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Vacationing with the in-laws

By Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior (that's BONN-yer!) is a licensed clinical psychologist, professor, and writer. She completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology focusing on individual and group psychotherapy for young adults and specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression.

Q: Every summer we get pressure from my in-laws to spend a week at their house. Usually we spend a couple of days and it’s all we can take. This summer, my husband wants to have us spend the whole time there. He feels that our kids don’t know his parents as well as they know mine. The thought of even one hour more with them is making me crazy!

A: The obvious answer here is to compromise with just one or two extra days. But I’m guessing this issue goes deeper than that, and this trip-planning is a great opportunity to acknowledge the discrepancy between your kids’ relationships with their two sets of grandparents. Even if one set is naturally harder to spend time with (whether by geography or just grating on your last nerves), trying to bridge the gap is good for everyone. Could they visit you, or meet somewhere else that might make things easier? Can you plan activities that will help neutralize whatever is off-putting about these visits? It’s time to talk about what you want your future in-law relationships to look like.

Q: I work with a woman who used to date my boyfriend, and I think she’s constantly trying to sabotage me. I have confronted her several times and told her to keep her distance. She doesn’t. I constantly hear her whispering about me, trying to turn the rest of the staff against me. How do I make her back off?

A: If her behavior is truly sabotage, then you need to document everything she’s done and talk to a supervisor. But I can’t help but wonder whether there’s some understandable extra sensitivity here on your part due to this complicated situation. Are there other times you’ve felt this way about women connected to your boyfriend? Is it common for you to feel harassed by people? Protect yourself, but give some thought to your underlying emotions that might be making this worse for you.

Andrea Bonior is a psychologist and author of “The Friendship Fix.”
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