In-Laws: Getting Along with the Family You Married Into

"We had a huge blow-up."
The problem: iVillager Maxxyk3 had the Christmas visit from hell with her sisters-in-law. All older than Maxxyk3's husband, they overrode her holiday dinner plans (in her own house!), refused to discipline their children as the kids made a mess of Maxxyk3's home (nor let Maxxyk3 discipline them), and were generally as rude as possible. When, after three days of such behavior, Maxxyk3 lost it, a screaming match broke out. "I told them that if they did not like the way I run my house there is the door, it swings both ways, don't let it hit you on the way out," she recalls. "And needless to say, I haven't spoken to either of them since then." Her real problem: "My husband thinks I should apologize. And so does his mother."

The solution: iVillager Sandmar advocates taking the high road in this case. "I think that you should be the better person and apologize for acting that way," she says. But that's not to say one should roll over and be a wimp, either. "Tell them exactly what drove you to that. It is important that you set the ground rules as to what you consider acceptable and what you find offensive." She also stresses the importance of keeping your cool. "Flying off the handle gives them ammunition to treat you badly and speak ill of you." Sandmar, like Stretch123, points out the need to know where your significant other stands and to confront his family as a team. "It will cause a strain on your marriage because your husband is in the middle. It is important that he is there -- they will know that you guys are one and have one voice."

So what can we learn, overall, about dealing with our in-laws? Perhaps there are really just three basic guidelines, according to iVillagers' common wisdom: Set boundaries within which you can function with your in-laws. Be the kinder and more generous one, despite what others do; bad behavior on your part doesn't so much let you "get even" with your in-laws as make you a lesser person. And, finally, make sure you know where your husband stands, and that he's willing to stand with you as a teammate.

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