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My Mother-in-Law Wanted Me to Treat Her the Same Way I Treated My Wife

recent study has found that both men and women have more conflicts with their mothers-in-law than with their own mothers. So having a good relationship with your in-laws can be extra hard but also extra special. One Bright Side reader experienced some conflict with his MIL after she became more demanding over time, although he usually has a great relationship with her.

After we received this letter from Patrick, Bright Side wanted to help him with some advice, but we’re also curious about how you would approach the same situation.

Hey Patrick! Thank you for your message. We at Bright Side got together and this is the advice we came up with.

  • Communication is key, especially after an argument. Make sure your mother-in-law understands that just because you don’t get her the same kinds of gifts as you do for your wife, you still respect and appreciate her. Help her understand that you have an entirely different type of relationship with your wife, and that’s why she’ll always be treated differently than Samantha.
  • Set healthy boundaries with your MIL. Building better boundaries is very important if you want to have a good relationship with her. Explain to Samantha that her demanding attitude is not something you appreciate and that she needs to respect the boundaries of your relationship.
  • From your letter, we could tell that you were upset by the fact that your MIL wasn’t thankful for the gift you chose for her. You can talk to her and tell her that the wooden picture frame held special meaning for you, and you thought she’d appreciate it more. You cannot force her to be grateful, but you can help her understand the value your gift had for you.

Dealing with an overbearing parent-in-law can be very tricky and difficult, but there are a few steps you can follow to manage the situation:

  • 1. Talk with Mary. Explain to her that you didn’t want to hurt her mom’s feelings, you just wanted to explain to her why you got a different gift for her.
  • 2. Keep your cool. It’s important to not lose your temper and remain respectful in all situations. Your response might have come off quite blunt to Samantha, and that’s why she was upset.
  • 3. Spend more time with your MIL. At first, this advice might sound counter-intuitive, but Samantha might be overbearing because she wants to spend more time with you and your wife. Make sure you meet your in-laws regularly and maybe set up some monthly gatherings, so Samantha can understand that you 2 can still have a good relationship if she respects your boundaries.

Thanks for turning to us for help, and we hope our advice can help you in this tough situation.
What is your relationship like with your in-laws? What would you do in Patrick’s position? Do you have any other advice he could use? Tell us in the comment section below.

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