There are annoyances in any relationship, and then there are absolute dealbreakers. But in some cases, a partner’s family might harbor some dealbreaker energy of its own.
Sometimes when someone leaves after marrying into the family, it speaks volumes, as pointed out in the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor NeighborhoodJazz57 was starting to understand why her sister-in-law left her brother-in-law after being repeatedly subjected to misogynistic and sexist behavior.
But when even her own husband wasn’t backing her up, the Original Poster (OP) began to wonder what her options were.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for my response after my BIL (Brother-in-Law) said my dress was inappropriate for a family gathering?”
The OP saw more of her brother-in-law after his divorce.
“Ugh! Hear me out! My BIL (my husband’s brother) was married to a woman from Greece. Her name is ‘Nana,’ and the reason for their divorce was because of how much my conservative BIL (Brother-in-Law) tried to control her clothes and the places she went.”
“He didn’t want the divorce and was hoping Nana would accept the life he offered and stay, but she didn’t.”
“This happened two years ago. He now moved back with my in-laws’ house, and we see him more often.”
“He tried to comment on how I dress on multiple occasions and it’s unbearable, but since my in-laws said he was struggling and depressed, I let it go.”
But his behavior became too much for the OP.
“On Friday, my in-laws celebrated my husband’s 30th birthday at their home. I wore a heart-shaped blue dress and had my hair up.”
“While we were eating, my BIL pointed at me and said that my cleavage was showing and that I shouldn’t have worn this dress because it looked inappropriate for a family gathering.”
“I was utterly shocked, everyone was staring at me, and I felt so embarrassed and on the spot.”
“He looked at me, waiting for me to blow up probably, but I laughed and told him, ‘Knock, knock!'”
“He said, ‘Who’s there?'”
“I said, ‘Nana.'”
“Now he paused and seemed confused at the mention of her name. He then faked a laugh and said, ‘Nana who?'”
“I said, ‘Nana your godd**n business what I’m wearing! okay!'”
“He got upset and quickly left the table.”
The joke was met with mixed reviews by the family.
“My SILs laughed but my husband and his parents were upset and later said that I was way out of line for bringing up Nana to my BIL, knowing how heartbroken and depressed he is because of her.”
“His mom said that I was petty and didn’t need to dig at him just to prove a point.”
“My husband thinks I’m in the wrong as well and that I was being deliberately hurtful by bringing up Nana.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some felt they understood exactly why the brother-in-law’s ex-wife left him.
“He sounds like a horrible person. He needs to figure out what deep-seated misogyny or emotional issues are leading him to feel the need to police the outfits that women are wearing. He honestly sounds like he either hates women, is jealous of the attention they can garner from dressing a certain way, or has extremely outdated views of women’s attire.”
“Anyway, the joke was great.”
“Also, too bad he’s depressed and heartbroken. He ruined his own marriage by doing the same thing to his ex. That was his own fault. Clearly hasn’t learned a thing.”
“He isn’t a victim. NTA.” – LowImagination3028
“The BIL is basically saying, ‘I’m staring at your boobs. It’s your fault I’m staring at your boobs. Make your boobs invisible so I don’t have to stare at them.'”
“Going through things isn’t anything excuse to be an a-hole. He’s still a grown-a** man and is accountable for his actions.”
“I’ve got to family dinners where the woman I was dating’s sister would wear pretty much see-through tops after she got work done. I still made eye contact and would have been so embarrassed if made any comment (especially in front of family) that was focused on her body parts. It just isn’t someone else’s business to get involved with your or other’s bodies.” – MoonboundApe
“He’s acting like it’s his right as a man to control the behavior of the women around him. Also, I work in a DV (Domestic Violence) shelter, and abuse is alllllll about power and control.”
“The controlling what his ex-wife wore and where she went is a major red flag, and I’m glad the Nana got out of that because it had the potential to be much worse.” – jurghead
“NTA. WTF? He drove his wife away by trying to police her clothes, and he has the sheer nerve to bring that subject up with you?”
“You DID need to dig in to show him that his ex-wife was not an aberration, any woman would find it abhorrent to have a man dictate what she can or cannot wear.” – Sunny_Hill_1
Others were worried about the OP’s husband’s and mother-in-law’s reactions, however.
“NTA. You should put the heat on your husband and ask him, ‘Why do you think I should accept your brother disrespecting me? Do you think it is acceptable for him to speak to me like that?'”
“If your husband is willing to just sit by and let his brother act like a pig because it doesn’t affect him, he isn’t being a good partner.” – JCBashBash
“Just this, OP.”
“Say, ‘Nana left because that s**t is creepy and offensive, do you really want to test our marriage too by backing up your disgusting brother? You’ve already seen that a reasonable woman would consider this a deal breaker, you really want to test it further?'”
“NTA.” – PMKN_spc_Hotte
“NTA. The BIL and your husband are.”
“It is NOT at ALL appropriate for your BIL (or anyone) to openly make an unsolicited comment regarding your body. The fact that he is grieving his ex-wife does NOT give him a license to make derogatory comments about your body and/or what parts you chose to cover up or not. Such comments make him the AH.”
“Your husband should have put a stop to that. Instead, he chose to place his brother’s feelings over yours by allowing his brother to make completely inappropriate comments about your body and attire (and in a room full of people no less).”
“Then, to add insult to injury, your husband had the nerve to be upset with you for retorting in such a manner as to discourage future inappropriate remarks. You wouldn’t have had to resort to ANY retorts if your husband had put his brother in his place before you were forced to do so. Such actions make your husband the AH.” – TheFlamingSquirrel
“Since he as a man never has to deal with being treated like this, he has no idea how frustrating it could be. I’m male as well and even just TRYING to think of how I would react to this type of thing is enough to make my blood boil.”
“But even if you give him the benefit of the doubt given the lack of personally experiencing it, it should not be hard to see how something makes your wife feel and to listen to them when they explain how it feels. The post makes it clear that this isn’t the first time this has happened, the husband is definitely an AH here.” – ChetManly12
“I don’t know if BIL was depressed or has just been sulking for 2 years and sucking up the attention from his parents and living off them. BIL definitely didn’t learn or accept one of the reasons his wife divorced the crap out of him as he’s turned it against OP.”
“Husband was wrong for not standing behind OP. Babying the creepy BIL hasn’t helped, and he has no innate right to insult OP. He insulted OP, and her husband didn’t stand up for her; that’s not a man, that’s either a wimp or a guy who secretly agrees with BIL.” – sailingisgreat
“They’re all from the same family. Not by marriage, by blood. Which means they were all raised in that toxic environment.”
“The husband may not be as extreme as his brother but he grew up drinking from the same poisoned cup. Probably passed down from the parents who are pissed at OP for standing up for herself.” – No_Negotiation1567
The subReddit was completely appalled by the way the OP was recently treated for her attire, and not just by her brother-in-law. They were similarly, if not more so, concerned by the OP’s husband not standing up for her, and how resoundingly her in-laws took the brother-in-law’s side.
Some serious conversations would need to happen in the near future, or it might become increasingly clear to the OP the truth behind why “Nana” left and why she might want to do exactly the same thing.