5 Rules For Living With Your In-Laws (and Making It Work)

5 Rules For Living With Your In-Laws (and Making It Work)

Living with our in-laws can be a nightmare for most of us. But it doesn’t have to be. There are some ways that can help you make it work and find love and happiness…even with your in-laws.


It doesn’t need to be a nightmare.

In almost every old movie, when the couples are in love and committing to one another, there will appear a door, and the man carries the woman over the threshold. Whether that happens with a newly married couple moving into their first home, or whether it happens on a date when the guy carries the woman into the bedroom, it represents a new beginning and a change in the relationship.

Today, there is a new threshold where the woman is being carried over the boyfriend/husband’s parents’ threshold or her parents’ threshold. The bottom line is they aren’t moving into their own place and are stuck living with in-laws.

This goes on in many other countries. In fact, in Italy, men frequently live at home until they are 40. The mothers in Italy have a lot of power and control, and it is understood. In the US, it is not traditional. Young people want to leave home as soon as possible, but the economy is forcing many of those who left to return, and it is awkward when a grown son or daughter moves back in with mom and dad.

Many times, they don’t come home alone; they have a “friend” or spouse. Having teenagers living with parents is wild enough, but having grown children with their spouses, friends or children living with parents can be chaotic.

It’s not only chaotic for the in-laws, but it’s chaotic for the in-law child too. They didn’t grow up with the parents’ family. They didn’t see the type of parenting style used to raise their new husband or wife, nor do they understand expectations and family boundaries. These issues and many more can make the stay in the family home a stressful, tumultuous time.

As with all things, better planning, and communication about what is going to happen, the better. This is not a good surprise for anyone, so communication about feelings prior to moving in will make the threshold more welcoming. Along with marriage advice for couples moving in with the in-laws or back home, here are a few suggestions that will help.


1. Have a clear idea of how long you are going to live with them.

Knowing a time limit will help people choose their battles more wisely.

For example, if you cannot stand the way your dad or father-in-law spits tobacco while watching CNN, if you know you only have to tolerate it for six months, it may allow you to step back and find an option rather than saying, “Gross, can you stop that,” and storming off to your room or criticizing your partner.


2. Talk to your partner about boundaries.

All couples need privacy, and if you know that you will have a place in the home that is off-limits to everyone else, it can be a refuge when you need space.


3. Observe and help whenever you can.

When you live with someone else’s parents as a couple, you are usually trying to save money for a place of your own. Your way of giving back is to help.

Cooking meals, folding laundry, running errands, and numerous other tasks keep a family going and they are all time consuming for one person. The more hands, the better.


4. Remember that your in-laws were a couple long before you came into the picture.

They have an unspoken language you may not understand, but your partner will. As much as possible, stay out of family feuds and arguments unless they directly involve you.


5. Make date nights part of your daily lives.

Date nights for you and your partner are so important, and they become even more important if you are living with in-laws. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but you do need to get out of the house together and enjoy one another as a couple.


If you have children, you will want to make babysitting arrangements so mom and dad don’t feel like you are taking advantage of them. Having parents and in-laws who are willing and supportive in offering you a place to live so you can save money or get on your feet is a gift.

How Your Family Shapes You And Your Adult Relationships

How Your Family Shapes You And Your Adult Relationships

The environment of your family shapes who you are and how you will love your partner in a future relationship.

When two people commit to a relationship with one another, we tend to view it as so:

But the way they interact with each other is a result of who they’ve become because of their family, previous close relationships, and life experiences. So in reality, every relationship actually looks like this:


Both Alex and Andy’s expectations about how they should behave or feel about themselves or their significant other were born out of their family experiences.

As the authors of A General Theory of Love state, “Who we are and who we become depends, in part, on whom we love.”

Alex and Andy’s relationship is more than just two people committing to each other; it’s two family systems and life experiences colliding.

Alex and Andy’s attitudes and beliefs about how to save or spend money; how much time they should spend together or apart; or how tidy or chaotic their household should be is a byproduct of the way their family of origin operated and of the life experiences they went through.

“Glancing into each partner’s family history is crucial. Early family connection shape our expectations for the future.” – Dr. Julie Gottman, 10 Principles for Doing Effective Couples Therapy


The Roots of Your Family Tree

Ronald Richardson, a Bowen therapist, proposes that one’s “personality develop[s] in relation and response to other personalities in [one’s] family. And all of their personalities developed and changed in response.”

When looking at Alex’s side of the family tree, one of Alex’s parents (the one with the question mark) was adopted and never knew his parents. Alex’s other parent lost her parents at the age of 16 in a freak car accident.

How do you think these events in Alex’s parents’ lives influenced how Alex behaved in future relationships?

In Alex’s family, the fear of loss led to Alex’s parents monitoring Alex’s every move and needing to know where he is at all time. Thus, even though Alex wasn’t responsible for the death of his mother’s parents or that his dad was adopted, his inherited family trauma impacted how he was treated growing up. This helicopter parenting often led to Alex sacrificing his individuality for the closeness his parents required.

When a difficult problem comes up in his relationship with Andy, it’s not unusual for Alex to agree with what Andy wants, and then later resent Andy because he doesn’t feel like his needs are met, even though he never spoke up about them.

The problem is that Alex is unaware of how his family history impacts his current relationship. Wolynn, the author of It Didn’t Start with you: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle, states that “[w]hen entangled [in your family’s web], you unconsciously carry the feelings, symptoms, behaviors, or hardships of an earlier member of your family system as if these were your own.”

6 Signs Your Lover Is Cheating

6 Signs Your Lover Is Cheating

Cheating is nothing new. Secret flings and discreet meetings have been orchestrated by unfaithful partners ranging from beggars to kings for hundreds of years, and truth be told, there’s likely no end to infidelity in sight. Perhaps as open relationships and marriages become more commonplace, the casual hookup with a relative stranger will become a less serious offense against the heart. In fact, some might even come to view the occasional boink as healthy … sexy, even.

But what about those who count on the honesty of an exclusive relationship? What about the obliviously faithful? Love is blind after all.

Not everyone is truthful about their promiscuous habits with the people they’re supposedly dating. Go figure — people still lie about cheating, especially now that online communities have made the game that much easier to play. Without so much as a whisper of the transgression — the evidence lost in deleted emails and erased text messages — anyone can now start a steamy profile and check the box marked, “discreet relationship.” Just think about how often NSA appears on Craigslist nowadays. And what about our password-protected emails and accounts? All you have to do is clear your private data, and your boyfriend or girlfriend will be none the wiser.

Now perhaps more than ever before, sexual secrecy has become the cornerstone of many social networks and online dating communities — fling.com and xtube.com [NSFW], just to name a few. That said, as we transfer our lives online and live out fantasies in the digital world, how can we tell if our better halves are stepping out for a little play on the side?

Essentially, what are some of the telltale signs your lover is using the internet to meet, greet, and heat up the sheets with another person other than yourself?


1. Are they chatting online when you’re around?

Chronic chatting when you’re actually in the room could be just another way of neglecting you, because they might busy laying the groundwork for a discreet encounter with another person. True, everyone chats online these days, but when partners close or minimize chat windows when you come close, that’s a good indication they’re up to something they don’t want you to know about.


2. Are they obsessed with deleting their text messages? 

Text messages can include some pretty risqué language and leave a trail of breadcrumbs leading right to a motel with a do-not-disturb sign hanging on the doorknob. If your lover is deleting their messages constantly, then you can be relatively sure it’s not because they want to save room on their phone for more pictures of the two of you together.


3. Do they close emails whenever you show up?

Like chats, emails can really reveal the true intentions of a person. Unlike chats, however, emails are much more pointed, and the questions are much more focused. When and where do you want to meet? Does your husband suspect anything? Would you like to see some more x-rated photos or what? Who knows what other details and photos a lover could send to their partner in crime?


4. Do they keep their digital life separate from you?

Almost everyone these days leads a double life — there’s the life where we venture out to the bar, attend matinees, and cook dinner at home; and then there’s the life we lead online, where anyone can flirt, exchange photos, and arrange an erotic rendezvous. If your partner isn’t sharing his online behavior and comments with you — some even block their girlfriends or boyfriends from seeing their Facebook comments — then that should definitely send up some red flags.


5. Are they deleting their online history? 

“Where have you been?” a disgruntled lover may ask when you come home late, but shouldn’t we be able to ask the same question about each other’s online lives? If you use your lover’s computer from time to time and you find that there’s absolutely no history to speak of, then you might wonder if they’ve been signing in to their adult networks to keep up with some saucy communications.


6. Are they hesitant to let you use their phone? 

Phones record almost everything — sent and received text messages, outgoing and incoming calls — and you never know when a steamy sext from your booty call could arrive. If your partner is extremely hesitant about loaning you their phone, even if only for a few minutes, then you might wonder if they’re afraid that you’ll see something they’ve previously kept hidden from you.

Sometimes You Meet Someone, And It’s So Clear That The Two Of You, On Some Level Belong Together

“Sometimes you meet someone, and it’s so clear that the two of you, on some level belong together. As lovers, or as friends, or as the family, or as something entirely different. You just work, whether you understand one another or you’re in love or you’re partners in crime. You meet these people throughout your life, out of nowhere, under the strangest circumstances, and they help you feel alive. I don’t know if that makes me believe in coincidence, or fate, or sheer blind luck, but it definitely makes me believe in something.”

― Auliq Ice

Fantastic Four

We are a fantastic four

Like a small family that can’t stop love more

Whether food, coffee or tea

We won’t miss any chance to see

Whether it’s a problem or good news to share

We would stand for each other as we know we care.

We celebrate each moment with love and fun

Beneath the clear sky and the lovely sun

Every problem here seems gone

When we talk on and on

We may be different in our own way

But we are a fantastic four at the end of the day!

Take a walk in my shoes

Or should I say with my suitcase?

So what it is like to be in my shoes, your shoes or anybody else`s shoes at all? Have you ever asked yourself this? Or did you just briefly think of it as a nice saying?

As much as the mankind is ahead of time in many ways, there are still things that should make us wonder why do people still insist on being trapped in some kind of frames that only exist in their heads.

I guess everyone of us felt at least once unpleasant vibes that wanted us to question our life choices but made us realize there are no right and wrong choices. There are only the choices we take and the ones we don`t.

Getting married and having children are two wonderful things and turning points in life, but not everybody wants to do that whenever the rest of the peers do it.

Does not having a child (two, or even three) makes those people any less serious about life than the ones who do have children? Definitely not. 

The love for family life in 20s is someone`s love for adventures around the globe or pursuing the dreams they always wanted to realize. It could also mean having the time for yourself to work on personal self development. We are each individuals and we take different ways.

Life often feels a lot like the time back in school but with adults included, at least by age. Sometimes that looks like playing a psychological game where everyone has their own role; 

Since when does anybody have a right to value a person based on their lifestyle? 

Knowing something about the field someone is familiar with doesn`t make a person an expert of other people`s life. Someone might lead a family life when someone else has done volunteering abroad, is pursuing life career, has travelled half a world on his own or moved to a country without knowing a single person there. 

Leaving a comfort zone is something a lot of people postpone or never really do it – because it`s scary. It means you have to pack your life in two suitcases (maybe three, if you get to be lucky) and literally go with the flow, leaving all the familiar faces and environment behind you and be prepared for the unknown. 

For some, it sounds appealing, but the majority still thinks of it as of something you do to escape the reality. Ironically,  it`s far from that in reality. In fact, doing such a thing IS reality. A lot of people are afraid of not having a single person standing next to them and guiding them, and they are not prepared to ask a stranger for help when needed. Because trusting a total stranger and relying on him in some way, contributes to your self growth and tells a lot about who you are as a person. It makes you a bigger person as the one who is afraid of asking for help. The one who is not afraid of asking for a help a complete stranger, is also the very person who will be ready to help others.

Therefore or as a result of a paradox, those scared people staying in their safe zone are the very same people who tend to teach others about life and give them advices they have never asked. Sometimes you just can`t identify with someone`s life philosophy because we are different.

Which is fine. Diversity makes this whole world so wonderful. We are not all meant to be Marco Polo on his discovery of the world. And not all are meant to live the same life either. That makes it so fascinating, doesn`t it?

But diversity is interesting only when it`s accepted or at least trying to be understood if not being applauded. What makes us rich is not the money we earn or following the patterns we think we must follow. It`s learning one from another. 

If someone thinks childless life is empty, it only means their whole life was empty until they got their first child. No guarantee they are now happier than ever. There are also people who will never find their happiness, mainly because their first problem is they seek it instead of creating it themselves. Funnily enough, they will be the first ones to tell you what should you yourself do with your life.

MY chosen family my tribe

I had been looking for the perfect mix of friends for a long time. A tribe to support me and be there for all of my interesting endeavors. I kept trying to jam pieces together that didn’t fit to get the eclectic mix of things I thought I needed. In actuality, what I needed to do was stop and wait. If I poured love into those already in my life, things would actually fall exactly where they needed to be. There are three friends I am thinking of in particular. These three individuals have each brought something unique to the table and in their own ways, taught me things I needed to know. These were things about myself, love, friendships. I am forever grateful for the experiences I have shared with each and every one of them and hope there is a lifetime full of memories.


I had scars from past friendships not going the ways I had intended and these amazing individuals not only healed those scars but replaced them with amazing times, laughter and moments. All of these individuals came to me at different points in my life and I think this was no coincidence in the timing. I have known each of them all for various amounts of time but the one thing they all have in common is that they have stayed by my side when previously, many others came and went. They prioritize checking in and maintaining our friendship no matter what else they have going on in their lives.


These individuals have become my family (by choice). This was who I chose to help me grow, be my shoulder to cry on when I needed that, the echoes to my laughter, my biggest cheerleaders and those who helped me find the teachable moments in any hard times. There are no words to express my gratitude, love and the exceptional feeling I get knowing I have such a driving force behind me that has taken past pain and turned it into something truly beautiful.



How Being ‘Always’ Right Makes It Wrong For A Relationship

How Being 'Always' Right Makes It Wrong For A Relationship

Oh, we all like to be right, don’t we? Even if we keep the smug “I told you so” to ourselves, we like being right. We need relationship help for sure when things deteriorate in your relationship to just wanting to be right.

In a recent Relationship Insights class, this came up when a participant said,

“Why can’t she just see I’m right in the first place and come to depend on that? Why does it take her so long to admit I’m right?”

Wow, what a loaded question! First of all, he firmly believed he was right so there was really no room for discussion. He was just humoring her by even conversing with her. it seemed. Then, he expanded it to suggest that he is always right. And, then, to make it even less helpful, he suggested she does not deserve time to think about things. Big issues here.

If you have a need to be right, you’ve got some work to do! None of us are right all the time. That’s for sure. But, many of us are raised to be perfectionistic, and that requires thinking that we CAN and, perhaps, should be right all the time. For those folks, like myself, who were brought up that good enough was not good enough, we have the opportunity of becoming more realistic about life and a little easier on ourselves. The fellow in my class really needs to be able to make a mistake and not think the world is going to fall down around his ears…permanently.


The relationship help he needs at this time is to be able to listen to his partner’s point of view with an open mind. When your mind is filled with being right, it’s awfully hard to let anything else in. So, a few helpful thoughts:

  • Take a breath, let it out slowly through the mouth, to bring yourself to the present moment.
  • Make the time to listen.
  • Look for commonalities in your thinking rather than differences.


Remember, there are a lot of places along the way between the extremes of right and wrong. I hope your relationship is more important than being right!

Become a Contributor at The Minds Journal

We Want To Hear Your Story. Share your work,thoughts and writings and we will make sure, it reaches the world! Submit Now

Written by Rhoberta Shaler, PhD

Originally appeared on Forrelationship.com

The Relationship Help Doctor
Relationship Consultant. Mediator. Speaker. 
Urgent & Ongoing Care for Relationships in Crisis…including the one with yourself.

You may also like

How Being 'Always' Right Makes It Wrong For A Relationship

How the Sandwich Technique Can Transform Your Relationships

How the Sandwich Technique Can Transform Your Relationships

“The Sandwich Technique” is a mindful, sensitive communication strategy which everyone (including sensitive people) can use to transform the relationships with their partner, friends, family, and co-workers. 

This technique is not intended to be fake or simply to placate others. Being brutally direct can backfire and make people feel defensive and unable to hear your comments (no matter how useful they are). 

When you use The Sandwich Technique, make requests not demands. Then, when you are communicating about a difficult issue, you sandwich the request between two positive statements. It’s a creative way of presenting challenging topics so that others can hear you. Let’s say you need more alone time. First you could say, “I appreciate all your support and I need your help with this.” Then place your request: “It would be great I can take more alone time to decompress. This will help me be even more present with you later.”

You empower your relationships by expressing your needs. Also, relationships thrive on both people feeling accepted. One patient told me, “My husband accepts me as I am. Through his acceptance I have learned to be true to myself.” 

We all have issues to resolve in relationships no matter how good the match. To do this, we need to have loving, creative conversations. 

4 Tips to Apply “The Sandwich Technique” (From “The Empath’s Survival Guide.”

  1. Focus on a single emotional issue and don’t repeat yourself. We can have many emotional issues going on simultaneously which can be overwhelming for us and others. The best way to communicate is by sharing one issue at a time without repeating it, unless being asked for clarification. My partner says he feels like his brain is being squeezed if I raise too many problems at once, or if I keep repeating myself to make a point. Men, especially, tend to be task oriented, and they like to be helpful. Multiple requests for change make it all seem impossible. 
  1. Don’t take things personally, even when they are personal. This is an important but demanding principle of the spiritual path yet it’s basic to good communication and relationship harmony. Try to be less reactive to comments and more centered so you aren’t triggered as often or as intensely.
  1. Observe the “No Yelling Rule.” Many of us, especially sensitive people, become overwhelmed around yelling and loud voices. Our partners need to understand how unproductive and hurtful this can be. For the sake of self-preservation, I’m strict about this rule in my house. 
  1. Don’t be a people pleaser or try to fix your partner. We become tired when we try to fix others’ problems or keep trying to please them at the expense of our own needs. So, practice loving detachment and set boundaries. For instance, my partner dislikes getting instructions on self-improvement. When he’s going through a hard time, he has trained me to say, “I have faith that you can handle it,” rather than offering suggestions he didn’t ask for. It’s a gift to let others be themselves and face their own difficulties.


Good relationships are possible for everyone, including sensitive people. They can enhance your sense of security, love, and grounding. Marriage or any kind of sacred union needs to be a competition of generosity. Each person is in service to the other, aiming to deepen their devotion, kindness, passion, and love every day. In relationships, you can learn from each other. Consideration and tolerance is essential. 

(Adapted from The Empath’s Survival Guide by Judith Orloff, MD.)


How the Sandwich Technique Can Transform Your Relationships2