From The Confessional: I Love/Hate My In-Laws

by Rita Templeton
Originally Published: 
Rubberball/Mike Kemp/Getty

Love them or hate them … if you’re married, you’ve got to deal with them, for better or for worse. That’s right: we’re talking about in-laws.

When we marry a person, we “marry” their families too. And sometimes that’s a great thing! Unfortunately for many in our Confessional, though, it’s just the opposite. Though we love our spouses, we don’t always have the same feelings when it comes to the people attached to them. There are times when we question how on earth they could have raised a person who’s so awesome when they’re so … well, not.

The Confessional sees no shortage of people who have big feelings about their spouse’s families.

Confessional #20092605

“Being around my in laws is exhausting. The entire family talks at top volume, they talk over each other, they never finish a thought. It’s. The. Worst.”

According to research by Cambridge University psychologist Terri Apter, in-laws are one of the top causes of marital strife, and about 60 percent of married women say they’re under ongoing stress because of their spouse’s mother.

Confessional #17421153

“I can’t remember the last time I had a dream about my DH. Instead I dream of his nasty mother, who I am literally punching in the face the whole dream. I guess I know how I really feel about her.”

Confessional #15674102

“I wish I knew what it was like to actually like your in laws and have a fun relationship with them. I can’t even stand being in the same room as mine.”

Enjoying a peaceful family holiday or celebration with the in-laws? Forget about it.

Confessional #22914405

“I would take norovirus over spending Easter at my in laws. I hate puking but I hate them more.”

Confessional #14674498

“Trying to decide if I can weasel a way out of visiting the in laws tomorrow. We just saw them last Thanksgiving. Isn’t that good enough for a few years?!?”

Confessional #19107784

“Hate that I have to spend the holidays with people I can’t stand. They don’t like me either. Even though I’m fabulous. AKA my in-laws.”

In fact, some of us take our avoidance of get-togethers at the in-laws’ house to … extreme lengths.

Confessional #20973925

“Expecting baby #4 this fall. Keep having fall babies so we don’t have to go to my in-laws’ house for the holidays. Suspect husband is on to me.”

Labor pains aside, sometimes just being around them gets us so keyed-up that our bodies respond in ways beyond our control.

Confessional #13545456

“One time, years ago, I accidentally farted quietly in front of my in-laws. I don’t know if they noticed. It haunts me to this day.”

Confessional #25764789

“My in-laws make me so anxious, I feel sick the entire time I’m at their house.”

Maybe it’s the way they’re always trying to give us their two cents about how we’re raising our kids, how we’re keeping our home, how we’re spending our money, what we’re doing with our lives, and pretty much anything else that’s none of their damn business.

Confessional #19535825

“I am so over my sister in law giving me commands on how to take care of my daughter: put sunscreen on her, get her hat, put a sweater on her, shes cold. Shut it already lady!”

Confessional #16022958

“Dear mother in law, your thinly veiled comments about how we aren’t doing things that you would do, or in the order you would do them, are getting very annoying. We love you but please can it. Now.”

Maybe it’s their habits — things they don’t even seem to notice, but that we find extremely rude, weird, or downright appalling.

Confessional #22680674

“I hate going to dinner with my in laws. FIL eats like he’s never eaten before and eats more food than any human should. MIL shovels food in her mouth talks to you and also picks her teeth and then sucks the food she picked out of her nail”

Confessional #25747696

“I don’t want to visit the in-laws, because Fox News and Rush Limbaugh play at eardrum-rupturing levels. That’s my personal hell.”

Confessional #16012749

“MIL cleaned the grill with the toilet brush. Justified it by saying she cleaned the toilet with bleach, so the brush is clean. O.o Threw the grill away.”

Confessional #21700749

“If cleanliness is next to Godliness, all of my in-laws are going to hell.”

Confessional #15906340

“My SIL her husband and their kids all eat with their mouths open. Eating a meal with them sounds like feeding time on the farm. Gross!!”

Confessional #13993991

“My in-laws are old-fashioned enough that they address each other as ‘Mother/Father’. It REALLY creeps me out when I hear a grown man talking to the woman I know he’s having sex with, and he calls her ‘Mother'”

Or maybe it’s the way they act like they’re the only ones who matter when it comes to making plans, as though there isn’t an entire other side of the family.

Confessional #16457202

“I get so tired of having to cater to my in laws and their schedule. My family matters too!”

Confessional #17158584

“In laws, I am sorry that none of you can get your acts together to make decisions or plans. We are busy people and are not sitting waiting for you to invite us somewhere. Book us early or we can’t make it. My family counts too, it’s not all about you.”

Whether we only have to see them a few times a year or on a daily basis, we all have our ways of coping with in-law drama.

Confessional #18568812

“my in-laws are convinced this old (100+years) house we moved into is haunted. MIL refuses to set foot inside it. I may never leave…”

Confessional #25750319

“Found out if you ever want to miraculously restore someone’s hearing, mutter something nasty about them under your breath. FIL has trouble hearing you if you’re right next to him, but he heard my muttered ‘Drop dead’ clear as a bell from across the room.”

Lest you think all in-law relationships are horrible, though, don’t worry — there are also plenty of us in the Confessional who genuinely love our spouses’ families.

Confessional #22396340

“Former in laws were crazy fundy Christian zealots, hateful, trashy and hypocritical. Current in laws are warm, welcoming, smart, progressive. They have loved me and DS9 like we’re their own. Feel so grateful for their kindness and love.”

Confessional #16244275

“I love my in-laws way more than my parents. It’s part of why I married my husband. I love him too, but if he hadn’t come as a package deal with the family I never got, I would’ve kept looking.”

Confessional #10337565

“In an ironic twist of fate, my wife and I each like our in-laws, but have to remind each other to be nice to OUR OWN parents”

Confessional #5128892

“I like my in laws more than I like my mom.”

Confessional #17523413

“My siblings and father are racist assholes, I despise them. Married into another culture and I whole heartedly adore my in laws.”

Confessional #19282762

“My in-laws are a thousand times kinder, more supportive and more of a “family” than my family of origin.”

No matter how you feel about them, though — even if they’re the nicest people on the planet — the old adage by Benjamin Franklin, “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days” holds true. Especially for in-laws.

Confessional #21710380

“My in laws are nice people, but it’s been three days. Please get the fuck out of my house.”

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