No, we don’t need an answer to this question immediately. Any married woman can give you her two cents of wisdom on the topic. In-laws are probably the most demonized set of relatives soon after a woman gets married. Although not many would agree with it because their in-laws are good to them. Well, lucky for you! But, let’s face it, not many women actually end up with a good set of in-laws. Even if their husband’s parents are good to them, someone or other in his immediate or extended family would act mean toward them. At times, for no apparent reason.
Take for instance my friend Nisha’s case (name changed). Married into a household of family friends, she had a good rapport with her husband’s father and siblings (a sister and older brother). Even her mom-in-law was soft-spoken. But the minute the men left for work, her co-sister (husband’s brother’s wife) and her mom-in-law would completely ignore her presence. They would chat, cook, and pray together and would never once include her in any of their discussions. This would happen even during special occasions and festivals. “I know they are doing it on purpose. But I don’t know why,” she’d often tell me. After a year or two of marriage, she figured it out. She found that since her co-sister and mom-in-law shared a similar birthplace, backgrounds, and upbringing, their sensibilities matched too compared to her city-based upbringing. In some way, their insecurities made them ignore her. With time though, Nisha had learned to be happy the way she was with the remaining in-laws and this exclusion stopped affecting her.
In a way, I too had faced similar exclusion from my in-laws each time I visited my parents for a few days. Everything would be hunky-dory before I leave. But the day I’d return, everyone would act cold, avoid conversations with me, and would not even call me to join them for dinner. It would be like this for the next two days after which the situation would thaw and become normal again. Soon, I found a pattern to this behavior. After each of my stays with my parents, they would get used to my absence in an out-of-sight-out-of-mind sort of way and then act as if my presence was hindering their lives. I even found a simple solution to it. Thereafter, every time I would visit my parents I’d make sure I called my in-laws. I’d ask random questions to my mom-in-law like the dinner menu or our neighbors. I’d do this throughout the duration of my stay and found that upon returning, everyone behaved normally with me as if I was never away.
While this simple solution worked in my favor, things might not be as simple in other situations. Sometimes, insecure parents might tend to exclude you from everything no matter how well you treat them. Rachel was always courteous toward her parents-in-law. But it seemed as though her husband’s possessive parents failed to recognize her efforts. Despite being married to their son for more than 6 years and having two kids, they never warmed up to her. Even when she made efforts to organize their anniversary celebrations or baked cakes for Christmas, her parents-in-law conveniently left her out while thanking only their son in the presence of the guests. Although her husband would always jump to her defense, Rachel eased out a bit after a while. She reasoned with her husband that if his parents did not appreciate her efforts wholeheartedly, then there was no point in forcing them to do so. With time, Rachel made peace with the situation as she found that her children got along well with their grandparents too.
When you get married in a household, it is not possible for you to get along with each member of your new family. And the simple reason behind this is that you and your husband come from different backgrounds and lifestyles. While some of you might blend in easily with your in-laws, others might find it difficult especially if their in-laws come with different sensibilities. In the end, we’d say that you make a genuine effort to connect with them. But if they continue to exclude you even after that, then don’t bother much and simply move on!