In-laws: Can’t live with them… pass the vodka.
When it comes to your in-laws, the fact that there’s no escaping them (like, ever) can be an overwhelming concept to grasp. I mean, there are times when you can barely tolerate your own family, and now you have another set of parents, sisters, and brothers to contend with who have enough emotional baggage to fill a Barney’s.
Since it’d be nice to survive at least one holiday without severely damaging your liver, here are five ways to make time with your in-laws feel a little bit easier:
1. Set rules with your sig-o
After all, you’re in this together. You both had a certain lifestyle before you got hitched, and preferences you want to maintain as a twosome. For example, if you can’t stand it when the fam shows up uninvited, make it a point that they have to call and make plans first. The key to each rule is to establish them with both his side of the family and your own. That way everyone’s on the same page, and you can both keep (what’s left of) your sanity in tact.
2. Accept them for exactly who they are
This doesn’t just happen with in-laws, but it happens especially with in-laws: When people we care about aren’t living their lives the way we feel they “should” be, many of us don’t come right out with it. Instead, we let the awkward tension build to unbearable levels. If you want your in-laws to accept you and your marriage as is, then you have to do the same with how they live their lives. Try not to be too critical—or defensive—as a way to thaw the ice.
3. Keep your relationship out of it
When you’re having a tiff with a relative-in-law, it’s easy to forget that the conflict could put your guy in a sticky, lose/lose situation. He has a certain amount of loyalty to both of you, so make sure when you talk to him about it that you do so in a way that doesn’t drag him in the middle. For example, explain to him how you feel, and ask him the best way to deal with the situation. Being that he knows them super well, it’s a proactive way to be heard but also deal with the sitch like a grown-up.
4. Focus on what you have in common
No matter how you really feel about them, you can be civil for the sake of your guy. (No, but seriously.) One great way to ease the tension is to focus on what you have in common. You can ask them in-depth questions about topics you share an interest in, and keep them talking for days. Being a good listener isn’t just a good way to charm them, but by saying less, you’re less likely to get into shit.
5. Admit when you can’t hack it
Hey, life is crazy busy/hectic/stressful. It’s better to sit a visit out with your in-laws when you just can’t even than spend time with them begrudgingly. Besides, not only will your guy enjoy the one-on-one time with them, but there will be times when he needs a breather from your fam too, which is totally okay—more vodka for you.
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