Q: I can't stand my mother-in-law. She's totally rude and always butts in my husband's and my business. She really does cause a lot of tension between us. I can't even tell you how many fights she's caused because of her ways. Recently my father-in-law passed away, and now there is discussion of my husband's mother moving in with us. There is no way I can say no considering we are utterly blessed to have such a huge house with various rooms not in use. There are other brothers, but they all have much smaller homes. So, if she's going to move in with anybody, it's going to be in our home. While we have more than enough space, I can't help but think that the house is going to start feeling really small. And I really can predict major fights to ensue. Is this act of kindness on my husband's account really worth it if it's going to ultimately tear us apart? -Lynda, 38
Dr. Anna: You two really need to have an open and honest discussion here. It sounds like the tension is bad enough when she's not living with you, but you've been able to cope. But now you're concerned her constant presence is going to overwhelm and break your marriage. Speak up and let him know you're concerned this is going to break your relationship. If you two can't figure out a solution that you're comfortable with, in this case, I'd recommend couple's counseling if you can swing it. Having a professional help you navigate this could be the difference between a healthy marriage and a divorce. Someone who can spend some time with you both, help coach you through the decision, and give you some coping skills to handle whatever decision to you come to. If you value your marriage, better to be active in dealing with this rather than passively driving into a disaster.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.