It’s no secret that in-law relationships can be really stressful, especially if we feel like we constantly need to try to impress them.
But it’s even worse if we feel like we can’t be our true selves around them, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor aitathrowawaybf8 was conflicted after finally meeting his fiancée’s parents and seeing how many lies his future wife told her parents just in the attempt to keep the peace.
But when she insisted that she wasn’t asking that much of him, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he was being unfair by being uncomfortable with lying.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for leaving my girlfriend at her parents’ house?”
The OP didn’t meet his fiancée’s parents before proposing.
“My fiancée, Tara (21), and I (21) have been together for 3 years now.”
“She’s an amazing woman, smart and caring and beautiful. However, she has issues with her family.”
“Both of her parents are extremely religious, and her father is a priest. Tara and I don’t believe or practice, and her usual style would not be acceptable to them.”
“I know she sees her family a lot, despite it. I had only met her older brother, who likes me.”
“I recently proposed, and she said yes. We were so happy and I love her so much.”
The OP was shocked when he finally did meet them.
“However, we talked and think I should meet her parents. She clearly doesn’t love the idea, but can’t hide that she’s engaged from them”
“She warned me about how religious and strict they are, but I think she wasn’t clear enough.”
“I understood she didn’t want drama, but I underestimated how insane it was.”
“She dressed differently than usual, wore a cross, changed her earrings to be plainer, talked and acted COMPLETELY differently, and wasn’t affectionate.”
“She was a whole different person. It was weird, but I tried to go along with it for her.”
“Her parents were nice enough, and there didn’t seem to be any issues.”
“But Tara was straight up lying to them (e.g., talking about living with her friend, when she actually lives with me; about church when she has not gone).”
“I was uncomfortable lying, especially pretending that I’m someone I’m not. If she wants to say she’s dating a ‘nice Christian boy’ then date one.”
“And apparently, it was expected that I will join them for church, which I absolutely will not do.”
The OP tried to discuss his concerns with her about it.
“I didn’t say anything at the moment, but that night, I took Tara aside and we talked. I told her I didn’t like lying and I don’t want to pretend I’m someone else.”
“She basically told me we had to, and it’s just for the weekend.”
“I told her that I don’t want to spend the rest of my life hiding from her family, and Tara got really annoyed.”
“She told me that she doesn’t either, but it’s the only way she can see her siblings until they’re 18. But that’s at least 11 years of lying and pretending.”
“We couldn’t agree on it, and both of us were frustrated.”
The OP didn’t think he could lie anymore.
“So I ended up going home early. Tara lied and said it was because of work. But apparently, her parents didn’t accept it, because when Tara came home, she was furious with me.”
“She told me I just had to suck it up for one weekend for her, that she wasn’t asking for much.”
“But I disagree. I shouldn’t have to hide who I am, and I didn’t try to get her in trouble.”
“We argued about it and couldn’t agree, and she stayed with her older brother for the night.”
The OP felt conflicted after talking to a friend about it.
“I complained to my best friend, but he basically thinks that I’m being unfair.”
“He said that if I love her, and since she doesn’t force me to be around them often, I should suck it up.”
“He basically said it would be wrong to make her risk losing her siblings because her parents are crazy.”
“But like, that shouldn’t give her a free pass to just lie about us and me.”
“But I’m too involved in this, so maybe I’m just putting my feelings first.”
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 wondered how the couple could even possibly handle this in the future.
“The big problem here is that she has been dragging you into her lies. And she is not thinking about the big picture.”
“What are you going to do about the wedding? Have two different ceremonies, two different venues, two different dresses, two different everything so that she can have both the wedding she wants and the wedding her parents want for her?”
“What about kids? Unless you’re both willing to wait 11 years to start building your family, your kids will be dragged into this too. Let me tell you that children do not know the meaning of the word guile and lying doesn’t come naturally to toddlers.”
“The big thing here is that what she has going is not sustainable and I have serious doubts that it can work until her siblings turn 18.” – DramaticGirl6155
“What about your family and friends? Will they be at the wedding? How about holidays and parties, and family get-togethers in the future? Is your family expected to lie, or will they be cut out of everything?”
“Dude, the two of you have to sit down and discuss all of this. In detail. This isn’t something that will just sort itself out. If she’s not willing to go through this in detail, I’d suggest that you rethink the wedding. Or go to a therapist /marriage counselor, and tell the truth!” – androiddays
“NTA. She is not asking you to lie for one weekend, she is asking you to lie for the next decade. Then what? Her siblings are grown but her parents are older, so let’s not rock the boat now?”
“She should have been more upfront about the situation and the part you were expected to play. I think the two of you need to put a pause on the relationship until you can figure out how to manage her relationship with her family in a way that you are both comfortable with.”
“It may also be worth having a conversation with her about what (if any) financial support she plans to provide for her siblings if they decide to leave home at 18 without support from their parents. Or what would happen if one of the younger siblings had to leave home sooner (e.g. if one of them came out or was outed as LGBTQ+) and needed someone to take them in as a young teen.”
“Basically, there is a lot more to her family dynamic than you were previously aware of and that all needs to be discussed before you get married.” – Perturbed_Squirrel8879
“There is the assumption that her siblings will feel the same way as her. This may not be the case and they may turn out to be very religious or try to placate their parents for many reasons and not be on board with their lack of religion or piety. So why lie she has to get it over with and not hide her life and see where she stands.”
“I’ve had many friends have to do this and they basically told their parents this is whom I am marrying if you don’t like it tough shit. They eventually get with the program, especially since siblings, friends and family friends don’t care.” – sailorelf
“What is her expectation for the future? You didn’t see her family at all for the entire time you’ve been dating, so I’m getting the sense that she doesn’t spend much time with them either. Is this an issue of seeing them and poss attending church on Christmas and Easter? Or now that you’ve met them, is her expectation that you’ll be spending a lot more time with them?”
“The fact that they’ll cut her off from her siblings to me indicates that they are at least emotionally abusive. Is she scared of them outside of wanting to see her siblings? When she warned you about them being religious and conservative, did she downplay it, or did you think, eh it can’t be that bad and then get blindsided?”
“I’m asking these questions because I do think there’s a level of sacrifice with in-laws.”
“We are not religious but we went to church with my husband’s family 2-3 times/year, bc it’s an hour of our lives, and it’s important to the people he loves. I don’t curse as much around his parents, and I’m a bit more careful about what I say and how I act.”
“My husband still suffers from some MH stuff stemming from his childhood, but he’s not cutting them off, and so I show up. This isn’t lying; it’s just what I need to do to support him.”
“This could be completely different from what you’re experiencing, and if so, I’m really sorry to hear it bc this sounds really hard for both you and your fiancée. I hope you guys can get through it together, whether it’s through communicating yourselves or through counseling. Rooting for you guys!” – bberin
But one Redditor was insistent that the future wife really wasn’t asking too much.
“Whaaaat??? This may be the most wrong-headed post t I’ve seen here.”
“Tara is already LC (low-contact) with her parents, otherwise how would she have gotten engaged without them meeting the fiancé? You probably have parents who love you unconditionally; Tara doesn’t think she has that luxury.”
“What would your advice be to a gay child of homophobes? ‘Well, if you want to get married one day, you’ll have to come out to your parents, so why not risk being homeless and cut off from your siblings at 16?'”
“It’s not OP’s job to manage Tara’s parents, to figure out how to deal with them at the wedding (assuming they don’t elope), etc.”
“OP has probably made Tara’s life hugely more difficult and possibly had her relations with her siblings severed all because he had to live his truth to people he had never met before.”
“He couldn’t even manage one weekend. OP, if I were Tara I would dump your sanctimonious, self-righteous ass. She can’t trust you. YTA all the way, bud.” – PerturbedHamster
While the OP felt conflicted about what had happened, most of the subReddit was sure that the OP and his future wife needed to talk about this now until it graduated into even bigger problems, if not eventual divorce.
Though there was one Redditor who was certain the OP could lie on behalf of his wife, most of the subReddit couldn’t imagine living a happy life full of deceit.