Here’s How to Really Win Over Your Mother-In-Law

posted: 10/18/17
by: Amanda Mushro

When you say "I do" to the love of your life, you are also saying "I do" to your new spouse's family. From holidays, birthdays, and unannounced visits--your partner's family becomes your family. But what happens when your mother-in-law doesn't like you?

Your spouse thinks you are amazing, but for a bevy of reasons, your mother-in-law seems more like a monster-in-law. However, it doesn't have to be a tense and painful relationship anymore because according to a new study, you can win over your mother-in-law.

For the study, researchers examined 41 different tactics that people used to win the approval of their partner's parents. From inviting them over for dinner, buying gifts, and confronting the in-laws about their behavior, researchers noted that many of these tactics failed epically.

However, for the tactics that did work, they were successful or everyone in the study. So what exactly is the magic behind getting your mother-in-law to become your BFF? Well, it looks like it takes three steps to get into your mother-in-law's good graces

"Parents do not always find their children's mate choices to comply with their own preferences and engage in manipulation in order to drive away undesirable boyfriends and girlfriends," explains researcher Menelaos Apostolou. "To avoid this situation, individuals engage in counter manipulation in order to change their prospective parents-in-law's minds to accept them as mates for their children."

Here are the three most successful tactics from the study:

  1. Prove you are a good partner- Researchers found that one of the most successful tactics was to show your in-laws why you are the best partner for your significant other. This doesn't mean tell them. It means show them through your actions--helping your partner to live a better lifestyle or show that you have the same values as your mother-in-law.
  2. Avoid Confrontation- It may be tempting to confront your mother-in-law about her feelings and behavior towards you, but researchers say put the brakes on this idea. Not only will this make for very awkward holiday dinners, but they found it usually was not helpful in moving the relationship forward. If you feel like getting into an argument or a screaming match--don't do it.
  3. Don't Ask Your Partner to Help- While it may seem like a good idea to send your partner in as reinforcements, researchers found that you have to be the one that addresses the issues with your mother-in-law. So it looks like you have to do the work. When partners were included, the conversations usually fell short and there were no improvements. Researchers called this the "Tell Them I'm Good" tactic and it was one of the most unsuccessful of the study.

Researchers also found that mothers may be more likely to be influenced by these tactics than fathers. So if you are looking to improve your relationship with your father-in-law, you may need to try something a little different.

With the holidays right around the corner, now might be a good time to try these tactics. But if they don't work, wine and dessert help to make holiday dinners less painful