Everybody knows In-laws can be overbearing. As much as your spouse loves them (and even if you’re fortunate enough to love them, too), sometimes you’d rather not deal with their kinks, quirks, and eccentricities… Here are five ways you can save your sanity from your in-laws.
One: Keep Your Cool
When someone pushes our buttons, our tendency is to lash out. It’s important you stay calm. If you need to, take a deep breath and walk away. Don’t say or do the first thing that comes to mind. Lashing out will only make things worse. At best, it’ll hurt someone’s feelings. At worst, it’ll become ammunition they can use against you.
Two: Talk It Out
Like any conflict, it’s important to talk it out. The difference when it comes to your in-laws, however, is that you also need to talk it out with your spouse. You and your spouse should know how each other feel when it comes to the in-laws. Before you talk to your in-laws, your spouse should know the behaviors that bother you.
Once you and your spouse can present a united front, talk to your in-laws about your boundaries. Make sure you stay calm, civil, and respectful.
Three: Set Realistic Expectations
Some habits die hard, so don’t expect your in-laws to change overnight. Talk to your spouse about what they believe is reasonable to convince their parents. It’s easy for someone to remember to call before they come over. It isn’t as easy to change their political views. Be realistic.
Four: Get Your Spouse to Set the Boundaries
If you don’t think you can be civil with your in-laws, have your spouse talk to their parents. They know your in-laws better than you ever will, so they might be able to persuade them better.
Hearing it from your spouse may also soften the blow, allowing your in-laws to take in the information without getting too upset.
Five: Enforce Your Boundaries
Once you’ve laid out your boundaries, remember to enforce them. There’s no need to make threats or stir up conflict. Simply adjust your behavior accordingly.
Point out whenever they cross a line, and remind them they agreed not to cross it.
Dealing with in-laws is often unpleasant, but there are ways to mitigate the problems. Make sure they know what behavior will and won’t be tolerated, and stay on the same page as your spouse.