Two-Thirds of Women Report Stress Due to Mother-in-Laws

C. Price

Written by: C. Price

C. Price

C. Price is part of's content team. She writes advice articles, how-to guides, and studies — all relating to dating, relationships, love, sex, and more.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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If your mother-in-law drives you up the wall, you aren’t alone. Psychologist Dr. Terri Apter found in a study that nearly two-thirds of all women experience stress due to their mother-in-law.

Apter’s research is backed up by a wealth of past studies suggesting the relationship between a woman and her mother-in-law is the most strained familial relationship in America.

While previous studies have found men often experience some level of stress from their relationship with their wife’s parents, women ultimately seem to suffer the lion’s share of problems related to in-law drama.

According to the literature, there are many opportunities for a mother-in-law to interfere with her son’s relationship.

“A mother-in-law may drive a wedge

between her son and her daughter-in-law.”

The beginning of a new marriage forces all parties to redefine their relationships with each other and offers a moment where a mother-in-law may drive a wedge between her son and her daughter-in-law.

When a young couple has their first child, the man’s mother often interjects her opinion on parenting matters, even if her opinion wasn’t solicited, often resulting in tension.

The acceptance and rejection of family traditions also represents a common source of conflict between wives and mother-in-laws.

But how can a woman minimize the stress she feels due to her relationship with her mother-in-law?

The research suggests a simple solution — creating and maintaining a united front with her husband.