August 14, 2011, 10:37 am
This article is exclusive to Hitched Magazine:
Letter from Reader: “What can I do about a mother-in-law who calls my husband everyday (we live in another state) and is always trying to meddle in our business? My husband is very vague about our life, and has told her repeatedly to let us live our own lives. She is eighty yrs old, and we are in our mid forties. My husband moved out of the state she lives in because of this problem three years ago, but she continues to call everyday. When she cannot get any info from my husband, she tries to get info from other relatives about us. HELP!! She is out of control, and we are tired of it.”
Dealing With a Meddling Mother-in-Law
Many couples struggle with in-laws who think they are entitled to know every detail of their children’s lives. These parents feel that healthy boundaries don’t apply to them because they are “family.” It can be very aggravating to deal with a mother-in-law who meddles into your private life, or a father-in-law who offers unwanted advice in a condescending manner.
Here are some tips for dealing with meddling in-laws.
1. Unite as a couple. Rather than focusing on how awful your in-laws are, concentrate on making sure you don’t allow their behavior to drive you and your partner apart. You can have a great marriage even if your in-laws aren’t so great. Work together as a team to find solutions instead of making the problem worse by fighting with each other. (In the scenario above, the couple is actually handling the problem very well. They both agree that it’s best to live in a different state than the mother-in-law. They realize that she is not entitled to know every detail of their lives, and the husband has the courage to tell her that.)
We can minimize the way our in-laws’ behavior affects us by uniting as a couple and respectfully enforcing our boundaries.
Jenna D. Barry is the author of “A Wife’s Guide to In-laws: How to Gain Your Husband’s Loyalty Without Killing His Parents.” Find more at www.WifeGuide.org.
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