I have had one set of parents-in-laws whom I adored, getting on so well with them both and the rest of the family too. I have also experienced the reverse currently with my partner's side of the family.
I personally believe it's important for us to want the mother in law to like us, after all we're going to be spending a lot of time visiting and at some point collaborating for some key events etc. So when there is an atmosphere or tension on the mothers side for some reason, it can create a strain in your own relationship between their child and yourself.
Below I list some personal do's and don'ts that have made my own relationship blossom at times but also made us doubt whether we should actually be together. So mother in laws out there take note:
Offer help and be supportive
Always offer your support and remind your child you are there for them when they need it. Offer help in a difficult situation but don't be offended if they say no.
That your child is also happy. If they are making an effort and are feeling better about themselves in a good relationship, take comfort knowing that this new partner is in some way the pure reason for this. Don't take that away from them.
Include the partner
If your child is classing themselves in a relationship now, try to encourage as much interaction and also thoughtful ideas with that partner as possible. Small gestures such as a birthday card or an invite to the annual family bbq is often greatly received. Not leaving this new partner out can make your child appreciate how hard you're trying.
Respect the rules
When you visit their house, be mindful of their house rules, this includes the way they want their children to behave, don't interfere in punishments or rewards. Having been in this awful situation myself, I can tell you it doesn't end well. This can put so much pressure on a relationship and all unnecessarily too. We end up falling out, then the mother in law has won.
Consider their relatives
We, as your child's partner do actually have our own parents. If on Mother's day we'd rather have dinner out at a restaurant with her but your son only bought you a bunch of flowers, unfortunately that was the decision made by him. We can't be in two places at the same time and we'd rather be together as a couple than apart. Your child doesn't love you less, time will get spent with you, but don't expect your child to drop everything for you.
Call every 20 minutes of the day
Me and your son have a life together! We go out for a coffee whenever we like, we do spontaneous road trips and we enjoy binging TV programs doing nothing else sometimes. So why do you feel the need to interrupt us? You called first thing this morning to ask what we're up to, so don't check up on us 20 minutes later and then continuously throughout the day. And we are allowed to have a chill day once in a while, if we say we're doing nothing and have ordered takeaway for breakfast, lunch and dinner that's our choice, don't force us to come visit you 'if we're bored'. We're not bored, we want to chill together, alone.
Put your child on a pedestal
As a mother myself I totally understand the whole 'no one is good enough for you' attitude, but when you create a 'god like' partner for your child, you will probably be disappointed. But don't act like this around the partner they choose to settle down with, it's just not fair.
Force your child to make a choice
Sure you may not agree with a particular partner and you can advise this, maybe voice your opinions but do not force them to make a choice between you and that partner.
No one's cleaning of their house is ever up to your own standards, but don't turn up at your child's home they share with their partner and decide to help yourself to their cleaning products and tidy up. You are a guest so keep your opinions to yourself. It's disrespectful and quite frankly rude to undermine your child and their partner.
Assume you have a right
To meddle in decision making. You want a specific person at the wedding or you'll kick off. Well, first of all that's not setting a great example of behaviour, we're all adults here not children and secondly, you may be the mother but you are not the God-like figure who must be obeyed. You demand a visit every other day or you will stop sending the grandkids their pocket money. If we as a family decide to not visit upon your demands, it's genuinely for a good reason, don't assume you have the right to hola your orders just because you're sitting alone in the evening. Honestly, I can tell you these sorts of rights you think you have are always wrong and will end up pushing away those who were once close.
Pressure really is put on a couple when it comes to in-laws, while one set can let you get on with your lives together, the other wants to know the ins and outs of your business. This really does cause strain for us, we will disagree on the right way of being involved because that's just what we're used to, being brought up. When a mother puts tension on their child to visit or even call every day, we as a couple may argue, because we might think that's unnecessary but your child is torn, stuck in the middle. That's just unfair.
I hope I will use these experiences to not create strain in my own daughter's relationship one day.
Do you have any bad experiences with your mother-in-laws?
Or could you share with us maybe some great experiences?
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