Context is an important tool.
The ability to know not just the when and how but the why of a situation is crucial to our understanding of that situation and our opinion of it.
So when a relative stranger found a situation she didn’t agree with and began making judgments without context, Redditor and Original Poster (OP) made a judgment of his own.
OP brought their concerns to the Am I the A**hole (AITA) subreddit for a little more clarity.
“AITA for telling my wife’s friend to sleep on the streets?”
They started, of course, with context.
“My wife’s friend, ‘Lucy,’ came to stay with us for two weeks. She was close friends with my wife’s late mother, who my wife, ‘Elle,’ had a close relationship with.”
So a chance to make a new friend?
“Elle admits that she doesn’t know Lucy very well, but trusts her because of her relationship with her mum.”
“Lucy seems to hold old-fashioned, traditional views on ideas of modesty, femininity, and sexuality. Imagine her surprise when she finds a pole dancing pole in our basement.”
“Elle isn’t a professional pole dancer/performer by any means.”
“She just likes it – and she’s damn good at it too.”
It didn’t seem like Lucy was more than surprised.
“When Lucy saw the pole, she immediately asked Elle if she’s a prostitute or a ‘slutty stripper.’ Elle denied this, explained that she likes the art of it and it’s great for staying fit etc.”
Varied interests are important in a friendship…
“Lucy, for whatever reason, didn’t believe her.”
“She would make comments about Elle’s outfits like, ‘Of course you would wear something revealing to go shopping,’ or ‘Do you serve your “clients” food like this?’ or ‘Your mother would be so disappointed in you becoming a whore’.”
Well, that took a turn.
“Elle didn’t say anything (and didn’t want me to) but it’s clear that those comments hurt (especially those about her mum.) I asked Lucy to stop many times, but I think she just resorted to making comments when I wasn’t around.”
Things continued to fall apart.
“One night, I came home to find Lucy screaming at Elle.”
“She was calling her a whore, a disappointment to her mum, a disgrace for not attending her mum’s funeral (she couldn’t because of Covid) and that she should go back to ‘working on the streets.’ “
Apparently, the context wasn’t going to solve this after all.
“Elle was silent, so I stepped in and tried to calm her down. It took a few minutes, but once she was somewhat calm, I told her to leave.”
A decision was made…
“Lucy got mad and claimed that ‘I was making her sleep on the streets with the rest of Elle clientele.’ This comment made me roll my eyes and laugh a little bit, so I said yes.”
“It took another hour to get her to finally leave.”
“The next morning, Elle woke up to many, many missed phone calls and texts from Lucy and other family members, calling her names etc.”
The Family was not pleased.
“Her brother called me, saying that though Lucy may be terrible, we had to deal with it if she wanted a decent relationship with her family.”
A confusing conversation with OP’s brother did not help.
“Elle blocked Lucy and some other family members but is considering letting Lucy come back. I feel bad, as not only am I ruining the relationship between Elle and her family, I also caused Elle to practically be harassed.”
So OP offered up the situation for the judgment of Reddit but did add one final bit of clarity.
“Lucy doesn’t live in the same country as my wife and I. She thought she could save some money by staying with us as opposed to a hotel.”
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: Need more Information!
I know, right‽‽
There were just too many questions remaining for some.
“INFO: if they’re so concerned about where lucy stays why aren’t they opening their homes to her?”~KhalDrogHeaux
Of course, there were those who decided NTA anyway.
“Even if your wife was a professional dancer Lucy’s comments would be hurtful and ungrateful.”
“The only contact you should have with this woman is asking her and everyone who defends her why Lucy would even want to return to live with people who live in disrepute.”
“Wouldn’t her reputation be tarnished by association?” ~EmpressJainaSolo
“NTA, do they really expect you to allow someone to degrade and yell at your wife in YOUR home? That’s ridiculous.”~My-Username-Is-Dis
Naturally, there was consideration for OP’s wife.
“This is a good point that I do think a lot of people are missing here— you aren’t the one that has to deal with the bulk of the consequences.”
“You have as much right as she does to kick Lucy out, you share the home, but the fallout isn’t going to be shared equally.”
“You’re NTA, and you made the right choice. But don’t dismiss your wife too easily if she considers trying to make things right to keep her family.”
“I would consider that the wrong thing for myself, but it’s not my family.”
“Support her, let her know that she deserves better, but if, at the end of the day, she wants to consider letting Lucy back in, actually have a dialogue about it. It’s easy for all of us to say good riddance, but we’re not Elle.”~TimelessMeow
There was even a rather inventive alternative solution:
“Exactly. OP can tell his BIL that he’s reconsidered letting Lucy stay on the streets and is going to be paying her cab fare to BIL’s house. She’ll arrive in an hour.”
While a decision on OP’s eviction of “Lucy” required more context than was given, one thing is clear: Noone has the right to make you feel ashamed of how you live.
That is a lesson that requires little context indeed.