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Never Go Against The Family

Dear Sugar
My husband and I sold our apartment in NY and have yet to find a house we like. For the time being, we are moving into our in-laws house to save some cash and continue our search. It is an enormous house and we will have our own apt on the first floor with a separate entrance. The problem is my in-laws are Italian and very family oriented. I'm afraid they'll always want to come down and see us or make us have dinner with them etc... How do I politely approach the ground rules before we move in? My MIL speaks very broken English and my FIL reeks of Machismo and family pride so I don't want to come across like a bit*h or hurt anyone's feeling. On the other hand, I don't want to be divorced over this or commit a double homicide during our few months visit. Please help. Distraught Daughter In-Law

Dear Distraught Daughter In-Law
Mama Mia! It's so hard to set boundaries with elders; especially old school ones. You have no choice but to try and establish limitations while showing them the respect they need from you. Here's an idea, Sunday night dinners! You can either invite them over or make it known that you will be there early evening every Sunday night. And learn this phrase "Sorry, I'm in the middle of XY and Z, but I'll see you Sunday -- sure can't wait for Sunday." This way when you pass them all week long, you've got a polite little speech ready. Next on the list; putting your house search on fast forward. Explain to hubby that this arrangement is temporary and that unless he's committed to finding your dream house ASAP, you'll have him committed for slow torture.

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