I’d like to talk about in laws.
I’ve been with my husband for 18 years now, 12 of them as a married couple, and each time I think we’re all one big happy family something happens that reminds me that we aren’t all that special. We aren’t one of those midday movie families whereby our fights are slightly comical and the solution within reach.
Just as we are all getting along nicely something happens and all that love and closeness vanishes and we are back to square one. And each time it happens it’s that much harder to get back to where we were.
Back to the midday movie family.
It can be tough to get along with in laws. I struggle with it, I see friends and family struggle with it and I know how serious it can get. Families can become completely estranged if you don’t get along with your in laws and I refuse to let that happen to mine. In my situation it’s in that precarious place where it could go either way.
MM Confessions: The thing I secretly want to tell my mother-in-law. Article continues after this video.
Instead of guessing at what to do or just issuing blanket apologies, for what I don’t know, I’ve decided to seek some professional help.
Here’s how to get the in-laws to like you according the to experts:
- Recognise your in laws are different people
Your in laws are not you and they are not your partner. Psychoanalyst Cathy Siebold told Psychcentral it’s about recognising and respecting this. “Healthy couples deal with their in laws by recognizing that they are different people with different ways.”
- Their opinions don’t necessarily reflect those of your partner
Meredith Hansen, Psy. D, says it’s normal to struggle with in laws on some level but to remember their opinions don’t necessarily reflect your partners. Diane Barth, LCSW, a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst agrees, saying, “a guy’s mom may be intrusive and critical, but a healthy couple remembers that her behaviour does not reflect how the guy feels about the things she is commenting on.”
- Keep communicating about your in laws and make decisions together
Hansen says keep taking about your in laws and make decisions together. It’s about setting reasonable boundaries and sticking to them.
- Don’t take it personally
Barth says healthy couples are kind towards difficult in laws. “They remember that no matter how complicated or difficult their in laws may be, they are not married to them.”
- Take deep breaths.
We all reach a breaking point and Hansen says the best thing to do is find a quiet spot or go for a walk and just breathe. Focus on positive things like how much they love your kids and ways in which they have helped you. And let your in laws know your relationship with his family is important to you. “It’s up to both of you to find a way to make time with extended family as enjoyable as possible,” she says.
If your relationship with your in laws has hit a bit of a rough patch, Diane Trotter from All Womens Talk says there are seven ways to repair it:
- Take an interest in what interests them
- Lend them a helping hand
- Ask them for help
- Do something together
- Respect their holiday traditions
- Don’t put down their parenting style
- Give it time
One more thing: