Long gone are the days where you simply existed in your parental home until your marital home became your new abode. Many women are choosing an in-between stage in which so many adventures are happening. Instead of jumping from parental home to marital home they are rerouting via things like travelling, owning their own home, working towards a lucrative career to name but a few. So the idea of marrying and settling into a home life with in-laws can seem almost like a step back rather than that all-important step forward.
For a lot of single women, it’s not the in-laws themselves who are the problem but rather the concept of living in a family home with cultural and social boundaries that they have not had to live by since they were teenagers. The thought of leaving a life where they are free to come and go, dress as they want, attend whatever social functions they want or just chill at home in pyjamas watching TV is one that fills single sisters with dread.
And not because they feel they are somehow superior to living with in-laws, but just because it is a lifestyle so alien to their current one. It feels like moving in with housemates rather than family because you are not a child acquiring new parents but a fully grown functioning adult woman moving in with other adults.
It is not uncommon to hear of marriages suffering, or indeed ending, due to the pressures of living with in-laws. And I am not talking about soap operas where mean mother-in-law stereotypes drive a wedge between husband and wife. I am talking about a reasonable woman with perfectly lovely in-laws who just cannot deal with the lifestyle connected to the extended family.
It’s easy to label such women as “arrogant” or “superior” believing that they are shunning our traditional ways. But really how traditional is it anymore? Is it fair to expect a woman to give up her entire lifestyle and enter into one she is not happy with just for the sake of being married?
And no when I say ‘lifestyle’ I don’t mean that toxic stereotype of the “modern woman” who has no apparent respect for her culture, family or herself. I mean a woman who is a grown up adult with her own life that she has created for herself. That lifestyle. And what is the husband giving up in return?
To any sister out there in any doubt about living with the in-laws I say be true to yourself. Living with the in-laws works for a lot of women but also doesn’t work for many. Be honest about how it makes you feel and don’t judge yourself if it doesn’t feel right for you.