When relations with the extended family are strained it can put stress on the relationship between you and your partner. Check out these tips for advice on creating a more manageable relationship with the in-laws.
Appreciate their good points
Everyone has a good side and the more you can appreciate your in-laws’ the easier it’ll be to get along. Try to show them that you value them and you could be amazed by how much gentler they become.
Ask for their advice
If your in-laws are always interfering, let them feel they’ve got more of a role to play by asking for their advice. If your baby’s up to all night teething, why not ask them how they coped when your partner was at that stage? If your mother-in-law is constantly criticizing your cooking, you could ask her for some tips to make a special meal for your partner. It’s up to you how much of their advice you follow, but just asking for it will make them feel involved.
If your in-laws are in the habit of dropping by unannounced it could be because they’re feeling excluded. Why not pre-empt their visits and call ahead and arrange to pop round to theirs for a cup of coffee instead?
Set clear boundaries
It’s important that you discuss with your partner when the in-laws are and are not invited into your lives. Discuss as early on as possible the role you want family members to play and come to a firm agreement about their level of involvement that you’ll both stick to. Remember these boundaries should apply to both sides of the family.
Avoid venting relationship frustrations with your family
If you tell your family about every argument, niggle or resentment, but forget to mention how issues are resolved, they may begin to build a negative picture of your partner.
Pick your battles
It may feel like your in-laws are constantly criticizing, but don’t allow yourself to rise to the bait every time. Agree to disagree and politely remind them that, while you appreciate their concern and suggestions, you and your partner make the final decisions in your relationship.
Recognize loyalty issues
Try to put yourselves in each other’s shoes and consider how you would feel if you were stuck in the middle of your parents and your partner. It might help you reach a compromise.