There’s nothing wrong about having a close relationship with your partner’s family. Having a bigger family is a beautiful thing if that’s what you want. I looked everywhere, and to no one’s surprise, there are no statistics on how many people feel close to their partner’s family. So, we’re asking you.
Science Says to Avoid These Relationships
While there are no stats about how people interact with their partner’s family, there’s some research around as to what happens when you have those relationships. For example, in one study, researchers found that the way men and women feel about their in-laws can affect their marriage in the long-term.
The study reports that men who have a close relationship with their partner’s in-laws saw their risk of divorce decreased by 20% while women experienced a rise in their risk of divorce by 20%.
It all boils down to the ways we see our in-laws. For men, they offer an escape from their parents and an opportunity to bond over shared interests. For women, it’s common for in-laws to blur the boundaries, which, in the end, can have adverse effects on the relationship.
The Kids Factor
Another reason why most people don’t like their partner’s family has to do with children. And yes, this affects even those who don’t have children yet or are planning not to have children at all. According to the study, we’re more likely to report conflicts with our partner’s family when their parents provide childcare.
Blame it on the “kinship penalty,” evolutionary psychologists explain this happens when we see someone else like family. For example, during your marriage, your in-laws are not exactly part of your family yet. Once you have children, they become your child’s grandparents, thus part of your family.
Of course, this all varies. Plenty of people out there have wonderful relationships with their partner’s family, and those who don’t still have successful and beautiful marriages despite it. Whether or not you’re close to your partner’s family, shouldn’t interfere in your relationship. However, if you want to start fostering a relationship with your in-laws, here’s some advice.