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More Than Half of Brits Say In-Laws to Blame For Marriage Rows

More Than Half of Brits Say In-Laws to Blame For Marriage Rows

Millions of married Brits wish they could divorce their interfering in-laws, a new study has found.

Monsters-in-law and fathers from hell cause rows in 60 per cent of relationships and more than one in five (22 per cent) would divorce them if they could.

The top reasons for tension include in-laws criticising and giving unwanted opinions on personal or confidential matters, treating them like children and partners taking their parents’ side.

One in five (20 per cent) said their marriage had suffered due to a lack of privacy with in-laws dropping in unannounced or coming to stay.

Twenty-eight per cent of people confessed the problem was so bad that they had even thought about splitting up and around one in 10 couples (12 per cent) actually had.

Two thousand married Brits took part in the study by law firm Slater and Gordon who say issues with extended family are often cited as a reason for divorce.

People surveyed saw their in-laws at least once a week, but almost a third (32 per cent) said they would like it to be less. 

Around one in three (29 per cent) described them as interfering, with couples who clashed about their in-laws exchanging cross words on average once a month.

The rising cost of living means many children now borrow money from their parents for big purchases such as buying a house, but almost one in five (19 per cent) said in return their in-laws expected more of a say day-to-day in their lives.

Family law specialist, Rupi Rai, from Slater and Gordon, said: “Being on good terms with your in-laws is important in a marriage as it’s natural that your partner will want you all to get on.

“That’s why so many people try to hide how they really feel because they don’t want to upset their other half.

“Economic pressures mean people are becoming much more reliant on their parents for financial help, to get on the housing ladder, to help them out if they lose their jobs or in some cases for very personal reasons such as to pay for fertility treatment.

“That can lead in-laws to take much more of an interest in how their money is being spent, which a child may understand, but their partner may not and may find uncomfortable.”

Rows with in-laws led to one in 10 families (10 per cent) not speaking for weeks and nine per cent said it caused a permanent rift. 

Arguments were mainly sparked by in-laws giving unwanted opinions (39 per cent), treating partners like children (25 per cent), the belief that they didn’t think their son or daughter-in-law was good enough (24 per cent) and how grandchildren were disciplined (22 per cent).

More than one in five (22 per cent) hid their true feelings from their partner for fear of upsetting them, with 36 per cent revealing that they made up excuses not to see their in-laws or deliberately went out when they came to visit.

Over a quarter (27 per cent) admitted that if they had known at the time what they know now they may never have made it down the aisle.

Rupi added: “It’s understandable to want to avoid confrontation, but it’s rarely a solution. Often your in-laws may not even realise that what they’re doing is causing offence.

“Addressing problems at the start is better than letting them linger and allowing resentment to build.

“The best advice is to try and put yourself in your in-laws’ shoes and if you still think you’re being treated unfairly, explain your concerns to your partner and them in a calm and rational way.

“We see relationships that have broken down after years of issues like these and the situation may have been different if they had been openly discussed at the time they arose.

“If you’re recently married, remember that this is new territory for them too. They have to adapt to having a daughter or son-in-law the same way you have to adapt to them.”   

Out with the in-laws: Top 10 reasons for marriage rows

  • Giving unwanted opinions on personal or private matters
  • Interfering
  • Partner always taking their side
  • Partner sharing personal or private information with his/her parents
  • Treating partner like a child
  • They don’t think I’m good enough for their daughter/son
  • Disagreements over how we educate and discipline our children
  • Lack of privacy when they come to visit
  • Criticising my appearance
  • Pressuring us to go on holiday with them

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