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How to deal with a problematic in-law: A guide to surviving your partner's family


We all hope for a relationship with our in-laws that consists of getting brunch on a Sunday and taking yearly family trips. But for some, that is not always the case. Sometimes we are faced with in-laws who are hard to get along with for a variety of reasons, whether they think you’re too messy, too loud, or just not a good fit for their child. Whatever the reason is, it’s exhausting because you feel that there will always be a thorn in your relationship. Sometimes we just close our eyes and hope that the family BBQ will end without any subtle remarks, and other times we want to go toe-to-toe with them. But what is the best move?


We’re going to give you a cliche answer, there is none! It is totally up to you on how you would like to navigate this complicated relationship, but here are a few tips that some of our readers have found helpful:


  1. Talk to your partner! - Having an open and honest dialogue with your partner is crucial. While I\we don’t recommend you tell them that you loathe the idea of being in the same room as their parents, telling them your frustrations about the relationship can help. Not only is it nice to have a listening ear, but they can also talk to their parents if need be.

  2. Try to put yourself in your in-laws' shoes - Sometimes the hostility that in-laws give you really stems from their inability to let their child go. Your partner may be an adult, but to their parents, they will always be the 7-year-old child who needed help riding a bike. The most vital part of their world no longer needs them as they once did and they have been replaced by you. While berating and bullying is in no way okay, if your in-laws are on the lower end of this spectrum with just being cold and unwelcoming, try to see if it’s really you they do not like or the thought of losing their child.

  3. Set your boundaries - This one is the one we want to emphasize the most! Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries are so important! Regardless of in-laws being your partners' parents, respect is a two-way street, and if they ever toe the line, put them in line! Calmly and clearly communicate what you will and will not tolerate and the respect you expect.


We hope you take these tips and face your in-laws head-on! Or at least, have a better relationship with them.




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