If you cringe at the thought of the in-laws coming to visit, imagine what it would be like to actually live with them! The reality is that sometimes life throws us a nasty curveball, and that’s exactly what we consider doing: living with the in-laws.
The question begs to be answered; can it be a good thing to live with the in-laws, or is it all about disadvantages and tough times? You can only truly know what decision to make once you have considered all the possible things that could go wrong…and that’s precisely what we are about to do.
Living with the in-laws can have its perks, of course. You get to spend time with family, there’s always a babysitter available, and you get to work on your personal family relationships, but it’s the true disadvantages and downsides that you have to worry about. Yup, living with the in-laws is going to present its fair share of challenges.
These are 16 downsides to living with the in-laws:
1. Invasion of space.
Whether you move in with the in-laws or they move in with you, you can expect to feel as if your personal space is being invaded. Forget having me-time or alone time; that’s not really possible when living with the in-laws. Enjoy a regular soak in the bath with a book? That’s not really possible anymore. Love cooking with a glass of wine while listening to your favorite music? That’s probably going to have to stop for a while. Now all you have is family time, all the time.
2. No privacy (your business is now the family’s business).
Most people find privacy vitally important. Privacy is something that allows us to be independent individuals. Without it, we start to feel stressed, anxious, on edge, and downright irritated. Well, that’s what living with the in-laws will do: remove all privacy! Got a secret? The in-laws will probably know soon. Have an argument with your partner? Expect everyone to know about it within minutes.
3. Parenting interference.
Everyone thinks that their parenting style is better than anyone else’s, and you can expect this to come to the fore when living with in-laws. While the intention may not be to cause upset or insult you, you might find that the in-laws spoil the kids in ways you don’t agree with or let the kids do things that you don’t usually allow. It can feel as if you are losing control of your own kids and family unit when you live with your in-laws.
4. Limited opportunity to be selfish.
Sometimes in life, we just need to be selfish. This means taking time to make your favorite meal instead of everybody else’s or neglecting your responsibilities for a bit so that you can take some time to just relax and unwind. When living with the in-laws, it might feel as if there is a spotlight on your selfish behavior…which means you will probably avoid it. After some time of putting everyone else first, you might just start to feel a bit bedraggled.
5. Change/adjustment to daily schedule.
When living with your own family unit, you undoubtedly have a daily or weekly schedule in place that works for you and each of your family members. When living with the in-laws, their schedule is probably going to have some clashes with yours. Of course, there needs to be a bit of give and take, so you can expect for your schedule to have to change. Perhaps your shower time will change, or your dinner time will be moved earlier or later. You may even be sharing a vehicle which means that you cannot just come and go as you like.
Be aware that a simple schedule change can be quite hard to adjust to for all parties involved.
6. Sharing the main TV.
If you’re used to watching certain TV programs that suit your personality and interests, you can expect that to change. Perhaps your in-laws will want to hog the remote or have serious reactions of distaste when you recommend watching certain programs. You may miss out on a lot of your regular viewing when living with the in-laws.
7. Being always “on-call”.
When you live with the in-laws, it’s no longer your life…you are now sharing a life. You can expect to be “always on call”. They might want you to help with certain things, tell them where you are at all times, and be ready to jump into action whenever they ask. This isn’t a guaranteed disadvantage, but it very often happens.
8. Having to explain yourself.
While there is really no real need to explain yourself, you may feel obliged to, and the in-laws may actually expect you to. You might find yourself having to account for your activities, whereabouts, and activities on a daily basis. While this isn’t going to ruin your life, the annoyance or irritation can become overwhelming with time.
9. Possible tension between you and your partner.
It might seem as if there is just something about being around the in-laws that cause tensions to rise. It could be that you don’t feel able to easily and openly talk to your partner about issues and problems as they arise because there are always other people around. Tensions can then start to mount until there’s a complete breakdown in communication.
It doesn’t matter how long you have known people; living with them will bring about a certain amount of awkwardness. Perhaps you find that there isn’t much to talk about, or you simply feel too uncomfortable to truly relax and unwind. You know those Sunday nights when you laze on the couch munching junk food and watching movies? You probably aren’t going to do much of those when living with the in-laws.
11. Differences in opinions and worldviews.
Having a difference of opinion with someone isn’t so bad. Most people can summon the courage to give someone else respect, even though they have different opinions or view the world and its problems differently. When you actually live with the people who have opposing opinions and worldviews to you, it becomes an entirely different story. The fact that you are so different and in such emotional and intellectual opposition to each other will make it feel as if it has become glaringly obvious, and this can lead to underlying tension between you and the in-laws.
12. Difficulty keeping up with current diet or food preferences.
If you don’t eat the same as your in-laws, chances are that both parties’ diets will get affected. You may feel as if you need to take the backseat, especially if you want to have good relationships with your in-laws. This can get particularly tricky, inconvenient, or even impossible if you are vegetarian, vegan, or avoid certain foods for religious reasons.
13. Limitations on social life.
If you like to socialize often at home, you can expect that to change. You aren’t going to be able to maintain the same social relationships with your friends and colleagues when you are consistently in the company of family. You might have to go out to see friends, and that can even sometimes be frowned on. In the end, you may find your social life dwindling while staying with in-laws.
Being at home around family all the time can lead to a sense of boredom. Perhaps you will feel too comfortable or even feel as if you have heard all the stories and have nothing new to share. You get used to your in-laws in different ways than you get used to friends, and this can lead to boredom.
15. No outlet for irritation or frustration.
When you live with your immediate family unit, you get the opportunity to customize your space. Perhaps you go for a run every day or do a bit of boxing in the home gym to keep frustrations and irritations at bay. Perhaps you drink a glass of wine with a friend a few times a week or spend hours painting in your private studio room. When living with in-laws, your time is going to be more divided, and this can mean that there’s far less opportunity for you to make use of your outlets.
16. Emotional exhaustion from always being on your “best behavior”.
Let’s face it, whether you move in with the in-laws or they move in with you, you always want to make a good impression and have a good relationship with them. This means that there will be a consistent sense of being on your proverbial “best behavior”. This might seem fine to start with, but in time will become emotionally exhausting and draining.
Before you move in with in-laws or let them move in with you, make sure that you have what it takes to deal with the downsides and disadvantages that come along with the situation. Consider the above pointers carefully before deciding if living with the in-laws is a lifestyle you can handle.