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Woman Balks After BIL Threatens To ‘Withhold’ Nephews Unless She Hangs Out With Him Alone

Frustrated woman looking at man pleading
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Redditor neighborhoodzombies is having quite the time dealing with her brother-in-law.

They’ve never really got along but now, all of a sudden, he wants to hang out with the Original Poster (OP) one-on-one.

This led the OP to subReddit “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) for some clarity.

She asked:

“AITA for not wanting to spend one-on-one time with my sister’s husband”

She went on to explain the situation.

“Last week my sister’s [30-year-old female] husband [32-year-old male] asked me [26-year-old female] if I wanted to hangout & I said no.”

“My sister has been married to him for 4 years & he and I have not always gotten along. It’s caused obvious problems in the past but we have worked through it.”

“The last 2 years we have been able to move on & coexist really well within my family bc I thought it was understood what our dynamic is supposed to be.”

“Last week he texted me asking if I wanted to meet up & get coffee.”

“I honestly have no desire to hangout with him like that so I tried to deflect the invite by suggesting he bring my nephews too & we could go to the park or something.”

“He doubled down on wanting to hangout with me individually to ‘connect and find common ground.’”

“Personally, I feel like we don’t need to hangout alone bc, 1. We have a history of getting into it & I don’t want to put myself in any situation where that could happen again.”

“2. I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to be hanging out with my sister’s husband by ourselves.”

“And 3. I don’t particularly like him & we have legitimately nothing in common so it just doesn’t feel natural for us to hangout.”

“I told him that while I appreciate his offer, I don’t think we need to hang out.”

“I said it doesn’t feel like an appropriate relationship to have with an in-law IMO.”

“And things have been good lately so I don’t think we need to make this relationship any deeper & risk messing anything up.”

“He was so upset with me & said that he will need to ‘reflect and think about how this will impact things moving forward bc I cannot accept a sort of false reality where we pretend things are good when they are not.’”

“He said he will be setting a new boundary with me & now my family is really worried he is going to withhold my nephews from me as ‘punishment.’ (Yes he’s that type)”

“I just wanted to set a clear boundary of what I am comfortable with & I don’t think I should feel any sort of obligation to hangout with him just bc he got married into my family.”

“I’d also like to add I have 5 other siblings that he has never asked to hangout with alone, only me.”

“AND I have a SIL who has been a part of my family for 9 years now, who I adore her, but we’ve only ever spent alone time together less than 3 times.”

“It’s now turned into a big problem between me & my sister bc I refused to spend time with her husband. I told her this was my attempt at keeping the peace & meant no harm by it.”

“I shared with her that I would feel more comfortable if we went through her if there are any future problems between him and I & she told me she does not want to be in the middle.”

“I made it clear that this does not mean I have any issues with him, I just want us to continue to maintain our relationship the way it is & grow from there.”

“Hanging out individually is not something I am comfortable with & I was trying to set a boundary with him.”

“AITA for not wanting to hangout with my sister’s husband alone?”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

    • NTA – Not The A**hole
    • YTA – You’re The A**hole
    • NAH – No A**holes Here
    • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided:


“He sounds like an odd duck.”

“I can’t think of a good reason for you to hang out with your BIL alone without your spouses or your nephews there and if you are getting a bad vibe, usually trusting your gut is best.” – avocadosdontbite

“NTA. You’re just not into him, and that should be allowed. Your sister picked him out, not you.”

“I don’t see anything wrong with a sister and her BIL hanging out if they have that sort of relationship, but you don’t have that kind and don’t want that kind, and that should be ok.”

“Maybe ask your sister what he even wanted to talk about.” – opalandolive


“Don’t listen to the incels saying Y T A because you have no obligation to hang out with someone just because they want to. No means no whether it’s opposite sex, familial, or strangers.”

“If he’s going to prevent you from seeing his kids because of that, so be it.” – Mad_Cowboy_64


“If I had to guess, he’s very religious (and you’re not) and/or has a different political alignment than you and is very vocal about it.”

“Regardless, it sounds like he wants to meet one-on-one to try to bend your will and see things his way.”

“Even if I’m wrong about what the fundamental differences are, you’re not obligated to be besties with every in-law you have.”

“I don’t see anything wrong with a woman theoretically hanging out solo with her BIL, but I understand why you don’t want to.”

“You’re entitled to your own opinions and he’s going to have to live with that.” – ant-master


“It was fine for him to offer, but I don’t look to hang out one on one with other people’s husband’s either.”

“Like if you’re my friend in addition to being someone’s husband, that’s one thing.”

“But if our relationship is “You’re married to someone I love”, then I don’t generally see the need to hang out when your spouse isn’t there. And you declined politely enough.”

“There’s nothing wrong with not being interested in getting to know him as more than an in-law.”

“Cool if you were interested in deepening that relationship, but it’s also perfectly fine to keep things where they are at. You don’t have to want to be besties with everyone.” – tan_sandoval

“Nta. He feels he has the right to set boundaries but you do not have the right to set your own boundaries.”

“There is something off here with this guy. Keep your distance. You owe him nothing.”

“He sounds very creepy and I would not trust him or agree to be alone with him.” – Dontbither

The OP wanted to add some clarity.

“We’ve met several times to discuss ‘our problems’ and it always just comes down to being fundamentally different.”

“He also is constantly trying to convert me to his beliefs and blaming me for our issues when I won’t budge. I’m not mad, but I don’t want to engage or put myself in another situation like that.”

“A lot of people have suggested him possibly wanting a romantic relationship with me, and I can say with confidence that is not the vibe at all.”

“If that were the case, I would have immediately told my sister.”

Reddit continued.

“I love how you set a boundary, he then scribbles it out and blackmails you with his new super secret squirrel boundary.”

“Let him set it, then agree to see him alone if he signs off (in writing) on your War and Peace-sized list of topics and behaviors that are not to be talked about our done.”

“And send it to the family GC so everyone knows what’s going on.”

“NTA there is no hate like Christian love” – Bananas4skail

“NTA. The only time either of my brothers-in-law wanted to meet with me one on one was if they needed my van.”

“This happened exactly once with each of them. They were buying large items as a surprise for my sisters.”

“One-on-one time wasn’t a thing. This sounds weird to me.” – ggrandmaleo

“What? No. NTA. It’s highly suspicous that he suddenly wants to hang out with you alone.”

“That in of itself would make me say no if I was in your shoes. Your boundaries are on point, and absolutely correct.”

“You already know you two don’t get along. There is no reason to spend one on one time with him. Besides it sounds like one huge recipe for disaster in more ways than one.” – HyenaShot8896

“Don’t do it. I had a similarly weird thing happen with my current BIL, and it ended up with him making creepy sexual advances towards me on the morning of his wedding day to my sister.”

“(‘I was making an effort to be more friendly with your younger sister since we haven’t really connected’). 😳”

“She never believed me, and it still haunts me to this day. Stick to your guns. YNTA.” – Toomanykids9

“I was thinking ‘he wants something” and then I saw:”

“‘He also is constantly trying to convert me to his beliefs”

“Yeah. This guy doesn’t want common ground, he wants to insist, and if you don’t at least pretend to adopt his beliefs (which I think would be a BAD idea), he will withhold your nephews anyway.”

“It’s unfortunate, but he’s the one with the problem, and playing nice will only exacerbate it.” — redcolumbine

Unfortunately, not all familial relationships are meant to be good ones.

Written by B. Miller

B. is a creative multihyphenate who enjoys the power and versatility of the written word. She enjoys hiking, great food and drinks, traveling, and vulnerable conversation. Raised below the Mason Dixon, thriving above it. (she/her)