How to Avoid a Monster-in-Law Relationship

avoid-monster-in-law-relationship-0603137The movie Monster-in-Law, starring Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez, depicts hysterical antics that each woman’s character plays on the other, the desperate attempts of the pathetic mother-in-law, and a situation that may be shockingly close to reality. Most mother-in-law tales are not as frightening as those in the movie, but some are. According to experts, women have a much harder time getting along with their mothers-in-law than men do. But why?

Dr. Sylvia L. Mikucki-Enyart, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin, says that mothers tend to worry more about their sons than their daughters when it comes to marriage. They are afraid that their sons may not be happy with their wives, or that the wives may not be good homemakers or cooks. As silly as this sounds; it is true.

In fact, Mikucki-Enyart surveyed 89 mothers and found that mothers worried about their sons’ well-being. They also worried that their sons would not spend as much time with them. Mikucki-Enyart believes that the two women, mother and wife, are basically put in positions to vie for the attention of the son, which creates a sense of friction for each woman.

Her solution?

“Don’t make it a competition,” she says. “You both love this man in completely different ways.” Rather than trying to outdo one another, as Jane Fonda repeatedly tries in the movie, accept that you both have different roles. Recognize that it is an adjustment for the mother to come to terms with the new dynamics of the relationship she will now have with her son.

For wives, Mikucki-Enyart suggests trying to make the mother-in-law feel included by keeping her involved in what’s going on with your family. Mothers, on the other hand, must learn to give the couple space. And if tensions arise, sons have a responsibility to let their mothers know that although they will still have their mothers in their lives, their wives come first.

Linda. (2013). In-Law Troubles: When Wife and Mother Vy for His Affection. (n.d.): n. pag.

© Copyright 2013 All rights reserved.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • mary beth

    mary beth

    June 3rd, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    Many wonen enter these relationships with their mothers in law and they automatically assume that the relationship is going to be terrible.

    I guess if you go into it thinking that then it probably will be.

    You have to go into it with a positive frame of mind, willing to make the relationship work. Some take a little more work and effort than others, so just be ready to do what you need to do.

    It’s not that they will all be perfect but it sure is easier to have a peaceful relationship than it is to have one that is contentious.

  • Grace


    June 4th, 2013 at 3:51 AM

    Sorry but there are going to be times when you could bend over backwards and do sommersaults and nothing could save those relationships.
    The wives get jealous and the others get possessive and it becomes that perfect storm for the creation of a really strained relationship.
    The men in these situations should be willing to step in and call a halt to so much of that ridiculousness, but most of the time they are not able to do that either.
    It takes two pretty strong women to overcome this once the bad behavior has begun, but if it comes down to a battle of wills, I am sad to say that it just might always be like that.

  • DL


    June 4th, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    Have suffered through this.Being stuck between mother and wife is not a very nice position to be in.Drives you nuts I tell you!So ladies,please make peace at least for the man you are fighting over!

  • mary


    June 17th, 2013 at 2:16 AM

    My mother in law is late,but am telling you the surving sisters are judging me cruelly am a diabetic.I’ve living with it for the past 10 years but they treat me like am gonna die anytime soon so their son should start looking for a second wife

Leave a Comment

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of's Terms and Conditions of Use.

* Indicates required field.

GoodTherapy uses cookies to personalize content and ads to provide better services for our users and to analyze our traffic. By continuing to use this site you consent to our cookies.