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What’s your relationship with your partner’s parents?

February 17, 2018
  • We get along very well
  • It’s neither positive nor negative
  • Mostly negative, I avoid them whenever possible
  • I’ve never met them

We’ve all been there – that awkward moment at Thanksgiving when your partner’s mom asks you a too-personal question or the silent treatment from their dad during a football game. While the dynamics of relationships with our partner’s parents are as diverse as the colors of a rainbow, it’s intriguing to see where you stand. Whether you’re on cloud nine, stuck in the murky middle, dodging every family event, or have yet to cross that bridge, let’s unpack each potential answer to the age-old question: “What’s your relationship with your partner’s parents?”

“We get along very well”

older man huggin young woman, both smiling

Let’s kick off with the dream scenario. If you’ve chosen this, count your lucky stars! The famous relationship expert, Dr. John Gottman, once said, “When you choose a partner, you choose a story,” and apparently, for some, this story includes a harmonious chapter with the in-laws.

Why might someone choose this answer?

  • Shared interests: Maybe you and your partner’s dad are both fishing enthusiasts or you bond with their mom over baking. The common ground makes building rapport much more straightforward.
  • Effort from both sides: Remember that old saying, “It takes two to tango”? Well, harmonious relationships often emerge when both parties put in the effort.

“It’s neither positive nor negative”

Floating in the neutral zone, aren’t we? In this space, interactions might feel more like polite formalities than genuine connections. A curious fact: around 45% of people feel ‘neutral’ about their relationship with their partner’s parents.

Why this answer might resonate?

  • Limited interaction: Perhaps you’ve not spent enough time with them to form a definite opinion.
  • Different backgrounds: Cultural, regional, or personality differences might make things a tad bit neutral, as both parties are still trying to understand each other.
  • Playing safe: Keeping things neutral might be a strategy to avoid conflicts.

“Mostly negative, I avoid them whenever possible”

Ahem, the elephant in the room. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but not everyone feels like they’re part of a big happy family. The popular writer, Oscar Wilde, once quipped, “Children begin by loving their parents; after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.” While Wilde was talking about our parents, the sentiment can sometimes extend to our partner’s parents too.

Reasons to pick this option?

  • Personality clashes: Sometimes, people just don’t mesh. It’s not anyone’s fault, but it happens.
  • Past confrontations: Maybe there was an incident that put things in a bad light.
  • Protective instincts: Some parents have a hard time letting go and can be overprotective of their child, which might lead to friction.

“I’ve never met them”

thirty years old woman, casually dressed, looking at the framed photo

An untouched realm. Around 18% of Americans in relationships have never met their partner’s parents. This could be a fresh relationship, or there might be miles separating the two parties.

Why might this be your answer?

  • Long-distance relationships: Your partner might be from another state or even another country.
  • It’s early days: You might be in the initial stages of your relationship, and the ‘meet the parents’ milestone is yet to come.
  • Circumstances: Sometimes life, schedules, or other barriers prevent that first meeting.

In Conclusion

Navigating the waters of a relationship with your partner’s parents can be as unpredictable as the weather in Seattle. Whether you’re basking in the sunny warmth of acceptance, feeling the chill of indifference, taking shelter from the stormy misunderstandings, or still checking the forecast, remember that relationships are ever-evolving. And while we can’t choose our family, we can always choose how we react and adapt. So, the next time you’re faced with that probing question at a dinner party or pondering your status while lying in bed, remember this article and know you’re not alone in your boat. Whatever your answer might be, embrace it, learn from it, and keep sailing forward!

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