On how to get along with your family in law

4:37 PM

Spoiler alert! you can't. Maybe

You may know it, or not, but I've been living with my hubby's family. His mother... and sister. Now, before anything let me explicitly say that this post is based solely on personal experience and thoughts. I'm not right. But I'm also not wrong. With so many thoughts on the subject, of the blessed "family in law", I thought writing about it could help, or at the very least amuse, others in similar situations. Maybe you have a fiance, or maybe you just have a boyfriend and your relationship with his or their family is close to nonexistent.

Alright, well of course this is a tough subject and things vary drastically from family to family. That said, let me commence. 

I love my husband. God knows I love the crap out of my husband. Before moving in with this family, who by the way depend on him due to the lack of a father/man in the house, I had big, gigantic, plans of getting along with his family and making it my own. Hopefully. Yeah, hopefully. To say I was naive is not enough. And this is something you need to keep in mind in any relationship you have, a relationship depends on two sides. There's two parties and both have to play for the relationship to work. No matter how much effort you put, if the other party is lacking, well, things end hurting or ending in dead ends.

I'll start with the issue of a mother in law. Mothers are amazing, right? Most of them, or at least the concept of a mother. Unconditional love and infinite care. All for free. Wonderful concept. I don't lack the affections of a proper mother, not at all, yet being so far away from hometown now, I wished to find a warm mother figure in my husband's family. Mothers in law can be very affectionate, yes it's true. Some relationships between mothers and daughters in law really work, because I've known some. Others are worth of a Cinderella-style tale. But the extremes are rarely the norm, let's be realistic. My mother in law is a good person, I've learned that after living with her for the past eight months. She's a good person, but so are most grown women. They're all good, at heart, in essence. What shows at the surface is a different matter. But I'm not trying to judge, merely trying to explain how it can be hard for feelings to match and meet with those of a mother in law. It's strange. You're faced with a woman, similar age and traits as your own mom, yet she's not your mother, not really, therefore she wouldn't give her life for yours, or kiss you goodnight, or play with your hair, but she would and sometimes does for your husband. Weird. You are witness to motherly love on a daily basis yet the love is not directed or shared with you. Jealousy? To some degree, yes. But she is not my mom, she's not the one I want to receive the affection I'm seeing from. Not that she would want to give it, anyway. For this, I'm going to say that living far, far away from your real family while living right next to your family in law is hard. Awkward. Even painful. I've tried reaching my mother in law in different times, with long caring letters and favors. Things don't really work out the way you'd want to. That is something you need to keep in mind. Your mother in law will care for you, to some basic level, and appreciate you, but we can't really expect them to take care of us if we fall sick. Right? There is an invisible barrier, awkward and strong, about getting along with mothers in law. Special events could trigger an amazing progress in the relationship, but these special events don't always happen. There's also the issue of culture and traditions. Every family has their own ways. Your family in law will have their ways, different from what your own parents taught you. Shower times, cooking times, cleaning times, manners at the table, prayers, religion, sharing the bathroom... all are issues. All are probably different from what you're used to. And in many things, your family in law could be lacking, from things you learned or things, thank god, your parents taught you. Like rinsing the dishes after you use them, or cleaning the bathroom every week. And doing your laundry. I come from a very organized, clean, strict household, and my husband's family is the exact opposite. Oh, the comical horror. My husband, I've taught and adjusted to already, but his family won't move a finger to contribute. This was to be expected, they don't love me, why would they change their habits around the house when they have no reason to show me they care. Yeah, I'm dealing with an extreme lazy family here. If it were your family, you'd be able to demand, command, beg, cry, yell. If and when needed. But your family in law, well you don't want to give them a show or embarrass yourself. Feelings have to be contained and because you are one to two (or the number of family members), you have to bend and adjust your side. Not theirs.

To my... misfortune, my husband has a sister close in age to me. She is three years younger than me. I thought that was great, I planned on getting along with her. I really did. Oh, the disappointment. Sisters in law should and will most likely be easier to deal with than mothers in law. They're more accessible, less demanding. Easier. A more casual relationship. Having a new sister is like getting a new neighbor friend. And that's exactly what I wanted to be with her. A friend. A good one! Truly. Well, needless to say I presented her my wardrobe, makeup and accessories collection. Offered to lend her things, if she has a date or something. Even expressed the wish of styling her for fun. Girly things. I made her a big surprise Christmas present, and I did the same for her birthday. I even took her out on her birthday, to the mall. We had ice-cream, pizza, many nice things. I opened up to her as well. She seemed like the sort of person you can trust. My bad. In my excitement (and naivety) of getting along with her I failed to notice she was not interested herself. Time after time, I was right out rejected. Over and over. I kept trying because we really do like the same things and share a similar humor. In different circumstances, we would have been normal good friends. But I am her brother's wife. Her brother's love. Her brother's number one. And she wasn't interested in establishing a relationship with that person, or building a bridge, or anything at all. That's why I mentioned the relationships always depend on both sides. If one side is out, there is no point to it. I find myself thinking how, had my husband's family been different, we would have all gotten along. And it's not that we hate each other, but there is certainly no love. Rather, tolerance and acceptance (somewhat). The best you can hope for, when a sister in law is not interested in you, is to be kind here and there and maybe get a favor or two back. Keep in mind her age, as well. A young teenager doesn't always have the maturity to establish a relationship with their family in law. In brief, brief words, I was shocked, hit and disgusted with the girl's behavior. You can't always win people over. Not many people will like you, even if you give it your best try. And, most important of all, cold, negative people don't deserve you to try so hard (at all). Don't break your own heart trying to share it with someone like that. Girls that basically make you beg for their friendship are just.... no. Just no.

But hey, if you ever have a family in law, I do really hope you manage to get along. Go with the flow of things and don't care too much about it. Be courteous. And kind. But don't forget the ones that truly matter are your lover and your real family. 

Conclusion? Nothing replaces your blood-family. Bless the damn real families that know you and love you.

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