More In-Law Questions

Real Relationship Advice

We continue now to answer about in-laws:

What you do if you are Catholic and you husband and in laws are not, but you married in a Catholic church and agreed to raise kids as Catholic but your MIL starts bashing Catholics while you are in the same room when your first born is an infant?

The bashing is the issue. Some people use humor to cover up their ignorance. What they think is a joke is usually a base attempt to cover up that they feel left out. Humor is a defense mechanism and mean humor is a passive aggressive way of dealing with hurt feelings. When we mock something that is foreign to us we are often showing that we fear that that thing is in some way demeaning to us. For example, when people mock nerds for being different it is usually the intelligence of the ‘nerd’ that we fear the most. When we mock people who are educated or insist that a person with a degree thinks they feel superior, it is a projection of the fear that the mocker is inferior. Our suggestion is to thicken your skin and try to dismiss the passive aggressiveness. Any outward attack will be met with disbelief and you will look like a bully.

What do you do if your in-laws decide that they want to move and then decide to buy the model home in your new neighborhood?

The secret to any good relationship is boundaries and respect. When you lose those you lose everything. Too close for comfort is what it sounds like to us. So, the best thing to do is be honest. You are not responsible for their reaction.

What should you do if your mother-in-law decides to become best friends with your husband’s ex-wife?

Sometimes the actions of others affect us deeply. The actions of your MIL can be seen as innocent in that relationships form for all sorts of reasons. However, one of the things that we have talked about many times on CoupleDumb is a lack of empathy. Only sociopaths are incapable of empathy. When we make a choice to create a relationship with someone, we usually ask ourselves how that will affect others. When in a marriage, these choices matter a great deal. We make daily choices to not enter into some relationships because of possible or perceived impropriety. We would ask, what is your MIL’s relationship with your husband? If she feels that the divorce was his fault then it is conceivable that this relationship has more to do with her anger towards her son and less to do with you (it still does since you are a reminder of how he has moved on and thwarted any attempts at reconciliation).

Please send us your questions about relationships! We are happy to answer them!

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