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It's possible to let her know what you don't like, and why, without causing major offence. Turn the situation around by asking her: 'I'd like to cook Fred a special meal.

For example: 'I realise you're only trying to help, but it makes me feel immature when you give me advice I haven't asked for. Instead of fuming when she's cleaned your kitchen from top to bottom, why not thank her for being so helpful and feel pleased that you didn't have to do it for once? Is there anything you can think of that he'd really enjoy?

'Even if we fight, we can't avoid being close: it is our first relationship and we're so similar, yet different.

Mother figures'Women who have the most problems with their mother-in-laws tend to be the same women who don't get on with their own mothers.

'Learning to get on better with your mother-in-law is about learning how to feel less of a victim, and deflecting her difficult behaviour.'A blessing in disguise Denise says it's worth reminding yourself that your mother-in-law can be a blessing, and it really is worth putting in some work to improve your relationship. Daughters-in-law need to recognise that and not automatically assume things will be difficult, which often may alienate the mother in law unnecessarily.

'If you start off with a bad relationship, and let her get away with making you feel inadequate, the less likely things are to change.

No matter how liberated we like to think we are, mention the mother-in-law and most of us probably think of the late Les Dawson and his endless supply of hilarious, but vicious, jokes at her expense.

While most of us wouldn't go so far as to describe her as a fearsome, interfering dragon, chances are our relationship, even if amicable, still needs careful handling.

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