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Love Q&A: Mother-in-law Issues?

Q.

The Nest Q&AHow do I tell my husband I don't like my mother-in-law?

A.

You don’t. You can say something like, “I’m just not as comfortable around your mom as I am with mine.” Emphasize that he probably feels the same way about your parents. Try to get him to understand that there’s just a closeness you feel with your own kin.

But if there’s something your MIL is doing that's consistently hurting your feelings (and possibly on purpose), the situation becomes a lot more delicate. In this case, you need to alert your spouse about what's going on. Keep in mind that the best time to do this is when you can be calm. Say something like, “I don’t want to upset you, but I need you to keep a lookout for how your mom treats me during our next visit. I don’t want to sound crazy here, but I think she might be saying certain things to hurt me.”

It’s possible that he's going to be oblivious at first. He’ll think that there’s no possible way the person who raised him to be such a wonderful person could be so hurtful. Get him to at least open his mind that there might be a competitive factor now that you’re in the picture; some passive-aggressive (or all-out cruel) behavior could be happening, and one of you might need to say something.

Once he’s been alerted to the possibility, create a signal. Tug on your ear the next time she does something rude while you’re all together. Then he can determine how malicious her behavior is -- and stick up for you when needed.

Whatever you do, try not to create a catfight between the two of you. Let your husband see you as the bigger, stronger person and see his mom in a new light. We promise, it’s much sexier this way.

-- The Nest Editors

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