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Non-Smoker Threatens To Cancel Trip If They Have To Ride In The Same Car With Fiancé’s Smoker Parents

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While we all might love a relaxing weekend away from home, some of us dread the planning of the trip.

And for good reason! One person confessed on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit that they were struggling to make everyone happy on an upcoming trip.

Redditor framingfaces, who happens to be a non-smoker, was having a particular issue with their future in-laws, who were attending and who also smoke.

So much so, the Original Poster (OP) was considering calling the whole trip off.

They asked the sub: 

“AITA for threatening to cancel a trip if I had to ride with my future in-laws who smoke in the vehicle?”

The OP and their fiancé were planning a lengthy road trip.  

“My fiancé and I have a trip planned for next month (allowed here). I am the one who planned and booked everything.”

“We invited his parents along as we generally get along really well. It’s a long drive- 20+ hours. It’s their anniversary gift to each other.”

“Both of my Future In-Laws smoke heavily. Like I’m talking several packs a day between the two of them. When I go to their house, I have to wash my hair and body immediately when I get home or it will just stink up our whole house.”

But one serious wrench just got thrown into the OP’s plan. 

“Originally, we were taking my fiancé’s truck on the trip. I was fine with this. It was roomy, had the most space, everyone could drive it, and he doesn’t let his parents smoke in it. Win for everyone.”

“We planned to of course stop when needed to let them smoke.”

“Well, now my FMIL (future mother-in-law) is insisting on taking her car due to better gas mileage. When I heard this, I instead offered to take my car (we have the same sort of car so space was the same). She again said her car would get the better mileage.”

“I knew her and FFIL (future father-in-law) were trying to change it so they could smoke in the car on the trip.”

“I absolutely hate when they do that. It makes me super carsick which I already have issues with as is. Fiancé hates it as well.”

The OP managed to make little progress in planning after that. 

“We’ve went back and forth for weeks on the vehicle issue. It came to a head when she basically said we were taking her car, no arguments.”

“I finally just told her if she wanted to be that way, I would cancel everything entirely, since it was in my name and out of my accounts (they did pay their part, which I would have given back).”

“She called me an a**hole for pulling that card. I didn’t like being rude but I really don’t want to be miserable the entire ride there and back. For now, trip is still on.”

“AITA here?”

The OP later added a few details about the trip: 

“Technically, we could take two vehicles. However, it is a long drive and as many alternate drivers we have for the vehicle, the better.”

“Plus, I just had back surgery and sitting can be uncomfortable for me after awhile. It would be unfair to my fiancé to make him drive a lot on a 20+ hour trip.”

“It makes the most sense to take one vehicle.”

“And we are staying at the same place (it’s a cabin) so we can’t split rooms or anything of that nature.”

Fellow Redditors weighed in by declaring:

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

Some agreed with the OP and said 20+ hours around cigarette smoke would be unbearable. 

“NTA. I’m 1000% with you on this. Some smokers don’t seem to understand how suffocating being exposed to smoking feels to non-smokers, especially in an enclosed space.”

“I once slept over at a friend’s parent’s house because she was driving me to another city, and as soon as I walked in the door, my eyes started to water, the scent of smoke was soooo strong, the walls which were supposed to be white were actually yellow, both parents were chain-smokers.”

“It was such a horrible experience, I barely slept, and my head was pounding all night.”

“Talk to them directly about smoking in the car and if they insist on smoking, then tell them you’re taking separate cars non-negotiable.”kreeves9

“NTA – Smoking in cars with people who don’t smoke is rude and disgusting. I smoked for 20 years and I would never force someone else to sit in my smoke. . . gross.”BeepBlipBlapBloop

Others argued the OP’s future in-laws were being selfish and could wait for stops. 

“Smokers are usually such selfish people – no way I could make a long trip in a car that reeked of cigarette smoke. I also get carsick, and my parents ended up getting a van when I was younger because I’d have to lay down if they were going to smoke.”

“Cigarettes are a filthy addiction – there’s no ‘accepted’ level of secondhand smoke exposure that is ‘safe’, it leaves a layer of sticky mess on everything, makes everything reek, destroys your sense of smell and enjoyment in foods, requires you to leave your loved ones just to feed the addiction, and often makes people incapable of seeing how truly entitled they are.”

“I get that this doesn’t apply to everyone; as I got older I knew some really self-aware smokers, but my entire family smoked growing up and it was garbage.”

“If you’re rearranging trips for your habits, you need to stop. No one would have blinked an eye of this had been about them trying to do heroin in the car on the way.”RedRixen83

“I’m a smoker myself, and they can wait for pit stops and bathroom breaks to light up. While nicotine withdrawal is annoying and can make you itchy with a capital B, it’s not life or death; and the longer wait between ciggies will probably do them some good.”

“They’re being extremely childish. NTA”beezleborb

Some instead questioned how realistic the actual trip was. 

“All I can wonder is why take a road trip if that is the case?”

“You can’t sit for long periods of time. You don’t want your person to drive that long. Nobody should be driving that much anyway, so why not break it up? Two people smoke heavily.”

“It’s like you’re trying to plan an impossible trip. It seems like everyone has a need that has to be met. There is no solution.”Mochene

“This is like one of those math logic puzzles:”

“‘Sally, Billy, Jack, and Jane are going on a 20-hour road trip. If Sally and Billy want to smoke every two hours and Jane needs to stretch her back every three hours, how many stops and much time will be added to their trip?'”mer-shark

“ESH. Is this 20hr travel time with required gas/smoke/stretch breaks or just a calculation of mph & distance?”

“Because stretch/bathroom/smoke/food/gas breaks are going to add hours to this trip.”

“Are you trying to take one car to drive 20 hrs straight thru with no sleep break? Y’all are going to be a tired hot angry mess when you get to your destination.”

“It’s going to take 2 days to recover from your trip when you get back home. Quit trying to do a car trip when you really just need to fly to your destination.”

“The airline won’t let you smoke, but on the flip side, a 20 hr car ride should turn into a flight 1/4 of the travel time.”

“Cost aside, driving this far is going to cost you more in your relationships and your sanity.” ~ Wavydaby

“Compromise means everyone gets screwed. Consensus means everyone gets their needs fulfilled.”

“You think that your needs are to go to place X, which is a 20 hour drive away. But that’s a destination, not a need.”

“Your in-laws’ needs are to have a nice anniversary trip in which they get to smoke as much as they want.”

“Your needs (and your fiance’s) are to have a nice trip where you don’t have to breathe smoke for 20 hours, and where you don’t do a lot of driving or even sit in a car for long periods.”

“What you should do is come up with a vacation plan which meets everyone’s needs. Maybe someplace closer where you can easily drive separately?”

“I think staying in a cabin with multiple pack a day smokers would also be really unpleasant.”

“Maybe driving vs. flying and one cabin instead of two is a financial decision, but is it worth the money you are spending to be miserable on your ‘vacation?'”

“I grew up with pretty bad asthma; also had parents who smoked. I could usually pull the asthma card to get them to moderate their smoking around me, especially since they had to pay for the specialist visits and biweekly shots.”

“I dearly wished they would quit (and they did, but probably cut their lifespans short by not doing it soon enough), but I understand what a powerful addiction nicotine is.” ~ FoolishStone

“ESH and the planning was piss poor. If you have to stop everytime they want to smoke it’s going to take way longer than 20 hours to get there. Just fly ffs.” ~ oxysmartass

“Your post is full of assumptions, it does seem reasonable to take the car with better mileage and the smoking is a completely different situation.”

“Stop assuming and speak to them like adults.” ~ theamazinglul

“INFO: why are going on two (once there, once back) 20 plus hour drives with two heavy smokers and one person recovering frm surgery?”

“This plans doesn’t seem workable.” ~ Glittering_knave

“ESH. I’m getting a pretty passive aggressive vibe from all of you here.”

“You chose to book this trip while recovering from back surgery. You chose to book a long drive with two heavy smokers.”

“Surprise! They don’t want to smoke at your convenience! And now you are being heavy handed about forcing your point of view.”

“I share your feelings about smoking. I wouldn’t want it either.”

“But you can’t change them. And it’s not very nice to expect them to smoke when you say it’s ok.”

“BTW. Your MIL is doing exactly what you are doing by insisting you take her car, no exceptions. Literally the exact same behavior.”

“Take two cars or postpone the trip to when you are fully recovered.” ~ ebwoods1

“What was your plan to accommodate their smoking? It is unrealistic to assume they just won’t smoke for 20+ hours if their habit is a pack a day.”

“How frequently will you be stopping to let them smoke (outside of the car)? How long will it take for them to air out sufficiently so your car doesn’t smell?”

I 100% support that you shouldn’t sit in a smoky car. I also am not at all surprised that the in-laws don’t want to spend 15 hours detoxing while driving.”

“ESH because both sides should be addressing the real issue directly instead of pretending it is about the car.” ~ Maggie_Mayhem_1

“ESH. Why would you choose a destination that is so far away that everyone will be miserable getting there? You have your back issues, the in-laws have a smoking addiction.”

“It might be better to postpone the trip until you aren’t dependent on your in-laws to get there safely.”

“20 hours in a car with a bad back trapped with smokers sounds like a trip from hell, regardless of who’s car you are driving.” ~ cassowary32

“ESH. You need to be direct about what you want and what you have to sacrifice to get it.”

“Take two cars and accept the longer journey.” ~ Substantial-Tea7419

“I didn’t see anywhere in your post that you discussed your problem being that you don’t want to be in the car with them smoking?”

“I think you need to be direct.” ~ akelew

It can be extremely hard to organize a functional and fun trip, especially when accommodating people with different wants and needs.

But it seems like a kind gesture for this young couple to invite the in-laws along for their anniversary, so hopefully, something can be worked out.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.