8 Ways to Handle Living With Your In-Laws

Three in-laws talking to each other in a living room.

In a perfect world, no has to live with their in-laws. But sometimes circumstances occur and either your in-laws need to move in with you or you need to move in with them. Before you do make the leap and start cohabitating with your significant other’s parents, it’s important to have some strategies in place so things go as smoothly as possible. Here are eight ways to handle living with your in-laws

If your in-laws are moving in with you:

  1. Consider Room Additions if Needed

Consider the size of your home. If you only have two bedrooms, including your own, you might want to think about adding on. You’ll have two additional people in your home, and you’ll probably need the space. For example, what if you want to have guests over? If your in-laws are occupying the second bedroom, where will your guests sleep? And room additions are especially important if you only have one bathroom. Four people and one bathroom can be both frustrating and inconvenient. 

  1. Create Boundaries

Privacy is important to everyone, individual or couple. Couples need privacy for intimacy, bonding and building a family. For you to have privacy, you need to set boundaries. Some places can be off limits. The bedroom is a private space, and if you live in a large home with two living room areas, consider taking one each.

  1. Stay Out of Arguments

Parents and kids disagree. It’s a fact of life. They had disagreements as parent to child and parent to teen, so don’t be surprised when they disagree as parent and adult.

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As people grow, they change. Your spouse may have grown away from the person they were raised to be, at least in some aspects. Your in-laws might not like this, and that’s when arguments break out. This is their family drama to deal with, and you getting involved might make things worse.

  1. Know When to Step Down

This is your home, but you’ve opened it up to your in-laws, and your in-laws are your family. At the same time, these are people you didn’t grow up with. Your personalities may clash, you might have different ideas about what’s okay and what’s not. Sometimes it’s better to avoid a fight over something small, so pick your battles and know when to back off.

Defend your privacy, your rights, the expenses and your property. But is it really worth an argument over whether you keep the TV remote on the coffee table or the bookshelf?

If you’re moving in with your in-laws:

  1. Discuss Expenses

Money is a sore subject for most people, even with loved ones. When you move in with in-laws, they’re going to expect you to contribute to their household. Get this out of the way as soon as you can. Discuss paying rent, and whether you’ll be paying any of the bills, as well. 

If you get this out of the way, nobody can accuse anybody of taking advantage or being a mooch. Cover your bases.

  1. Talk About Childcare

If you have kids, moving in with your in-laws can be an even bigger deal. If you moved in with the in-laws for help with this specifically, discuss what you each expect. Your in-laws have their own lives which can’t revolve around your child(ren). Alternatively, if they’re being too pushy, know you can stand up for yourself.

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If you’re moving in for another reason and you have kids, don’t start suddenly pushing your in-laws to take care of them every other day. Your children are still your responsibility, and the in-laws will pitch in if they want to.

  1. Know the Dynamics

You need to get to know how your spouse and their parents are around each other before you move in. You might get an unpleasant shock otherwise. If your spouse can’t stand up to his or her parents, how do you expect to? They’re not your parents, so it’s not your place.

If your spouse is one to bully his or her parents, or manipulate them, be aware of this too. You can help your spouse work on this to achieve a better, more balanced relationship. If it’s not something your spouse is willing to work on, stay out of it. You don’t want to damage your relationship.

  1. Let Things Go

Your in-laws are going to have comments about every little thing you do. Your parenting style, your laundry day, the grocery brands you buy, and why you want to change the décor in the guest room. You need to remember, this is their house. So, if you fight back, you’re the one who’ll have to come crawling back groveling. 

Take everything with a grain of salt, and change what you can. Get the milk brand they like, ask what laundry day would work better, but talk to them about why your parenting style works for your family. It’s all about compromise.

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