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  • Natalie Garcia
    Natalie Garcia

    How do you handle in-laws who don't approve of your relationship?

    It's always a tricky situation when parents and in-law's don't approve of your relationship; it doesn't only strain family dynamics, but it can also be emotionally damaging, at times deterring one from going ahead with the relationship altogether. That being said, it doesn't always have to be a deadlock. In this article, we'll see how one can handle in-law woes in an effective manner.

    In every relationship between two people, there is no shortage of uncertainties and challenges; throw in-laws in the mix and you have a recipe for disaster. It is quite common for couples to realize early on that things are taking a downward turn with their in-laws (or vice-versa) and the solution may not always be obvious.

    If the problem behind the disapproving looks and heightened disapproval sticks mainly to some of the 'traditional' expectations of our culture, then simply knowing they exist can help you further manage the situation better. For example, qualities like being patient, respectful, and kind go a long way in forming stronger relationships with your in-laws. According to Dr. Lillian Glass, a clinical psychologist and communication expert, "you need to focus on being kind and understanding. While it may be difficult with them, being positive will help defuse tension."

    Getting away from the 'traditional expectations' for a second, you must also try to understand where your in-laws are coming from on an emotional perspective. At times, in-laws think that maintaining the traditional view of the relationship is in the best interest of their kids or maybe their own experience has made them suspicious about long-term commitments. However, once you take a step back, you'll understand that all of these are normal reactions. People are afterall sensitive beings when it comes to matters of the heart and how it affects their loved ones.

    Once you've taken the time to understand your in-laws point of view, and if possible, have a real conversation with them, they'll be more open to the idea of having you in their family. Pour the storm with excessive kindness and keep the lines of communication open. In the most clement and amiable way, educate them on why your relationship is different and worth celebrating. Dr. Glass also suggests that it's important to stay away from pointing fingers and finger-pointing, even if you're right, just be mature and responsible in your approach and stay away from arguments.

    It is also an all too common scenario that, due to families having conflicting opinions, or not having their opinion heard, might lead to a situation of wanting to part ways. This may not necessarily be the best solution in the long run and it's wise to assess the pros and cons of this decision before taking any course of action. In such cases, couples should always consider taking a break from the situation, rather than instantly jumping into it. Taking a proverbial step back allows you to divert your energies

    When all talks and discussions more often than not prove fruitless, then the only thing you can do is to accept that sometimes 'friction' is nothing but result of conflicting beliefs and expectations, which would seemingly never meet in the middle. You may decide not to involve yourself with in-laws who disapprove of you or your relationship, or you may decide to continue in pursuit of a better relationship, as ultimately either way, you're still faced with less ideal circumstances.

    No matter what the outcome of all this dialogue is, there is no life without some kind of collision, so take the obstruction in your stride and create a world of bliss for yourself and your partner. The support from those who are afterall a part of your extended circle will always offer your relationship – and yourself – a sense of validation.

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