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Here's What to Do If You Have to Spend the Holidays with an In-Law You Don't Like

It doesn't have to make you crazy.

Contributing Writer
Women Arguing
Photography by: Getty Images

Spending the holidays with your in-laws can be hard to get used to under the best circumstances. Being away from your family and with someone else's at such a special time is a big change, and it's especially difficult if you're with someone whose company you don't really enjoy. You might find that you get along really well with your partner's siblings and extended family, but there's one relative in particular that you're really struggling with. Rather than cause family drama, here are a few pointers to help you celebrate the season with an in-law you don't adore.

 

Questions Every Couple Hears Over the Holidays

 

Keep yourself busy.

It may sound trite, but keeping yourself busy is a good way to distract from any negative vibes you may be feeling around your in-law. Offer to cook, clean, do the dishes, go grocery shopping, or walk the dog. Anything you can do to keep yourself occupied not only takes time away from the family, but allows you to monitor your own headspace and zen factor.

 

Be honest with your partner.

Tread lightly, but it's smart to let your partner know when you're struggling with a relationship with one of their family members. He or she may be able to talk you through the difficulties you're having and may have some pointers for how to deal based on his or her own experiences and challenges with this person.

 

Take breaks when you need them.

Go for a walk. Take an exercise class. Read a book. Most of the family won't think twice of you stepping out to take some time for yourself.

 

Keep conversations positive and light-hearted.

Politics, religion, finances, and other taboo topics should be steered clear of during the holidays for the sake of keeping the peace. Easier said than done, of course, but steering the conversation back to something like music or sports is a good way to keep the mood light. When visiting a home that seems to have the news on around the clock, suggest turning on holiday tunes or a classic holiday film to brighten the mood.

 

Play with the kids.

If anyone in the family has little ones, take on the task of keep them busy for a few hours. Hop in the car with your partner and take the kids to a museum or nearby zoo. Stuck at home? Start an art project together that'll take a good bit of time to do.

 

Recognize who the conflict is with.

Don't let your relationship with a dreaded in-law derail your relationship with your partner or any other family members. By admitting to yourself where the rift in the dynamic lies, you can focus on positive ways to tackle the issue and get through the holidays drama-free.