Getting along with your spouse’s parents can turn out to be the biggest feats a person may ever have to take on. From having spats about trivial issues to being judged for your opinions and approaches to being criticized for your social class, it’s a real roller coaster.
How much more so when you are the one at the receiving end of all of this and your partner doesn’t lift a finger to come to your defense or even worse, he is completely clueless about the hard time his family is giving you? In-laws will drive you crazy if you let them, but you can’t let your partners parents get the best of you.
Depending on your threshold, irritation would grow into annoyance, and then one day you would wake up to the ultimate realization, “I hate my in laws!”. Before you begin panting knowing there is no break from this, relax, I’ve got you. I’m here to show you how to handle the situation like a pro so, at the end of the day, your marriage does not suffer the backlash.
As annoying as your in-laws may seem, remember that the one thing you all have in common is that you all love the same man. He is the product of this family that gets on your nerves so much, and these people are now your parents as well. The love you have for your partner should motivate you and hopefully motivate you to put your best foot forward when dealing with your in-laws.
No matter your differences you have with these people, that sweet, charming man who just gets you and loves you enough to commit to you forever came from them. Remember that and strive to ignore their mean attitudes. Hopefully, you don’t have to live with his family members so your time with them is limited, suck it up, put on your happy, brave face and walk into the arena.
You’ve got this, if the conversation gets stilted or you feel the tension brewing, steer the conversation towards your one common ground - your spouse. They will be more than happy to focus their attention on talking about him. Pheew! Breathe easy, you may have temporarily diffused the situation, and that is all you need for now. Enjoy every win when dealing with your in-laws, no matter how little.
It’s best you realize that your in-laws may have formed their opinion about you even without you contributing to that prejudice. There may or may not be a reason why your relationship with them is a bit jaded, sometimes, people don’t need a reason to be shady or mean.
They might even have formed their opinions about you even before they met you, take it in a stride, and guide the conversation. Remember to explore your sense of humor with cultural, religious, and moral tolerance. If your sister in law throws a jab at you, respond with the witty quip, and change the subject.
Your aim is not exactly to make them laugh (if they laugh, even better, so don’t be under any pressure), your aim is to throw them off. Chances are your father in law expects you to be on the defensive and maybe cause a little commotion, but keep surprising them by maintaining your cool and throwing them off your scent long enough for you to change the course of the conversation.
It’s equally possible you have no problem with your father in law, but it’s his siblings that are constantly getting on your nerves. Still, remember that these people will be around longer than you’d like, so you have to find ways to deal with them. No one expects you guys to be tighter than ever, as long as things remain cordial with your in-laws, your good to go.
Your in-laws may be out to get you, but if you play your game well, you’ll avoid having issues with them, and hopefully maintain a cordial relationship with them.
It’s incredibly hard to get a beat-down and be expected to stay down, in the event your mother or sister-in-law is giving you a tongue-lash about a particular thing, naturally, you would expect to be given the barest human courtesy of being addressed with respect. Here’s the thing, there is only so long one would expect you to take the disrespect quietly.
Calm down, take deep breaths, and count to three, seriously, it works. You may just avert an avalanche by not responding in anger or confronting your in-laws about their disrespect. Avoidance in this instance does not imply that you keep yourself open to verbal abuse. It may just be you living to fight another day and confront them when you are in better control of your emotions.
You’ll be speaking from a place of control and maturity, thereby gaining the respect of your in-laws, whether or not they admit it or change their attitude. It’s quite challenging managing the situation and still maintaining a positive attitude in order not to hurt both your relationship with your partner and your relationship with your in-laws.
It is very easy for spouses to be caught in the crossfires of dislike between their biological family and their marital partners. When in that position, expectedly they would be torn as who to side with. Do not press him to choose except you are ready to drive a wedge between yourself and his parents.
Depending on his disposition, if he is aware of his family’s antics, he would defend you, or at least he would keep you as far away from them as possible. However, if you deliberately pit him against his family or berate him for not responding to them on your behalf the way you expect him to, it could hurt your marriage in the long run.
Take a moment to have an intelligent and logical discussion with your partner, expressing your discontent with the state of things between yourself and members of his family. As this is a sensitive conversation, be sure to emphasize that you do not dislike his family, you dislike the manner in which you are being treated, clearly differentiate the people from the behavior.
Setting boundaries does not translate to being snobbish, it means protecting your personal space in order to reserve energy in your emotional and mental bank, you’ll then be able to give your in-laws the attention they require during your timed stay in their company.
Is it the thinly-veiled condescending tone with which one of your in-laws would use to belittle you? After exploring other methods of getting his family like you without seeing any positive response, you may want to consider a different strategy. One that gives you the much-needed space to groom and nurture your marriage and family.
If your partner grew up with an attachment to his mother, you want to manage him gently. Softy but firmly establish visiting rules and protocols for his family, from holiday calendars to his response to financial demands from them.
Obviously, this position may not present you in the best light to your in-laws, but as long as your partner doesn’t leave you out to dry by out-rightly stating to his family that it was your idea, you’re good, just remember to be reasonable.
If handled without care, this could just be the recipe for disaster for your marriage. Identify the things about your in-laws that you can’t bear. As no two people are the same, the same applies to families. If the reasons for the differences with your in-laws are economic or cultural, then you need to work out a way to condition your mind to accept the situation, after all, you buy the candy with the stick.
Be clear, do you want to fight them or you want to work towards nurturing a mutually appreciable relationship with them? It goes without saying that hating your in-laws does not win you any points, marriage is a life long decision, they will stay in your life until they pass on. Instead of thinking “I hate my inlaws,” find ways to mend the relationship.
It takes a strong personality to take on a fight and unfortunately, not everyone is wired that way. Your partner may not be a fighter and if he is, take a look in the mirror and ask yourself if you often give him a reason not to argue on your side.
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Your partner spent a good part of his life with your in-laws, overcame hurdles, shared griefs, and happy moments with these same people just like you did with yours. There is the tendency that he would be most relaxed and let his guard down when in their company, leading you to think “my husband chooses his family over me”. Don’t be hard on yourself, give your marriage time to evolve.
Making room for extended family is great and beautiful especially when they are loving. However, marriage is no game and no joke, you and your spouse need to have the freedom to go through challenges together and work it out when and how best it works for you both. Living with your mother in law or any member of the extended family puts restrictions on expression.
Marriage becomes that much harder when you have to deal with mean in-laws. You have to keep reminding yourself that your partner loves you and he will do everything in his power to preserve his marital relationship.
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