Everyone makes mistakes is a phrase that we hear a lot – until the mistake is one we don’t approve of.
What happens when someone else’s mistake offends you so deeply that you lash out at them regardless of whether that mistake affects you directly?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Ok-Cat6411 when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for some outside opinions.
“AITA for getting frustrated with MIL not understanding what ’emotional affair’ means and saying she must have f*cked her way to the top?”
OP began with a background.
“MIL is a corporate lawyer.”
“She makes bank, has a corner office and went to one of the best law schools in the country.”
“Obviously she is very intelligent.”
She then explained the origin of her current issue.
“MIL is getting married in June and is bent out of shape because we are refusing to come (and what will her friends think) My BF doesn’t wish to attend, because she is marrying her affair partner.”
“MIL is very adamant that they never had sex while she was with FIL, but my BF has pointed out she still had an emotional affair, because how else do you fall in love while you are married?”
“My BF and I are both very anti-cheating and don’t spend much time with MIL due to that.”
“MIL desperately wants to be forgiven for two reasons, her parents judging her, and not wanting people to question where her son is at the wedding.”
“Honestly I hope she is happy.”
“She seems happy and that is saying something because I’ve known the woman for years and she was always just sad and quiet but is totally different now.”
“Anyway it got brought up again last night and my BF told MIL he doesn’t care if she was putting out or not, she still had an affair.”
“MIL said she doesn’t understand how an emotional affair is different from having a friend.”
“I explained it to her and she said she still doesn’t get it and that just sounds like friendship.”
“I tried a third time and MIL said it still doesn’t make sense.”
Then OP got to her actual problem.
“At this point I got frustrated and said how is she this dumb and this successful, did she f*ck her way to the top?”
“MIL was quiet and stared at me for a moment and then was like wow because I’ve never heard that one before and told me to get out.”
“A few people said I was too hard on her, but my BF thought it was hilarious.”
“I get I was kind of a dick, but I hate hate hate cheaters.”
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
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: YTA
Some responses were very direct.
“What a disgusting, sexist thing to say that had nothing whatsoever to do with the woman’s alleged emotional infidelity. The fact that your bf found it hilarious says a lot about him, too.”
“YTA” ~ whorlando_bloom
” ‘MIL was quiet and stared at me for a moment and then was like wow because I’ve never heard that one before and told me to get out.’ “
“By the sound of the MILs response, it seems like while working in a male-dominated field, it’s not the first time she’s heard that insult.”
“Makes it worse when it comes from someone close to her family” ~ FlyingHigh747
Others tried to explain why OP went too far.
“As a female corporate lawyer myself, I don’t think I’d ever forgive you for that comment if I was in your MIL’s shoes.”
“And maybe you don’t care since you don’t want to have a relationship with her but you clearly don’t appreciate the rampant sexism that she likely had to overcome to get that corner office.”
“If she took maternity leave at any point in her career (which I’m assuming she did), she likely had to fight like hell to keep her clients from being permanently poached by male colleagues until she came back.”
“She likely sat through countless meetings where, despite being the most senior person in the room, others deferred to her male counterparts.”
“The uncomfortable Ol’ Boys’ Club comments that you awkwardly laugh along with because it’s better to be in than out.”
“The constant microaggressions.”
“For you to demean her life’s accomplishments with such a disgusting comment is really unfathomably low on your part and makes you the overwhelming a**hole.”
“Frankly, regardless of your stance on cheating, you’re precisely the type of woman who sets other women back in the workplace.”
“Also, the concept of an emotional affair really only became mainstream in the last 10? years, so I can’t blame MIL for not fully appreciating that she was in one.”
“I’m not quite 30 but I remember overhearing conversations between women when I was younger where they were glad that their husband never actually ‘cheated,’ even if they were clearly emotionally involved with another woman.”
“So, yeah, cheaters suck.”
“Your MIL did a shady thing. But in this situation? YTA x1,000,000.” ~ pudgesquire
Commenters pointed out that OP was being cruelly judgmental.
“In your post ‘honestly I hope she happy. she seems happy and that is saying something. because I’ve known the woman for years and she is always sad and quiet, but is totally different now.’ “
“Then your comment ‘she left FIL to be with this man and was already using the words love and soul mate by the time she left’ “
“Did you ever stop to think she was miserable in her marriage and when she did meet someone new – whether it was an emotional affair or a friendship – that she found happiness??”
“You want her to be happy and then accuse her of sleeping her way to the top but ‘went to one of the best law schools and is obviously very intelligent ‘ “
“Hope you don’t fall off your high horse arsehole!” ~ smidget01
“My thoughts exactly.”
“People always say, ‘why cheat if you found someone else? Just leave the relationship.’ That’s what MIL did.”
“Emotional cheating is such a broad term but it sounds like MIL took a while to realize she was unhappy with her partner and would be better off with her fiance.”
“Was she just supposed to stay miserable forever?”
“OP really does live in some moral high horse fantasy world.”
“And she’s a sexist a**hole to boot.” ~ internettiquette
“Firstly, I loathe cheating.”
“It would be a deal-breaker for me, and for my husband who feels the same.”
“However, honestly, I feel really sorry for your MIL.”
“You said she was quiet and sad, and now she’s happy.”
“That implies she was in an unhappy marriage.”
“No, an emotional affair isn’t ideal, if that’s what it was, but intelligent and successful or not, it can take time to come to terms with your situation and find the courage to do something about it.”
“Sometimes you don’t realize how wrong something is for you until you catch a glimpse of another way.”
“You and your boyfriend seem to live in a world without any shades of grey though, which is leading you to be judgmental about a situation that ultimately didn’t involve you when unfolding.”
“What you said to her was absolutely disgusting and I’m not surprised she asked you to leave.”
“YTA for me.” ~ Jolly-Bandicoot7162
Some simply came to MIL’s defense.
“This has bugged me on this sub a lot.”
“People break their word all the time, and relationships are complicated.”
“One of the safest ways for an abused woman to get out of a bad situation is via cheating, essentially.”
“Financial control isn’t as hard to break free from, and they don’t have to spend the night alone.”
“Obviously this could be seen as an exception to the rule, but there isn’t a line between abusive and non-abusive relationships. Varying levels of toxicity can be present without it being fully abusive.”
“If they were sexting, they were doing something sexual so it isn’t just an emotional affair.”
“But, as someone for whom friendship and romance tends to blend, I can see how an emotional affair might sneak up on someone.”
“Also, if you’ve never had what you want, you might not even realize you want to leave until something happens.”
“Also… people make mistakes.”
“The idea that cheating means someone is now evil forever just isn’t realistic and itself involves a lack of empathy.”
“Relationships are way more complicated than just person who cheats doesn’t care.”
“Like, it’s obviously bad.”
“People can even abandon friendships because they don’t like that someone did it. But it’s not friggen unforgivable.” ~ whatthewhythehow
OP did return for some final thoughts.
“Edit for the people saying she didn’t cross any lines.”
“She spent literally every free second either with him or talking to him and FIL has shown us screenshots.”
“Even if I give her the benefit of the doubt that they weren’t banging, they were flirting, him talking about wanting a bl*w job in his office.”
“Talking about hating sleeping alone, she sent a picture of her breasts and asked if he liked her bathing suit for a work trip, freely saying I love you, and alluding to other physical affection.”
“She did cross several lines.”
Everyone makes mistakes.
We tend, though, to think of this more in terms of other people and never bother to look at our own behavior through the same lens.
Be cautious when issuing judgments on situations you don’t know or understand and always remember that the people in those positions are just people.
Above all, be kind.