Patti's Blog

What to do when his family sucks

When you don't get along with the in-lawsBeing in a relationship is a mostly wonderful thing. There’s the companionship, the learning, the laughter and don’t forget about the sex! But, there are some downsides to being in a long-term relationship. And the biggest bummer of a serious relationship is normally his family. I’ve heard so many in-law horror stories, I could write a book! (Actually, that’s not a bad idea! Maybe I will!) And while I can’t promise to make your in-laws better people, I can offer you a few tips for how to deal with them in ways that will make your relationship more tolerable.

Don’t make him choose

When in-law families are really bad, it’s easy to get into a “them or me” mentality. But, do your best not to. Making your man choose between his family and his woman puts him in a really crappy position. And remember, you’re in the situation because you love your man and when you love someone, you never want them to feel like crap. Protect yourself and your emotions, but also recognize that this is tough for your guy and you don’t want to make it any tougher on him.

Communicate calmly

Avoid yelling and name-calling at all costs. Remember that these people are family, even if they’re not your flesh and blood. When you have disagreements, keep your voice at a speaking level and don’t sink to name-calling. This may mean that you have to be the bigger person in a major way, but trust me, you’ll regret being anything less.

Don’t document anything you could regret

One of my best friends just told me that she wrote a really nasty e-mail to her mother-in-law venting about every single think that bugged her about the woman. While venting probably felt great, I know my friend is going to regret putting her less than flattering feelings into an e-mail. Her mother-in-law is going to save that and use it against my friend in the future! No matter how awkward or painful, keep venting sessions to in person interactions or, at the very least, on the phone.

Appreciate the love

This might be my hardest directive in this whole post. Try to focus on the fact that no matter what kind of crazy his family is throwing at you, it comes from a place of love. His family loves him and even if it’s annoying to you, they’re just trying to help or protect him in the best way they know how. So, before you explode, take a beat to remember that these crazies and you actually have something in common—loving your man.

Don’t compare

It’s so tempting to compare his nutso family to your totally sane, loving family, but try not to. They’re apples and oranges. Comparing them to see that your side of the family is better isn’t going to get you anything but hurt feelings.

Anyone out there dealing with nightmare in-laws? Got any advice? Let me know in the comments!

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  • Redbull junkie

    Patti,

    My husband put on lots of weight when he started a desk job. I gently pointed out to him that I was worried that his weight was affecting his health as he was more tired these days and he wasn’t happy within himself. He agreed. So we start eating healthy meals.
    We visit the my inlaws and they just happened to have made an unhealthy dinner. We have dinner and his mother offers him seconds as usual. He declines, saying that he is watching his weight. His mother shoots me a look as if to say “This is because of you!!!!”

    Since then she has dropped around with cakes and pastries. She secretly told my man she does not like the fact that I influence him so much. Can you believe she is putting her son’s health at risk just to make a point? Wow.