How to deal with in laws that don’t like you

by | Sep 18, 2023

Dealing with in-laws who don’t like you can be a challenging and emotionally draining experience. These strained relationships can cast a shadow over your married life, leading to stress and unhappiness. However, it’s crucial to remember that you have the power to improve these connections and create a more harmonious family dynamic. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore effective strategies about how to deal with in laws that don’t like you, fostering understanding, empathy, and ultimately, a more positive relationship.

Table of Contents

Understanding the Struggles

Why In-Laws’ Approval Matters

Entering into a marriage, it’s easy to assume that your main focus will be your partner. However, an often overlooked but crucial aspect of this union is the merging of two families. When you marry someone, it’s not just a union of two hearts, but rather an intricate dance that involves building connections with your partner’s family, particularly the in-laws. Navigating how to deal with in-laws that don’t like you becomes an essential skill. The importance of in-laws cannot be understated, as they frequently influence many aspects of a couple’s life. Moreover, winning their approval can be a testament to your dedication to the family as a whole. This isn’t simply a quest for personal validation; in reality, harmonious relations with your in-laws can significantly reduce potential stressors and augment the familial bond, leading to an enriching marital life for everyone involved.

Common Reasons for Dislike

The journey to understanding begins with identifying the root causes. Diving deeper into why in-laws might harbor negative sentiments can shed light on the way forward. Among the myriad reasons, some stand out more than others:

  • Unmet Expectations: Before you entered the picture, it’s possible that the in-laws had painted a mental image of who their ideal son or daughter-in-law would be. When reality clashes with these preconceived notions, it can naturally lead to feelings of disappointment, thus causing tension.
  • Protectiveness: Just as a mother bear is protective of her cubs, human parents, too, are hardwired to safeguard their children. They might harbor concerns about how you’ll treat their child, fearing negative changes or potential harm.
  • Jealousy: As human beings, jealousy is an emotion we’re all familiar with. In the context of in-laws, seeing their child invest time and emotional resources into another individual, namely you, can inadvertently trigger feelings of being sidelined or replaced.
  • Cultural Differences: In an increasingly global world, cross-cultural marriages are more prevalent. However, these unions can bring forth cultural misunderstandings, which can strain relationships unless addressed with sensitivity and understanding.

AIDA Approach: Addressing the Situation

Attention: Acknowledging the Issue

Confronting a problem is often the hardest part. Turning a blind eye might seem like the easier route, but in the long run, it only allows the issue to fester. By choosing to address it directly, you’re taking the first, albeit challenging, step towards resolution. Open communication, initiated with a genuine intention to understand and resolve, can lay the groundwork for mending fractured relationships.

Interest: Building Bridges

Healing begins when we start showing genuine curiosity in others’ lives. By taking an active interest in the lives and concerns of your in-laws, you are essentially building bridges of connection. This isn’t about appeasing or seeking validation; it’s about fostering mutual respect and understanding, which is paramount in any familial bond.

Desire: Strengthening Bonds

Your sincere wish to enhance the relationship is pivotal. By communicating to your in-laws that you deeply value their presence and role in your partner’s life, you’re expressing a desire for unity, harmony, and shared happiness in the larger family unit.

Action: Navigating Forward

While words are powerful, actions often carry a heavier weight. To genuinely improve relations with your in-laws, it’s imperative to undertake proactive measures. Moreover, mutual efforts can lead to mutual benefits, so encouraging your in-laws to join you in this endeavor can be immensely fruitful. As the age-old adage goes, actions indeed speak louder than words.

Effective Strategies

Open Communication

Transparency is key. Holding open and candid conversations with your in-laws can open doors to mutual understanding. While it’s important to express your feelings, it’s equally crucial to lend an ear to their concerns, fostering a two-way channel of communication.

Setting Boundaries

Every relationship, no matter how close, requires boundaries. These aren’t barriers but rather guidelines that ensure mutual respect and emotional safety. Articulating these boundaries with grace and clarity to your in-laws can lay the foundation for a healthy relationship.

Show Empathy

Empathy is the magic elixir that can mend fractured connections. Endeavor to understand the feelings and viewpoints of your in-laws. This effort to bridge the emotional gap can, more often than not, lead to healing and understanding.

Seek Mediation

When all else fails, seeking external assistance can be invaluable. An unbiased third-party mediator, like a counselor or therapist, can provide insights, tools, and strategies to navigate the rough waters of in-law relationships.

Focus on Your Partner

In the midst of in-law dynamics, it’s easy to lose sight of the one who binds you to them: your partner. It’s essential to keep the flames of your relationship burning bright, ensuring that your bond remains unshakable amidst external challenges.

Self-Care Matters

Navigating tumultuous relationships can take a toll on one’s emotional health. Prioritizing self-care ensures that you remain emotionally resilient and equipped to handle challenges with grace and strength.

Building Empathy

Walk in Their Shoes

To truly understand someone, it often helps to see the world through their eyes. By attempting to experience the world from your in-laws’ vantage point, you’re positioning yourself to address any concerns with compassion and insight.

Active Listening

True listening is an art. When your in-laws express themselves, listen intently without jumping to conclusions or formulating responses. This not only shows respect but also conveys your genuine interest in understanding their perspective.

Apologize When Necessary

Nobody’s perfect. If, in hindsight, you realize your actions or words might have unintentionally caused pain, extending a sincere apology can be a powerful tool for reconciliation. Genuine remorse can often pave the path to healing.

Staying Patient

Expecting Change Takes Time

Transforming relationships is seldom an overnight affair. Recognizing that positive changes in family dynamics can be gradual allows you to remain patient and persistent, ensuring a sustainable improvement in relationships.

Patience in Practice

Navigating the labyrinth of in-law relationships can be intricate. As you tread this path, remember to exercise patience, not just with your in-laws, but also with yourself. Setbacks are a part of the journey; what’s vital is the resolve to move forward.

Keeping Your Relationship Strong

Reconnect with Your Partner

Amidst the whirlwind of family dynamics, it’s paramount to remember the heart of your union: your partner. Regularly reconnecting and rekindling your bond ensures that your relationship remains the bedrock upon which familial relationships can flourish.

Seek Support

Carrying the weight of strained in-law relationships can be taxing. Finding solace in support groups or counseling sessions can offer a respite, providing tools and insights to manage and even improve these relationships.


In conclusion, dealing with in-laws who don’t like you can be a daunting challenge, but it’s a situation that can be improved with patience, empathy, and effective communication. Remember that your ultimate goal is to create a harmonious family environment where everyone can coexist peacefully. By following the strategies outlined in this guide and seeking support when needed, you can work towards building stronger bonds with your in-laws and nurturing a happier family life. It may take time, but the effort is well worth it for the sake of your well-being and the stability of your relationship with your partner.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I improve my relationship with in-laws?

Improving your relationship with your in-laws requires open communication, empathy, and patience. Try to understand their perspective, set boundaries, and focus on building a connection.

What if my in-laws refuse to accept me?

If your in-laws refuse to accept you, continue to be respectful and patient. Focus on nurturing your relationship with your spouse and seek support when needed.

Should I confront my in-laws about their behavior?

Confrontation should be approached carefully. Instead of accusing, express your feelings and concerns, aiming for a constructive conversation.

Is it important to involve my partner in resolving issues with in-laws?

Yes, involving your partner is crucial. Your partner can provide insight and support, helping to mediate and improve the situation.

How can I avoid conflicts with my in-laws during family gatherings?

Set clear boundaries and communicate your expectations with your partner before family gatherings. Stay calm, avoid heated discussions, and focus on enjoying the event.

What should I do if my in-laws criticize my parenting?

Address their concerns respectfully and explain your parenting choices. If necessary, seek advice from a trusted source or parenting expert to validate your approach.

Can professional counseling help in dealing with difficult in-laws?

Yes, professional counseling can be beneficial for addressing complex issues with in-laws. A trained therapist can provide guidance and mediate discussions.

What’s Next

In your journey to improve your relationship with in-laws who don’t like you, remember that patience and persistence are your allies. Continue to apply the strategies mentioned here, and seek support when needed. Additionally, explore more articles on Mindphony for further guidance:

  1. “My In-Laws Treat Me Like an Outsider”
  2. “How to Deal with Family Members That Disrespect You”
  3. “Effects of Stress on Family Life”

These resources can provide valuable insights and advice to help you navigate the complexities of family dynamics and foster healthier relationships with your in-laws. Remember, building bridges takes time, but the effort is well worth it for the sake of your happiness and the harmony of your family.

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