We talk a lot about the big cultural differences between the various countries of the world.
Whether it’s what side of the street we drive on, or the language we use or the proper way to greet a guest, as a global civilization we run into these culture shocks fairly often.
What happens, though, when the cultural difficulty isn’t with some foreign diplomat but with someone much closer to home?
This was the problem facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Sea-Tangerine-4123 when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for some outside perspectives.
“AITA for refusing to follow my MIL’s rules when I am in their house?”
OP began by explaining the context.
Me (20 Female) and my boyfriend (21 Male) have been together for 2.5 years.”
“We both currently live in Paris.”
“He is American but he came to France for his studies and decided to stay.”
“We have moved in together six months ago and everything is going great.”
“Because of covid, I never really got the chance to go to the US and meet is parents.”
With lighter restrictions, she decided to meet the parents.
“But since it is now possible, he really wanted me to go with him and visit them.”
“I was more than happy to go because obviously, it is very important for him.”
“When I met them they were very welcoming and at first we got along great.”
Everything was fine until…
“But then I was kind of confused/upset by their behaviour.”
“I knew his parents are religious, and it’s more than ok with me even if I am not.”
“I don’t think I was expecting that.”
“During our first meal, they then asked me if I knew any prayer and I said no.”
“His mother then told me ‘it’s the least you could know’ and I was like wtf ‘sorry but I don’t believe in god’.”
“Later she was showing me my room and his mother said that we will sleep in different room because it was ‘more appropriate’.”
“I have never seen an adult couple sleeping separately.”
“We live together so like why would she care?”
“Since it seems that the issue was about s*x I tried to reassure her by making a joke and she looked so offended by the fact that I had implied we were having sex, I felt like I had insulted her even though we are both adults.”
“Long story short I tried to convince her gently to let me sleep in the same room as him but I let it go since it was going nowhere.”
“I wasn’t happy to spend our vacation together in different rooms.”
“The last issue that really pushed me to stop accepting her behaviour was when she said that they would buy desert after going to church.”
“I was like ‘oh nice, maybe I could help by cooking the meal, while you are at church’.”
“She was shocked and told me they expected me to go with them to church.”
“I said no, that I didn’t want to go because I don’t believe in god so It makes me uncomfortable.”
“She was very upset and tried to make me change my mind but I stood my ground and said that I would not go.”
“After this, my boyfriend said that I was not respecting them.”
“I told him that I was 100% respecting their beliefs but she was the one not respecting mine.”
“Honestly I was a bit upset by his behaviour because while I agree me and his mother might see things differently.”
“I think it is healthy to explain to talk about why I disagree with calm and respect.”
“He insisted that I was wrong by not accepting their rules.”
OP was left to wonder:
“I thought about it and I am ready to see if maybe I was the a**hole?
Having explained the situation, OP turned the question to Reddit for outside opinions.
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: ESH
Some responses definitely came down on OP’s side.
“The biggest AH is your boyfriend for not warning you of the rules so you could make accommodation arrangements if so desired.”
“Trying to force you into prayer or to attend church is not respectful of your own spiritual autonomy, despite the common pressures of my fellow Americans.”
“Typically a guest should simply be allowed to participate or not as they see fit although sitting quietly and respectfully would be appropriate.”
“The separate room things is annoying but ultimately at the discretion of the hosts.”
“I’m assuming a fairly Southern or Midwestern area.”
“If someone tells me their ‘rules’ force me into religious practices that make me uncomfortable I’m bailing.”~ CuriosiT38
“Your BF is an idiot.”
“He should have known there were going to be culture clashes, and he did nothing to try to ease the obvious and impending clashes.”
“The clash over separate rooms I would call N-A-H there as it was a new (to you) request that made no sense.”
“You did agree to the rule after you realized that it was serious.”
“(Maybe you pushed a bit too hard, but that would be understandable if this was the first time you encountered this dynamic).”
“The clash over saying grace before the meal I put the mom as the AH solely for the comment ‘it’s the least you could know’.”
“She clearly doesn’t have any idea about how atheists live and expect them to conform to her beliefs.”
“Same again with the going to church.”
“So, overall, I think your BF and his mom are the AH, while I don’t think you are.”
“[edit for a word fix]” ~ egv78
Others suspected deeper issues with the boyfriend.
“He’s had 2 and a half years to tell her about his family and they act, why hasn’t he?“~ ShadesEmbrace03
A few got right to the point.
“NTA Dump the boyfriend. Go back to Paris alone. That is not a family you want to join.”~theDagman
While there was also a call for communication.
“Or instead maybe have a conversation about it.”
“Especially if the relationship isn’t something she wants to just throw away.”~ dev_macd
OP did return with an update.
“So I was very cold to my bf the last day because as you pointed out, he was responsible for most of the situation.”
“He tried apologizing but I really wanted to have a real talk.”
“It finally happened, just not like I was expecting.”
“The guy sneaked into my room like we were 15 lmao.”
“Basically telling me he was doing that to show me he can disobey his mother??”
“I told him that it only mattered if he was capable of doing so in front of her.”
“We had a long talk and he apologized for not preparing our trip better and thinking I had to just please them for a week just because we wouldn’t see them very much.”
“(Don’t worry I sent him back to his room right after, his mother can sleep peacefully).”
“He said he would be more supportive from now on and this morning he went for a walk with his mom and told her to respect my beliefs and to be more open about European culture, as it is where we will live.”
“We will talk more about cultural differences for our future life but honestly I think we should be ok, him and I live together and it works.”
“As some comments said, Reddit is an American website so I understand why the ESH, I had no idea it was a common sleeping situation for the US.”
“I will respect it.”
“Next time we will definitely rent our place because I really don’t agree with it.”
“Thank you for the help :)”
Whenever cultures clash, it’s always important to remember the most profound power at our disposal:
Always remember to be open with the people in your life.
Tell them about your cultural quirks, tell them all the things that make you the person you are and listen when they do the same.