Do you ever feel that your mother-in-law doesn’t like you? Relationships between women and their sons' wives can be difficult. Ideally parents should accept the woman their son marries, but sadly some parents don't like their daughter-in-law - and some even make that all too clear. So if you're in the position where your mother-in-law doesn’t like you, here are some tips on handling a very difficult and stressful experience …
If your mother-in-law doesn’t like you, try to wait it out and see if the situation improves. An initially difficult relationship can evolve into one of mutual tolerance, and even friendship. It may take years for this change to occur, but it can happen, much to your surprise.
Try to cultivate a friendship with your mother-in-law. Even if you don't particularly like her, get to know her a bit better. You may have more in common than you think (and not just that you both love her son). Talk to her about her interests and thoughts, and she may start to see you in a more positive light.
Is there a reason behind your mother-in-law's attitude towards you, however unfair it may be? Try to understand where she's coming from, and you may be able to improve your relationship with her. Mothers can feel threatened by the 'other woman' in their son's life and see her as a rival. Show her that she is still an important person to him - and that she could be to you.
Is your mother-in-law the kind of person who will discuss difficult topics? If so, talk to her about your difficult relationship and try to clear the air (without being confrontational and blaming her for anything). Make it clear that you want to have a good relationship with her.
Remember that her dislike of you is not a reflection on you as a person; it's more likely a problem within her. Perhaps she was very fond of her son's previous partner and isn't adapting too well to his new relationship. And if you really can't change her attitude, it doesn't mean that you're not a nice person, or that the relationship is doomed to failure.
Enlist your partner's support and ask him to back you up if his mother treats you badly. She should at least respect you as the woman her son has chosen to be with, and he should make it clear that he expects her to be civil. If he won't support you, then perhaps the problem is between you and him, not you and her …
If your mother-in-law really is unpleasant towards you, and nothing you try can make any difference, the only option may be to keep away from her. Your partner can still have a relationship with her, and go to see her without you. There's no point in spending time with someone who acts unpleasantly to you.
It is possible to completely turn an unfriendly mother-in-law round and become friends with her, or at least reach an agreement to tolerate each other. But however frustrating she is, try not to criticise her to your partner or kids - she is their mother or grandmother. And remember to be nice to your own daughter-in-law one day! Do you have the mother-in-law from hell, or is she like a second mom?
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