How Mother-In-Laws Ruin Marriages (10 Proven Ways!)

How Mother-In-Laws Ruin Marriages

Ah, the mother-in-law, they have a bad rap – and often with good reason.

It’s hard for a lot of mothers-in-law to let go of protecting their kid (your partner) and they often stick their noses into the relationship.

If you’re struggling with your mother-in-law, I feel for you.

But there is always hope and things you can do to get her into line, hopefully with the support of your partner!

Here is a look at 10 of the most common ways how mothers-in-law ruin marriages and what you should do about it:

10 Ways How Mother-In-Laws Ruin Marriages

1. She Always Takes Your Partner’s Side

If you’re having an argument with your partner and his mother always takes his side, it can be incredibly frustrating.

It’s easy to see why, that’s her child, but it’s still frustrating and doesn’t help the situation if they’re joining forces against you.

What you can do about it:

Talk to both your partner and her about it!

Pull her aside and explain that you understand she’s just trying to protect him but in doing so, she’s siding with him regardless of who is right or wrong.

It’s just better if she doesn’t get involved at all and leaves it up to the two of you to resolve your own arguments.

Related 10 reasons why people find their mother-in-laws so annoying!

2. She Is Always Sticking Their Nose Into Your Personal Business

If it feels like your mother-in-law is always asking personal questions or trying to pry into your business, it can cause some serious problems in your relationship.

It’s one thing to be interested in the life of someone we’re close to, but it’s another thing entirely to try and control aspects of it or pry deeper than necessary.

What you can do about it:

Again, you’ll need to have a talk with your mother-in-law.

Tell them that you appreciate their interest but there are some things that are private and that she doesn’t need to worry about how things are going as you’ll take perfect care of her child.

3. She Tries to Tell You How To Treat Your Partner

This is a big one and is one of the most common causes of some serious mother-in-law-related issues.

It’s one thing for her to want you to treat her child well, but she shouldn’t be telling you how to act and how to treat him.

This is something that a lot of mothers-in-law really find hard to let go of, but they need to accept that their child has flown the nest!

What you can do about it:

I think it’s more important that you talk to your partner about this particular issue.

Having them tell their mom that they need to stop trying to tell you how to treat them will be more effective than you saying it yourself.

4. She Keeps Turning up Unannounced

This is another really common one, especially if you live close to each other or she’s retired and has a lot of free time on her hands.

It can be really nice to have (occasional) impromptu visits from family members but when it’s constantly happening and you’re not given any notice, it stops being fun.

You should feel comfortable in your own home and not like you have to entertain your mother-in-law all the time!

What you can do about it:

Again, a talk is in order.

Let her know that you love impromptu visits but that it’s important to call ahead first so you can prepare.

It’s important that you’re able to set boundaries with her that she’ll respect, and this is a good opportunity to test how well she responds.

5. She Has Never Given You a Fair Chance

Some mothers-in-law just don’t want to accept that their child is now an adult and has chosen you as their partner.

Maybe it’s dealing with their child becoming independent, no longer needing her as much, or just that maternal instinct to protect them.

Whatever it is, it can feel like no matter what you do, she’s always against you or that she’s never given you a fair chance.

This can obviously put a lot of strain on your relationship with her, as well as your relationship with her son.

What you can do about it:

This is a tricky one but I think the most important thing is to just be yourself and try not to force anything.

The more genuine you are, the more likely she is to see that you’re a good person who loves her son and just wants the best for you – as she does.

6. She Tries to Gaslight You

This is a really serious issue that can have a really negative impact on your relationship, as well as your mental health.

For those who don’t know, gaslighting is when someone tries to make you question your own reality or sanity.

It’s a form of emotional abuse that can be really difficult to spot but if you’re constantly second-guessing yourself or feeling like you’re going crazy, it’s definitely something to look out for.

Especially if your mother-in-law is always the one making you second guess yourself!

What you can do about it:

If you suspect that you’re being gaslighted, the most important thing to do is talk to someone about it.

Talk to your partner, a friend, or even a professional if you feel like you need to.

It’s important to have someone who can validate your feelings and help you see that you’re not going crazy – because you’re not.

If she is gaslighting you, this is a serious situation to be in and you’ll need to distance yourself from her at the very least.

7. She Makes You Feel Like You’re Not Good Enough

This is another form of emotional abuse that is usually directed toward you, but puts a lot of pressure on the both of you and your relationship.

Things like making you feel like you’re not good enough for her son, or that you’re not doing a good job of taking care of him.

She might do this by constantly comparing you to other people or by making snide comments about your parenting skills.

It’s obviously not a pleasant experience and can make you feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells around her.

What you can do about it:

The best thing you can do is try to build up your own confidence and self-esteem.

This is easier said than done, but it’s important to remember that her opinion of you is not the only opinion that matters.

You are good enough and you are doing a good job, no matter what she says.

It might be hard to change her mind, but by showing her you’re more than good enough for her child it puts the ball in your court.

8. She Doesn’t Respect or Value Your Opinions

This is another one that can really put a strain on your relationship with her, as well as with her son.

If she doesn’t value or respect your opinions then it’s going to be difficult to have any kind of meaningful relationship with her.

It can also make you feel like you’re not good enough or that your opinions don’t matter.

What you can do about it:

The most important thing is to communicate with her and try to find some common ground.

It’s also important to be assertive and stand up for yourself when she does disrespect your opinions.

Don’t be afraid to tell her calmly and politely that you don’t appreciate it when she doesn’t respect your opinions.

9. She Talks Bad About You Behind Your Back

This is obviously not a nice thing for anyone to do, and it can make you feel like you’re being attacked from all sides.

It’s hard enough dealing with someone who doesn’t like you, but it’s even worse when they’re constantly talking bad about you behind your back.

It can make you feel isolated and alone, as well as put a lot of strain on your relationship.

What you can do about it:

This is another one that can hopefully be resolved through communication.

It’s important to be calm and collected when you do talk to her, as well as honest about how her words make you feel.

If she has a heart she’ll feel embarrassed or bad that you know what she’s been saying and will think twice about doing it in the future.

10. She Uses Emotional Control Over Your Partner

Emotional control is a toxic behavior that mothers-in-law leverage over their children, and it can put a lot of strain on your relationship.

If she’s constantly using emotional manipulation or control over your partner then it’s going to be hard for him to stand up for you.

It can also make him feel like he has to choose between you and her, which is obviously not a position you want him to be in.

What you can do about it:

The most important thing is that you’re there for your partner and that you support him.

It’s also important to try not to talk bad about her to your partner as this will only make him more torn between the two of you.

You need your partner to see for their eyes how their mother’s behavior is affecting the relationship and start to do something about it.

Related How to deal with controlling parents at 25 and also at 40 years old.

Why Do Mother in Laws Cause Problems?

There are a number of different reasons why mothers-in-law cause problems in marriages.

It could be because she’s jealous of the relationship you have with her son, or because she feels like she’s losing control over him.

It could also be that she has unresolved issues from her own marriage that she’s taking out on you.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone and that there are things you can do to try and resolve the situation.

Communication is always going to be the most effective path to resolving any issues or at least helping her to see the error of her ways.

But ultimately, you need your partner on your side otherwise it’s going to be an uphill battle.

How Many Marriages End in Divorce Because of In-Laws?

While it’s difficult to say for sure, it’s estimated that around 13% of marriages end in divorce because of mother-in-law problems specifically.

Of course, this doesn’t take into account all of the other marriages that are affected by mother-in-law problems and ultimately end in divorce.

It’s a difficult statistic to pin down because it’s not always easy to say whether or not the mother-in-law was the direct cause of the divorce.

However, it’s safe to say that mother-in-law definitely plays a role in a significant number of divorces!


Image credits – Photo by Christian Bowen on Unsplash

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