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Tech Innovate Gadget Mission: Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds. In-law ties can be very stressful for women, according to the author of a new long-term study.
Story highlights Your relationship with your in-laws can affect your own relationship A new study shows it may affect your odds of staying together over the long haul Being a daughter-in-law can be trickier than a son-in-law Get to know your in-laws, but don't be afraid to set boundaries.
The holidays are a time to celebrate our relationships, but they can also be fraught with anxiety and dread -- especially when it comes to spending time with extended family. Whether you adore your partner's parents or barely tolerate your in-laws, your rapport with them can have lasting effects on your own romantic relationship.
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In fact, according to new research, it could even predict your odds of staying together over the long haul. For the study, which will be published in a future issue of the journal Family Relations, Terri Orbucha psychologist and research professor at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research and author of "Finding Love Again," followed couples who were newlyweds in She asked the men and women to rate how close they felt to their in-laws, on a scale of one to four, and then tracked their relationships over time.
A lot of men myself included look forward to the idea of gaining a new family when they get married. It's a chance to have a "mom" and "dad" without many of the entanglements that they have with their own parents: They can enjoy a ballgame or a home-cooked meal without feeling judged or hassled.
Plus, guys are less likely to worry that their in-laws are interfering in their relationship. Men tend to identify as a provider first and a father and husband second, so they don't find their in-laws' input particularly threatening, Orbuch says.
I want to feel closer to them because it makes me feel closer to you. Being a daughter-in-law can be much trickier.
It's the power struggle that...
On one hand, a woman may be more likely to form a bond with a man's parents when she wants to change something about him or get him to agree with her about an aspect of child-rearing -- essentially, trying to get his parents on her "side. Yet a tight relationship with the in-laws can also backfire for many women: Closeness may give a mother-in-law a greater sense of access and ability to cross boundaries and meddle, which can seem threatening, particularly if a woman feels that her in-laws are interfering with her identity as a wife and mother.
Aside from this, living in...
Orbuch says that in her long-term study, she found in-law ties to be very stressful for women. Here are some tips for getting along with your in-laws and strengthening your relationship with your spouse. Get to know them.
Don't limit face time with your in-laws to the holidays, when everyone may be feeling more stressed. Spend time with them socially on occasion, and get acquainted with them as people. This is especially important if you're a man, because caring for your wife's parents shows her that you care for her, too.
More women harness power of fantasy. If you're a woman, let your in-laws know that you want a loving relationship with them, but set some boundaries.
Just because they're your husband's parents doesn't mean you should tell them everything. Maintain a careful distance.
How to coexist with your...
This is especially true if you have kids. Don't let in-laws use their desire to visit with your children as a way to invade your life, and don't allow them to critique your parenting skills.
Just because you have given them grandchildren doesn't mean in-laws should have an open door at all times. Don't insult your in-laws, even behind their backs.
If you have an issue with them, talk reasonably to your partner. Even if your spouse complains about his or her parents, stay quiet.
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No one likes having their parents attacked. Put your relationship first. Defend your relationship against outside threats -- even if that means your in-laws. I meet so many couples whose anger stems from one or both partners feeling undefended: Instead, make it clear that you expect your spouse to defend you without lashing out or being passive-aggressive.
Remember, you married your spouse, not his or her parents. But you can make the holidays -- and every day -- a bit brighter by forging realistic bonds with them.
The Scary Way Your In-Laws Affect Your Marriage But you may prefer to live three states away from your parents and only see them on. It's the power struggle that blights millions of marriages, but few understand this up for us when someone else threatens us, criticizes us, makes us feel bad. Your relationship with your in-laws can affect your own relationship; A new study shows it may affect your odds of staying together over the long.
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