5 ways to deal with difficult in-laws

Follow these steps and you’ll have even the craziest of in-laws wrapped around your little finger.

EDGAR staff August 3, 2014

It's no surprise that Sergio Agüero's relationship with Giannina Maradona didn't last; when you have someone as bonkers as El Diego as a father-in-law, it's bound to put a serious strain on the romance.

And it's not just in the celebrity world where difficult in-laws can be a big issue. From meddling in your relationship with your partner and always dropping by at the most inconvenient times, to messing up your child's routine and trying to dispence unwanted advice, a poor relationship with your partner's parents can be an absolute nightmare.

But it needn't be that way. Here are five steps that will tame even the trickiest of in-laws.

1. Work as a team

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The first and most important rule to getting along with your in-laws is make sure that you and your partner are working together. It's absolutely essential that the pair of you are a united front and deal with any disagreements before they get out of control.

Problems with the in-laws can put a lot of strain on a relationship, and it's easy to take sides and ultimately fall out over a disagreement. That's why it's so important to remember that any argument with a mother- or father-in-law is separate from your relationship and should not affect how you feel about your partner.

2. Establish boundaries

42-15331031 As part of the process of working together with your partner, discussing boundaries and setting out the kind of behaviour you're both comfortable with is highly beneficial.

For example, if your partner is fine with her mother arriving at your place unannounced but you're not, try to come to an agreement that she gives you a bit of notice before coming round in future, and in turn listen to what your partner's preferences are too.

3. Communicate clearly

42-21297754 The next step is to clearly and politely communicate these boundaries to your in-laws. Setting up this conversation can be difficult without causing confrontation, but as long as you're calm and clear, there's no reason why things can't be amicable.

This is definitely best done face-to-face, so although you'd much prefer to just send them a quick text message instead of inviting them around for dinner, a little bit more effort here will go a long way.

4. Make allowances

42-19662369 During the communication with your in-laws, it's likely that you won't agree on everything - if you did then there would never have been an issue in the first place. At this point it's important to pick your battles carefully.

They will probably feel a bit put out by suddenly having rules dictated to them if they don't get any of their own way - especially if grandchildren are in the equation. It's only fair that they get a few grandparent privileges, so even if you don't allow the children to have sweets, an ice cream from the grandparents once in a while isn't going to do any harm.

5. Find the positives

Once both parties have gone through the hard slog of setting rules, you can look forward to all the good things about a healthy relationship with your in-laws.

There are so many perks to having them around, and many people who don't see their in-laws would trade places with you in an instant. So focus on the positives; enjoy your time with your partner's parents and your life will suddenly become a whole lot easier.