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Can In-Laws Cause a Divorce?

Divorces are complicated. No two divorces are the same, just as no two people are the same. Many people believe that their in-laws were the cause or at least a contributing cause of their divorce.

Personally, I believe that the only two people that cause a divorce are the two people involved. One exception to this is when abuse is involved and the sole cause is the abuser and not the victim.

Often times, people have unrealistic expectations regarding their child's spouse. They want the spouse to be attractive, smart, attentive and treat their son or daughter as a god. If the parent does not believe the spouse lives up to these unreasonable expectations, he or she can put tremendous strain on the relationship. This can take the form of criticism, controlling behavior or ignoring the spouse. The parent may also resent the marital relationship and jealousy may lead them to want to destroy the relationship.

Unless your spouse is willing to draw boundaries and advise his/her parent that disrespectful behaviour is unacceptable, this can cause a problem with the marriage. Many people believe they can ignore their in-laws, but often times find the resentment builds to an unacceptable level. Married couples that experience this type of stress in their marriage need to seek professional counseling.

However, counseling does not always work. Many times the adult child is not willing to address the issue with his/her parent or cannot bring himself/herself to even admit the behavior is unacceptable. The wounded spouse then often becomes frustrated and argumentative. Sometimes, the wounded spouse starts to withdraw and does not engage in discussions with his/her spouse.

Often this issue, in addition to other communication issues can lead to divorce. It is important to remember that if you have experienced a divorce because of stress related to in-laws, that you deserve to have a spouse who supports you. This does not mean that you should be rude or disrespectful to your in-laws. It also means that you should not accept rude or disrespectful behavior by them. Once you accept this and move past your anger, you will see that you are better off divorced than remaining in a relationship where people do not respect you.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Caroline Henrich. All rights reserved.
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