How To Deal With Your In-Laws
Fall and winter are coming, and you know what that means: so-called 'quality' time with the in-laws over the holidays. As if this season wasn't stressful enough! If you're lucky, you married into a family that interacts with love, respect, and a healthy amount of vino at the family dinners. If not, take a few of these tips to carry with you long after the holidays are over to help you cope with less-than-pleasant in-laws.
If you can't say anything nice...
That's right. Don't say anything at all. And that includes non-verbal messages like rolling your eyes. Your mother in law may berate your every outfit or career choice, or your brother-in-law may taunt you incessantly, be keep strong. After all, the worst thing you could do is let negative people turn you into a negative person too.
Kill them with kindness
Nothing is more frustrating for people intentionally trying to hurt feelings than to meet their daggers with roses. As much as you can, as often and sincerely as you can, be kind. You might just be able to lead by example. Plus, if your man's parents are being condescending simply because they are intimated by you (you are taking away their baby boy, after all), then showing that you are a sweet and compassionate person will let them know they can take their guard down, since their son as picked a good one!
Create a united front
Before you head over for any family get-together, have a conversation with your guy about how his family makes you feel. And speak kindly. You don't want him to think you are accusing them of being bad people (even if you secretly want to). Gently clue him in to how you feel you are being treated, and ask him to help you out. He'll feel empowered to stand by you, even stick up for you, and his family will know that that kind of behavior won't fly.
It's ok to set a few ground rules with your family, even if they sting a little at first. Matriarchs are used to ruling the roost, but now that you're in a serious committed relationship with your guy, it's ok to let her know what you do and don't feel comfortable accommodating. If you can stand it, blame things on yourself. For instance “We can only have you guys stay in our guest room for one week this Christmas, since after that I've got to give my relatives a chance to see the kids over Christmas break” or “We really need to head home by 9 tonight; I promised my boss I'd work this weekend on a big project.” It makes you the bad guy, yes, but weren't you anyway?
Remember what's important
You might be dealing with a lot just to get through a holiday dinner and save face, but remember the pay-off. Dealing with his family means getting to be with him, and chances are he gets frustrated with his family too. Remember that this is one of your duties to him: to cope with his family so that he can spend time with them and spend his life with the woman he loves.