x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Eight years of living with in-laws

R S, who has lived with her in-laws for eight years, struggled to adjust to living with her husband's family. But now wouldn't have it any other way.

ABU DHABI // After eight years of living with her in-laws, R S still has no plans to move out.

The 28-year-old Emirati said, because of cultural traditions, she is expected to live with her husband’s family – and she had no problem with that.

“Usually when the son gets married, he stays in his parents’ house for a few years until he settles for his own home,” she said.

At first, R S was “terrified” of moving in with her husband’s family, worried she would not fit in.

“New people, new faces and a new life. You don’t know if they will like you or how you will get along with them, what their rituals and habits are at home, and of course everything was different in my parents’ home,” she said.

She was shy, unable to eat or speak with them.

“To me, they were strangers. It took me time to finally be able to cope with them,” she said.

The challenges she had at her in-laws’ home were simple and, with time, she learnt to conquer them.

“Any joke or negative comment made me cry easily, even if my in-laws didn’t mean what they said, but I took it very personally,” she said.

“Sometimes the negative remarks I heard would spoil my mood which made me not willing to speak to my husband or play with my children.”

She said she would complain to her husband at first, who in turn would assure her they meant nothing. With time, she learnt to ignore the negative comments.

Living with her in-laws has had an added bonus now that she is a mother – she can leave her two children with the family and complete her chores without worry.

“I like that they can be left with grandparents and aunts, and grow up with their cousins,” she said.

She said that after understanding them better now she is, “capable of living peacefully with them”.