Made In Chelsea: Is It Fair For Maeva To Avoid Her In Laws?

Maeva is never one to shy away from brutal honesty...

Maeva and James - Made in Chelsea

by Nikki Peach |
Published on

If you haven't been watching the latest series of Made in Chelsea, you might not have realised that the inner workings of James Taylor and Maeva D'Ascanio's sub-one-year marriage have become one of the show's main storylines.

How much sex are they having? Does James help with their son enough? Should they see a therapist? Given that they only tied the knot last December, it's a lot.

In this week's episode, things took a turn when James tried to go over Maeva's head and invite his younger brother Jack to move in with them without her consent. Most people would find this irritating, but Maeva is Maeva.

When James and Jack confronted Maeva at a party (with James' reason being 'I need a beer every Thursday'...) Maeva said, 'Your dad lives five minutes away and he has eight f**king bedrooms.' To which Jack responded with, 'That's not the point. We're family now and you're not acting like it. Ever since you got married, you've made zero effort with the family. You say no to every single family event.'

Maeva, never one to betray her sense of self, said, 'Yeah because it's f**king boring sometimes. And I don't like everyone in the family. Am I supposed to like everyone in your family?'

Now, she makes a point. She's not the only person who isn't enamoured by her in-laws' company, and she won't be the last. It's difficult to manage the plans, expectations and dynamics of two different families, let alone some of the larger personalities (cc. Maeva). While she's right to voice her concerns, and is well within her right to decide who gets to live in her house, pushing James' family away feels like a net loss.

In an ideal world, there should be a 60-70% attendance benchmark. Christmas, birthdays and special occasions are a given. Some weekends or family meals are a bonus. But not everyone wants to see their partner's family as much as their parters do, and that's also fine. Of course, when children are involved that becomes more complicated and lots of couples find themselves straddling both camps. And at the end of the day, when you marry someone, you also marry their family.

Research shows that having a particularly fraught relationship with your in laws can lead to a higher chance of divorce. According to Very Well Mind, there are some simple steps you can take to make things a little smoother if this subject resonates with you.

  • Communicate with your partner. Express your concerns and work together to find a balance that suits everyone.

  • Avoid sensitive topics with your in-laws. You don't have to see eye to eye on everything, so if it's easier to dodge certain subjects in the name of peace, so be it.

  • Establish boundaries with your in-laws. If you feel too much is being expected of you or that you're being pulled in too many directions, set some ground rules and establish how often you are able to see them early on.

  • Don't take things personally. Try to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they didn't mean to offend you. Focus on your strengths and vent to a friend afterwards if you need to.

  • Accept your in-laws as they are. They are part of your family now, so there's no use in trying to change them. Practice acceptance over criticism and take time away from them if you need to.

  • Be thankful for the good moments. Some people don't have any issues with their in laws at all, but plenty do. If there are moments where you feel relaxed or welcomed, cherish them and store them in your memory for next time.

  • Spend time with them. Exposure therapy! If there's someone you haven't connected with yet, try to spend some time with them. Often the strongest bonds form when you least expect it.

  • Find common ground. Even if it's just your family or your partner, you will definitely have something in common. It could be that you love the same TV show, or hate the same type of food; focus on your shared interests.

  • Seek advice and support. If things are really challenging, seek support from your partner or your friends. Perhaps there are some events you just can't attend or people you find too hard to be about. Communication is key.

  • Be patient. Strong and healthy relationships with your new family don't happen over night. You might be surprised by how close you can become to people who you once weren't sure of.

As for Maeva, her approach is not one we'd recommend – it's hard to undo rifts with in laws or take back hurtful comments that will probably be spread around without context – but she has started an interesting conversation. Luckily, her in laws already know what she's like, and they have a duty to try to love her too.

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