16 Apr Dating and Relationship Advice
Dear Rabbi and Shira,
I’m supposed to go to my future in laws for the sedarim, and I’m dreading it. I have been very uncomfortable going there since the very first time I met them. I can’t stand the way that they talk to each other, their general cynicism and sarcasm and the way they put my Chasan down in front of me. I don’t know why he doesn’t stand up for himself! What can I do? -Chag Sameach?
Dear Chag Sameach?
Relationships with in laws can be a tricky situation. It’s hard, as you are entering an entirely different world with different rules. One can imagine, “how different can they be, my sister went to school with her sister! I know her brother from Yeshiva.” Even if you come from the same general culture, your families can be quite different.
A family is a unique combination of personalities, and experiences which create the way it functions. Each family has its own systems, rhythms, roles, and ways of doing things. Things will take time for you to acclimate and find your role in all of it. This family has been going on for the last twenty or so years without you! You and your Chasan will have the ability to choose which parts of your respective families you are welcoming into your own lives.
Talk to your chasan ahead of time. Discuss your concerns. Remember that they are his family and she loves them, so you need to be very diplomatic in how you broach any topic. Come up with a plan, to deal with situations which you are concerned about, as well as schedule some time when you can spend time together and talk. R e m e m b e r ; don’t react to anything in haste. Nothing will be resolved with an angry outburst. If you are very upset about something that is said, excuse yourself till you cool off.
Look for positives. Nothing is either all good or all bad. It’s usually a mix of the two. Think about what positive aspects they have, they can’t be all bad- they raised your Chasan!
Have a productive, healthy and happy Yom-Tov!
Rabbi Reuven and Shira Boshnack
Rabbi Reuven Boshnack LMHC and Shira Boshnack, M.Ed. are OU-JLIC Torah Educators at Brooklyn College, where they support hundreds of young people on campus through Torah learning, programming and halachic and personal guidance. The Boshnacks started the now popular JLIConnections, an online dating platform for OU-JLIC students and alumni. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of OU-JLIC or the OU.