How to Cope With In-Laws

In-Laws

In-laws are created at the wedding.
In-laws are created at the wedding. | Source

Introduction

How to Cope With Your In-Laws. Why would anybody write about that? What person in all of history has been more vilified and had more derogatory jokes told about them than a mother-in-law?

Alas, mothers-in-law are not alone. It seems all in-laws get a bad rap. However, is it justified? Unfortunately, in many cases, yes. Scheming, controlling, manipulative, interfering, judgemental in-laws have been talked about since there were in-laws. Don't get me wrong, there are a fortunate few who have wonderful in-laws and I might add, they should be very thankful! So I chose to write about how to cope with your in-laws for those who don't have a stellar relationship with their in-laws; mother-in-law, father-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, any in-law.

Mother-in-law

In-Laws

Do you believe that SHAKESPEARE said, "Don't try to remake yourself into the person your in-laws want". You know there are things your in-laws will tell you to do. You don't have to do them just because your in-laws say so. You don't do everything everyone tells you so why your in-laws? Talk about it with them, but first talk to your spouse so you make sure you are on the same page, don't expect your spouse to always do your talking for you. Talk to your sister-in-law yourself, after making sure you're on the same page as your spouse.

In December, CNN Health carried an article entitled "In-laws can help -- or hurt -- your marriage". The article, not surprisingly, found that in-law ties are more difficult for women to maintain, especially daughters-in-law. "...since women are constantly analyzing and trying to improve their relationships, they often take what their in-laws say as personal and can't set the clear boundaries." They [in-laws] are a permanent part of your life and they're not going away! As long as you are married to this person anyway.

Your in-laws are not your parents so they don't have to love you. In fact, they don't have to like you either. Normally, they accept you because of your spouse and hopefully over time they will accept you as one of the family and maybe come to love you. Remember, just as it is an adjustment for you dealing with this new family, it is an adjustment for them as well. You don't know their habits and customs and they don't know you're habits and customs. Neither of you is wrong, just different. Your spouse is their son or daughter and they do have close ties with him/her. Genetics, history, family dynamics and love bind them to your spouse no matter what you say or do and unfortunately, no matter what they say or do.

Be prepared for a possible shift in treatment when you go from girlfriend or boyfriend to son-in-law or daughter-in-law. Some parents feel threatened by a new spouse, even one they've known for years. You'll need to be patient and try to understand their feelings.

"Meet the Parents" - Father-in Law you don't want

Hints to Help You Cope

  • Get to know your in-laws
  • Put your relationship with your husband first
  • If necessary, set boundaries
  • Don't criticize your spouse's relationship with his/her parents
  • Solve relationship problems in your relationship
  • The person with the primary relationship (the son or daughter, not the in-law) should be the one to talk to a problem in-law

Key Coping Strategies

  • Respect
  • Don't criticize
  • Learn
  • Build relationships
  • Healing, be open
  • Boundaries
  • Time
  • Courage
  • Humor
  • Holidays
  • Involved
  • Talk

How to Cope with Your In-Laws

The very first step is to remember to respect your in-laws, particularly your mother-in-law and father-in-law. They are your spouse's parents, they are older than you and they deserve to be treated with respect.

Don't criticize. No matter how you feel or what they do, do not criticize them.

Learn their customs and family traditions.

Try to build a relationship with them

Be open to healing. Past injuries, whether real or imagined should remain in the past. Be willing to heal and help your in-laws heal if necessary.

When children come along you may find you have to set boundaries. Its okay for them to spoil the kids once in a while, but not to go completely against your wishes.

Spend time with your in-laws to get to know them. Maybe go shopping or watch a movie, a family picnic might be a good idea, anything that lets you get to know each other better.

Have the courage to admit when you are wrong in a situation. There will be times when you are wrong and admitting it not only makes you the better person but lets your in-laws see that you are a good person who can admit mistakes.

No matter what happens, keep your sense of humor. Being able to laugh at yourself and situations you can't change will help make them a little easier to handle.

Discuss with your spouse how he/she wants to handle holidays. Since your families may handle holiday traditions differently it may be time for you to establish your own traditions with a little from his side and a little from her side.

Don't give advice, especially about how to handle another in-law. If it is not a volatile situation its okay but if there is disagreement and tension, don't get involved in it.

In-law problems get worse when your spouse sides with his/her parents against you. Talk to your spouse. Try to come to an agreement about whatever the problem is. It is more important for the two of your to agree than for you to agree with your in-laws.

Better Future With Your In-Laws

Now that you're equipped with a few tools to handle your in-law problems, remember, it is to your benefit. Statistics say marriages where men get along with their in-laws are 20% less likely to divorce than men who don't. In-law ties for women are more difficult so if you're a woman you'll have to make the extra effort.

Don't let the little things get under your skin. Ignore what's petty and move on. When children come along things will change. Grandchildren melt even the coldest of hearts because after all you are their mother/father so you can't be all bad. Keep your in-laws involved with your children for your sake and theirs.

Don't be afraid to ask for advice from your in-laws. What mother-in-law wouldn't be happy to have her daughter-in-law ask how she cooks a particular dish or what she thinks about a parenting issue? What father-in-law wouldn't love to have his son-in-law ask him to help build that playhouse or install the new cabinets?

We reap what we sow! Give your in-laws a good deal and in most instances you'll get a good deal in return.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

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Monster-in-Law

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Comments 67 comments

carol7777 profile image

carol7777 3 years ago from Arizona

I had to read this...I tried so hard with my in laws and still had issues. Now I am that mother in law..and honestly I stay out of business and even though not in the same city...Sometimes the daughter in laws have their own family and friends and are not interested.. especially mother of the son...That is a challenging place to be. Will not go into long stories..but I think there are many different reasons..and you covered a lot of them.


Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 3 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

I think you give a lot of great advice. I'm not married but I've seen in-law interactions quite often. It's interesting and challenging seeing how people build relationships with those their sibling or child has chosen. I think you're right, respect is at the core of the relationship and if that's not there- everything else will be that much harder. Great hub!


xstatic profile image

xstatic 3 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

This is great advice, Mary. With thinking like this, you must be the ideal

mother or sister inlaw. I have a sister-in-law who lives far enough away that we don't have to deal with them. It is just as well, since my wife and her sister are like day and night.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Really good tips, Mary! Fortunately, neither Bev nor I need these suggestions. Nobody living except us, which takes a whole lot of pressure off of us. :)


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Hi Mary (Till),

This is a really insightful and very useful hub here on the reality of the "in-laws" for sure. Also, excellent advice here for, as you state, unfortunately, it is justified more often than not. I will be honest, I was a tad bit afraid to make a comment, and I will just leave it at that (lol). I have been married for 34 years, and this kind of really great advice would have been very helpful back then . . . well, at any time.

I hope all everywhere, whether about to be married or married, read this, as it is never too late to make amends for a better future with the in-laws. The main key coping strategy for me is, boundaries, for sure, but all are a must.

That movie, "Monster-in-Law" is great . . . hilarious, scary and very close to reality too!

As always, awesome write!

Voted up ++++ and sharing

God bless. In His Love, Faith Reaper


Jackwms profile image

Jackwms 3 years ago

This is excellent. I have been married twice, the first time for 26 years, and now past 28 years on my current marriage. I am 77 years old. My last mother-in-law died two years ago at age 94. I wish I still had her, as well as my father-in-law who died several years ago. I always joked that if my wife ever decided to dump me, I got to keep my mother-in-law.

My first marriage was at age 18 (We were both 18). My mother had already passed on, so my wife didn't have a mother-in-law to deal with. I remember resenting deeply my father-in-law being authoritarian and somewhat bombastic. The different customs and living styles were almost insurmountable at times. But, gradually, over the years, I think we even got to like each other.

Now, as the father-in-law myself, I can't say that I have done so well. It is so hard to understand and be understood by a new younger generation that you have not lived with. I try.

This is a wonderful hub.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

You know the old saying Carol, "A son is a son till he takes a wife, your daughter is your daughter for all of your life." Some of those reasons I've learned from experience and like you, I'll leave it at that ;)

Alecia sometimes the problems are sadly obvious. Thank you for the kind words.

Well xstatic I have a few in-laws I need you to talk to :0 Isn't it funny how different siblings can be and how differently they see things?

So true Bill, I know what you mean. Years ago my in-laws were difficult, now at 88 and 90 they are just old and very grateful for anything we do.

It seems Faith most of us are "just leaving it at that", no sense in beating dead horses. I thought each person might take something different away from this hub. I had to add the humor with the movies, so glad you got a laugh. Thank you so much for your votes and share, you are always my angel. May the Lord keep you safe and happy.

Oh Jack, you sure do have tales to tell. How wonderful you had such a good relationship with your mother-in-law, my husband was like that with my Mom and she with him. I used to say, jokingly, "Mom, I'm your daughter, remember?" Patience Jack. Try to be understanding and just be patient. Glad you enjoyed my hub.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

I had/have one of each. A mom-in-law and now a monster-in-law. I still prefer and favor my mom-in-law even though her son and I divorced 16 years ago. My monster-in-law, I tried, but I just can't relate to bitter people. Respect is earned. Fab hub Tills!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Good point Linda, sometimes no matter how hard you try its like batting your head against a brick wall! Sorry you're stuck with the monster-type.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

I wasn't very good at choosing either of my husbands (or letting them choose me), but struck it lucky with the in-law sweepstakes and stayed friends with them even post-divorce(s). This refers to the mother and father of my first husband, until their deaths, and to the widowed father of my second husband, until his death. Guess you might say I was more compatible with my in-laws than with their sons! Ha-ha.

I try now to be a good mother-in-law, but realize it's a balancing act. The biggest thing I work on is (trying) not to offer unsolicited advice. Oh...and not discussing either politics or religion. (One of my sons came up with that rule, and it's served us well.)

Jaye


Janine Huldie profile image

Janine Huldie 3 years ago from New York, New York

Some really great and valuable tips here on how to deal with one's in-laws. I think all families have their moments and issues and trust me we have had our fair share, too, but you are right about dealing with them and moving on. Thanks for sharing and have of course voted up and shared all over, too!!


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

awesome hub. My in-laws had been staying with our family for the past 20 years. My mother in law is quite picky and old fashioned. She controls the kitchen and the living hall. Nobody can voice their opinion when she's around. Furthermore, she hates when i bake. So, i usually wait until when she's not at home, i will do the baking. As for the rest, i just nod my head and agree everything she says. Otherwise, there will be chaos everyday.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 3 years ago from Dubai

Good advice and excellent tips and pointers to handle a delicate and explosive relationship. Sometimes it is like sitting on a time bomb!!!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

I remember the early days of marriage when you had to adjust to not only your spouse, but the family. It takes patience and learning that you must respect each individually i order to have a successful marriage. Your advice is wonderful and will help those who are struggling to make it through the years. Voted up and shared.


midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore

Great tips, Mary. Fortunately, I have great ones! Thanks for sharing!


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

Great hub! Thank you. I got along great with my inherited family.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States

This is a very good hub with good advice. It is so much nicer is you can all get along and not having extra stress in your life that you don't need is worth a lot. I dearly loved my first mother-in-law and now my mother lives with my husband and I. He loves her and this has worked out well for the past 7 years. His mother died not too many years after we married, so I never really had a bad experience. I know many people who have had difficulty, and they can learn a lot by reading your hub. Up and awesome.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

It seems Jaye that it is very appropriate for "wisdom" to be in your name! It can often be more tricky being a mother-in-law than a daughter-in-law but I have a feeling you're doing a great job.

Janine, you are so right. Moving on and not dwelling in the past helps in all situations. Thanks so much for the votes and share!

Peachpurple, God bless you. You are certainly in a touchy situation but it sounds like you are very wise and handling it well.

Oh Vellur, how very right you are. Sometimes you can even hear it ticking!

Thank you teaches. We do learn through time and patience. Thanks for the vote and share too.

So happy for you Michelle! Makes life grand doesn't it?

MHatter that's wonderful. Thank you for stopping by.

Pamela it is the way it should be. We should be able to get along with our in-laws as they are our extended family. Thanks for the votes!


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida

I had wonderful in-laws, in fact, my mother-in-law and I were so close, when she died she left everything she owned to me. That included valuable stocks, her mink coat and all her antiques! Instead of taking them, I invited her 3 children into her home to pick whatever they liked. Note: I kept the stocks!! It's too hot in Fl for a mink, so I gave that to her daughter who lived in N.Y.

Great Hub Voted UP and shared.


Kathryn Stratford profile image

Kathryn Stratford 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

Those are fantastic tips! In my first marriage, I never (in 9 1/2 yrs of knowing the husband) met any of his family. It was unsettling. But maybe it's a good thing. But I have a good feeling about my next (and last) marriage... I'm going to share this!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Mary, none of what you said is surprising. I am sure your mother-in-law loved you, how could she not? It would be like you to share what she left you but I'm glad you kept the stocks at least! Thanks for the vote and share.

Oh Kathryn, that definitely is unsettling! I'm wishing you the best with whatever comes your way. I truly appreciate the share.


dghbrh profile image

dghbrh 3 years ago from ...... a place beyond now and beyond here !!!

Awesome tips here. Thank you. By the grace of God I am quite fortunate here. Shares and votes all +++++++++++


moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

I hate being an in-law because it seems things I say are taken wrong and nothing I do is right so I stay out of their homes and I have never got into their business so they've never had to worry about that.

My husband and I are at the point where we won't even tell them about any health issues because it seems to aggravate them when we're sick. I know why, it may take time away from their life.

We’re here if they need us to help with whatever is needed. My job is making cakes, food for whatever occasion they need it for, Halloween costumes, babysitting kids or dogs. My husband takes care of anything else that might come up that they need help with.

Their finances are their business not mine. I always knew not to ask questions about finances. My own parents were bad about trying to find out information about our finances and I can remember how much I hated it even more so than my husband did. I had to lock things up in our house so they couldn’t get into it. That was my own parents so when I became an in-law I knew I would never be like my parents.

Enjoyed your hub and voted up.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

A wonderful hub once again my friend.

What a subject this is and you did a brilliant job.

Enjoy your day.

Eddy.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa

Oh gosh, those were the days! But in spite of my personal struggles to accept reality as it was, I always shown love and respect and kept my grievances a secret. Actually I was trying to prove that I was properly raised and too smart to lower my standards.

Excellent hub about coping with in-laws. Your advice is also perfect, tillsontitan :)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

It can be a fine line we walk Moonlake. Some in-laws are understanding and don't hold a grudge, others are just impossible to get through to. We have to learn to deal with the balance. So glad you enjoyed my hub.

Thanks dear Eddy. Much thought went into this one and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Thanks Martie. We all have our stories to tell and I'm glad you were shown love and respect, I know you deserved it!


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 3 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

An excellent topic to publish a hub on. You offer some great advice for anyone who is about to gain in-laws.

My first in-laws were fantastic and very supportive, my second mother-in-law however took many years of counting to 10 and tongue biting before we connected, then we became the best of friends and she relied on me more than her own kids.

When I became a mother-in-law I made sure I kept my nose out of their business apart from one instance when I had to give my daughter a good talking to. It didn't matter what her new husband said she ALWAYS had to double check with her father and take his word even if he knew less about the subject than her husband. I had to point out how that would make her husband feel and her loyalties should lay with him first. The poor boy just couldn't compete and just gave up and I couldn't blame him


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Mary,

What a relatable, human and universal subject...with helpful hints and strategies laced with the humor of these two excellent movie clips. I am nuts about the Fockers series especially...

I feel so blessed that my husband and I love each other's families. Our Moms did not feel at all like "in-laws" to the other.

Voted UP and all across the board... Wonderful subject! Hugs, Maria


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Practical, sensible advice here, Mary. I ensure that we do not interfere nor allow them to interfere in our issues. Unless asked for we do not give advice or suggestions. I think that keeps relations on a happy level.

Voted up, useful.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks so much Rosemay. How lucky you were and how right you were to advise your daughter. As 'children' it is sometimes hard to let go of our parents even when we take a spouse.

Glad the movie clips were appealing. You know me, I had to have some humor someplace! Thanks for the votes GF. XO

It sounds like you've nailed it Rajan. I totally agree with you if they don't ask for it, don't give it! Thanks for the votes.


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 3 years ago from North-East UK

Great hub with an interesting topic. I am lucky that I have the greatest in-laws, they are really sweeties and we are all still close. I do have friends who have terrible relationships with their 'out laws' though!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

I'm happy for you Jools...it really can be a crap shoot ;)


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

I am very fortunate to have great in -laws. We have our moments of difficulty but they have always been there for us and always will be. I have heard some horror stories from others though. I really like your coping strategies. A deep breath always helps diffuse a situation.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

I read your tips, and groaned! haha! I hated my darn mother in law, she was a right cow! oh and so was my father in law! I remember slamming the door, grabbing my son and heading home after one heated argument! never ever again! they wanted to take over, tell me what to do and everything else too! never saw them for twenty years after that! lol! (breath in!) great tips Mary! lol!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

I am always happy to hear when someone has a good relationship with their in-laws Glimmer. Thanks for visiting and reading!

Ok Nell, are you breathing now? It sounds like you had a heck of a time but made it through! Go girl.


Arlene V. Poma 3 years ago

Wow! It's been a LONG time since I commented on a Hub, but I did enjoy this one a lot because you are so upbeat on this subject! Plus, you give HOPE to those of us who are sitting on the fence.

Let's just say that I am grateful that my husband is not a Mama's Boy, and we do not live close to his mother. And that I can go months (hey, years!) without seeing the in-laws.

I believe in speaking up without being cruel. I go after what I want. I chase my dreams. I make it habit to laugh at things (as well as myself) several times a day.

I think I scared her from Day One.

Oh, well!!!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Arlene I am so happy to see you here, I know its been a long time. I am also honored that you chose to comment on MY hub!

I think we need to be upbeat because it's a situation we really have to live with. There is nothing wrong with candor....we should all practice it. Laughing is my favorite thing to do so naturally I think its great that you laugh at things. (I laugh at myself too.) Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving such a great comment.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 3 years ago from UK

Ah, you're a wise one Mary. Your sensible, meaningful advice is well thought of. I am lucky to have a great relationship with my in-laws and despite some differing views on many matters we have a mutual respect and love for each other. Losing my mum and dad has further strengthened my bond with my in-laws as I show them the same respect and love I had for my parents. We even holiday together at least once a year and my wife and I treated them to a nice break in the canaries over last Christmas for all the support they give us. Great hub. I like the clips here too!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Mohan, you are the wise one..."mutual respect and love for each other" is the only way to go, not only with our in-laws but with everyone! I am so sorry that you have lost your Mom and Dad, I know how it feels as I have lost mine too. How great that you vacation together with your in-laws! Glad you enjoyed my hub and clips. Always happy to hear from you.


hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

I like the fact that you courageously tackle topics that some won't touch. You did a stand-up job with this one, and I love the spicy addition of the two "worst nightmare" in-law video excerpts. Great job, Mary! Voted up and across!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thank you HawaiiO. Could be "fools rush in where angels fear to tread" or I'm brave ;) Thanks for the votes.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

Very entertaining videos!

I would hope that many of the important issues would have been discussed before the wedding, but as you accurately say, once the wedding takes place it changes the way your new family sees you, etc.

Stats do favor a marriage where the husband gets along well with his parents-in-law, but unfortunately when a wife is close to her parents-in-law it has just the opposite affect. (I'm a PSYC major, and so I've studied all the angles.)

You do give good sensible advice here and I like that. I think my own mother had the best advice though -- move as far away from both sets of in-laws as physically possible! ;)

Of course nowadays with the world getting smaller and smaller due to computers, smart phones, webcams, and jets, one may still have to spend more time with the in-laws than s/he would like.

I recommend this hub to people who think they want to get married, people who plan to get married, and people who are already married but having in-law issues. Never hurts to get a new perspective even on an old problem. Remember going that extra mile to get along with difficult in-laws is something you do -- a gift you give -- for and to your spouse and your children. Yes, one of many.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Ohhh, Till, I wish I had this guide years ago. All I could do was to keep my wits about me, and rise above the situation. Oh, and one of your golden rules: “Have the courage to admit when you are wrong in a situation,” and never lose my sense of humor. Splendid hub!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Yes Au fait, our resident psych major. You are correct about the wife being close to parents-in-law though statistics aside I have not found that not to be true. Your mother was probably right but in close knit families and communities people seldom move far away. I live in a development where many, many children have bought homes in the same development as their parents...including two of my own! Thanks so much for the great comment as always!

Genna, "if I knew then what I know now" applies in this situation as in so many others. Thanks for reading and I'm glad you enjoyed!


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

Mary,

I suppose problem with in-laws occurs on every part of the globe. In my country and culture the problem often becomes hostile resulting in severe torture even death.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Now that's scary Vinaya. I know there are times when some people would like to see their in-laws tortured a bit but certainly not the kind you are talking about.


Vickiw 3 years ago

Obviously in-laws are an interesting topic for many people! I was going to say like billybuc that it was not relevant to my situation, then I remembered I do actually have a son-in-law. I had forgotten, because we get along so well that he is like my son. It would never occur to me to interfere with anything that little family does - I am way too busy with my own life. Great Hub.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Very well said Vicki and a sure sign that you're a great mother-in-law!


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Coping with mother-in laws, well I met my mother in law a while before I married and she passed on during that time, but she was old and such a wonderful person.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Some are fortunate to have wonderful in-laws, unfortunately, some are not. I'm glad you got to know her before she was gone. You and your husband can share good memories.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Mary, I always get so much out of reading your hubs. Though the time for worrying about in-laws is mostly in the past for me, there was a time when it was a constant source of stress and misery. Now, looking back, I see the real one to blame for much of it was ME! Unbelievable sullen brat that I was, I wish I could do over some of it. I complained about everything and had an opinion on most subjects. How much I have learned about what I didn't know since then. My MIL was a source of great knowledge on meal preparation, interior design and hosting parties for famous people. She sewed and cooked and taught me a lot about (my lacking) fashion sense. I remain in contact with my first FIL who in his late 80s still teaches at a college and is a published author.


EmpatheticAdvisor profile image

EmpatheticAdvisor 3 years ago from Montana

Tillsontitan,

I read your article with interest, and if your advice works and helps some people with their in law relationships, great.

However, I have to just laugh, because I tried all of these strategies. My husband's brother's wife ( yes an in law herself but you wouldn't know it) came to have a "talk" with me right after my husband and I married.

In this talk, she spelled out what I was "expected" to do and not do in this family. A lot of it had to do with how my husband had ran his business and even though there had been shared interests in land usage, my husband and his brother were not in business together.

I did keep my head down for a while but when I started to ask questions about how something that was shared 50/50 benefited the brother's family more, the outsider I had been was now elevated to pariah.

Needless to say this sister in law literally hates me because I am just still breathing and this hatred is based on the fact that they can't utilize my husband's resources as they had in the past.

Basically it is about money and depending on the motivation in others' situations, your advice may or may not work too.

Just my 2 cents.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Oh Peg, we do need to learn don't we? I'm sure you made up for your initial lack of "intuitive knowledge" with your MIL. Thanks for the great comment.

I do not disagree with you one bit EmpatheticAdvisor. There are exceptions to every rule and there are some people you can't reach no matter what you do or how hard you try, I know, I have one too. However, in more normal circumstances respect and understanding can win out. So sorry to hear your circumstances are incurable as I imagine they must be when dealing with someone motivated by greed and selfishness. Thank you for your 2 cents!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 3 years ago from Iowa

Good advice, particularly the point about healing. I got off on the wrong foot with my in-laws because my husband and I did not get married in the Catholic Church. They took that as a personal affront and refused to attend our wedding. What should have been one of the happiest times in our lives thus became a time of great drama and hurt feelings. Had I not been open to healing, I could not have the good relationship I now have with my mother-in-law. (My husband's father passed away not too long after we were married.)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

I'm so glad it worked out for you Deborah...I'm hoping it will work out for others too.


radhikasree profile image

radhikasree 3 years ago from Mumbai,India

These are all certainly good tips, but the character of the in-laws is what everything depends on.

Voted up, useful and interesting. SHARING across.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

You hit that nail right n the head radhikasree, a lot depends on the character of the in-law, I can attest to that. Thanks so much for the wonderful votes and share.


Joelipoo profile image

Joelipoo 3 years ago from Ohio

There are definitely some good points in here. I am fortunate to have great in-laws, but your advice can help any in-law situation.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

I'm so glad you have good in-laws. That is a true blessing that just makes your family bigger! Thanks for stopping by Joelipoo.


midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore

Mary, I know of friends about to get married...they will want to read this!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

I sure hope it helps them Michelle. You know, helping one person makes it all worth while! Have a good one.


khmazz profile image

khmazz 3 years ago from South Florida

Fantastic! Wonderful information and very interesting, voting up!

I really enjoyed this part of the advice:

"Don't criticize. No matter how you feel or what they do, do not criticize them.

Learn their customs and family traditions."

It shows so much respect for someone when you do not criticize and take the time to learn about family customs and traditions, wonderful points to bring out! Well done!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thank you khmazz...I really do know how difficult it can be but many times trying these things brings success and its worth the effort.


kat 3 years ago

About 2 years into my relationship with my now Fiancé we decided to have his sister and her husband move in with us to save everyone money. They are older then us and tried telling us how to live our lives and other little things that made us second guess them coming to live with us. as an 18 year old I wasn't sure how to handle the situation, arguments turned nasty quickly (on their part) and so i decided maybe it was best if my fiancé dealt with his sister rather then I so for most of all argument i wouldn't be present. it was when she threatened to physically hurt me that i decided no more and they were to leave. i admit maybe i should have given them more time to move out but my past of being abused, bullied and jumped by girls at school several times made me feel overwhelmed in this situation and this house was supposed to be my escape from all that. They did not leave quietly and his sister would stomp around the house threatening me and saying nasty remarks to all his other family members about me and even on facebook.

A couple months later i forgave her with all my heart, because family does that and i was under the impression she had forgiven me. for awhile things were okay and i made some effort but with caution, to befriend her again, but even though she wasn't saying anything particularly mean, she would roll her eyes have nasty facial expressions and patronize me. i would hear from other family members constantly that she dose not like me. Im afraid if I talk to her she will only get nasty and it will be in vain.

Its put a strain on me and my fiances relationship because i no longer want to go to family parties because her very presence sucks all the happy out of me and other family members tell me she has comments about everything to what i wore, to what i drank. At the latest party which was her sons birthday, i was a no show and when she asked my fiancé where i was, he said something like why would she come you don't like her ( i have been depressed lately and being there would have not helped was the real reason) and she stated that i don't put enough effort in being her friend, but how am i supposed to when she makes me feel uncomfortable when i see her? she also said that basically she was the victim and she has done nothing wrong. and that i would have been escorted out of the party if i showed up anyway. and also said that if i feel some type of way, why havnt i said anything to her, and she is right about that.

but here is my question: should i go over to her house and try to fix it so i can say atleased i tried? im still very depressed and unfortunately something like this going wrong will affect me greatly. she already refuses to think she did anything wrong and personally i am confident in my side of things and i do take responsibility for all my faults and would be happy with not saying anything at all and i see this as a lost cause that will be in vain and she will only be nasty and patronize me anyway. on the other hand am i supposed to be a no show now for every family get together? i feel like i can see his other family on my own time to make up for not being at family parties and holidays. so i need advice! what should i do? how do i handle this and deal with someone like that?


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Unfortunately Kat some people have very difficult in-laws. I can not tell you what to do but I know if it was me I would keep my distance.


Suhail and my dog profile image

Suhail and my dog 2 years ago from Mississauga, ON

I was researching evolution of species. How did I end up on this hub?

Could it be that in the back of my mind I have my daughter who decided, all of a sudden, to grow up, find a man, and get married this year in August? I am sure it was that fear factor at work here.

But a great hub that can come in handy for me as well as how to relate to her would be in laws and my would be son in law. So I have some challenging takeaways for myself from here. Lets see how I fare.

Thank you for writing a hub that I needed to stumble upon to get something right.

Voted up and found useful, interesting and having your characteristic sense of humour!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

So glad this hub was timely for you Suhail. Dealing with in-laws can be tricky and a sense of humor is mandatory ;) Good luck and thanks for the vote up.

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