Living With In-Laws: How to Handle a Tense Situation

Living With In-Laws: How to Handle a Tense Situation

My wife and I are living with her parents while we wait to close on our new home.  Things were fine initially, but recently my mother-in-law told my wife that I was lazy.  I go to school full-time (retired Army), and have been trying to find a job that doesn’t interfere with my schedule.  Right now my wife is the only one work, but we both worked to earn the money we are using to buy the house. Since I’m not working right now, and do seem to have more free-time than my wife, her family looks down on me.   Knowing that my mother-in-law and the rest of my wife’s family think that I am lazy has put a strain on our relationship. 

Buying a house is an extremely difficult process, and being stuck in limbo while waiting for closing makes the entire situation much worse.  I am sure the stress of the situation led to the comment your mother-in-law made.  Unfortunately, the only way you are going to find out why she and the rest of your wife’s family feel the way they do is to confront them.  The confrontation does not to be negative, hostile, or aggressive.  There are ways to discuss the situation without upsetting anyone.

Talk to Your Wife

Speak to your wife before talking to her family so she doesn’t feel as though you are putting her in a difficult position without first talking to you.  It is possible that an offhanded remark from your wife, or even something you said without thinking, led to your mother-in-law’s statement.  Your wife may be able to answer your questions and calm things down.

Discuss Things With the Family

The statement might have been made based entirely on the fact that you are currently unemployed and your wife is working.  Explain to the family that you contributed your military earnings towards the purchase of the home.  Also, tell them more about the GI bill and the money (if any) you are getting because you attend school.  Some people do not know that one of the benefits of the GI bill is BAH pay when you attend full-time, and many people do not understand how difficult and time consuming college is.

Rush Closing

There is a chance that no one in your family really believes that you are lazy.  They might be strained by the added burden of a young couple coming back home.  Increased utility bills, a higher grocery budget, and more bodies in a home can strain the patience of the calmest mother.  One of the best ways to keep your relationship with your wife’s family in tact is to move into your new home as quickly as possible.