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In-laws with Benefits

02 July 2013, 20:39

This is wrong, I do not understand this foreign tendency of in-laws being friends with their daughter/son’s better half. What new struggle is this comrades, is this a product of democracy or the westernization of Africans?

I do not care what it is; all I know is that it is unAfrican. Same applies with parents who are friends with the boyfriend/girlfriend that is childish and cannot continue. What’s shocking is that, the friendship at times proceeds even after the children break up.

What does such a union result in, what is the purpose of such a friendship and who makes the first move? How does such a friendship work, are the roles in such a union and how are disputes handled? These are some of questions I have and if I answer myself it does not make sense, I do not need an open mind for this.

Where I’m from respect and hierarchy is everything, your grandfather is not your friend but that does not mean you will not have a relationship where you can share a laugh together and tease each other. But still, he is not your friend and as much as he may tease you and be a cool dude around you, it is of the highest order to remain respectful at all times. He will always be your elder, no matter how funny and cool he thinks he is.

There are valid reasons why in-laws with benefits is unAfrican:

The wife

Firstly, a wife is a member of the family; she is family and nothing else. As much as you can be extremely close with your cousin, he/she will never be your friend; he/she will forever be your cousin. The same rules apply with a makoti; she was not married into that family to make friends. To have a good relationship or treated well by any of the family member’s is not an invite for friendship.

The reason why a wife is prohibited from befriending her in-laws has to do with change in dynamics. A makoti must always see her in-laws as a source of wisdom; her in-laws are her new parents. If she could not befriend her father why should she befriend her husband’s father? Makoti is equal to the other children, she must act accordingly as they do and she must not do what her husband doesn’t.

Friendship is for peers, are you then his mother’s equal, what is next, you are going to share sex tips? His mother cannot be that cool with you to an extent she helps you babysit so you can go partying, regularly. His mother is not your girlfriend; do not call her to contribute for your other girlfriend’s abortion.

The husband

In any relationship, the man makes law and the woman abides by it, right?

If she complains to her mom, who is a friend with this lawmaker, will she not manage to twist his arm? How will he say no to her as she will always play the parent and experience card? That relationship by default is run by the mother, she has the final say and whoever dares oppose her is labelled disrespectful.

I have witnessed this with a friend of mine; the mother of his ex played a huge part in their relationship. She was the adult, she always dictated her way in the name of “parent advice” and the truth of the matter is that she always looked out for her daughter. Even when chief wanted to leave and left her, it was the mother who was working hard to get them back together. This is why the relationship failed, which man wants to be disempowered in a relationship?

As a husband you are then faced with having to deal with two people when having misunderstandings, yet you are only in a relationship with only one person – is this fair? The friendly parent might as well share wife duties with his/her daughter, happy tea-bagging mamazala.

How does a family approve of such a union, where is the father?

Culture discourages young men to befriend older men for valid reasons, more specifically between in-laws. This is to avoid putting one party being in a compromising situation, such as knowing that your father in-law is busy with a friend of his wife. And most importantly, rinyadzo – we are competitive beings, it is taboo to dominate your father in-law.

How will your father protect his daughter from a man that intimidates him and he also thinks is cool?

With that said, this in-law with benefits stunt is nothing but an excuse for adults to nose in their children’s life. Imagine being ping’d by your mother in-law so that you explain why your wife tweeted, “I am so angry at him >:)”. Why should your in-laws know you on that level, I ask again; what is the purpose of such a relationship? Does it get to a point where I now fight with my father in-law because he is always borrowing money from me and not pay me back?

What if this goes beyond friendship, then what and who is to blame in this case?

They knew through experience how such relationship breach respect between adults and children, the less you know about them, the better. A family that allows such relationships to exist is dysfunctional; marrying into it is not a smart move.

If you are married and such is happening, a line has to be drawn and fast. Let us not use modernity as an excuse for doing something this stupid; will it even be comforting to know that when your wife is angry at you, she finds comfort in your father? Are you aware that this friendship can ruin two relationships, you are single and your parents are also single – what kind of thug life is this vafowethu?

In-laws with Benefits, is still a BIG NO!

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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