How to Break in Your In-Laws
It's often the dark side of the lovely mother-daughter relationship: the mother-in-law-daughter-in-law relationship. If you feel smothered by a mother-in-law who calls hourly, flatter rather than stiff-arm her (but be genuine). "Tell her, `I'm so in love with your son that I want to have him all to myself right now.' It lets her know that she is great and raised a wonderful son, not that she's in your way," says Eden Unger Bowditch, coauthor of The Daughter-in-Law's Survival Guide ($13, amazon.com.). Take your in-laws out to dinner shortly after the honeymoon, suggests Martha Edwards. Thank them for all they did during the wedding, and start your new life together on a positive note. If possible, both you and your spouse should also spend some time alone with your respective in-laws after you get married. To avoid holiday conflicts, set a schedule in advance and stick to it: Alternate Thanksgivings with each family, for example. Creating a schedule for monthly dinners with in-laws is a good idea, too, because it helps establish boundaries about when and where you'll see each other.