What to Do If You Don't Like Your In-Laws

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When you get married, you not only marry your spouse, but you also marry their family. And while you may have fallen in head-over-heels in love with your partner, that doesn't necessarily mean that you'll feel the same way about their parents. In fact, it's pretty common to butt heads with your in-laws from time to time.

But just because you don't see eye-to-eye with your mother-in-law or father-in-law doesn't mean that your marriage is doomed. With a little bit of patience and understanding, you can learn to navigate the waters and build a healthy relationship with your in-laws—even if you don't exactly love them.

Here are a few tips on what to do if you don't like your in-laws.

Communicate With Your Partner

The first step is to talk to your spouse about your concerns. They may be completely unaware of the tension between you and their family members, and they can help mediate the situation. If they're not willing or able to help, then you'll need to take things into your own hands.

Avoid Sensitive Topics With In-Laws

There are certain topics that are likely to cause conflict between you and your in-laws. Whether it's politics, religion, or your parenting style, it's best to avoid these topics altogether. If you can't avoid them, then be respectful and try to see things from their perspective.

If you have disagreements, try to discuss them in a calm and respectful way. And avoid openly criticizing them—this will only make things worse.

Establish Boundaries With Your In-Laws

It's important to set boundaries with your in-laws, especially if they're overbearing or meddling in your life.

Let them know what you're comfortable with and what you're not comfortable with. And don't be afraid to stick to your guns—even if it means saying "no" to them.

Don't Take Things Personally

There will be times when your in-laws say or do something that hurts your feelings. But it's important not to take things personally.

They may not be intentionally trying to hurt you, and it's important to remember that they're just human like everyone else.

Accept Your In-Laws As They Are

Your in-laws are never going to change, so it's important to accept them for who they are. Trying to change them will only cause tension and conflict. So instead, focus on accepting them and building a relationship with them that works for both of you.

Be Thankful for the Good Moments

No matter how difficult your relationship with your in-laws may be, there will always be good moments too. Cherish these moments and be thankful for them. Practicing gratitude has been shown to positively impact well-being. So, if you're in a better headspace, you may find that it's easier to get along with your in-laws.

Spend Time With Them

It can be difficult to spend time with your in-laws if you don't particularly enjoy their company. But if you can find activities that you both enjoy, it can help build a stronger bond between you. This could be anything from going for walks to playing cards to watching a movie together.

However, if you're finding it difficult to be around your in-laws for extended periods of time, then try spending time with them in small doses.

Start with short visits and gradually increase the amount of time you spend together. This will help you get used to their company and build a stronger relationship over time.

Find Common Ground

One of the best ways to build a relationship with your in-laws is to get to know them better. Ask them about their life, their interests, and their opinions on various topics.

The more you know about them, the easier it will be to find common ground and build a strong relationship.

Seek Advice and Support

If you're struggling to deal with your in-laws, it's important to seek out support from someone who can offer impartial advice. This could be a friend or a relative who is one step removed from the situation. They'll be able to offer you support and guidance without any bias.

Express Your Feelings

It's important to find a way to express your feelings in a healthy way. This could be through writing, artistic expression, or other forms of self-expression. It's important to find a way to release the anger, frustration, and hurt that you're feeling, or else it will only fester and grow over time.

Be Patient

Building a strong relationship with your in-laws takes time and patience. It won't happen overnight, so don't expect it to. Be patient and understanding, and eventually, you'll be able to develop a strong bond with them.

Press Play for Advice On Dealing With Your In-Laws

Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares how to navigate in-law relationships. Click below to listen now.

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A Word From Verywell

It's not always easy to get along with your in-laws, but it is possible. With time, patience, and effort, you can develop a strong and healthy relationship with them. If you've tried everything and you're still struggling to build a relationship with your in-laws, then it may be time to seek professional help. A therapist can assist you in working through the issues that are preventing you from having a healthy relationship with your in-laws.

2 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Peterson E, Solomon D. Maintaining healthy boundaries in professional relationships: a balancing actHome Care Provid. 1998;3(6):314-318.

  2. Wood AM, Froh JJ, Geraghty AW. Gratitude and well-being: a review and theoretical integrationClin Psychol Rev. 2010;30(7):890-905. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2010.03.005

By Arlin Cuncic, MA
Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." She has a Master's degree in psychology.