Dear Crabby, My In-Laws are driving me crazy, what can I do?

Dear Crabby,

I have a real tough time with my in-laws. I want to get along with them and always hope for a good experience, but it usually ends up with me being offended and upset, and then my husband and I get in a fight about it later. Is this normal? What can I do to change this outcome?

Sincerely, Ida Know

Dear Ida Know,

Well to answer your first question, “Is this normal?” I would say, “Yes!” There is something cosmically consistent about in-laws that make families get all fired up. I know the typical story is that when a mother-in-law starts trying to “help” her new daughter-in-law with house-cleaning tips or child-rearing corrections, that’s when the troubles all begin. I think it is a natural progression for the mother-in-law to pass along what she had to endure and so on. It seems like when they are away from each other, they are raving and bragging about each other and their abilities to cook, clean, and raise children. But when they are together, it is a different story. My problem was never my mother-in-law; we get along just fine. Mine was my brother-in-law! This guy would drive Mother Teresa crazy! He is always trying to save ten cents here or there, if DearCrabbypossible. One year, he decided to fly in unannounced and surprise us. He showed up at our door and told me he was staying at a hotel nearby. After a couple hours, I asked him if he needed a ride to the hotel. It was then that he told me that he hadn’t made his reservations yet and asked to use my phone. After a few phone calls, he concluded that he would need to keep looking because the hotels by me all charged too much! Before I could stop my wife, she offered to let them stay with us for a few days. Things only got better when he started whining about his bad back and how he probably wouldn’t be able to walk right after sleeping on our floor. Next thing I knew, my wife was on our couch and I was on the floor for the night! He came out the next morning asking how I slept, and had the nerve to tell me that my posturepedic bed was all right, but not as good as his. Then after a few days, he said he wanted to rent a car and head north to visit more family. He showed me a rental car that was 40 miles away and said it was a great deal for him. I looked up a rental vehicle that was only a few miles away and showed it to him. He agreed that it was a good deal and went ahead with the rental. Then about ten minutes later, he showed me a better deal (by about five bucks) at a place approximately 25 miles away. This guy did not mind putting me out as long as he saved a couple pennies. I started noticing that my wife had gone around hiding any sharp objects or things that could be used as a weapon so I didn’t do anything crazy. Every time he visits for a few days, I find myself rocking in my chair and mumbling for about a day or so before I am ready to join the real world again. So, hopefully your experience is better than mine. I have not found a legal solution to my problem yet, but I have considered moving to Outer Mongolia a few times!

Sincerely, Dear Crabby

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