It seems the reason for this bad blood stems from financial resources and child care.
Experts also suggest that conflicts may be influenced by “genetic conflict” as each person “unconsciously acts in the interest of their genetic kin”.
“This genetic conflict may cause affines (in-laws) to disagree about the distribution of resources and investment, just as we see mothers and fathers disagreeing in these domains,” the authors wrote.
“Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that genetic conflict may underlie negative social interactions that occur in affinal (in-law) relationships.”
MIL have slightly less conflict with their daughter’s spouse than their son’s!
What’s more, experts noted that mothers reported slightly less conflict with their daughter’s spouse (17%) than their son’s spouses (18%).
Another reason for the conflict may be down to women tending to be more critical of or undermining each other as they struggle to be in the same position in the family – a.k.a. the primary woman.
This could mean they both feel threatened by the other.
Meanwhile, fathers were seen to have the opposite reaction and seem to get on better with their daughters-in-law than with their own daughters!
Researchers believe this may be as a father’s protective instincts are heightened when the daughter enters a new romantic relationship but could lessen over time as the father warms up to his son-in-law.
So the next time you feel your mother-in-law getting on your nerves, try not to bite back – just remember, it’s not you… it’s down to genetics!
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