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TLDR: Most of us have inconvenient relationships with our in-laws. It’s natural, and it’s certainly not the end of the world. The key is to work with your partner to establish boundaries that make you both comfortable. And remember, your parents are in-laws too (it goes both ways!)

Tango's Take: In-laws 👀

In the field of relationship science, we often talk about “thirds” which are people, things, and/or activities that intrude on a relationship. In-laws are a common type of “third” that can cause challenges in any relationship. Let’s see what our in-house psychologist, Dr. Rothman has to say about managing a relationship with in-laws:

“Navigating relationships with in-laws is one of the most commonly discussed topics in couples therapy. Some of us are fortunate enough to enjoy or even love our in-laws; most, however, are less fortunate.

When your relationship with your in-laws is less than ideal, it’s important to find balance between protecting your peace and respecting your partner’s needs. Are there things you can learn to tolerate about your in-laws? Things you can accept? Things you can ignore? Are there boundaries you can set regarding how and how often you spend time with them? Whether your partner visits family without you sometimes or all of the time? Keep communication open with your partner and release some of the pressure on your in-law relationships–it is perfectly okay if it’s not the best. Inconvenient? Yes. End of the world? No.

When couples have children, it becomes particularly important to establish boundaries with in-laws to ensure that both partners feel their parenting styles are being respected. Be sure to communicate openly with your partner about your expectations and what boundaries you want to set. Because your partner knows their own parents/families best, let them help guide how those boundaries might be communicated and set most effectively.”

TLDR: Part of being in a relationship is having fun and exploring and discovering yourself and what you need. Not every one needs to have a purpose beyond that!

Tango's Take: Relationship End Goals 💖

According to a 2,000-person study commissioned as part of the release of ‘The Rosie Project: a tale of one man’s quest to find the perfect wife’, the average woman will have five relationships before finding her lifelong partner and the average man will have six. Should all of these have the end goal of marriage? Of course not! While you might not choose to date people that you’d never marry (though props to you if you do), we don’t think it’s necessary that every relationship you get into should be with the mindset that they’ll become your lifelong partner (hellooo rebounds!). Our in-house clinical psychologist agrees:

“Call us the opposite of old-fashioned, but we do not think that any relationship should have an end goal in mind “just because.” Our interests, needs, and desires change throughout our lives, and our relationships should reflect that! Let your values and where you are in your life steer you in the direction you want to go in–whether that’s dating for marriage or dating for fun or anything in between–and remember that you can always change course!”

Sometimes, putting that pressure on a relationship can even doom it from the start. So we say have fun, date people who interest you, and if it works out - amazing! If not, on to the next.

TLDR: We all only get to catch a glimpse of each other's lives, so when we're comparing someone else's highlight reel to our whole reality, it's just not going to make us feel good. If you catch yourself here, try to take a step back and remind yourself that you don't know the whole story.

Tango's Take: Comparing Your Relationship 💖

With the rise of social media, we're all chronically online and in each other's business, so it's no wonder that we compare almost every aspect of our lives to others, including our relationships. But Dr. Rothman reminds us below that getting stuck in a comparison trap isn't productive, and usually you don't even know the whole story.

"We’ve all been there–we hear a friend or loved one talk about how amazing their relationship is, or maybe we witness first-hand a couple we know to be extremely supportive and affectionate out in public–and the panic sets in… is it bad that my relationship doesn’t look like theirs?! In truth, everything we see or hear about is just a tiny glimpse of that person’s relationship. Just like when we’re scrolling on Instagram, we’re only hearing or seeing one curated side of the story. Remember that there is always context we don’t have, details we aren’t privy to, and “the other side” that we don’t know about. There may be plenty of similarities between your relationship and someone else’s, but in truth, no comparison can be made unless the two situations are identical. Try to keep that in mind!"

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