So I'm a nursing student set to graduate in June. I'm trying to figure out if I should move in with my boyfriend's family (hereafter referred to as my in-laws, because we're married in all but name). Here's the story:
My boyfriend and I have been dating for about 5 years. We moved out of our parents houses and into our own apartment 3 years ago for many reasons: my parents had just divorced and I needed to be separate from them, he was fighting with his mom and dad almost every day, and I needed somewhere quiet and relaxed where I could focus on my studies. While money has always been tight, we've made it work. Financial independence has always been important to me, and living on my own and paying my own bills is something I am very proud of.
With school recently I've had to cut my hours at work. We've fallen behind on our bills and are living paycheck to paycheck in major credit card and student loan debt. Originally his parents were going to renovate the basement apartment their house (where his uncle currently lives) in and we were going to move there from our apartment. We would still pay rent and still have a private, separate apartment to live in. This was set to happen after I graduate my nursing program in June.
Fast-forward to this month. My mother-in law has been diagnosed with stage IIIB lung cancer. While she isn't currently feeling ill (other than a persistent cough and fatigue) her prognosis is not good (approx. 18 months). My in-laws are no longer comfortable "giving up" the rent from their brother. They still want us to move in, though, and are willing to rearrange their house to give us our own space in their home - rent free.
Logically I know that financially this is best for me and my boyfriend, and physically it will be best for my mother-in-law. When she really begins feeling the effects of the disease process and the chemo we'll be able to care for her better and she'll be much happier with her son nearby. Still, I'm hesitant to give up so much of what I have worked for - my privacy, my autonomy, my home.
On top of this; my mother has been somewhat insecure since her divorce and can be very jealous of the relationship I have with my in-laws. She has repeatedly offered me a room in her apartment, but it is already cramped with her and my little sister living there. I'm afraid moving in with my in-laws will hurt my mother.
How can I move past my pride and make a decision that will be best for both sides of my family?