Setting Boundaries with In- Laws


Marriage is best described as the joining of two people and their families for both good times and bad.

While most of us want to have a decent relationship with the parents of our spouse, there can be a lot of friction and drama if things are handled poorly. To learn more about how to make and enforce boundaries with in-laws, check out this simple guide!

You Shouldn't Be Eager to Poison the Well

A large amount of media and entertainment has primed us to expect nightmare mothers-in-law and overbearing fathers-in-law. Due to this perception, there is an unfortunate stereotype that can color your expectations and impact your relationships for the worst.

If you assume that you will not get along with your in-laws, there is an excellent chance that you won't. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't stand up for yourself or your spouse, but it may be best to evaluate the situation before making a decision.

When Making Boundaries with In-Laws, Stay United

To make sure that your boundaries are respected, you and your partner have to act as one. To quote an old saying, "If you give them an inch, they think they're a ruler."

If one of you is willing to compromise, particularly the one whose parent's behavior is causing issues, they will not end up taking your requests seriously. Additionally, if you end up angering your partnerto please your in-laws, you will be in a no-win situation. It may not be easy to stand up and hold firm, but keep in mind that you have to live in the same house as your partner, not your in-laws.

Try to Find Common Ground and Acknowledge Shared Interests

You may not find traipsing to the auction hall or flea market with your in-laws to be your cup of tea but think twice before making a big deal out of going. While you might not take pleasure in doing such things on your own, you can still have fun indulging your in-laws without making it unpleasant for everyone.

Moreover, if you cater to their interests and your spouse happens to mention that it was your idea, they will be happy you made an effort to appreciate their hobbies. Getting in your in-law's good graces for the low price of a day trip is an excellent long-term strategy.

Make Sure to Separate Your Relationship from Your In-Laws

It is important to remember that you are married to your spouse, not your in-laws. Amid your partner having a serious issue with your parents or theirs, take the time to let them know you love and support them. Don't allow anger or resentment to bleed over into your relationship because of issues with your in-laws.

For further inquiries:

Check out Rachel Moheban-Wachtel, LCSW, at

Phone: (917) 273-8836