Back to School at FamilyEducation.com
Home > Mom's Life > Family Relationships > Dealing With In-Laws > The Other Woman in Your Marriage
|

The Other Woman in Your Marriage

Here's Ashley's story:

It was the eve of the wedding. The rehearsal had gone off without a hitch, and the dinner was about to start. But first, Charles' mother grabbed him by the arm and pulled him off to the side. "Charles, you're my son, the light of my life, my reason for being. I've given the best years of my life for you; my youth, my health, my money. But believe me, it was worth every sacrifice. Please remember that the woman you're marrying will never be able to take care of you as I did. She will never love you as I do. No woman could. Just remember your poor old mother."

Flash forward 15 years:

"I feel like an outsider when I'm around my mother-in-law," says Ashley. "Even though my husband and I have been married 15 years, she still treats me as though I'm a threat, someone who wants to take her son away from her. I'm not usually a competitive person, but when I'm with my mother-in-law, I find myself comparing, keeping score, and being unsure of my status in the family."

Family Matters

When dealing with your in-laws has you feeling like you've walked through the metal detector at the airport once too often, remind yourself that having a good relationship with your mother-in-law is part of having a strong family. And you want a strong family, so don't give up.

Unfortunately, there's a built-in sense of rivalry in every daughter-in-law/mother-in-law relationship. A woman and her mother-in-law are in a triangular relationship with the same man. The daughter-in-law's gain is frequently the mother-in-law's loss. And when another woman has caused you a loss, no matter how intellectually understandable it is, it's hard to take. Try these ideas for solving this situation with your mother-in-law.

  1. An effective strategy for dealing with competitive feelings is to realize that part of your mother- in-law's possessiveness is natural aspect of being a mother. Your mother-in-law may never stop feeling it's her job to be a caretaker to your husband. Asking her to give up control completely and let you be the only influential woman in your husband's life is asking the impossible.

  2. Do you feel as though you're not measuring up to your (sainted) mother-in-law? If so, you're not alone. Many wives feel this way. Don't. Stop comparing yourself to your mother-in-law. First off, you're not your mother-in-law. Second, you don't have to live your life according to her terms. The earlier you establish this as a framework for your marriage, the happier you will be.

|

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Dealing with In-Laws © 1998 by Laurie E. Rozakis, Ph.D. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

get ready for school!

We’ve got your
shopping list,
lunch menu,
and more.

GO

highlights

Printable Fall Fun To-Do List
Celebrate the cooler weather with this printable checklist of fun fall activities for your whole family.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top 10 Care Package Items for College Students
Show your college student that you love and miss her by mailing a care package full of dorm room essentials and comforting treats. Whether it's her birthday, exam time, or just because, get care package ideas to brighten her day.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!