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Woman Balks After Boyfriend’s Parents Expected Her To Bring A Dish To Party Because She’s A Woman

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There are unspoken expectations of invited guests attending specific events.

But to what extent is the guest held accountable for falling short of those expectations?

That is something Redditor throwawaysibsj3 questioned when her boyfriend invited her to meet his family at an event for the first time.

After failing to make a good first impression, she visited the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit and asked:

“AITA for not bringing anything to my boyfriend’s parents party?”

“There is an unspoken rule that the women bring dishes.”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“My boyfriend is close with his family and he often goes to events with them.”

“He never beings anything so I assumed that it’s just the sort of party where the host prepares food.”

“I never went to the parties because it’s a new relationship at first but this time he invited me and said he wanted me to meet his family.”

“It was right after work so I went straight from work to his parents house, he was already there since he went earlier.”

“At the party a couple people made comments on me not bringing a dish which I thought was weird since I’d never seen my boyfriend bring anything and I didn’t know it was expected.”

“I said sorry I didn’t know because in the past I hadn’t seen my boyfriend prep anything, he’d just go, so I assumed it was a more casual thing.”

“His mom told me that the wives and girlfriends are in charge of food and I laughed because I thought it was a joke. But after a little more talk I realized she wasn’t.”

“I half jokey suggested that this year maybe the husband’s and boyfriend’s step up this year and give them a break.”

“She said they’d been doing this since she was a child, it was a tradition. So I joked maybe the boys should step up for a lifetime rather than a year then.”

“She and her husband got frustrated with me and said that it was rude of me to come in and laugh at their traditions.”

“I said it was rude of them to treat me like my boyfriend’s mommy, who has to make him a snack to share with the class, that’s not the relationship we have.”

My boyfriend came by at that point and noticed shit was tense and asked what was up, and trying to diffuse the tension I joked “Oh I just didn’t know I had to pack the baby boys a snack to share”

“He got what I was getting at and said that maybe we should take a walk, and on the walk he was frustrated by the way he spoke to his mom, saying his family was more traditional than our relationship and I had been rude for no reason.”

“I said I find it pretty rude to have the family rule be that half the family arbitrarily does all the labor and I’m in that arbitrary half.”

“He and I left early and we have still been having the disagreement where he feels I was too rude, and I feel the expectation his family set (unspoken) was messed up and he was messed up for backing them up because “tradition.'”

“AITA for disrespecting the ‘tradition?'”

Strangers online were asked to declare one of the following:

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

Many Redditors thought the OP was not the a**hole in the situation, and they called out what they believed was inherent sexism deeply rooted in the so-called “tradition.”

“I know this is a new relationship but he’s shown you something about himself and his family in this and honestly did you a favor. You can walk away if this isn’t for you! He didn’t tell you about the expectations, which is whatever, but that set you up to take the heat unnecessarily.”

“That’s not fair to you and I would feel crappy if my intro to meeting my SO’s family was them jumping up my a$$ for not adhering to something I didn’t know was an issue.”

“It does feel like you were a little intense (and I say that as someone who regularly goes toe-to-toe with her inlaws over being a ‘bad wife’ lol) but you were a guest and not given the benefit of the doubt. I’d be defensive too.”

“The big question is: how does your BF see this playing out? Does he expect you to now follow the rules? Beg his parents’ forgiveness? He says they’re more traditional than your relationship – does he plan to tell them you two will contribute as a couple?”

“Another question is: even if your BF is great, do you want to spend holidays and milestone events in this environment? They are not likely to change, he cannot demand they change, and while ‘you do your thing, I’ll do mine’ sounds nice in theory it may become untenable at some point.”

“Oh, NTA, btw.” – AffectionateBite3827

“TBH the fact that he didn’t notice the sexism in his family til you pointed it out is a red flag.”

“Doesn’t bode well that your values are alligned if he never noticed the women in his family providing the food and running around after everyone and just assumed they were having a ‘good time doing that’, while the men chilled.”

“Most men I know who grew up in that sexist dynamic and realised how wrong it was realised it loooong before they started bringing partners into it.” – excel_pager_03

“NTA. They can have whatever tradition they feel comfortable with, but expecting you would magically know about it and join was beyond ridiculous.” – No-Jellyfish-1208

The OP responded:

“Yeah, I’m super not here for anything with different gendered expectations.”

“I bailed on Greek life in college because of that and i feel like this is the grown up version of the frat party or mixer in that regard.”

Another user wrote:

“Just make it clear to him that going forward you will NOT be responsible for bringing food and if he wants the two of you to contribute something, he will be responsible for it.”

“A possible compromise could be he prepares the food and everything but you arrive with it so it looks like you’re contributing. But if you’re still not comfy with that that’s fine.”

“Either way make it clear to your boyfriend what your boundary on future events is and if it’s a deal breaker for him that’s on him and he’s putting archaic and sexist ‘traditions’ ahead of his relationship.” – ladancer22

To which the OP elaborated further:

“TBH the party was a bad vibe all around…”

“The women and older girls there did all the work like cleaning up, baby and childcare, and caretaking the men who drank too much, cleaning up puke and trying to settle down near-fights. Staying sober to be the DD for their partners.”

“Every woman there looked run ragged and not having a good time at what was supposed to be a party, but really had more of a vibe of ‘wild bender for the men, unpaid labor for the women.'”

“Even if my boyfriend bucked the tradition a little by cooking rather than me, I don’t feel like I’d have fun going to a ‘party’ where my role would be more like an employee (unpaid) than someone who can participate in the party.”

Overall, Redditors thought the boyfriend was the a**hole for not informing the OP about the family tradition when initially inviting her to the party.

Some Redditors also cautioned the OP against being in a relationship with someone who does not take their partner’s concerns into consideration.

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a Los Angeles based actor whose work has been spotted anywhere from Broadway stages to Saturday Night Live.
He received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese.
In addition to being a neophyte photographer, he is a huge Disney aficionado and is determined to conquer all Disney parks in the world to publish a photographic chronicle one day. Mickey goals.
Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1 Flickr: nyckmo