Struggling to get along with “the in-laws” has been a phenomenon for centuries. The classic familial conflict has inspired numerous comedy films, self-help books, and ranting Reddit threads.
But, a recent study published in the journal of Evolutionary Psychological Science suggests that the turmoil may be rooted in genetic disposition.
Interestingly, the study first found that both genders experience more conflict with their mothers-in-laws.
In fact, participants reported experiencing five percent more conflict with their mother-in-law than while interacting with their own mothers.
Moreover, most of these disputes involved disagreements over child care or financials. Still, the most intriguing finding relates to the root of these all-too-common quarrels. And the saying “mother knows best” definitely comes into play.
The research team believes that spouses butt heads with in-laws because people instinctually “act in the interest of their genetic kin.”
While this might not sound so bad, it can hamper the most universally beneficial decisions and outcomes.
“This genetic conflict may cause in-laws to disagree about the distribution of resources and investment, just as we see mothers and fathers disagreeing in these domains,” the study reported.
Additionally, these in-law relationships are forced– whether they feel that way or not. Much like children have no way of knowing what family they will be born into, spouses and parents alike do not have much say if love is involved.