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AUDIO: Dr. Marty Klein - What Should I Do When My Mother-In-Law Is Bossy?

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No sex or marriage question is too embarrassing because it’s time to ask EmpowHer’s sexuality expert Dr. Marty Klein, anything.

“What can I do about my bossy mother-in-law who sticks her nose into our business way too much?”

Dr. Marty Klein:
Oh, you have a mother-in-law who sticks her nose way too much into your business. You know, my father used to tell a politically incorrect joke when I was growing up--”What’s the definition of mixed feelings? Watching your mother-in-law drive your brand new Cadillac over a cliff.”

Well, you know, dealing with a mother-in-law, I think it’s a delicate balance between having a personal relationship with her in which you talk about your needs and her behavior on the one hand, and dealing with this as a couple, where you and your mate deal with your mate’s mother together and say, “Look, this is the magic boundary around our couple or our family. This is the set of ways in which we would love to interface with you and these are some other ways in which we plan to be independent.”

So, the first step on this is to talk to your mate and explain, “Look, we have a problem.” And if your mate is not unhappy with the way that their mother is dealing with you, but you are, then your mate has a problem too.

So, if you feel like your mother-in-law is bossy and sticking her nose into your business too much, you go to your mate and you say, “Listen, we have a problem, what are we going to do?” And don’t have your mate run interference for you--no, no, no. You don’t want to be some little victim hiding in a corner. This is something that the couple needs to do together. Talk to the mother-in-law and not just push her away but say, “We invite you to be close to us in these ways and we set our boundaries in those ways,” and that’s language that most people can understand.

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.