Looking for advice on how to deal with in-laws? You’ve come to the perfect place. Dealing with in-laws, especially the ones who don’t approve of your marriage, can be tricky territory. Constant nagging and taunts at family dinners and parties keep you on the edge, leaving you feeling like you need to walk on eggshells around them to keep the peace. But at the end of the day, they are your spouse’s parents, and by extension, a part of your life now.
Even if you haven’t been able to build a rapport with them, you have to find a way to co-exist with them. Because otherwise, it shall always trouble you and can even come between your relationship with your partner. Avoidance is not always the greatest idea if you want to find a way to sort out issues with them. So, what can you do instead? We’re here to help you figure that out with these tips for dealing with in-laws.
8 Tips For Dealing With In-Laws
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“I hate my in-laws,” you mutter as it takes every ounce of energy in your being to put up with the people who just can’t seem to accept you and welcome you into their family. We understand. Those of you who’re blessed with adjusting, liberal, and loving in-laws, this article is not for you. You should love and cherish your in-laws as not everyone’s as lucky as you.
Often, people have certain expectations from the partner of their child. Nothing wrong with that, except when they’re unrealistic and hinder your relationship with them or even make it bitter. This leaves you with the question of how to deal with difficult in-laws without letting it take a toll on your marriage. Well, we’re here to help you figure it all out. If you feel like your strained relationship with your spouse’s parents is ruining your marriage, try these tips for dealing with in-laws:
Related Reading: How To Impress Your In-laws In The First Meeting
1. Try to be in their good books
Your in-laws may not want to hear your opinion. Maybe they want you to accept their opinions and way of life without resistance. It doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right, if you want to get in the good books of your in-laws, make it clear that you are on their side.
One of the easiest ways to know how to deal with in-laws is trying to get in their good books at the earliest. Once they’re convinced that you’re on their side, it becomes much easier to navigate your relationship with them. Try to seek your in-law’s advice now and then, as it can make them feel cherished and valued.
2. Break the prison of emotional blackmail
Next time your holiday plans abruptly get canceled because of the guilt of the ubiquitous “I don’t know how many days I have left” retort, take measures to increase those days. No more greasy burgers and sugary sweet cheesecakes for the fathers-in-law whose hearts are at the brink of giving out any minute, or shopping and going to the salon every other day for the mothers-in-law whose knees are no longer up for it.
When learning about how to deal with a mother-in-law, don’t be too flexible or too rigid at the same time. In the case of the former, your in-laws can easily manipulate you, and in the latter, you might damage the relationship yourself. There are several ways how mothers-in-law ruin marriages, but by seeing through their hypocrisies and manipulative actions, you can easily subvert all these little tricks.
No matter how much they hate it, don’t deal with their hypocrisy. If they are emotionally blackmailing you, make sure to use it to your advantage. It’s important to have some boundaries with in-laws. If they don’t respect your boundaries, it’s time for your to stand up for yourself and push back. Only when you start taking some steps and indirectly show your displeasure, will you be able to decrease, if not stop, such emotional blackmailing.
3. Steer clear of the extended family visits
If the visiting relatives are beyond second cousins, find a conveniently timed charity or pressing task to attend to which not only saves you from serving unlimited cups of tea and coffee but also explains your absence during those mindless gossip sessions. Before you lose your mind at your mother-in-law and her group of gossiping old women by screaming at them to get a life, just take your leave and spend your time wisely.
It’s not necessary for you to love everything about your in-laws, so it’s better to acknowledge it and work around it. Do make some time for them when they’re alone but keep it short and sweet. This ensures they don’t get to complain about you not meeting them while you don’t have to suffer under an overbearing mother-in-law for hours on end.
4. Outsource their never-ending struggles with technology
Let’s be honest, the most annoying aspect of dealing with in-laws is their struggle with technology. Since they insist on being active smartphone users, their unskilled maneuvering of WhatsApp and Facebook causes you to play technician more often than you would like. If you’ve had to constantly deal with FaceTime calls with no audio because they are covering the speakers, or them complaining about not receiving a reply when they haven’t even hit send on iMessage, your irritation is understandable.
The solution to this is simple, pass on the responsibility to your offspring under the pretense of quality grandparent bonding time. Your children may hate you for this, but grandparents love their grandchildren no matter how much they dislike their daughters-in-law. They wouldn’t want to ruin the kids-grandparents equation.
All your mother-in-law issues you’re dealing with notwithstanding, her grandchildren will always be dear to her. By shifting your responsibility, you save your time and energy while also ensuring some quality time for them. And if your children love their grandparents, it’s a win-win.
5. Reciprocate the unwanted critical feedback
In their eyes, you can’t seem to do anything right, be it perfecting a family recipe or raising their grandchildren. To avoid being constantly compared and put down, do the same to them. Compare them to their siblings, friends, and cousins. “Karen’s mother-in-law makes the most delicious Sunday roast, I wish there was someone in our family who had such culinary skills.” “Have you met Sarah’s father-in-law? He has the best wine collection in all of our city!”
Maybe they won’t stop with their critical feedback, but they’ll get annoyed with you at some point or the other. This means having to spend less time with them, and no matter how the victory is achieved, it still tastes sweet, right? One of the better ways to understand how to handle in-laws that don’t like you is to reciprocate how they treat you. This includes respecting boundaries with in-laws the same way they respect yours and treating them the same way they treat you.
6. Evade any hot topics of conversation
Try not to pick any topics that make you say, “I hate my in-laws”, in the first place. This can be anything from politics to religion to some family member they don’t like. Just because you don’t see eye to eye on certain issues doesn’t mean you have to get into an argument every time. When trying to learn how to deal with in-laws, you have to understand that certain topics are better avoided. It might give you a temporary surge of adrenaline, but is it worth all the anger and drama that might ensue?
Not to mention that it can hurt either or both parties involved. Why do that when it can be avoided in the first place? If you want to know how to handle in-laws that don’t like you, you should first try steering clear of all the contentious issues between you and them. It can help in creating a kind of settlement between you two that works in your favor as well as theirs. Just because you have different opinions doesn’t mean you can’t have a relationship based on trust and respect toward each other.
Related Reading: My Toxic In-Laws Won’t Let Go Even After We Have Shifted Cities
7. Don’t have any expectations of them
If you don’t like them, it’s possible that they feel the same way about you. And the same way you dislike the expectations they have of you, they may dislike your expectations of them too. The important thing for any distant relationship is having minimal expectations and healthy boundaries. By doing so, it becomes much easier to learn how to deal with difficult in-laws without having to fight and argue at every meeting.
It’s entirely possible that your not having expectations of them won’t help in the end. But in some cases, it can help by changing how you see them and softening your perception of how you want them to be, and instead accepting them as they are. It’s not always a case of how a mother-in-law ruins marriages, sometimes the fault might lie at your end too. It’s essential to gauge both sides impartially and try to make amends for a peaceful and cordial relationship.
8. Try to avoid any confrontations
Maybe you have an overbearing mother-in-law and it’s hard not to have a confrontation every time you go visit her. In such cases, it’s best to avoid her altogether. Reduce your interactions with her and keep the visits to a minimum. Sometimes, the only way to deal is to try and distance yourself from your in-laws. Try to have your partner deal with their parents instead of you dealing with them as the conversations are more likely to be more amicable then.
If you think, “Why do I find my mother-in-law so annoying?”, know that you’re not alone. Conflicts with in-laws are common everywhere because of all the expectations and biases that both sides bring to the table. When facing too many mother-in-law issues, children can be a good medium to resolve conflicts as grandparents are rarely harsh toward their grandchildren. But your first endeavor should be to avoid any confrontations, especially if you don’t see eye to eye with your in-laws.
If you also think, “I hate my mother-in-law”, you have to understand how common that phenomenon is. It’s important to see both sides of the conflict and then take the necessary steps. Maybe all they need is some sincere time and attention from your side. If they’re too rude and inconsiderate of your feelings, however, it’s best to distance yourself from them as much as possible.
Hopefully, this article helped you understand a little better how to deal with in-laws, and how to not take to heart what they say. Even if you have thoughts such as “Why do I find my mother-in-law so annoying?”, it’s better to think it through and see all the possible causes and solutions. At the end of the day, if your partner and children love you and you are happy as a family, does anything else even matter?
Learn to ignore their taunting comments. Try to avoid family visits that you know won’t end well, and avoid arguments at all costs. You don’t want to unnecessarily spend your energy on people who don’t bother to change their perspectives.
If you don’t get along with them, dealing with in-laws is quite the task, so you don’t want to be living in the same house as them. Living with the in-laws can be quite a hassle, so make sure to consider all the ups and downs of living with them and only then make a decision about it.
If your partner is very attached to their parents, then yes, this dynamic can ruin a marriage. Make sure you’re marrying the right person!