's harmless. I've shared a hotel room with my Dad on occasion to save money and I guess if I had a grandparent that I was close to, I wouldn't have seen a big deal, either. But if this goes on for more than a few days and without a solid reason, I'd think it weird. Have you asked your son about his motivations? Anyway, if it was going on for more than a few nights, I would most likely try to persuade him that it's not a good idea and if he doesn't come around, I'd insist he sleeps in his own room. Better to be careful once too much than not enough.

#464706 - 04/28/14 05:52 PM Re: My mother-in-law and 15 year-old sharing a bed [Re: learning2remember]

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 3788
I think it is unusual for a parent/grandparent to sleep with a child at the age of 15 despite the sex of the child. I am no expert but I would be concerned because sleeping in the same bed, sharing the same covers just seems to push the concept of closeness.

#464716 - 04/28/14 08:54 PM Re: My mother-in-law and 15 year-old sharing a bed [Re: learning2remember]
Esposa Offline

Registered: 10/19/11
Posts: 811
Loc: NJ
First of all, your feelings matter regardless.

I think it is weird. I would not be cool with that.

#464730 - 04/29/14 01:44 AM Re: My mother-in-law and 15 year-old sharing a bed [Re: learning2remember]
WriterKeith Offline

Registered: 12/30/10
Posts: 980

Please forgive me, but I'm going to say what I would say to a close relative or friend.

I believe it would be accurate to say that the greatest majority of us here on MS, especially survivors of abuse by females, would support you in taking charge in this situation.

He is the son of a survivor. Who knows what vulnerable and innocent traits he inherited. Your wife may be in denial or just not well-versed on this type of scenario. We all know what a teenage boy's body does at night when he's asleep.

No, you are not overreacting by being mindful of your son's safety. The situation is, at its best, "odd," and at its worst, it is the perfect storm.

By correcting the situation you may be sparing your son the future pain of qualifying as a "male survivor."

No need to explain "why" in this situation, for everyone..including your wife and mother-in-law... clearly knows the reason "why." It would be perfectly appropriate to politely but firmly instruct your son to return home before a curfew well before bedtime.

It is not any 15-year old's responsibility, obligation, or burden to comfort an adult through a rough life transition. I'll just say it; something is not right about an adult who would put a teenager in that position. A good daughter should take on that role herself and not push it on her son. After all, she is on the other side of the wall.

Mother-in-law can knock on the wall if she needs help in the night, to which you or your wife will gladly answer. Son stays home after bedtime, and in his own bed.

It is possible your wife and/or mother-in-law may get angry, because you're basically calling a spade "a spade" whether or not you come right out and say it.

I had a mother who could have spoken up and protected me but didn't, and in the end, her willingness to overlook the situation and deny the possibility of my endangerment has caused me a lifetime of inner anguish. She overlooked signs right under her knows and chose to shrug it off.

Even 15 years after she died, I still struggle with my anger toward her for turning her head to "keep the peace." She basically sacrificed me to keep up appearances. She didn't want to ruffle anyone's feathers.

I encourage you to go to and view MS Ex. Dir. Chris Anderson's public speeches where he speaks of his survivor story.

Again, be polite but be firm. You know why this situation is troubling you. Follow your instincts. If you're wrong, your son is safe. If you're right, your son is safe. If you do nothing, then to whom are you handing over the power over your son's welfare?

Yes, your wife and mother-in-law may choose to be upset if you stop the sleepovers, but weigh their wishes against the great possibility of facing the greatest regret you will ever carry through life.

#464746 - 04/29/14 10:55 AM Re: My mother-in-law and 15 year-old sharing a bed [Re: learning2remember]
concerned_husky Offline

Registered: 08/30/12
Posts: 766

Edited by concerned_husky (08/31/15 04:02 PM)
Edit Reason: Walls up again.

"Only the solitary seek the truth, and they break with all those who don't love it sufficiently." - Pasternak

#464754 - 04/29/14 03:18 PM Re: My mother-in-law and 15 year-old sharing a bed [Re: learning2remember]
Jay1946 Offline

Registered: 08/08/13
Posts: 246
Loc: Miami, Florida, USA
Dear Learning:

I was a victim of "Emotional Abuse" from my mother when I was your son's age. It screwed me up big time and it took me many years to overcome.

Your son is being emotionally abused. Furthermore, by leaning on your son for companionship, your mother in law is damaging her own prospects of recovering from her loss.

#464757 - 04/29/14 06:45 PM Re: My mother-in-law and 15 year-old sharing a bed [Re: learning2remember]
learning2remember Offline

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 403
Loc: Europe
Thanks for the feedback everybody. This was hard for me to write about for lots of reasons. For one thing, as i wrote I was thinking, "This sounds worse than it is." But I have enough sense to think to myself, "Then what does that tell you."

I really needed input from others though.

To clarify, he's been sleeping there for about two weeks. I assumed it was a different room or at least a different bed. Even then, I was saying, "We need a deadline of when this stops." The truth is, I miss him. I don't like him going to bed and waking up somewhere else, even if it is the next door apartment. When I brought this up, there was resistance. I even imagined he might sleep better there since it is a quieter side of the building (not facing the street.)

Then, it dawned on me after this other guest had been there a night or two that this must make sleeping arrangments complicated, so I asked my son and realised they were sleeping in the same bed. I didn't want to alarm him. For what it's worth (and it's not worth much), we are talking about different covers.

The strange thing is, the reason he was sleeping there was, I thought, to make the place less empty. But if the other guest is there, then it's not empty! And when the guest isn't there, why is my son not sleeping in that other room! I just don't get it.

I would have never agreed to this, and don't understand why anybody thought this ok. I don't blame my son.

I brought it up again. I think this was the third time. (The first time was after the first few days, before I knew about the beds. The second time was as soon as I heard about the bed, maybe two days ago.)

Basically I just said he needs to come home. Tonight he is sleeping in his own bed.

I'll give this some time before I speak to him about it. Maybe a week?

I never thougth I would get sucked into enabling that kind of dysfunction.
"This is not my shame, this is their shame." Mona Eltahawy

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