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Our In-Laws Live With Us…How Do I Set Friendly (but Firm) Boundaries?

In-laws can be challenging to deal with at the best of times. Sometimes, they may fail to give you the space and independence you need to thrive as a couple.

What makes things ten times more complicated is when in-laws live with you. You need to set healthy boundaries so that they are not overstepping, you’re not offending them, and there are no issues between you and your partner.

How To Set Friendly Yet Firm Boundaries With In-Laws

Let’s face it. In-laws can be a little overbearing sometimes. To keep the peace and ensure that everyone is happy, follow these tips for healthy boundaries.

Don’t Compete With Anyone

Some parents can find it hard to see their child grow up and bond with someone else. This can spur on a bit of competition for their love, time, and affection. Particularly close parents can find it challenging to let go.

If you find yourself in competition, you may feel like your needs aren’t being met. You should not have to compete with your partner’s mom or dad, so make sure that you make it known that you and your partner are a unit, a united front, and your relationship comes first. Then, you can set time aside for your partner to spend time with their parents or for you all to do things together.

Communicate Clearly With Your Partner

Communication is key. Try not to take your frustrations out on your partner, as this will only cause a rift in the relationship. You never want your partner to feel like they have to choose between you and their family. You don’t want to single anyone out or make it feel like ‘us’ versus ‘them.’ If something has upset you, make it known to your partner and find a solution together.

family gathered around dinner table eatingEstablish Rules

If you have a routine or little things that you and your partner always do together, don’t change them or bend the rules because your in-laws are now living with you or vice versa.

If it’s your home, then your rules are what goes. On the other hand, if you’re living with them, you also need to abide by their rules and routine. However, make time for you and your partner to have some alone time together and enjoy quality time as a couple.

Share Household Costs & Responsibilities

When living with anyone, regardless of age, familial relation, or situation, you should be sharing the costs and responsibilities of running a home. It’s only fair, and it prevents arguments about someone not pulling their weight financially or not helping out enough around the house.

Share out who makes meals, cleans, and walks the dog, so no one is left with all of the responsibility and has to care for the extra guests by themselves.

Change The Way You Think About Them

In popular culture, we are constantly shown the image of the evil stepmother or the monsters-in-law. Try to forget about this, and don’t take anything personally. Sometimes, they mean well, and they’re not as evil as they may appear. They only want what’s best for their children, but this can sometimes come across as judgmental or overbearing. Try to hold your tongue and keep the peace if needed.

Spend Time Alone With Your Spouse

Just because you live with your in-laws doesn’t mean you have to do everything together. It’s important that you are still a couple and independent from your parents. So, make sure that you spend some quality alone time with your partner, and don’t forget about intimacy!

Embrace Your Family

When it comes to living with in-laws, sometimes you’re going to have to let things go. They’re from a different generation, and you’re not going to agree on everything. Sometimes, it’s easier to let things go than let it cause a rift between you and them, or worse, between you and your partner. They’re family, and you can’t escape them, so just embrace them.

Reach out to us for family counseling to help you deal with the challenges and rewards that come with being a family.