Your daughter chose him, and he’s the father of your precious grandchildren. Often times, the relationship between in-laws and their son-in-law works out great and you couldn’t be happier. But sometimes, it just doesn’t click.
“When a man marries into a family it can be tricky,” says Ruth Nemzoff, resident scholar at Brandeis University’s Women’s Studies Research Center and author of Don’t Roll Your Eyes: Making In-Laws Into Family. “Often there’s the expectation that he is part of the family, but he hasn’t had all the years together that his wife has. He hasn’t had all that time of unconditional love—fighting and making up.”
The relationship can be especially difficult for mothers, who often rely on their daughters for advice and support and find themselves without that support when the daughter marries.
“Ultimately you want to build a foundation,” says Dr. Nemzoff. “So that when a crisis hits, you and your son-in-law have enough good experiences in the bank that you’re there to support each other.” How to do that? Read on for ways to get—and stay—close to your son-in-law.