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Asked by Last Updated:

How to get my foreign in laws to understand we don't want family living with us?

I just got married last year to an amazing African man.
However, my foreign in laws have very different views on how family should work.
They sent his yougest sister to come live with us, which I did not agree with.
They insisted it's his "job" to guide her while she's at college.
For more than a year we both put up with an incredibly difficult 18 year old who didn't listen to our house rules, trashed the place, etc.
It became so bad we were fighting about her daily.
Well, a few months ago we made the desicion to move out on our own without telling his parents.
His parents have now found out and are cursing us to hell because we left his poor sister alone to fend for herself.
They don't care to hear our side of things and will not speak to us.
They don't respect the fact we are married and ultimately deserve our space and privacy over any of his assumed family responsibilites.
My husband says I should not to get involved, and that this is a battle between him and his family.
However, I'm feeling like I should have the chance to explain my culture does things differently than theirs (example: we DON'T LIVE WITH IN LAWS when we are married!).
Should I let the dust settle and not involve myself in this drama or assert myself and explain my side? Could standing up to them ruin any future relationship with them?

1 Answers

Emily Rodes Answered:

That's a tough one.
Cultural differences can make in-law relationships very tricky on both sides.
For now, I would let the dust settle. Not only will this allow you to potentially connect with them in the future when they've cooled down, but your husband also asked you to respectfully let him handle this situation.
I can see how this is completely frustrating, especially because you have every right to live alone with your husband and never agreed to care for their daughter, but also know that your husband understands his parent's cultural background better than you do and will know how to work around their feelings in a more tactful way.
There's a great article about meddling in-laws and cultural differences that really applies here. It gives some great advice about how to navigate these frustrating circumstances. You can read it here: https://www.marriage.com/advice/save-your-marriage/major-marriage-challenges/

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