Poll: Do couples and in-laws get along?

Updated: 24/11/2022 – 21:32

Christmas time, family time
Poll: How well do couples really get on with their in-laws?

Photo: Getty Images / 10,000 Hours

Hello, the in-laws are here…! What is the relationship really like between you and your offspring’s partners? How couples think about it.

The whole family often gathers around the festival. Is it actually true that not all couples really look forward to a visit from their in-laws? Or do most of them get along really well? This has now been established in a study.

You probably know the movie “Monster-in-law” – and you know why it’s called that… But is it really the rule that most people have a hard time with their partner’s parents, that mother-in-law and father-in-law are simply close to interfering a lot or even get the impression that they don’t really agree on the choice of their offspring? Read how the relationship between couples and parents-in-law is actually arranged according to the survey.

According to the survey, how well do couples get along with their in-laws?

How about now: monster-in-law instead of mother-in-law? Are the parents of your loved one really that exhausting? In a current elite partner survey, more than 2,000 people in Germany aged 18 to 69 were asked about this online in October and November 2021. And this is what came out:

Most of them actually get on well with their parents-in-law – 66 percent of those in love have a good relationship with their mother-in-law and 62 percent with their father. It is quite difficult for 20 percent of the respondents when it comes to their mother-in-law, and for 18 percent when it comes to their father. But if a parent has a new partner, it is less close: only about one in two people have a good relationship with him or her, more than one in four people have no contact or relationship.

So much for a monster-in-law: For a quarter of the respondents, the relationship with the parents of their beloved is even better than with their own parents. For men under 30, this is even the case for every third person, namely 33 per cent. And four out of ten respondents say that in-laws are an important source of support for them.

the relationship is not so good? These are the reasons

And yet: the in-laws are always nearby – it doesn’t have to be. About one in four, namely 27 percent, are happy that their partner’s family lives far away. The most frequently mentioned reasons for a rather problematic relationship:

  • Parents-in-law interfere too much in the relationship – say 28 percent of men and 20 percent of women
  • Parents-in-law are sometimes embarrassing – find 24 percent of men and 22 percent of women
  • The partner is too much influenced by their parents – this is what 24 percent of men and 19 percent of women think
  • The family is more important to the partner than the relationship – 21 percent of men and 15 percent of women feel this way

And finally, for some, the expectations of the in-laws are too high – which is also reflected in the feeling of not being good enough or not being the right one. 22 percent feel they have to pretend for their in-laws. 21 percent, on the other hand, do not feel accepted or liked by the parents of their loved one. Younger men between the ages of 18 and 29 are particularly affected: 32 percent of them experience this.

That’s what experts say about couples and parents-in-law

“The relationship with the in-laws is much better than its reputation. Nevertheless, the relationship with them is often emotionally demanding,” said Lisa Fischbach, psychologist at Elitepartner, summarizing the study. “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.”

And because it is the mother who plays a more dominant role with the daughter or son and in this connection also takes up more space for the partner: “A good relationship with the mother can also lead to harmony and empathy in partnerships”, say couples. therapist and singles coach Eric Hegmann. After all, the mother is a reliable sign of how someone treats their fellow human beings. But the expert also warns against too little interruption: “At the same time, it is important to respect privacy here too and not let your own mother or your partner take over the relationship.”


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