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    Vacationing With In-Laws

    By Kristen Houghton     

    “You’re taking your mother-in-law on vacation with you? Good luck. Having my ex-in-laws come along on our vacations is a major reason my wife and I got a divorce.”

    As we waited in line for movie tickets, I was the unintentional eavesdropper to someone’s cell phone conversation. He was describing vacations from hell that he and his ex had apparently taken with her parents. Money and lack of privacy had been big issues.

    Listening to what he was saying, I had to admit to myself that going on vacation with in-laws can put a huge strain on a marriage. Vacations are supposed to be fun and relaxing, not battlegrounds. We look forward to vacations. A tremendous amount of planning goes into where we’re going, how long we’ll be staying, what we’re going to bring, and what we want to do. It is enough to worry about yourself, your spouse, and your children without worrying about anyone else.

    The additional hassle of having an in-law along for the ride can create more tension and hostilities than at almost any other time in your marriage. This is especially true if you already have a stressful relationship with them. It is a lucky couple who gets along so well with their in-laws that sharing vacation time with them is a welcome experience.

    Can in-laws be included in a family vacation without causing you to file for a divorce? Anything is possible and with a little foresight you might actually be able to make vacation time a pleasant experience for everyone.

    There are, however, some rules to follow.

    Rule number one is simple, but crucial. Never, ever share a room or suite with anyone other than your spouse or children.

    Avoid hotel specials offering pull out couches and portable cots no matter how financially tempting they may seem. The money you will save does not in any way make up for the lack of privacy you’ll be getting. It is a recipe for disaster.

    If you rent a house together there should be enough bedrooms to help maintain your privacy. The only room where you might face a problem is in the kitchen. In this case, scheduling who cooks what, and when, is an absolute must.

    Rule number two-you do not have to spend every single vacation minute together. Make it clear that there are things you want to do alone and then do them.

    Nothing causes more arguments than money. This is where rule number three comes in. Be very specific about any shared costs that are part of the vacation. You can avoid getting into a “who owes what” hassle by being upfront about money issues before you even leave for the trip. Everyone should pay their share ahead of time.

    A vacation with in-laws can be a horrible experience or may be pleasantly surprising. It all depends on the planning and, of course, the people. Good luck!

    Written by Kristen HoughtonRate this article:

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