Drama between wife, mother-in-law at center of most family rifts

The Bible says, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife.” But does he have to cleave so much?

A new study from the University of Cambridge Center for Family Research and an organization called the Stand Alone Institute has found that rifts between parents and their son’s wife are among the most common reasons for family estrangement.

The study, which was based on the responses of more than 800 men and women in England who had little or no contact with their families, found that divisions between parents and sons lasted a third longer than those between parents and daughters. The issues most commonly listed as “very relevant” in the breakdown of relationships with daughters included mental health problems and emotional abuse.

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But the issues most closely associated with sons included divorce, in-laws and marriage.

As one respondent wrote, “My son and I had a very strong loving relationship for 25 years. He met his soon-to-be wife and our relationship and his relationships with everyone on his side slowly went away. Everyone that knew him including friends and family saw this and felt this. He disowned anyone that does not like his now-wife.”

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