Mother-In-Law Survival Guide

5 nightmare situations and how to deal with them.
If you get along with your mother-in-law, you're one of the lucky ones. If not, read on! Relationships expert, Lissa Coffey, gives advice on how to handle problem in-laws!

Situation #1: She makes totally tactless comments
Does your mother-in-law nag at every little thing and love to undermine your decisions? Chances are, you've already been putting up with this kind of behavior for way too long and she knows that she can get away with it. Now is the time to change that! The best way to handle this is to answer back with a question: 'Did you really just say that?' or 'Do you realize how insensitive that sounds?', says Coffey. Don't be overly defensive though-- just make her aware that she hasn't got one over on you.

Situation #2: She keeps asking when you'll be having kids
Is she always dropping hints whenever you see her? Get a few comebacks ready, advises Coffey. "There are a few great responses for this: 'I promise you'll be the first to know!' always works or you could also play the spiritual card: 'It's not just up to me...'"

Situation #3: She is overly dependent on your husband
Does she constantly ring up and expect your husband to drop everything to fix her leaky tap or pick things up from the store? He needs to put his foot down to change things, says Coffey. "It's best if he has a regular visit -- either monthly or weekly -- when she can give him her "list" -- she knows he's there for two hours or so and she has him all to herself." Anything beyond that can just be added to the list rather than keep monopolizing your time together. She probably won't like it but he needs to make it obvious that while she's important to him, he has other priorities.

Situation #4: She demands more money from your partner
Again, this is something that needs to come from him and your role is to back him up on it. "You and your husband need to come to an agreement about how much money it is reasonable to give her and then stick to that," advises Coffey. If she's not happy with it and demands more, he needs to explain that this is the best that you can do.

Situation #5: She shows up without warning
If your mother-in-law's got a habit of gate-crashing without giving you any prior notice that she's on her way, she's probably hoping to trip you up. Don't give her the opportunity, says Coffey. "Next time this happens, say: 'Gosh, I'm sorry! This isn't a good time for a visit but let's make arrangements for later in the week' or 'I'm just on my way out but if you could call first next time, I'll make sure that I'm here so we can spend some time together." If she still doesn't get the hint, you've got no choice but to be blunt: 'I enjoy your visits but I really have to set some boundaries so that I can get everything done. Please call before you drop in.' Get your husband to back you up on this, adds Coffey, or she could easily find loopholes to carry on with her unwanted visits.

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