It’s always hard when we’re hoping for support in our endeavors and don’t get it.
But it’s even worse when someone judges us for having those dreams.
One young woman recently found herself questioning her whole relationship on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit when she realized how her boyfriend’s family felt about her future.
Redditor dierkan_72 was taken aback by the criticism and felt the need to stand up for herself.
But after, the Original Poster (OP) found herself feeling guilty about it.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for defending myself against my boyfriend’s family, who made false assumptions about me for attending college?”
The OP went to meet her boyfriend’s family for the first time.
“I (20 [Female]) have been seeing a guy (20 [Male]) for about four months.”
“A few nights ago, I finally met his parents and older siblings at a dinner party in their family home.”
“Things took a turn and now I am unsure if I have a boyfriend or not.”
But her boyfriend’s family was extremely critical of her.
“The college I go to is not an Ivy League, but it is as renowned as an Ivy League university would be. My boyfriend does not attend college and I don’t really care about any of that.”
“However, his family seemed to have a problem with me after I informed them of which university I attended.”
“Introductions were okay and they asked me typical questions that you’d ask your child’s s/o (significant other).”
“Then they asked me what job I worked, and I told them I tutored teens but am a full-time student at university.”
“His father said real men should ‘work the streets’ (whatever that means) and that’s why he never sent my boyfriend or his brothers to college.”
“His mother said women should ‘work at home’.”
“They proceeded to drop several comments about me that heavily implied that I only went to college because I had rich parents (which I don’t). They were painting me as some privileged kid and his mother even said that I’d ‘never know the struggles of being a working-class black person in America’.”
The OP finally had to speak up for herself.
“I was starting to get a little upset because they were treating me like a joke, they made false assumptions of me and my family, were trying to push their patriarchal viewpoints onto me, and they disregarded that I work hard too!”
“Because I was in their home, I kept my calm and I politely told them that my parents were not rich and I was paying for my college tuition through scholarships and aid which I worked HARD for.”
“I told them that I respected them for being so content in life but I wanted them to understand that not everyone believes in those specific gender roles and I was one of those people.”
“The career I want to pursue in life which will make ME content requires tertiary education and like them, I will also have to work hard for it. Degree or no degree, life has its challenges no matter which path you end up taking.”
The evening was essentially over after that.
“They seemed taken aback and they quickly brushed it off.”
“I hope I didn’t come off as rude or pretentious because that wasn’t the goal. I just didn’t want them thinking I was some spoiled kid but I also didn’t want them thinking of me as ill-mannered.”
“The rest of the night was awkward and after dinner, they didn’t even bother to see me out the door.”
“My boyfriend (who had been relatively quiet through this ordeal) walked me out and apologized quietly.”
The OP found herself questioning everything after that.
“I went home and didn’t bother texting him until the next day but he didn’t reply. He hasn’t replied to me on anything and his friends won’t either.”
“Now I’m starting to reevaluate everything I said. I really like this boy and I don’t know what to do right now. There was obviously some miscommunication but I want to clear it with him.”
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 were proud of the OP for standing up for herself.
“You deserve better! I can’t even describe how proud I am of you for sticking up for yourself (and everyone else in your shoes) in such a calm, articulate manner.”
“You now know who he really is and what is important to him. Move forward with someone who is your equal and ready to partner with you in building the future.” – chubby-wench
“NTA. I don’t think his parents will allow him out of their sight after that classy speech you gave them when you stood up for yourself.”
“In a way, it’s kinda good that you found out early on about him and his family dynamics. It is better to have wasted 4 months than 4 years with a partner that doesn’t have your back.”
“He might have been one way with you and his friends but the real him was the one you saw that night at dinner. So even if he refuses to texts you back just know you kept it classy to the very end. You don’t need him because some else will appreciate you and stand by you.” – CODE_NAME_DUCKY
“You really liked the idea of what you thought this boy was. This is an opportunity for him to show you his character. When he does, know it’s the truth. The fact he’s not answering you is a pretty clear signal.”
“You are NTA, and I know this probably hurts, this is a valuable experience for you and helps you know your worth. Good for you OP.” – wildeflowers
Others said they didn’t see the relationship going anywhere.
“NTA – break up with this guy. No man is worth being talked to like this. His family will never respect you and he should have stood up for you and shut them down when they started on that crap.” – Swegh_
“Yeah OP, I know you like this guy but he isn’t marriage material at all. Please break up with him and start looking for someone who has ideals similar to yours.”
“If he doesn’t stand up for you against his family, if he doesn’t show you respect, and moreover if he doesn’t even bother to respond to you (when he should be on his knees apologizing over this) he isn’t worth it.”
“If you stay with him after this, you’ll only get sucked in deeper. Then you’ll accept more and more of this crap. You’ll get married and he and his family will expect you to change. You’ll have some kids and it will get worse.”
“You’ll end up either miserable, having given up all your dreams, or getting divorced with a bunch of kids. Then you’ll look back on this moment and wish you had been strong enough to break up with him now.”
“Conversely, this could also be a funny story you tell your husband’s loving and supportive family. They will all be laughing at the idea of you, a smart and successful woman, dating such a person. You’ll grab your husband’s hand and say, “Thank goodness I was smart enough to break up with that guy, I never would have met you otherwise!'” – VanilleMoon
“I’m really happy to see women ditching these dead weights earlier and earlier in life. A whole family of people who expect you to stay uneducated and under-employed, with no options your whole life No and also hell no.”
“And they were rude to an invited guest, and your boyfriend sucks for just ghosting on the whole situation because he can’t even have an adult conversation.”
“Honestly, just fast-forwarding to the break-up probably saved you a lot of time and hassle. Sucks when you like someone, but at least if it were to happen, it happened early on.” – Maleficent_List_8583
After ample replies, the OP shared a sad update with the sub:
When the OP finally heard back from her boyfriend, they had a tough conversation.
“The Reddit comments from yesterday gave me enough courage to spam him and he finally replied.”
“He gave me a simple apology and told me that it was over.”
“This is what I wanted, of course, but I was shocked he gave up so easily. I asked to meet up and discuss things, but he declined.”
“So I asked him what was going on in his head right over text.”
“I know I said I would give him a piece of my mind, but we ended up having a civil heart-to-heart conversation.”
“I told him that this was unacceptable and I didn’t like the fact that he let his parents walk over me.”
“He told me that he had different views than his parents but still had a hard time moving on because he didn’t have a good enough job to live on his own.”
“He told me that he really liked me but knew it wouldn’t work out and that this would always be the outcome.”
“I asked him why he dated me if he knew that this would be how it ended, and he said that he always wanted someone like me, even for a short while.”
Then the OP made a sad discovery about their relationship.
“This is the part where it gets sad.”
“All his life he lived close to the university I attend now. He always wanted a degree in mechanical engineering from that university but never really tried during high school because he knew that his parents wouldn’t allow him to go.”
“He was scared of being ostracized by his family and never got the chance to live his dreams.”
“He told me that I had everything he really wanted and I guess he was vicariously living through me?”
“I was confused and I’ll admit, I’m a bit angry because he used my feelings to his advantage, even though the reason is really pitiful.”
“He wanted to date me because he wanted a taste of his dreams that someone else was living and that breaks my heart.”
“I tried to convince him to talk to me in person so we could sort out our feelings but he declined again.”
“I asked him if we could still be friends and maybe start talking again after a while but he said that he didn’t think it was a good idea for either of us, especially himself.”
“What he did was sad and selfish, but I’m so heartbroken about this whole thing.”
“Yesterday, I was angry and you guys could tell by the way I replied. Today, I am upset and my heart hurts for him and the relationship we could’ve had. I wish that his family weren’t the way they are and I wish that he could get his college education.”
“I liked this boy and I still do. I wish him all the best in life and I hope he gets to live his dreams.”
“Thank you for your support.”
The sub obviously wanted the best for the OP, but it’s still sad to see a relationship she enjoyed unable to go anywhere. It’s even more disheartening to see why.
But dating someone who is living vicariously through you could only last for so long, and it surely couldn’t be a healthy situation for anyone.