4 Tips to Dramatically Improve Your Relationship with Your Father-in-Law

It can be highly stressful when you don’t get along with your in-laws. After all, you are now part of their extended family and as such you are automatically expected to slot right in and fit into a whole new family.


When this goes smoothly it is absolute bliss. You have access to a whole new support network of people who are falling over themselves to help you and your partner succeed in life. What could be better than this right?

However, when it goes wrong it can go disastrously wrong.

Family tension is some of the worst tension that you can experience in your relationship and no other subject has the potential to wreak havoc like the subject of your relationship with the in laws.

Books have been written on this subject so in this article I want to keep it short and to the point.

Specifically, here are my top 4 tips that you can apply to your relationship with your father-in-law to dramatically improve how you get along.

Decide What You Want

The single most important thing that you must determine when it comes to establishing an effective relationship with your father in law is to decide exactly what type of relationship you want.

Do you want a close knit relationship or would you prefer a more distant and removed relationship. The good thing about deciding what you want is that you are the one who sets the guidelines for the relationship going forward.

Once you decide what you want you should communicate this with your partner and with your father-in-law.

Once everyone is on the same page and aware of what each other’s needs and wants are I guarantee that your relationship with your father-in-law will become much better.

Is it Achievable?

Of course, this will only happen if your expectations are really achievable.

If you want a distant and removed relationship with your father-in-law, yet currently your relationship is overly close and clingy, you may need to adjust your expectations.

Tension and conflict tends to flare when you want something but others prevent you from getting it.

Make a list of realistic points about the relationship you would like to have but be aware that you will not be able to get everything your own way.

Accept that family life, especially when it comes to the in laws, is all about compromise.

If you can compromise with your family then you are already half way to a much improved relationship with everyone involved.

Set Boundaries

One particularly useful tip which has worked wonders for me over the years is the setting of boundaries.

Spelling out in no uncertain terms what is acceptable and what is unacceptable to you is a very solid approach.

Not only will this let everyone know where you are in terms of your mental space, it will also ensure that there is no room for people to overstep the mark.

The excuse that “someone didn’t know” or that they were not aware, will no longer be valid. This gives you a clear set of rules that can really help everyone understand exactly what you expect of them and what they can expect of you.

This is an excellent way to squash any arguments before they get out of control and lead into much bigger issues.

Remember His Birthday

This might seem like an obvious one, but if you are anything like me, it can be all too easy to forget this one particular date.

This can be disastrous for your relationship and can undo a lot of good work and bridge building which you may have been doing. Make sure you set a reminder on your phone or in your diary and get your partner to remind you a week in advance of your father in law’s birthday.

These are 4 tips that I have learned (the hard way) over the years that have really helped me improve the quality of my relationship with my father in law.

One nice knock on effect of this relationship improving was that I also started to get along with my mother in law a whole lot better too.

But that, as they say, is a story for another day…

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