Many people dread getting together with their in-laws. Don’t let these family gatherings get you down! Follow these tips to make it through the holidays in one piece.
Make it a team effort
If you’re not the only one dealing with a particular behaviour, join forces with your partner to combat it. You don’t have to be confrontational; talk to your partner about how important it is to you that your family is treated well by their family members (or vice versa), and work together on a solution. The two of you can strategize together about how best to handle an upsetting situation should it arise again.
Set emotional boundaries
It can be difficult, but setting emotional boundaries can make things less tense when dealing with in-laws. Don’t let yourself get too emotionally invested in their opinions or take their comments personally. Everyone has different expectations for themselves and their families, and that’s OK! Be open to listening to them out of respect for their position as older relatives, but don’t feel obligated to agree with them if doing so would compromise your principles.
Manage your expectations
The first and most important thing to do is to manage your expectations. It may sound simple, but it’s a great way to start solving the issue. You need to try and find a common ground, and not try to change their opinions.
Recognize and Respect Differences
You and your partner have different backgrounds. Naturally, your in-laws’ traditions will differ from yours. Ask questions about their family customs, and be open to learning something new.
If you expect your in-laws to be just like your parents or if you think they should behave like them, you’ll be disappointed and frustrated. Instead of trying to change them, try to understand their perspective and accept their differences. In time, this may even help you appreciate having two distinct sets of people who love you and want what’s best for you.
Involve Your Partner
The holidays are a stressful time for everyone, so don’t expect your spouse to read your mind or know exactly what you need. Talk about any concerns you may have before the holiday, and ask for your partner’s help if things get tense.
Your in-laws raised your partner and it is obvious that they have a connection. Try to find a common ground and maintain some sense of decency, however challenging that may be.