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The in-law obstacle course

In-laws can be the best part or the worst part of the marital package and it’s up to you how you decide to navigate the in-law obstacle course.

  • Option 1 – Hands off approach.  Allow your partner to take the lead with his family and decide how often and with whom you socialize.  Let him mediate any disputes that arise.  You take a background role of gift purchases and courteous small talk.  Pro:  Whatever happens, it’s not your fault.  Con:  You may come off as standoffish.
  • Option 2 – Hands on approach.  Get involved with your in-laws and develop relationships independent of your significant other.  You handle your own affairs with your in-laws and do not expect him to take sides.  Pro:  A close relationship with your in-laws.  Con:  A breakup means losing more than just your partner.
  • Option 3 – Middle ground.  Develop close relationships with select in-laws.  Do not involve them in the details of your relationship with your spouse and vice-versa.  Pro:  Best of both worlds.  Con:  A breakup can mean losing a close friend.

Nothing says that you have to be best friends with your in-laws however they are your spouse’s family so you’re best served by remaining on good terms with them.  Do not put your spouse in the middle of your business with them nor should you allow yourself to become a pawn in their internal struggles.  Remember, most mother-in-laws want what is best for their sons – if you are that, you’re golden.

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2 responses to “The in-law obstacle course

  1. Thanks!! Maybe this advice will help me. However my father in law is a nightmare. So I think I’m going to stay a little more standoffish. I hope next time they come it won’t be for long. That way I can plan a full schedule and not spend too much time with them. Maybe I’ll visit my friend for a few days. They wont mind. All he cares about is spending time with his son anyway. I know that sounds bitchy. But it’s kind of true. Even if I try to spend some time with the three of us he constantly wants to drag him away for father son time. Im not the clingy type so I don’t mind.
    Thanks !!!!!
    Sky

    • I removed the link in your comment and I added your blog to my blogroll so that my readers can enjoy your blog, too!

      Your FIL does seem a bit over-the-top, especially with the ‘woman’s work’ comment. Yikes! I think you might want to talk with your husband before your FIL comes to visit again and set down some ground rules so it doesn’t come across to his dad as, “Oh Sky will be mad if I don’t clean this up.” but “It’s my responsibility to clean up any mess I make.” You might also want to pre-plan time for the two of them to go off and do something together so that he gets his father-son bonding time. When you do need to confront him, do so lightly and in a humorous matter but that doesn’t negate your husband’s need to back up the house rules.

      Best of luck to you!

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