There are certain questions that some people have the audacity to ask that really should be thrown out of the “conversation starter” idea pile.
But strangers and family members alike keep using them and causing trouble, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Tall-Being-1375 couldn’t believe it when her future-father-in-law bluntly asked her how many children she wanted to have.
When she was questioned for how she reacted, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was too harsh.
She asked the sub:
“AITA because I snapped at my father-in-law when he asked about babies?”
The OP was visiting with her boyfriend’s family.
“A few months ago, I (24 Female) and my boyfriend (25 Male) had been dating for roughly 6 months.”
“We were over at his mom and stepdad’s place, for a few days. My partner’s stepbrother was there with his kids, as well.”
“I’m good with kids, I can put any baby to sleep and all that. I also like kids, but at that time wasn’t particularly keen to have some of my own. I have 4 nieces and nephews, and my partner has 2.”
The OP knew by then that the stepdad was confrontational.
“I know that the stepdad (my future father-in-law then) is a bit ‘rough.’ He likes being quite direct but also phrases things in a way that would make people react.”
“He’s fundamentally not a bad guy but enjoys causing reactions way too much.”
“And the rest of the family is lovely.”
“Once I put the 6-month-old to bed and was hanging with my boyfriend, his stepdad came right to me and asked, ‘So, how many children do you want? I’m speaking of having a real family. 5? 7?'”
“He didn’t even look at my boyfriend or anything, just at me. Like I’m just a womb with legs.”
“I say that because I would assume that you would have that kind of conversation with the child that you raised more than the girlfriend.”
“Although it’s still not a question you should ask.”
The OP was not having it.
“I answered, ‘With respect, it’s none of your f**king business.’ (Bear in mind, might have been the second or third time I saw him.)”
“Later he said that he found me rude, and he was supported by my mom-in-law.”
“(She later went on my side when she knew how he phrased it.)”
“My boyfriend supports me. He’s not a huge fan of my use of the word ‘f**king,’ but he’s completely on my side. And he didn’t express his dislike of the formulation in public, just in private.”
“Like I can’t have a real family without children? Are you asking me because I’m a woman? All those things, you know.”
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 took no issue with the OP’s word choice whatsoever.
“NTA. He asked, you answered.”
“I see nothing wrong with using ‘f**king’ for emphasis among adults. I don’t even consider this a justified a**hole, I think straight up NTA.” – Dszquphsbnt
“NTA. At the end of the day, yure, you were kind of unnecessarily rude, but in your defense, 5-7 kids is an idiotic expectation.”
“Also a super inappropriate question. I’ve been with my partner for 3+ years and have been never asked anything of the sort.” – throwawayy877544
“NTA – It was none of his business and you just answered in a way that would resonate with the way he talks to everyone else.”
“If you ask someone a rude question, you shouldn’t expect an overly polite response.” – AussieGirl03061996
“NTA. What a misogynistic s**tebag. He’s fundamentally not a bad guy? Are you SURE about that?”
“Especially after using the phrase a ‘real family’? And after calling you rude despite him asking you an invasive question to get a rise out of you?”
“Good on you for responding the way you did.” – Rawkysand
“NTA, I hate a**es who claim to be lacking in political correctness, or claim that they’re brutally honest, direct, etc… and then they get p**sy when it’s dealt back to them with equal sass and crass.”
“Like, no, sir. You wanted to stir the pot, get some of that hot angry Justice liquid splashed all over your sensitive skin.” – JuiceDelicious4878
“NTA. But instead of saying not his effing business, I’d give stupid answers.”
“Like I was hoping to be nonomom, because octomom is so last decade. Or that I wanted to outdo the duggars. Or train them to be the next Von Trapp family.”
“So much potential for fun while subtly letting him know it’s not his effing business.” – Gr0uchPotato
Others said the boundary OP set was more important than the language used.
“What’s with the people shaming her for responding to nastiness in a direct manner? NTA.” – FirebirdWriter
“NTA. He asked a deeply personal question in a completely rude and inappropriate way. As far as I can tell, you set a boundary.”
“He sounds like one of those ‘I tell it how it is’ kind of guys who is too soft to handle it when it comes back. Not your fault stepdad is a whiny baby.” – Emergency_Ad_5935
“NTA. What a jerk. He sounds like he can dish it out but not take it himself. Good for you for standing up for yourself.” – Quiet_Picklepuss
“NTA. I might have returned the question with, ‘How many prostate exams are you planning on having? 4? 5? You know they need to get right up in there?'”
“He was being nosy and rude. And I think he knew it.” – GingerMinx6
“NTA. You said, ‘He’s fundamentally not a bad guy but enjoys causing reactions way too much.'”
“No, that makes him fundamentally a bad guy. Someone that goes out of their way to create pain and suffering is a bad guy. Someone that intentionally is prickly to put you on the defensive is a bad guy.”
“Own it. Admit it. It might ‘just’ be a pebble in your shoe, but if it is there all day every day, it is a big problem. Stop covering up for him. He sucks. You do too if you don’t put a stop to it.” – Parasamgate
“Not the way I would have responded, but NTA for being pissed about the invasive question.”
“If I’m thinking on my feet, I like to respond to things like this with a question that turns it back on them, like, ‘Wow. Do you always ask such personal questions?’ He still probably would have been annoyed and taken aback by your response, but it would have put him on the spot.” – JennnnnP
“In this exact vein, I usually say something like, ‘Are you joking or not? I’m not trying to be rude, but I genuinely can’t tell. I’ve never been asked anything like that before? Are you seriously asking?'”
“Say it in a fake confused voice. Works very well.”
“I guess if someone is more confrontational a, ‘Are you genuinely curious or just trying to get a reaction?’ would do, but I’ve never tested that one out.”
“Just something to make them the embarrassed one and have to act on the defensive rather than you.” – ChilledHappy
“NTA. Setting boundaries is important with people like that. Those saying it wasn’t rude need to learn that WOMEN’S REPRODUCTION IS PERSONAL, NOT PUBLIC.”
“It’s between you and your boyfriend, and it is none of his business. How did he think the conversation would go? You’d blush and giggle?” – Aggravating-Dot-
“NTA. This is how I’ve started handling my step-dad (and I swear he is a good guy, just abrasive). And man, it’s crazy how effective it is.”
“He makes a sex joke to gross us (sister 23 and I 25 out) I make one right back. He asks rude questions like this, he’s gonna get that type response right back.” – Negative_Shake1478
A few pointed out that was only up to the OP and her boyfriend.
“NTA. Your future plans for children are no one’s business but yours, and potentially your boyfriend’s (if the relationship is serious).” – JenniphyrN
“NTA. He asked in a really rude way, not even ‘do you guys want kids?’ but assuming you will. And then joking (???) you should have 5 or 7. That’s gross and you’re right – none of his business.” – not_cinderella
“NTA. It’s literally non of his business. And if having 5 to 7 kids is what a ‘real’ family is, ask how many he has?”
“Also, liking kids and wanting none is normal. You don’t have to hate kids to not want them. Most of my friends are childfree/ not settled yet and we are all in our 30s, that doesn’t mean they hate my kids or anyone else’s. They just don’t want or have them yet.” – HunterDangerous1366
While the OP was conflicted about the response she’d had with her future-father-in-law, the subReddit believed it was warranted after the way he phrased his question.
It might be okay to ask this question despite how personal it was, depending on the relationship he had with the OP, but the phrasing should have been much different.