Oh No! The In-Laws.
What do you do if your boyfriend is an articulate, caring, handsome soul and his family is…well, the closest scientists have ever come to finding the missing link?
It’s not easy to be with someone if you’re not wild about his family, but no one ever said the path to true love was supposed to be easy.
These suggestions will help you find the difficult balance between loving him and being less than crazy about his relatives.
Be Honest and Kind
Unless your boyfriend is completely oblivious, he probably senses the conflict between you and his family.
Don’t risk harming your relationship with him by lying and saying everything’s fine, but don’t trash the people he loves, either. For instance, it’s fine to say, “As you’ve probably noticed, your brother and I have very different beliefs.”
It’s not such a good idea is to say, “I can’t sand your brother because he’s a brain-dead redneck.”
Don’t try to stop your boyfriend from seeing his family, but don’t feel you have to join him on every visit.
Putting in an appearance once in a while or only on special occasions is just fine.
Develop Selective Hearing
Rather than get into a fight that you can’t win, ignore any family members who try to get a rise out of you by deliberately making annoying comments.
Simply act as if you didn’t hear the offensive remark and start a conversation about another subject.
This is a technique that works well whether you’re a contractor accounting software saleswoman or a college professor.
If you can’t ignore an offensive comment or joke, use the old trick of playing dumb.
Give the person who made the remark a puzzled look and say, “I don’t understand. teWhat do you mean by that?”
Most people who make snide remarks don’t have the courage to deliver a direct insult eye to eye.
Come Up with a Stuck Needle Response
Another way to handle disagreements with your boyfriend’s family is to repeat the same thing over and over — like an old, scratched vinyl record — until they get the idea.
You might try something like, “I know you feel very strongly about this, and it looks like we’ll just have to agree to disagree.”
Then change the subject.
Don’t Put Your Boyfriend in the Middle
No matter how badly his family may be behaving, it’s not fair to put your boyfriend on the spot by demanding he choose between them and you.
If you and his mother disagree about something, for instance, don’t look at your boyfriend and say, “Paul thinks I’m right, don’t you, Paul?”
You may be surprised and disappointed by his response.
Discuss Specific Issues in Private
There will probably always be some issues between you and your boyfriend’s family that won’t go away.
Most of these issues, like political and religious disagreements, are annoying but harmless. If something about his family’s behaviour makes you truly uncomfortable, however, discuss it with your boyfriend in private and decide as a couple how you want to handle the situation.
For instance, if you are uncomfortable with the comments his uncle makes about your body, you may agree that it’s best for you to avoid family gatherings that his uncle is expected to attend.
Being in love is hard enough without having to weather a complicated family situation, too, but if you keep a cool head, you and your boyfriend will be able to find a solution that works for everyone.
Speak Your Mind, With Your Opinion
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- What's been your own experience with your In-Laws?
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