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4 Tips For Relationship Building When You Don’t Like The In-Laws

In-laws can be an unpredictable sort. Sometimes you hit the jackpot like I did the SECOND time I got married. Other times, you just get the pot, like I did the FIRST time I was married. While it’s a lot easier when everyone gets along, it’s not impossible to have a good, healthy relationship if you don’t. You simply have to stick to these four tips.

Tip 1: Discuss the matter with your spouse. 

Be ready with specific examples of what it is that your in-laws do that you don’t like. Let them know how you feel about it, what you’re willing to accept in terms of a relationship with them, and what you’ll do if they can’t respect you. In other words, start by knowing your boundaries and sharing them with your spouse. From there, the ball is in his/her court, and it’s theirs to fumble. You can’t be held accountable.

Tip 2: Stand up for yourself. 

When the burden is on your spouse to change the relationship with his parents that he’s grown used to, it can take some time to see results. That’s where you can help him take back a bit of the power by standing up for yourself. Be respectful and welcoming and an ideal spouse to your partner. Be the kind of son-in-law or daughter-in-law that any rational parent would want. But if they cross a boundary, let them know it. Be direct. Be honest. But keep your cool. They’ll either learn to adjust their behaviors accordingly, or your spouse will realize that you mean business, and he’ll be able to run interference when you do have to interact with them. It isn’t comfortable, but again, it helps you un-shoulder some of the burden and it prevents a later, unhealthier outburst.

Tip 3: Be careful not to initiate fights between your spouse and your in-laws. 

You may want your spouse’s parents to respect him more than they do, but only he can make that change. You can guide him, let him know what he’s worth and how he should be treated, but if he has an unhealthy relationship with them, there is only so much you can do. He has to take the steps toward empowerment. So don’t, either consciously or subconsciously, press him to fight it out with his parents. Just show him what’s healthy and how it could be. Getting more proactive than that could make you look like a manipulator and “the bad guy.”

Tip 4: Move away.

Boundaries can be hard to set when you see each other every day or even once a week. That’s why one of the healthiest things that a couple can do to strengthen their relationship and distance themselves from toxic in-laws is to move away. Symbolically and physically, this action sends the message that you are your own family unit now and all decisions will be for the good of you and your children. No one else.

So how about it, readers who don’t get along with your in-laws? Have you been able to make your relationship work anyway? If so, what helped most of all?

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