Help! My Parents Dislike My Spouse – But We Live With Them

Living in a multi-generational home with your parents or in-laws can be both a blessing and a challenge. Sometimes, couples experience seasons in their marriage that require them to share a home with family members. While this can be helpful during transitional periods, it can cause strain long-term–especially if your parents don’t like your spouse.

It’s often difficult to share a home with either of your parents. You’re all adults with your own lifestyle, preferences, and rhythms. It can be difficult for two couples to combine their lives this way, particularly when there’s tension in the home. Still, you might need to live together for a short time while you determine your next steps.

So let’s say you’re living with your mom and dad, and they don’t like your spouse. How do you handle that? It’s not a healthy situation to live in long-term, but there are some ways you might be able to alleviate some of that tension.

Acknowledge the Situation

The first thing you have to do is acknowledge the situation. Your spouse is aware your parents don’t like them. Rather than insisting the opposite, accept the truth and let your spouse know that you see the problem.

It will help your spouse just to know that you understand the situation and are on their side. Despite the strain between your parents and your spouse, it’s important to stay on the same team. Your spouse needs to know that you’re firmly in their court, no matter what.

Create an Exit Plan Together

Living in this tension long-term isn’t going to be healthy for the two of you or your parents. It might be necessary to stay put for the time being. However, you need to have an exit strategy in place so you can work toward tangible goals that will help you move into your own place. This will help your spouse feel more supported.

Get clear on as many details of your exit plan as you can, and work toward those as quickly as possible. What are the steps you need to take to be able to move out? What does the potential timeline look like?

Once you’ve got that plan in place, share it with your parents. When they know you and your spouse are working toward a better situation, it’s possible they could soften. Knowing there’s an end game in place that will get you both into your own homes with plenty of space will be incredibly helpful to all of you.

Show Gratitude to Your Parents

Appreciation goes a long way. Spend some time with your spouse, brainstorming ways to show your parents that you’re grateful for them. There are many reasons why a couple might need to live with one set of parents for a time. Whatever your situation, tell them you appreciate them opening their home to you.

Together with your spouse, show your parents acts of kindness and gratitude. If you’re both actively finding ways to soothe hard feelings, this could be incredibly beneficial. Your parents could even come to treat your spouse more warmly in the process.

Living with family can bring up interpersonal issues that might be easier to overlook when you’re not all together. If you and your spouse are navigating challenging personalities in addition to a less-than-ideal living situation, you might need a little extra guidance. Our book, High-Maintenance Relationships, outlines 15 challenging personality types and shares tips on how to navigate those tough relationships. You can get your copy here.

Have you and your spouse ever lived with your parents or in-laws? How did you navigate the situation? Leave us a comment and share your story.

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