Meddling In-Laws CAN Destroy a Marriage, Study Reveals

There’s a reason in-laws have become a stereotype. They’re all up in your beeswax when you want them to butt out, and they couldn’t care less about inconveniencing you.

But, are they intrusive enough to end your marriage?

A new study conducted by Dr. Terri Orbuch, a psychologist and research professor at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, says maybe.

According to Dr. Orbuch’s study which recently appeared in The Wall Street Journal, men who are closer to their in-laws are 20 percent less likely to divorce. Not so for women, who are 20 percent more likely to divorce when they don’t get along with their in-laws.

Dr. Orbuch, also the author of Finding Love Again: 6 Steps to a New and Happy Relationship, studied 373 couples ages 25-37 for over 26 years. She asked the couples to rate how close they felt to their in-laws.

Her research uncovered men’s relationship with their in-laws had a positive effect on the marriage, whereas females had a mostly negative relationship with their husband’s parents which took a toll on the marriage.

Dr. Orbuch says, “In-law ties are especially stressful for women. And, when they are close to in-laws, especially early in marriage, this may interfere with and prevent the formation of a strong bond with their husband. It is important for newlyweds to establish clear emotional boundaries.”

She goes on to say, “Relationships are more central and important to women in general. We analyze them and want to constantly work and improve them. We take what our in-laws say as personal, we interpret it as interference and meddling and we can’t set the boundaries.”

Her message for couples struggling with in-law interference is to establish clear boundaries with both sets of in-laws and establishing a united front. Once the woman feels outnumbered by her husband and his parents, things will only go downhill from there.

Dr. Orbuch also advises women not to take what their in-laws do or say so personally.

Hey, we know. Easier said than done!