With the Christmas season, the question of family visits for the holidays usually comes up – not a reason for everyone to be happy. But is the relationship with the in-laws really as strained as it is often claimed? The 2022 ElitePartner survey, which is representative of the population, surveyed over 2,000 people in a relationship. The vast majority therefore have a good relationship with their partner’s parents – some even better than with their own parents. Around one in four people, on the other hand, are happy that the family of their loved one lives far away.
Most people get on well with their in-laws
The good news first: A large majority get along well with the in-laws – both with the mother and the partner’s father:
– 66 percent of those in love have a good relationship with their mother-in-law and 20 percent find it difficult. 13 percent have no contact or relationship.
– 62 percent have a good and 18 percent a difficult relationship with their father-in-law. But with 20 percent, significantly more respondents have no contact or connection.
– If the parents of the loved one have new partners, the relationship with them is less close: Here, only about every second person has a good relationship, and more than one in four have no contact/relationship.
A quarter of those in a relationship get on better with their in-laws than with their own parents
For most, the “in-law monster” is a myth – many even value their partner’s parents a lot: 4 out of 10 respondents say they are an important source of support. Men (41 percent) see it this way more often than women (37 percent). Some go even further: One in four people in a relationship in Germany get on even better with their in-laws than with their own parents. For men under 30, even one in three (33 percent) say so.
Interference Unwanted: From Relationship Advice to Bad Influence
However, not everyone wants their parents-in-law to be with them all the time. 27 percent indicate that they are happy that their partner’s family lives far away. Men (29 percent) are slightly more relieved than women (24 percent) about sufficient distance. Overall, the representative data show that around one in four people argue with their partner’s parents. One of the most common problems that emerge is too much influence: one in four complain that the in-laws keep interfering in the relationship (24 percent). Men in particular resent demands, relationship advice and curious questions (28 percent, women: 20 percent). One in four men is bothered by the influence parents or family have on their partner (24 percent, women: 19 percent). A fifth of men in a partnership are also troubled by the feeling that their partner’s family is more important than their relationship (21 percent; women: 15 percent).
If you have to pretend: One in five do not feel accepted
Some respondents also struggle with the expectations placed on them – and apparently have the impression that they are not good enough or are not the right person in the eyes of their parents-in-law. More than one in five (22 percent) feel they have to pretend for their in-laws. 21 percent do not feel accepted or liked by their partner’s parents or family. Especially young men between the ages of 18 and 29 often say that they do not feel accepted by their parents-in-law (32 percent). For women of the same age, it is slightly less at 27 percent.
Arguing about in-laws: a problem especially for younger people
If the relationship with the in-laws is so bad, it can also become a problem for the partnership. 17 percent of those in a relationship indicate that they keep arguing about it. These conflicts are particularly common among younger people: among 18 to 29-year-olds, one in four couples often argue about their in-laws (25 percent). In general, younger respondents most often report problems with their parents or their partner’s family. As you get older, the relationship relaxes – or contact is simply broken. But age does not always solve all problems. 24 percent of men over 60 still feel that their parents-in-law interfere in the relationship (women over 60: 14 percent).
When it comes to women with children, opinions differ
Women with children have a particularly polarized relationship with their in-laws. More often than women without children (33 percent), they perceive their partner’s parents as a special support (40 percent). But they are also much more annoyed by interference in their relationships (23 percent) and they don’t feel accepted or cared for (25 percent) more often than women without children (17 percent each). Men with children perceive this problem less strongly in comparison.
ElitePartner psychologist Lisa Fischbach: “Especially with younger people, the bond with one’s own parents can still be of great importance to the relationship”
“The relationship with the in-laws is significantly better than its reputation. Nevertheless, the relationship with them is often emotionally demanding,” says psychologist and study leader Lisa Fischbach, classifying the results. “Especially with younger couples, it is clear that the attachment to one’s own parents can still be of great importance to the relationship. As young male partners are often still busy consolidating their own roles in the partnership, they experience a lack of differentiation from their partners. in-laws or high demands as stressful. To avoid prolonged conflict, couples should openly discuss and explore their needs in dealing with in-laws.”
For the online version with detailed data from the study: https://www.elitepartner.de/studien/verhaeltnis-schwiegereltern
About the ElitePartner survey
The figures in this press release come from the population-representative ElitePartner survey, one of the largest partnership surveys in Germany. ElitePartner has published the survey since 2005 in collaboration with the market research institute Fittkau and Maass. For the current 26th survey wave, a total of 6,107 adult Internet users residing in Germany (not ElitePartner members) were surveyed in October/November 2021. The results were cited as representative of the population and weighted by age and gender and federal state and relationship status. More information and all study volumes for download at: elitepartner.de/studien.
ElitePartner is the app for classic dating and real matched relationships. The Hamburg brand is one of the largest online dating agencies in German-speaking countries. Since 2004, ElitePartner has used scientific matching to bring people with similar lifestyles, values and attitudes together. The careful examination of each record guarantees particularly interesting contacts. ElitePartner is recommended as “good” by Stiftung Warentest (2/2016) and certified annually by TÜV SÜD. ElitePartner has been collecting opinions and trends about relationships, finding a partner and love since 2005 in the ElitePartner survey, one of the largest partnership surveys in Germany.
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Original content by: ElitePartner, transmitted by news aktuell