Meeting The Turkish In Laws | How to Survive!

My In laws

My In laws

Meeting the In Laws for the first time is always nerve racking, you don’t know if they will like you or if you will like them. You don’t know if they will tell their son or daughter that you are not good enough for them or that they should leave you. You hope that you will like each other and be accepted as part of the family.

When going to meet your Turkish In Laws for the first time you may also have the worry of not speaking the same language and and how you will manage with the culture differences. They may also not be happy their son or daughter is dating a Yabanci! (foreigner)

I had known my now Husband for a year before we started dating, within 3 days of dating, he had me on a bus from Bodrum to Dikili to go and meet his Family. I was so nervous, I had no idea what to expect, if they would like me or if they would accept me. I had dashed round the shops the day before to buy more appropriate clothing, as I didn’t think my summer holiday clothes would impress!

Sat on the bus for 6 hours I turned into a complete bag of nerves, worried that they wouldn’t like me, what they would be like, what their home would be like, about how they would expect me to act and so on.
My husband of course thought it all completely silly and did his best to make me relax. We arrived late in the afternoon. It had been a long hot journey and I was worried about how I looked and really wanted to have a wash and tidy up before we got to his home, but there was no chance of that.


My Mother in Law and my niece

We got to the apartment and his Mum was waiting at the door and greeted me like a daughter hugging me and kissing me. Then the shock happened, his whole family were waiting there. I am from a small family, so being confronted by such a large group I nearly made a run for the door!

Everyone was warm and friendly and we spent most of the time taking pictures together almost as way of communicating with each other. My now Mother in Law did what she does best and fed me, she still does. Its now a joke with us, that she is always feeding me and saying, ye, ye (eat,eat!)

Having survived the day, the evening brought more family and the men all sat in the living room and the women out on the balcony. I was left on my own with the women and no way to communicate, it was a long evening. Tea was constantly served and there we stayed till the early hours in the morning. I was so tired by the time I got to bed and my face hurt with all the smiling I was doing to get past the lack of Turkish/Kurdish.


My Father in Law

But I survived and I must have made a good impression because they still treat me the same, but now its me who makes and serves the tea and I don’t feel I have to sit in one place for a whole evening. Because now they are my family and it is also my home.

How to Survive meeting Your Turkish In Laws:

Going to meet your Turkish In Laws will be scary, but just be yourself, don’t try to impress them by being someone you are not, because most likely they will see through you and end up not liking you. You partner loves you and let his family see why.

If you don’t have a lot of Turkish, take a dictionary and even speak in your own language to them and let your partner translate for you. Show that you want to talk to them and get to know them don’t sit in silence and look unhappy.

Remember this is new to them to most likely, if they don’t live in a tourist area chances are you are the first foreigner they have met or had in their home, so they will be nervous and interested to and not sure how to act either.

Do not be surprised if the neighbours come round to see the Yabanci as well, a few of my Mother in laws friends did, but since then they visit every time we go home and have given us wedding presents and presents for our little boy.

Smile, no matter where you are in the world or who you are with a Smile speaks a thousand words and people will smile with you.

What if they don’t like you? It is possible your new In laws won’t like you, it may be they don’t want their child to marry a yabanci and they want them to marry someone from Turkey. That is your partners fight to have, if your partner loves you and wants the relationship, let them handle the problem, don’t get in between your partner and their family.

If your Mother in Law is over protective of her child, there isn’t much you can do, just don’t let her get to you, smile, be warm, friendly and helpful. In time you may win her over, if not then don’t give her any excuse or anything she can say against you. If you fight with her it will just upset your partner. Explain to your partner your feelings and again let your partner deal with it. But never give her room to find fault with you. And in time hopefully she will come to like you.

I took along some presents to give as you would if you are a good house guest. I think this also helps to break the ice and a nice gesture.

With the culture differences don’t worry about them, be polite and respect their ways, remember you are in their home! and if you don’t understand why something is being done then ask and explain it is different from your culture.

Meeting the In Laws is really no different than meeting the In Laws back home. They all want their child to be happy and they want you to like them as well. Be yourself and smile and I am sure they will love you.

Please tell me your stories about meeting your In Laws for the first time.  If you have a question about meeting your partners family for the first please do ask.


© 2013 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.

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10 Responses to “Meeting The Turkish In Laws | How to Survive!”

  1. 2nd July 2013

    Fiona Reply

    Hi Kerry, That was brilliant to read 🙂 I’m so nervous for when i go over but know i should be fine, few tips there too. Thanks x

    • 4th July 2013

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      Hi Fiona

      I think we are all nervous at first but you will be fine once you meet them. Good luck

  2. 15th July 2013

    Ashley Alkac Reply

    The first time i met my in-laws was fine. Luckily, my husbands family are quite relaxed and have lived and worked in tourist areas for about 10 years prior to my arrival. When i left England and moved to Bodrum, my mother-in-law used to bring her friends home in the afternoon to see the yabanci! My husband was working so i used to pretend to nap in the afternoon and she would creep into the bedroom with her friends and let them look at me! My husband and i have been together for 11 years now and have been married for 10. The relationship between the whole families is very,very good. My parents and his parents, siblings etc have met and all get along. I am a very, very lucky lady.

    • 12th October 2013

      Carry My Style Reply

      How fun that your mother-in law would creep in the bedroom with her friends to look at you:) Great story and I am happy for you that you all get along so well.

  3. 3rd August 2013

    AndiM Reply

    My boyfriend also took me to meet his family very very soon after we started dating. In my country, this usually happens after a considerable amount of time, so I was nervous as hell. Because they live in a conservative town, I wasn’t sure if I should wear a hijab out of respect, I wasn’t sure where would I sleep, considering that we are not married… But then I decided just to be myself and show them who I am and in the end everything turned out to be a great experience, they were very welcoming and yes I had to eat non-stop (which I didn’t mind, because my boyfriend’s mum is an excellent cook) :)). I understand a little bit of Turkish, but I don’t speak yet, so it was frustrating not to be able to communicate, because they were so nice, I wanted to ask them so many things. Instead I just smiled a lot and played with the adorable little nieces of my boyfriend who were all over me, hugging and kissing me. I come from a small family, so it was great to be welcomed in a large family, see how they respect and love each other.
    (Kerry, I just found your blog, its great!!!!)

    • 4th September 2013

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      I am so glad your visit went so well, yes food is a huge part of life here, its taken me years to get mine to understand am not a huge eater but they still try to stuff me full! I wish you all the best with your relationship xx glad you like the blog!

  4. 26th April 2014

    jane Reply

    Did it last?

  5. 3rd February 2015

    Brandon Reply

    I am an American male and amazed at the great stories left by women, given they lack my over all experience. My wife(Turkish)and I have been married for 3 yrs. I have struggled to sum up my experience but it has been a roller coaster ride at best. My brother in law has always been great but a side from him, males marring into Turkish family face a number of more challenges. I agree with the advice given however you must account the nature of the Turkish family. Are they secular, or religious Turks? What are their world views in respect to your country of orgin? What will be your future country? Are they open minded? With all that said our daughter just celebrated her first birthday, and with her being born calmed the storm of passions and opinions to our union. We are even thinking of relocating to Turkey, what are good locations for English speaker looking for work? In the states I am a Sous Chef.

    • 23rd February 2015

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      Hi Brandon,

      Try the coastal regions in the resort areas or perhaps Istanbul. But work isn’t easy to get in Turkey for non Turkish citizens. As you’ve been married 3 years you may want to consider getting you Turkish citizen and that will by pass the work issues. I would also get learning the language which will advantage you a lot. Good luck.

  6. 19th July 2017

    ALP Reply

    My partner has just ended it with me as his parents don’t approve. They’ve never met me but I’m British and he’s a Turkish dual national living in the UK his whole life. In a last ditch attempt I’ve sent tulips to his parents as the Turkish national flower asking for acceptance but I think it’s over and I’m heartbroken.

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