When two people of different upbringings come together in a relationship, it can be an incredible experience.
But misunderstandings are fairly likely to happen, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor aitacultureclash was at a loss when her boyfriend accused her of imposing her cultural upbringing on him and his family when she brought gifts to his parents’ house.
But when it led to not being able to visit anymore, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure what to do next.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for ‘imposing my culture’ even though I thought I was just being nice?”
The OP was raised to bring a gift in politeness to someone’s home.
“Even though I (23 female) am American, my parents are immigrants and therefore I have a different cultural upbringing than most.”
“One thing that was hammered into my head from a young age was to always, always bring a small gift when visiting anyone’s house. It doesn’t matter if it’s family or friends or that one person you kind of know but don’t really like, bringing something is a must.”
“My boyfriend (28 male) and I have been dating for almost 4 years now and since we both work from home, he suggested we make dinner with his parents a weekly thing since we haven’t been able to see each other much for obvious reasons.”
“I love his parents, so obviously I agreed! Every week I made sure to bring something small to show my appreciation for them cooking for us (always using my own money): a small bottle of wine, their favorite dessert, some flowers, etc., and they always thanked me for it.”
“This has been going on for a few months and absolutely didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary until yesterday when my bf and I were preparing to head over.”
But the OP’s boyfriend didn’t agree with the OP’s actions.
“I’d gotten a cute vase of daffodils since luckily I’d found some in bloom and my boyfriend’s mom really loves them, but my boyfriend suddenly got really mad and asked why I kept bringing stuff over every week like his parents were ‘a charity case.'”
“Honestly, I got super confused and asked him what the problem was and that I’ve always done this with everyone, including his friends since we met.”
“I explained that it was a cultural thing but then he got even madder and told me to stop imposing my culture on everyone and it’s weird since I’m white.”
“At that point, I didn’t feel like going anywhere with him and just gave him the flowers and went for a walk while he drove over to dinner by himself.”
The situation escalated.
“After he came home, he still had the flowers, which he gave to me and told me he was sorry but his parents really were super annoyed with me constantly bringing stuff over like they can’t take care of themselves.”
“Later on, I got a text from his dad asking me to not come over for dinner anymore.”
“Now my boyfriend’s giving me the cold shoulder unless I give his parents a huge apology, but I really, truly don’t feel like I’m in the wrong for trying to be nice to them.”
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 thought the OP had done everything right.
“Wow. Cut your losses. Your boyfriend and his family are horribly ungrateful.”
“Moreover, from the description of your gifts, ‘a small bottle of wine, their favorite dessert, some flowers, etc.,’ their complaint is way out of line.”
“Wine, dessert, flowers? That’s not what you give to “charity cases,” since they seem to feel that you’re treating them as charity cases. It’s not like you were bringing grocery store gift cards or boxes of canned goods.”
“Suddenly it occurs to me that his father told you not to come to dinner anymore, but didn’t say why. And your boyfriend went to dinner alone.”
“I’d be interested in knowing what, exactly, your boyfriend said to his parents. Was it really because of the gift-giving, and that you were ‘imposing your culture on someone’? Or did your boyfriend embellish your reasons for not going? Or flat-out lie to his parents to make you look bad?”
“In any case, you are a gracious and well-mannered young lady, but you’re casting your pearls before swine. You can do better than this. Dump boyfriend and find someone who deserves you.”
“And need I even say it? NTA.” – Historical_Concept_7
“Those are perfectly normal gifts to bring to thank someone for cooking dinner and hosting!”
“I’m also pretty sure that the boyfriend is lying, especially considering they previously appreciated those gifts.”
“The OP should find out if she’s being tricked by texting the dad what looks like a sincere apology for the things the boyfriend said about.”
“Like, ‘I’m really sorry for bringing the gifts over, my boyfriend told me how it made you feel disrespected. I enjoyed your dinners and it was just my token of appreciation, I never meant to disrespect you.'” – stolethemorning
“Ya know, the craziest part is not that long ago it was pretty much customary here in the US to bring a small token of appreciation when invited over to someone else’s house. I remember my mom doing it some while I was growing up and I have the urge to do it myself now as an adult (I reign it to first-time visits or special events).”
“My mom says she was raised that way as OP and was the thing to do until more recently.”
“So if his parents are almost as old as mine they should know what a host’s gift is and appreciate it, and I second the message to text what you suggested.” – FuzzySquish_123
“And what about this “you are white” shit? Like white people don”t come from different cultures and backgrounds? Is he aware that there are white people in other contries? I mean, even Texans and New Yorkers have different cultures.” – Longjumping_Cook_275
Others agreed and thought the OP should move on.
“I’m Southern—you never show up empty-handed! What’s weird is this isn’t just American? In a lot of places, I’ve traveled it’s been customary to bring something when invited to someone’s home (fresh fruit to have with dessert, some beer, a trinket). And these weren’t Western cultures.”
“The boyfriend might’ve just wanted to cut his losses and was worried mom and dad were getting too attached to the thoughtful, respectful girlfriend. They may have no idea what the story is. Or they’re crazy rude, either way.” – queenkitsch
“I so confused like… is the culture clash that his family is from some culture that doesn’t do this because I’m American, my family has been American since before fucking America on both sides (I joke that my dad’s family were the original draft dodgers because half of them moved to Canada when the revolutionary war broke out).”
“I’ve always been taught to bring something like a bottle of wine or a dessert to a dinner at someone’s home. It’s just what you do.”
“OP just cut and run. Like even if he’s lying and misled his parents about why and his father is responding the way he did because of an untruth what does it matter to make sure he knows his son is lying? It’s still the son you’d have to deal with and he’s the AH here. Go find someone who appreciates common courtesy.” – TheVoicesSayHi
“I think he wants you to apologize by text so you don’t find out that he told his parents something completely untrue. If you get together in person, you’ll have the opportunity to check stories with each other.”
“Also, I know you don’t want to hear this, but please don’t marry this man.” – TenderLightning
After receiving feedback, the OP shared an update in a comment.
“I sat my boyfriend down after dragging him off his game and grilled him about what was happening, but he said I was being crazy when I started all this and to just let us write a text to his parents apologizing.”
“I said no and that we would go over to apologize, but he started freaking out which was the final straw.”
“He’s doing everything to get me to stay home but I’m going over and sorting this out since I tried calling anyway but the number’s out of order?”
The OP clearly felt conflicted after the feedback she received from her boyfriend, and potentially from his father, but the subReddit showed her support. They felt that what she was doing was kind and considerate, and a way to show her appreciation for someone else’s cooking.
She later returned with another update:
“After my last update I told my boyfriend I was sick and tired of him dancing around the issue with his parents and I was going to go over to their house whether he liked it or not. At this point I think he realized that whatever he was doing had backfired so he sat down all angry and told me he’d explain.”
“I sat and he told me that he’d done something very spur of the moment and that he’d texted me from his dad’s phone then blocked the number but begged me to listen. That he just needed to get his parents off me for a while and to not leave.”
“Apparently his parents had started hinting at him about marriage since my boyfriend and I talked a lot about it. I fully expected to marry him as I said in another comment, and was honestly expecting a proposal in late spring since that’s when we met.”
“Four years dating didn’t bother me but I was getting excited to settle down. However, my boyfriend apparently realized that he absolutely didn’t want to commit to anything and wanted to experiment and have fun since I ‘wasn’t being fun anymore’.”
“Honestly that just made me cry since we were each other’s firsts for everything and usually very good at communicating our needs.”
“His grand plan was to get him mad at me so I would beg for forgiveness and then he’d only accept an open relationship as an answer. Absolutely brilliant plan I know.”
“He’d made up his parents getting mad but didn’t expect me to blow off dinner completely and it’s like ‘hitting a jackpot’, his words not mine. He went over for dinner, hid the flowers and said we’d gotten into a huge fight but he was ‘going to fix it’ but I needed space.”
“After he confessed all this he said he was very sorry but really didn’t want to miss out on new experiences when he was still young and would I consider an open relationship but pretend ours was strained with his parents so they wouldn’t get suspicious?”
“And…..I laughed. I laughed his a** right out the door and told him absolutely not and to leave me alone while I packed because I wanted to have some new experiences too!!!”
“He never stopped begging me to stay but I left to sleep at a friend’s. After calming down for a few days I cemented the breakup and finally, actually went over to his parent’s.”
“My ex-boyfriend’s dad never even noticed the phone missing but still apologized and his mom was a mess. I did and still love them and will eat dinner there without him as often as I can.”
“I won’t lie that I’m not sad about four years down the drain, but that’s life. And if that was my ex’s best possible plan then I dodged the bullet by a mile.”
Rather, they were concerned about how the boyfriend was treating the OP, and whether the text from the father was really from him at all, but actually the boyfriend. Perhaps he was struggling with his own feelings and lashing out at OP’s behavior that was rooted in kindness.