The Trouble with In-Laws

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The Trouble with In-Laws | Denver Metro Moms Blog

I’ve been married for 6 years. A short time when considering growing old together. And yet, an eternity when considering navigating the delicate relationship with in-laws. And by in-laws, of course I mean parents. But I also am referring to sibling in-laws, which can be just as tumultuous (but often less complained talked about).

Now, if you’re one of the LUCKY ones who enjoys a wonderful relationship with your in-laws and have nothing but stories of love, support and encouragement to share, you hit the marital JACKPOT. You need not read any further.

For the most rest of us…

The merging of two families is hard. Period.

Like the time(s) my in-laws showed up unannounced to our home. And once even let themselves into the house because we were not there.

Or the times socially inappropriate topics were brought up during our pre-wedding festivities.

Or the time we hosted a requested birthday dinner — all made from scratch by me — appetizers, dinner, dessert and then someone showed up with a {large} store bought cake, nil effort. Homemade dessert and effort all for not.

Or the time private, personal, hurtful information was shared by members of my in-law family with our mutual friends with unapologetic selfishness and without regard to our feelings.

The list could go on.

Case in point: It’s hard. And ugly and complicated and emotional and disappointing and a continual learning experience.

And I know you, fellow Mama, have similar challenges. We could make a full morning of swapping war stories over brunch and bottomless mimosas in this regard.

But despite all of that, I still believe in the potential for growth and hope. I have to. I cling to it.

It’s not fast or big or timely, but there exists hope. Even if small. Hope for progress. For healing. And it’s all about baby steps.

One baby step I’ve been working on is changing MY expectations.

The moment I stopped expecting my in-laws to behave exactly like my own family was one in which things got just a (tiny) bit easier. You see, my husband’s family ‘celebrates’ birthdays and holidays differently than mine. They sometimes celebrate and other times they don’t. They get together less frequency. They communicate very differently. They support one another in ways I don’t always understand.

And yet, maybe, that’s okay.

I don’t have to like it, but it is okay. It’s different than my family, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad or wrong. Just different.

My in-law relationships have a lot of healing to do and I imagine it will take decades years before it’s easy easier. Things take time, but I also know that my expectations contribute to my own disappointments and this is one of the (few) things in my control. So right now, I’m focusing on that. It’s intentional. It’s hard. And takes energy. But I’m trying.

I’m hopeful that with this effort, more progress will occur in time. With effort and with some semblance of hope.

What have you learned to help improve your relationships with in-laws?

*In case you haven’t noticed, I’m writing this post anonymously. Yep, I’m no fool. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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