Among the little things that can poison a love relationship, there’s the in-laws. How do you get along with yours ? Personally, I have no problem with mine, but with the light of my life, we made a deal: we try to see our parents separately when it’s possible. Of course, when it’s Christmas or other traditional events, we cannot go separately and see our family. And we try also to prevent us from the intervention of our family in our couple.
But around me, I know some people who have a real problem with their in-laws. A friend of mine is married to an Italian whose mother still lives in Italy, near Palermo. Once a year, her mother-in-law pays a visit to his husband, and she stays one whole month in their house. Usually, when her mother-in-law goes back to Sicily, my friend is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Because she had to endure one month of constant critics about the way she cooks, she cleans the house, she takes care of her husband (her precious son) ,… And my friend is not a mom yet. So things will probably worsen when she will have a baby. Because my friend has the impression that nothing she does is enough to please her mother-in-law. Luckily for her, this painful period only lasts one month per year. Other people I know would pay to have the chance of having eleven months of peace during a year.
The worst situation usually comes when your in-laws live in the same house than you. Some couples have managed to resolve the problem that could cause this kind of cohabitation by putting their parents in a independent part of their house. But there are the lucky one. S., a 44 year-old teacher, accepted to accommodate her mother-in-law in her house after the death of his husband. But she soon started to regret her decision. Three days after her mother-in-law’s moving, she found out that the devil has reorganized her whole house and has changed everything from its place. The devil also threw away everything she thought that wasn’t necessary. S. had also the impression that her mother-in-law kept on watching her. After three months of painful cohabitation, S. begged her husband to find another place for his mother to live. I don’t know if she got satisfaction, or if she divorced or had an nervous breakdown after that.
But sometimes, your in-laws don’t live in the same house than you, but they still get on your nerves. D, a 32 year-old nurse, told me that if she could kill her in-laws without any consequence, she would do it. Because she has to deal with two particular human beings. Her mother-in-law is very susceptible, you cannot say anything without hurting her, while her father-in-law is the most stingy person you can ever met, among other unpleasant things. So, every occasion she has to meet her in-laws turns into a living nightmare. She explained to me she once had a huge fight with her in-laws over the setup of her wedding. Her father-in-law got offended when she refused the low-budget location he chose for the wedding and threaten to boycott her wedding. After many, many diplomatic talks, her husband convinced his father to change his mind. But, meanwhile, her mother-in-law started to be difficult too. For her wedding, her monster-in-law decided not to pick a gift from the wedding list, but instead chose to offer a handcrafted napkin she made herself. And now, each time she pays a visit to D. and her husband, she checked if her napkin lays on the table. Because if it’s not, she’s offended, and it takes many, many talks to calm her down. That’s just one example of all the situations D. has to go through with her in-laws. She told me that if she wanted to tell everything about them, she could write a whole book.
In some African cultures, they have a relationship of avoidance with their in-laws. Maybe they have the key for a good relationship with their in-laws.