It is not uncommon for in-laws to have a strong opinion on how their son or daughter should be living their life. They may even interfere with the child’s relationship with their spouse.
If you are married, you might have been in this situation before and noticed that it is difficult to avoid drama and unnecessary conflict. Especially when you stay close to your in-laws, see them often, and make them a big part of your life.
So maybe if you’re a peace-loving creature that likes peace of mind, boundaries, and freedom, you’re thinking about distancing yourself from your in-laws. You might be thinking that it will also contribute to keeping your spouse happy as it will mean taking a step back when it comes to family matters.
How to slowly distance yourself from your in-laws:
1- Build a reputation for yourself:
Slowly build a reputation for yourself about how your phone is never charged, because you’re too busy and keep forgetting about it. If you become unreachable and inaccessible because of other reasons rather than personal ones, then it is always a good idea.
If you find yourself suddenly famous for chucking your phone everywhere, not taking calls, nor replying to texts on the same day, then it’s okay. Blame it on being busy. If questioned: complain about how you don’t talk that often anymore to your own parents or siblings because you’re too busy with this new thing or the other, etc.
If they want to make it a habit of calling their own child and asking to talk to you, then pretend to be cooking or doing something important even during that moment. Obviously pretend in front of your spouse too, to avoid an argument. For instance, go to the kitchen and start putting together a sandwich so that you have your hands full.
You can talk for a couple of minutes, but don’t make it sound like you’re gonna be reachable if they simply call another mobile phone in your household and ask for you. Like we said: you’re just too busy to take a call regardless of whose phone it comes on!
2- Only meet for special occasions:
The in-law relationship can be one of the most complicated relationships to navigate. There are many different types of in-laws, and they all have their own set of expectations. If you think it is better for you to distance yourself from yours then gradually start doing just that.
In fact, the pressure to get along with your spouse’s family can be hard to manage. You want to make sure that you maintain a healthy relationship with them, but it is difficult if you have to see them constantly. That’s because meeting a lot leaves too much room for disagreements and conflict. In order to avoid unnecessary tension, it is better not to meet too often. Try to only meet for special occasions such as anniversaries or family gatherings.
This will make it easier for both parties. You don’t want to be constantly worrying about what someone said to make a dig at you. Nor do you want to worry about what you say and do in their presence and how it will affect your relationship with them.
3- Act oblivious to what you’re doing:
It’s not always easy to stay cordial with your in-laws. This is especially true if they start feeling that you’re distancing yourself from them. This is why you should play the role of the busy spouse, professional, or parent properly.
Make them believe whenever you see them that you’re just busy and that everything is going great with them. If you make them feel like you have negative opinions of them or that you’re trying to distance yourself from them on purpose then it can cause issues.
That’s why it’s important to act kind, cordial, polite, and civil whenever you meet them. Be super friendly, smile a lot, and be as helpful as you can. This way they will always have the best opinion of you, without intruding in your life.
4- Let your spouse have their own relationship with them:
You can distance yourself from them, but you should understand that you can’t stop your spouse from calling them as much as they can. They are his or their parents in the end, and wanting them to cut contact with their parents can be a big ask.
You can feel as if you are being left out of the social circle or not getting the attention that you deserve by letting them all be so close without you. But, remember it is better to keep things this way than to have family drama.
Let your spouse call or stay in touch with your in-laws as much as they can, as long as they don’t plan too many gatherings and meetings that involve you too. You can also check our list of boundaries for your mother-in-law or this one on how to survive your first argument about in-laws.