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Living (Sanely) With Your In-laws

Clarity

Being clear with people isn't quite the same as being honest. Being honest is usually defined as telling the truth, whether the truth of what's going on or the truth of how you feel. Being honest can be important and we'll come back later to how that factors into making living with in-laws livable. Clarity, however, is a different can of worms entirely. Being clear speaks directly to how effectively you communicate whatever it is you need to and the ways you're able to use language to get what you need and want. Clarity isn't always easy to achieve because of the frequently emotionally charged nature of living with other people, especially family and especially in-laws. However, being clear about what you need and want, what you'll accept and won't, and, when sensible, how you feel and think about things that are going on in the household can be crucial.

Expectations

Expectations are huge in all living situations and especially when living with family. Family, even in-laws, have the tendency to assume that familial relationships and the like change the rules or basic understandings in a given situation. Living together is, on some level, like a business transaction and needs to be viewed through that lens to a degree. Basic expectations of how things are going to run in the house, how responsibilities are shared, how money is allocated to take care of expenses all need to be handled with clear expectations. Given how easily miscommunication can derail crucial processes, having clear expectations can be the difference between successfully navigating these situations and failure.

Understanding

Understanding whats going on with the members of the family, the finances, or any other pertinent information is crucial. Being understanding does not mean tolerating everything that happens or every interaction that occurs. Understanding the personalities you're living with, what they need and want out of a place that they live and how that will affect you, the other members of the family and the living environment can really make the difference in the situation. Understanding will allow you to create expectations, to be clear and fair and to live together successfully.

Living with in-laws is tough but can be manageable if you are clear, set and maintain clear expectations, and use understanding when dealing with situations that arise.

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