If you’re finally meeting the in-laws these holidays, keep an eye out for these red flags . . .
You don’t get on with them
Of course, her family doesn’t necessarily need to welcome you into their home like the son they never had, but you should at least feel comfortable around them — your partner’s parents have been around a lot longer than you have, so you’d better fit in. The moment her mum gets in her ear sniping at you, that’s a battle you’re not going to win.
They don’t get on with each other
If their definition of conflict resolution is a screaming match that threatens the structural integrity of your ear drums, then communication skills aren’t exactly in the DNA. Your partner learned how to treat loved ones by absorbing the behaviour of her family, so passionate arguments over the Brussels sprouts bodes poorly for your future as a couple.
She’s not herself
You fell in love with her, not whoever she’s pretending to be around other people . . . or maybe this is her real self, and you’ve only experienced some fake version? Either way, if there’s a huge discrepancy between what you know and what you see around her family during the holidays, that raises a whole bunch of question marks over trust — what’s real, and what’s a mask?
Their banter is brutal
A few light-hearted jibes are fine . . . but crossing that line and charging into a volley of abuse about her brother’s dodgy haircut or her sister’s dodgy ex-boyfriend exposes serious communication problems, where tension is thrashed out with hard-edged comedy routines that’d make Frankie Boyle cringe. That passive-aggressive back and forth between her mum and dad could be an insight into a potential future with your partner.
You clash with their beliefs
Her parents expect a white wedding in her hometown parish and three kids before you turn 30, but you’d never be caught dead in a church let alone a maternity ward . . . yep, those are alarm bells blaring in the background. You don’t all need to be attending Sunday mass together or signed up to the same political party but wildly different beliefs on key issues can produce a minefield of touchy subjects that are difficult to navigate as the relationship progresses.