ERP 405: How To Manage Relationships With In-Laws More Effectively – Part Two

By Posted in - Podcast January 2nd, 2024 0 Comments

In the previous episode, we delved into the intricacies of navigating challenging relationships with in-laws, particularly amidst the holiday season. We discussed valuable insights on emotional regulation and proactive communication.

Now, in part two, Dr. Jessica Higgins further explores the multifaceted nature of conflicts and disparities that can arise in these relationships. Drawing from client cases and personal anecdotes, she illuminates common challenges encountered.

In this episode, Dr. Higgins focuses on three key areas related to privacy within the context of in-law relationships. The overarching theme is the crucial need for partners to align their perspectives and establish a shared understanding, especially when it comes to issues like proximity, boundaries, and the level of disclosure within the extended family.

If you haven’t listened to part one of this series, I recommend that you do. You’ll find the link below.

In this episode

9:32 Navigating the delicate balance of privacy in in-law relationships.

13:13 Navigating differences in food etiquette with in-laws.

16:03 Navigating challenges of inclusion in family conversations.

19:06 Balancing time spent with in-laws.

20:14 Decision-making dynamics: Navigating influence and power in family interactions.

22:54 Navigating grandparental involvement in parenting: Balancing resources and boundaries.

30:24 Cultivating compassion and setting realistic expectations in in-law relationships

34:01 Self-care strategies for setting boundaries in family dynamics.

39:54 Cultivating generosity and kindness in family dynamics.

Your Check List of Actions to Take

  • Discuss and align with your partner on expectations regarding in-law involvement to establish a united front.
  • Clearly communicate and agree on privacy boundaries, especially regarding visits, sharing personal information, and family involvement.
  • Respectfully navigate differences in food, meal traditions, and family dynamics, acknowledging diverse backgrounds and preferences.
  • Actively include your partner in family conversations, prompting discussions that involve both of you and help bridge the gap between family dynamics and partner involvement.
  • Recognize and accept the limitations of your in-laws, considering their capacity, upbringing, and potential intergenerational dynamics.
  • Establish and communicate clear limits and boundaries as a couple, ensuring that both partners are aligned and supportive of each other.
  • Recognize the need for breaks during family interactions to maintain emotional well-being and allow for moments of recuperation and self-reflection.
  • Find common ground to be generous and kind in interactions, expressing appreciation and initiating conversations that foster positive family dynamics.

Mentioned

Shifting Criticism For Connected Communication

ERP 404: How to Manage Relationships with In-Laws More Effectively — Part One

Connect with Dr. Jessica Higgins

Facebook: facebook.com/EmpoweredRelationship 

Instagram: instagram.com/drjessicahiggins 

Podcast: drjessicahiggins.com/podcasts/

Pinterest: pinterest.com/EmpowerRelation 

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/drjessicahiggins 

Twitter: @DrJessHiggins 

Website: drjessicahiggins.com  

Email: [email protected]

About Today’s Show

Before we get started, I want to invite you to take a moment and deepen your breath. Perhaps even closing your eyes if it feels comfortable, or even softly gazing, so that you can turn your attention towards yourself, to your inner experience. Maybe even gently inviting some release. Even with the inhale and the exhale. Seeing if you can let go of stress, let go of tension, anything that you’re able and willing to release. So often with busyness, high demands, more activity, we may hold a lot of tension. Perhaps even constrict our breath, or even brace, unconsciously, unknowingly. So as we bring awareness, to the body, to the sensations, to our experience, perhaps we can invite a little relaxation and a little release. So that we can be more in contact with self, thus be more present, and perhaps even have a little more capacity in the moment. Maybe even being a little more buoyant and able to flow.

As we turn to the conversation of relationship, this is very helpful. Because if we’re bracing, feeling the stress, are constricted, likely, there are going to be cues that are visible to our significant other, or anyone around us for that matter. They’ll pick up on those cues, perhaps they won’t know why, and they might be reacting or even responding. In the instance, I’ll just use myself. If I’m not aware or in contact with the level of stress that I’m carrying, I might presume that everything’s fine. Then my partner is responding to me, or perhaps even reacting to me, and I may look at him as: “What’s his deal? What’s going on with him? What’s his problem?” When in actuality, I am the one that is feeling the stress. So my partner is mirroring to me, and yet, I’m not in contact, so I’m likely going to misperceive what I might see in him. As you can see, this could be a negative feedback loop. 

So when we talk about relationship dynamics, and we look at the importance of having self-awareness, we can see there are so many benefits. Not only being able to acknowledge a name, which helps create safety if we’re feeling difficult emotions, or if we have a need or a preference, as I mentioned. That we can send a clear signal, so that our partner can be helpful, if possible, or can be comforting. Also, just negotiating, co-creating space together. That if we’re a little bit more aware of where we are and what we’re wanting, we can contribute to that in a more productive way, and we’re going to be that much more stable and grounded to be responsive to our partner in a clearer way. It’s hard to do justice to all the benefits to being more connected to self and aware, and then thus being more aware and present to the interactions with our significant other. That’s really so much of what intimacy is about. I know there’s many angles to this, as we continue the conversation around cultivating long-lasting intimacy. That is the goal of the Empowered Relationship Podcast, is helping you feel better equipped and negotiating this terrain. If you’re interested in getting more support, you can visit, again, DrJessicaHiggins.com, and you can find many more resources to support you in deepening your practice with building relational skills. 

Let’s get started in today’s interview, again, part two. In today’s conversation, I am going to address many different aspects of living, different domains, where conflict may emerge or differences lie. Particularly as we negotiate relationships with in-laws, this is common. I’m going to perhaps share some stories with you from different client examples, as well as experiences I’ve had or know of. Also, I’m going to be offering three more tips for you to consider to improve the quality of relating with your in-laws, and more importantly, doing that, again, with your significant other. Again, that research I really want to echo again and again, is getting on the same page, having your partner’s back and your partner having your back, and being together around how you perceive, how you want your in-laws to be involved in your life, what the relationships look like. I know not all of that can be controlled. But there’s a lot that can be discussed, and that you do have ways in which you can take care of your couple and your family system, as well as how to set that up for more success. 

So topics here to consider: first would be privacy. Now when we think about in-laws and privacy, this can relate to living closer proximity, as far as living in the same neighborhood or perhaps the same town. Thus, the opportunity to come over unannounced, or even have access to the home. That can be very problematic, especially for a partner or that grew up in a family environment where perhaps boundaries were really clear, there was a little more autonomy and a little bit more independence. Versus, it may not be so problematic for a partner that grew up where there was a tremendous amount of closeness, or perhaps the partner had a strong role of responsibility. As I mentioned in the previous episode, part one, particularly in single-parent homes, a child can feel more responsible or take on more responsibilities, and thus may not even notice, or perhaps welcome that type of open-door policy. So again, getting on the same page with your significant other is critical around this. Because if one partner is feeling greatly intruded upon, or it’s impacting their sense of feeling at home or being able to fully relax, this is qualitatively different for people that grow up in different environments.

The aspect of privacy can be an area of difference that could cause some conflict or tension at times. This may be for the preference of when a child is born, who’s welcome? Are in-laws welcome, whether or not it’s parents or siblings? Or is it really private to the immediate family? These are really monumental moments that people have different preferences for, so it can be difficult to negotiate. Another area around privacy is what is shared, what do we disclose to our family, intimate details? I will say, typically, when details are shared, family members are not unbiased; they are biased. They are going to be, as I mentioned earlier, likely having protection and loyalty, and will take alliance with their family member: the partner that is family. So it’s not someone that’s going to give a real neutral perspective. Yet, if family members are close, and want to be in the know, want to be inclusive, this can be difficult. Because often, part of being closed is being in the know of one another’s lives. This can be breeding ground, again, for vastly different perspectives, and therefore can be real difficulty getting on the same page if there’s different needs or different preferences for privacy. 

C:\Users\Lenovo\Desktop\couples\1.jpeg

“I’m going to say over and over again, the real goal here is to work through these differences. Just because they exist does not mean it’s a threat. It’s how do we work together to come up with, hopefully, a win-win, or an option or a solution that feels workable to both partners.”

Another area where there can be tension and many differences, as it relates to how people were raised in their family and their family system, and when we talk about in-laws, likely still exist. That is food, right? When we get together, it’s very common that people will share in a meal, and how that process or what that looks like can be vastly different. Sometimes just even the domain of the kitchen can be off-limits, or really not a communal thing. Where, in other families, everyone is contributing, and it is a communal effort. Some people like to share food, and that is a part of the bonding, and there’s a real willingness to share off of plates even. This is a common conflict, even amongst couples or partners in relationship. It’s like, do I want to share the food that’s on my plate, or is this my personal space and food that I’m enjoying and that I don’t want to share? For many cultures, food has a significance. It represents more meaning than just the actual sustenance. It can be part of the identity. It can be part of tradition. It can be part of the ritual and even symbolism. As we join in another family’s system and we talk about in-laws, it’s a different family with different etiquette, different norms, perhaps even different culture. Part of it is the learning curve of understanding what it means and how people operate. Some families are very practical. So when families get together for longer periods, if it’s a several-day kind of visit, there’s the notion that you’re going to get your own food, we’re not going to really talk about it, and it’s just expected that you take care of yourself. There could be some communication on some meals to collaborate. But mostly, you take care of yourself. Where, in other families, every meal is shared and talked about and planned for together, in a more collaborative way. 

Even actually sitting down for a meal. Some people will wait till every member is sitting and ready to eat. Some people say a form of prayer or grace or acknowledgement; some people toast. Where, again, others may just start eating when they sit down to the table. There’s still a warmth, but it’s not the same etiquette. So these differences, for some, may feel rude, and for others, they may feel just really natural and comfortable and normal. 

Then as I mentioned, just communication or the conversation that exists. I have a couple of clients, and they have a real pain point around, particularly the woman in this relationship, when they have taken a trip to visit his family of origin, siblings, his parents, and extended family, much of the conversation or stories that she hasn’t been involved in and can’t relate to. When she has tried to share a story, nobody seems to respond; nobody seems to even comment or really participate. So it’s been a great difficulty for her to feel really included. This is not the only time that I’ve heard of this challenge. I’ve had several clients that have described something similar, that when they’re visiting their partner’s family, the conversation seems to organically take a life of its own, and the partner that isn’t around family will feel a little bit left out or not included or have a difficult time chiming in. This can feel difficult for the bonding. It’s almost as if the conversation and the system of it and the pacing of it, it’s just hard to get in. So it can be really helpful for the partner to ask questions to their significant other that are a little bit more prompting, that include them; what do you think, or tell them about this story. Or really be the bridge, helping the partner that’s not family be involved and have a voice, and be part of the conversation in a way that could be more relatable. Not that the significant other isn’t being relatable, but sometimes it’s nice to have some assistance.

The style of communication can also be very different, in that some people enjoy being asked questions. That might relate to being a little bit more introverted, or even certain cultures, where they don’t necessarily speak unless being asked questions. Or even relates to generations. Sometimes in cultures, it’s more that the older generations might be the ones sharing stories and the younger generations listening. Whereas other families, it’s everyone’s talking, and it’s a little more assertive. So it’s almost like, if you want to talk, you’ll speak; people talk over each other, there’s a layer to the conversation, and it’s not really pointed questions to include people. That can be difficult when one is negotiating that for the first time. 

C:\Users\Lenovo\Desktop\couples\5.jpeg

“As far as conversation, it can be really tricky when we start to enter into strong beliefs, politics, or even sometimes current events, where people will have opposing positions or beliefs. Sometimes the family members might be saying something that is against, or might even feel uncomfortable or offensive for the significant other.”

That’s difficult to negotiate. So again, how the partners in the relationship have each other’s back, how they negotiate that is the bigger determinant. Because this is just difficult territory, period. So again, I want to encourage it’s not so much that it exists that’s a problem. It’s more around, how are we going to support each other, how are we going to deal with this? As I mentioned in the last episode, sometimes the partner who is part of the family may even have some blinders to this, or might not see it as clearly as the significant other will. 

Another area that is worth considering as a potential conflict or major difference is how time is spent. I know some of this might seem like I’m stating the obvious, and it’s helpful to really lay out. Because when we aren’t thinking about it consciously, we can run into some of these challenges and feel confronted with some difficult feelings. So the more that we can be aware and have some strategies, either to set boundaries, and I’m going to talk about that in a moment, or to really advocate and set that up more creatively, like I talked in the last episode. It’s typically going to go a little better, where there can be more regard and consideration for everyone involved, and again, the outcomes will likely be better. 

So some of the challenges that I’ve heard people talk about is where, let’s say one family perhaps gravitates towards a lot of drinking, and then the couple doesn’t drink as much, or the significant other doesn’t drink as much. That can be difficult. Also, maybe watches a lot of TV, or perhaps just sits around and watches the children, so limited physical activity. This can be wearing when it’s extended periods of time. Or perhaps, some families are very engaged; would like to play charades, perhaps are singing together, telling stories and jokes. It can feel like the partner that’s not as comfortable or maybe didn’t grow up in that kind of environment feels really put on the spot. “I have to perform? Like, I’m not prepared for this, or I’m not comfortable with this.” So again, how time is spent can be a little tricky. Again, I think partners can really have each other’s back and really support this in being a little bit more negotiable.

Along with shared time together, if couples are going to do a vacation with their partner’s family, this can also be eye-opening, where some families allow a lot of independence and perhaps are just like: “We’re going to get together for dinner, or there’s going to be this one activity in the day that we’re all going to share together. Otherwise, we’re free to do whatever we want.” Whereas, other families might have a little bit more of a strong itinerary or expectation that they’re going to spend the majority of the time together. That can be a lot for some people who maybe aren’t used to that level of engagement. 

A couple more categories here. Again, this by no means is an extensive list and a comprehensive list. So I really encourage you just to use this as conversation starters, and brainstorm, so that you can really start to identify some areas of difference and start to work on that, in a way that again sets you up so that you and your partner can generate more productive solutions. 

How do decisions get made? This can be from how much the in-laws or your partner’s parents have influence on your significant other, as far as the direction or what should be done in certain circumstances? This can also be in shared time together, the power of who’s making decisions. Is everybody voting? Or is there a person that is more in charge and everyone else will follow? This is helpful to know. This is also helpful to, again, learn how partners can support each other, and as they know each other, to be in a position to advocate for one another. Now this can be a little bit more confronting if the partner is around their family of origin, and they typically have taken the role in the family to be a little bit more passive or a little bit more quiet. So it can be difficult for that partner to advocate for themselves as well as their significant other. So that can feel more confronting. I’ve seen this be very challenging for couples. Because if the partner that’s not a family member starts taking an active role without the relationship, it can come across as: oh, this partner is being controlling or bossy, or just feeling off put by the interaction. 

Then it also, again, as I just mentioned, can be very difficult for the partner that is family to start operating in a way that they’ve never operated before. So that might take a little bit more work. Because I think I mentioned in the last episode, it can feel the partner that is family will be put in the middle. It’s like, when they’re with their significant other and they’re talking about some of the dynamics, they might say: “Yes. Yes, I’m fully onboard, I agree with you, I got this.” Then when they’re in their family system, it feels different; the environment is different, and it qualitatively is just a different dynamic. It feels more challenging to execute the thing that they had said that they would, or their agreement. 

C:\Users\Lenovo\Desktop\couples\4r.jpeg

“So again, I really want to just invite a little bit more gentleness and curiosity, and just imagine that this is a long game. It’s not just the first time, and it didn’t happen and this is a huge failure. I would use it as a learning opportunity, and again, the idea of this being a curriculum for developing.”

Likely, the fact that it didn’t happen, there’s things that are getting in the way, or this is a bigger challenge than initially thought of. 

The last category I want to mention is around parenting. How much are in-laws or the parents of our partner involved in parenting? This can be more relevant when the couple lives in closer proximity to either of the in-laws, where the in-laws will be available to care for the children. So whether or not it’s a date night, or there’s some event, or even if it’s just regular child care. While this can be a tremendous resource, it can also pose a challenge. That sometimes grandparents don’t always follow the rules of the parents, or don’t want to comply. They think that they know better, or that they raised enough children that they don’t need to be told what to do, if you will.

I have a couple that I work with, and they have processed this very topic a few times. In that, the in-laws will come to visit or they’ll go visit the in-laws, and they don’t always follow the couple’s wishes around parenting. So they have to continue to revisit the conversation, and it’s laborious. It feels almost like a break of an agreement, especially on round big ticket items, one of which is sharing photos on social media; they’ve made a decision to not do that with their children. So when the grandparents do it, it’s a break of the agreement. Or whether or not it’s certain foods that they’re sharing that they don’t want their children to have, or watching certain programs. I mean, the list goes on and on. So this can be very difficult to negotiate, and tender territory in addressing when there’s this type of conflict at play. 

Another place that this might emerge is, even when the whole family is together, if the children are behaving in certain ways, and the in-laws are attempting to discipline in vastly different ways than the couple is perhaps parenting. This can pose a great challenge, and even be very difficult for the child if the parenting style is a little more aggressive. I just met with a couple recently, and they were talking about some really painful experiences in visiting their family really recently, where the grandparents were, in some ways, name-calling and blaming. I was meeting with them, and they were processing this visit. And when I talked to the partner that is family, he was saying: “I know they don’t intend to be hurtful, and it was happening. I want to support my wife and my children, and I want to protect them.” So really looking at who’s the one communicating and how is this handled. Luckily, again, they’re on the same page, thus it’s not causing great strain on their marriage. But it is saddening. Sometimes this then requires having a degree of what we had wished for, for the children, for them to have the type of relationship with their grandparents. And when that doesn’t exist, or when it’s with a lot of tension or is fraught with difficulty, that is sad. 

This does echo something I was talking about in the last episode, to be mindful and aware and conscious of expectations and wishes and hopes. Because this will be very informative, as you look at how to target, how to set your goals around what’s possible and how to work with your significant other in managing relationships with in-laws. 

I want to turn towards offering you three recommendations in negotiating these relationships. To remind you, I gave you three recommendations in the first episode, part one. That was the previous episode. So I’ll start with number four. Understand, accept your in-laws’ limitations and their capacity. I realize this is easier said than done, especially if there are some major conflicts that exist and feel offensive or off-putting, or even run the risk of feeling abusive. And when we are in the effort of trying to change our in-laws, or wanting them to be different, that is likely going to create more suffering, more difficulty. Because if they don’t have the capacity, they’re not able, or even not willing, then we are essentially putting a lot of energy and effort into something that they’re not going to participate in and they’re not going to comply in. So to just recognize what is available, what level of involvement, given the circumstances. Do we, meaning my partner and I, and our immediate family, how involved we want, knowing what we know, knowing their capacity, knowing their limitations? 

C:\Users\Lenovo\Desktop\couples\6.jpeg

“I want to also invite, if there is ability to be a little more understanding and compassionate, that can go a long way. Because typically, people aren’t trying to be abusive or hurtful.”

Even though, hurt people hurt. I’m not taking anything away from the legitimacy and the significance of whatever behaviors they’re participating in. As well as looking at the larger scope. 

Here in the Empowered Relationship Podcast, we’ve done a few episodes looking at intergenerational trauma, and that these dynamics have a longevity and have been passed down, and they do not happen in isolation. So when we think about our significant other’s parents, and perhaps their past pain, their wounding, their trauma that they’re working with, it can bring a little bit more compassion. Again, difficult to do. And with some process and ability to take care of what we’re experiencing, our feelings, what we’re needing, it’s likely that we can get to a place where we may not like their behavior, we may not want them to participate in the way they participate, or even treat our significant other in the way that they treat, or we would want them to be capable of more. And when we’ve done that level of work and process, and have an understanding of perhaps where they’re coming from, and accept their limitations, and perhaps expect them to behave in the way that they do, not expecting them to be any different, it’s likely we can take some of the sting. It might still hurt, but it might not be so personal or feel so personal. It’s almost as though we are seeing them in their humanity, and that they have perhaps unmet needs, core needs, attachment needs, that they have not gotten met, or perhaps are attempting to get met even in very unskillful ways. That perhaps, we can work towards setting really clear limits and boundaries in taking care of ourselves. 

Which brings me to the next recommendation, and that is number five, take care of yourself. Set limits and boundaries. As I’ve been saying throughout part one and part two, setting boundaries typically as a couple is going to be best. That the couple is in agreement, that they’ve done the discussion, the process, negotiated, gotten to some strategies that they both feel good about. Then what I would recommend, that the partner that is asserting the boundary, setting the boundary, communicating the boundary, is the partner that has family. Again, as I’ve mentioned, that it’s difficult to have the level of trust, rapport, bondedness to tolerate some of the discomfort of that conflict. Anytime we’re setting limits or boundaries with someone, it is a form of conflict typically, which can be on a continuum from very small to very large, again, depending on the feelings and the situation or a circumstance. 

Another way of setting limits or boundaries, that doesn’t require direct confrontation or direct communication, can be taking breaks when needed. So if the interactions feel tense or feel off-putting or feel stressful, I really want to encourage, there can be a lot of permission and availability to take a pause, bow out for a little while, whether or not it’s go to the bathroom, go outside, get a drink, or perhaps even take a nap. I think I’ve shared on previous podcasts, when my husband and I go to visit family in New York, there’s a lot of conversation and communication, and it can be hours and hours of communicating and dialogue, which I very much enjoy. It’s like philosophizing, telling stories; sometimes it’s animated, and sometimes it’s a little bit more heartfelt. My husband is like: “I can do a couple hours. But then after that, I need to take a break.” So sometimes he’ll be up in the upstairs, watching football or chilling out, and he just needs to take some pauses. My family has just learned that about him, so it’s not taken any certain way. That took some time just to feel that comfort on both parties, and just understanding. 

C:\Users\Lenovo\Desktop\couples\3.jpeg

“As we begin to just give space and permission for this, it starts to feel a little bit more natural and understandable, and then there becomes a little bit more of a rhythm and understanding.”

Taking these breaks can really help give a little bit more recuperation, getting a sense of a breather, that allows the non-family member partner to go in with a little bit more of a fresh perspective, or feeling energized, or more regulated, more resourced. So I do think it can be a very beneficial tactic to include as one is negotiating these dynamics. Because even if it’s pleasurable, it can still feel like a lot of learning which can take a level of energy, and it can feel overwhelming at times. 

Also, as it relates to taking care of yourself and setting limits, when we’re not getting positive feedback, it can feel difficult. If someone doesn’t feel competent in articulating, or expressing their beliefs or their opinions about current events, or whatever the conversation is. Or even in group dynamics, it may be that the non-family member or partner is not getting a lot of attention, not getting a lot of questions, or feeling really responded to. If one has feelings of insecurity, or it could even just start to feel like it brings up insecurity that one didn’t even think that they had. So one of the things I want to encourage, as far as taking care of yourself, is really believing in yourself, your worth, what you, bring your likeability, and even having your partner’s support in this. Whether or not it’s: “Can you just be a mirror for me right now? I feel a little wobbly. Or can you remind me that I am a good person, or I’m likable?” Or certain things that perhaps you’re not getting from your in-laws. That’s, again, a sad thing. And if there’s ways to resource other sources, so that you can feel your ground, you can feel your position and have strength and worth in that, then likely, you’re going to feel a little bit more cared for in negotiating those dynamics. And likely, be able to chime in, in a way that will send a clear tone that’s positive, and likely increase the positive response. Now, again, that’s difficult, and there’s a lot to this. But it does matter. 

This is the classic self-fulfilling prophecy. If I believe that I can tell a good story and I have gotten great feedback, I’m likely going to feel more confident and express myself and be a little bit more animated when I’m telling a story. Versus if I don’t feel that I articulate myself very well, and then everyone’s looking at me and I’ve got the floor, I might fumble, and then not get as much positive feedback. 

C:\Users\Lenovo\Desktop\couples\2.jpeg

“Again, what we’re believing, what we’re feeling about ourselves, does impact the way we express and how people respond.”

Number six, this goes nicely with boundaries. Because if we’re not taking care of ourselves, we’re not setting boundaries, likely we’re going to feel intruded upon, or feel violated, or offended, and maybe even feel resentful or angry. That doesn’t contribute to our ability to be generous or to be kind. But if we are taking care of ourselves, and we are holding to the boundaries that have been established, then we can feel a little more generous. So it’s almost as if: “Here’s what I’m willing to participate in, and here’s what I’m not willing to participate in.” So when that’s clear, we have a little bit more ability to say: “Here’s the place that I can play and I can engage, and here are the places that I will not engage and participate.” So we can be generous and kind in those areas. Sometimes that’s helpful to see if there’s a way to initiate topics that are common ground, or to think about the other and ask follow-up questions. “How was that trip when you went to Iceland? Or tell me about what happened with the job promotion, did you get it?” So following up with people on information or parts that we’ve heard, that can help people feel cared about and can generate a lot of goodwill in the interaction. 

Another way of expressing generosity and kindness is through appreciation. Now, this will be a personal style in how it’s exhibited. I tend to be verbal and can express through words, and have comfortability doing that directly. I will say, with my husband and his family of origin and my in-laws, they tend to not be as explicit about some of these sentiments. I have found over time that it is welcomed, it is appreciated, it does cultivate a positivity, even though it hasn’t been a norm for him and his family. Yet, it typically is a positive thing. I will say, if your style is not super-verbal, I think there’s other ways of really communicating this appreciation. I think it does really promote positivity and a sense of warmth, that over time contributes to those positive relating, trust and bondedness. 

As I mentioned in part one, relationships take time. There’s a journey here. As we look at even relationships with in-laws, that building trust, openness, fostering connection, is a long-game. There’s trust and a solid foundation, hopefully, that is getting built, and when we can work with our significant other, get on the same page first and foremost. As this will help in negotiating sometimes difficult dynamics with in-laws in relationship, as well as more importantly, strengthening your connection with your significant other. 

To revisit the three recommendations that I’m offering here today: understanding and accepting the limitations and the capacity of your in-law, also taking care of yourself, setting limits and boundaries, as well as being generous and kind in the areas that you can. Then again, I went through many areas to consider as you are negotiating aspects of relating with in-laws.

Signing Off

If you have a topic you would like me to discuss, please contact me by clicking on the “Ask Dr. Jessica Higgins” button here. 

Thank you so much for your interest in improving your relationship. 

Also, I would so appreciate your honest rating and review. Please leave a review by clicking here

Thank you!  

*With Amazon Affiliate Links, I may earn a few cents from Amazon, if you purchase the book from this link.

Please leave a Comment

Shifting Criticism For Connected Communication

Shifting Criticism For Connected Communication.

Stop the criticism loop, learn new ways to communicate
and strengthen the connection with your partner.

SEND ME THE FREE GUIDE

Dr. Jessica Higgins ~ Relationship and Transformational Coaching