Social Question

jca's avatar

How is your relationship with your spouse/partner's parents?

Asked by jca (36043points) April 19th, 2011

How is your relationship with your spouse/partner’s parents? (I’ll refer to them in this question as in-laws, even if you’re not married) Why do you think it is that people frequently have bad relationships with their in-laws?

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26 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I never had the privilege of meeting my husband’s father and as much as I goof on my mother in law,I really do get along very well with her.
The reasons people don’t get along with their in laws are varied.Most probably having to do with control.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I geet along great with my MIL, but my wife’s step-father is an SOB and difficult in the extreme to get along with!

The primary reason for not being able to get along with your in-laws is the difference in behavior patterns between them and your own parents. Sometimes it’s a rude awakening to learn that not all parents are the same.

wundayatta's avatar

It’s fine now that they are no longer living. My father-in-law passed away before I got married. I think I had met him once. Maybe twice. My mother-in-law was ok, but she couldn’t hear and it was always somewhat boring to visit her. She wasn’t all that interesting. She passed away a year ago after a couple of years in a nursing home. It caused great stress on my wife.

I’m sure that every bad relationship with an in-law is caused by different reasons. They don’t have to be bad relationships. But maybe they often think their child’s partner isn’t good enough. Or maybe there is a kind of competition for the affections of the child.

Judi's avatar

I’m my MIL’s favorite right now.

optimisticpessimist's avatar

I absolutely love my in-laws. They are completely different than my parents (whom I also love.) I think it helps that they like me. They also understand we are adults and although they may not always agree with us, we make our choices and will live with the consequences.

The people I have known who do not get along with their in-laws either have a personality conflict (which can happen no matter what the relationship) or have in-laws who still treat their child like a child and want some form of control over their lives.

janbb's avatar

I had a grat relationship with my in-laws; particularly with my mother-in-law. It was much less complicated than my relationship with my own mother and she truly loved me and showed it.

geeky_mama's avatar

I have wonderful in-laws. :) Love them! And they love me.
We live closer to his parents than mine and see them at least a couple of times each week.

Cruiser's avatar

My MIL is a hoot and as crazy as they get and my wife’s step father is a warm loving goofy character as well. Very exhausting to hang out with though and I can really only handle a couple hours max around them. My boys are very fortunate to have them here in their lives too as they really adore my kids.

MilkyWay's avatar

Not married yet, but my relationship with my parents isn’t so good…I’m just too different.

JLeslie's avatar

Pretty good. There was a few rough years with my mother-in-law, mostly influenced by her daughter at the time, and I take some responsibility for it also, but things seem back on track. It was dissappointing because during the first few years of my marriage my mother-in-law and I were really good with each other. I’ve always gotten along fine with my father-in-law.

Aethelwine's avatar

Both my husband and I get along great with our in-laws. Well, all in-laws except for my husband’s dad, but my husband doesn’t even talk to his dad. He’s a major a**hole that doesn’t even acknowledge his grandchildren.

The running joke in my family (there’s six children) is that Jon is my mom’s favorite out of all of us.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I adore my SO’s and look upon them as a second set of parents. Two years ago, they stayed with us for a month over the Christmas holiday, and it was a very special time. I’ve asked that they be the two witnesses at our our marriage ceremony.

Although my mother has only spent a weekend with my SO, they’ve web-chatted a few times. They get along well. In fact, when we were there for the weekend, the three of us were sitting on her back patio chatting, and the next thing I knew, they were singing a duet of some old World War II song. It was priceless.

Pandora's avatar

My relationship with my MIL was terrible from the beginning but not with my FIL. She is very possessive with all of her children. I think she couldn’t handle being replaced in affection. Its much better now but it didn’t get better till about 17 years. Think she just finally gave up. There are lots of reasons why people don’t get along. A lot of the time I think it just comes down to personality differences. My MIL is a controling person. After she realized that there was no way she could control our lives without being cut out of it, she finally conceded and figured out it was better just to try to get along. And I realized that stroking her ego a little bit helped her to see me in a new way. More as a friend than a foe. It was actually her aunt (who likes me) who made her realize she would get more with honey than with salt and that all her tactics was simply alienating her from her son. I never asked my husband to avoid her. If anything I always encouraged their relationship because other than being a horrible MIL, she was always a loving mother to him personally. Only he didn’t care for her attacks on me and pretty much told her to grow up and accept our relationship because he would always choose me over her.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I have been married three times. My first husband’s mother really took me under her wing and we were great friends. She taught me how to crochet. His father had already passed on. My second husband’s parents were cold and unapproachable. I only saw them a couple of times. They didn’t even come to see the babies, even though they lived close enough to do so. My third husband’s parents were wonderful. His dad taught my boys to play guitar. Mom treated me just like her own daughter. They didn’t treat my kids any differently than their other grandkids. Sometimes my kids would ride their bikes over to their house just to hang out and get fed pop and cookies. Too bad they are both gone now, as is my husband, but they enriched all of our lives very much.

ucme's avatar

My wife’s mother died when she was just a kid, brain tumour. Her dad died 4yrs ago, heart attack. I would have loved to have met her mum & I got along great with her dad even if it was an all too short amount of time.

Aster's avatar

My MIL was a generous, gracious but difficult person who was beginning to apparently compete with me for her son’s affections. She seemed to want to dislike me and pick on me which upset me terribly, mostly physically. I liked her but I had to guard every word; she was quite paranoid and spoiled to death by her husband.
Her husband, my FIL was a softy and a sweetheart, very generous and seemed happy instead of annoyed when we were around.

tinyfaery's avatar

They are generous, caring people. We all get along great.

Jude's avatar

They’re wonderful. So down-to-earth, caring and fun as hell. Much like my SO. They’re also a bit crazy; much like my SO. =)

They love me, and I love them.

flutherother's avatar

Had I got on as well with my wife as with my in-laws I would still be married.

YARNLADY's avatar

I’ve always gotten along very well with my MIL. I could barely tolerate my FIL, but he was kind hearted, just socially obnoxious.

thorninmud's avatar

It’s an odd relationship. We get along fine—absolutely no hard feelings on either side—but even after 28 years I continue to baffle them, and vice-versa. We’re so very, very different in disposition that we would likely never have made any connection had life brought us together under other circumstances.

Anxiety is their baseline state; I love calm.

They are almost pathologically communicative (they announce when they’re going to the bathroom, for example); conversation is work for me, and I’m quite happy with silence.

So our relationship has never really gelled. We’re very civil (I can’t remember harsh words ever being used between us), but there’s an underlying discomfort between us that will likely never go away.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Mine is a bit like @thorninmud…our communication style is so different, I refer to my MIL as an alien when discussing the situation with my family/husband. She and the FIL are extremely literal people. I express more emotion than either of them can stand.

In the past, my husband & I put in great effort to try to relationship build with them. We have discovered that they prefer their hermit-ish life style of no friends, rare visits, and little to no “going out”.

Since my husband & I are attempting to have as many good social role models around our son, we have mostly cut his parents out of the equation at this point.

As to your why @jca…In my personal experience it is due to extreme personality differences. I think I’m one of the first in my family to experience anything like it. Most of the generations before me lived with in laws in their homes or on their properties. My husband & I have my mom living with us…he gets along fine w/her.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I loved my ex in-laws and enjoyed their company. I love my soon-to-be in-laws and enjoy their company too. It often vexes me why people dread “in-laws”. I’ve been lucky with the parents of spouses and lovers but that may also have to do with me being interested in them and giving them a lot of respect and deference for the being the parents of the person I love. I really believe in the case of in-laws, what goes around- comes around.

filmfann's avatar

Q: How is your relationship with your spouse/partner’s parents?

A: Great! They’re dead!
Never met her Dad. Only met her mom 3 or 4 times.

George_Roberts's avatar

I love my in-laws, we all get along great.

Bellatrix's avatar

They have died. We are both orphans and neither of us met our respective parents. I would have loved to meet my husband’s parents though and especially his mother. She seems, from what he has told me, such a fun, spontaneous person.

I would very much like my parents to have met my husband (and my children).

In answer to the second part of your question @jca, I think parents should avoid automatically taking their child’s side in disputes. Our kids need our honesty and sometimes that means a few home truths. I hope when my children are in long-term relationships I will have the sense to stay out of things that don’t concern me but if asked for help, to be fair and objective and have at heart the desire to help them resolve their issues.

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