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Guy Stunned After Wife Refuses To Go To Dinner Where People Dress In Traditional Polish Garb

Dallas and John Heaton via Getty Images

New traditions can be really uncomfortable.  Culture shock is a real thing–experiencing moments of other people’s culture can feel unpleasant or even very, very wrong in extreme cases.  This can happen when traveling, but you can stay domestic and still be culture shocked.

Redditor tostolhhlbl found this to be true of his wife, who was severely uncomfortable when his mother was cooking a traditional Polish dinner in traditional Polish attire.  After making the choice to go anyway without her, she was extremely upset.

Unsure if he’d made the wrong decision, he went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for objective feedback from strangers:

“AITA I went to a dinner without my wife?”

Our original poster, or OP, talked about why his mother hosted these traditional dinners yearly.

“My(28M[ale]) mother hosts these dinners where she usually wears traditional/cultural clothes, cooks the traditional/cultural foods etc.”

“She wears traditional clothes because my dad loved seeing her dressed in them because he thought she looked beautiful in those clothes.”

“We can wear what we want. However, since the dinners are usually done in a traditional/cultural setting, all the guests wear something culturally appropriate.”

However OP’s wife isn’t thrilled with this prospect.

“My wife(24F[emale]) however doesn’t like wearing the culturally appropriate clothes and tells me its rude for my mom to host such dinners where people might feel uncomfortable.”

“I told her it isn’t even compulsory for anyone at the dinner to wear culturally appropriate clothes, most guests wear it because they see it as a fun theme for a dinner.”

“My mom is completely fine with guests wearing even a garbage bag to the dinner(not literally…. Haha).”

“I told her to wear what she likes and come to the dinner. She said she also feels excluded when she’s the only one to not be wearing culturally appropriate clothes.”

“So I told her that’s fine and she can stay at home and my mom wouldn’t feel offended or anything. I would go there, meet my mom, have dinner and come back as soon as possible.”

“She’s mad at me now. AITA?”

And OP clarified a few important details.

“Edit 1: my family is Polish. We live in the US but my mom likes to host these dinners as she misses her childhood home. My wife spent her childhood in Alaska. She’s not Polish.”

“Edit 2: this dinner usually takes place on my dad’s death anniversary as a way to remember him. My mom is usually very sad on this day so I go to comfort her.”

“Edit 3: after my father’s death when I was 3 months old my mom never remarried because she wasn’t able to get past his death. He died in a truck accident. He was walking and a drunk truck driver collided with him”

Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

People very much sided with OP here and were dismayed by his wife’s behavior.

“NTA. Your wife sounds like she’s just hostile toward your culture and she wants you to forget about the way you were raised and your family’s traditions. Your wife sucks and she’s TA.”

“She knew about all this before she married you and she’s acting like this is a big problem now? I don’t think so. She doesn’t have to go, I guess, but she can’t be mad if you do go.”

“She is trying to isolate and manipulate you. Not okay. Edit: I just read your edits. HOLY SH*T NO.”

“This is a dinner you have once a year on the anniversary of your dad’s death? And she not only won’t attend for your sake, but she doesn’t want you to attend?”

“Friend, I don’t like your wife. At all. This is a big red flag and I’m betting this is not isolated behavior.”

“I don’t know how much you have invested in this marriage, but if your wife can’t see the importance of an event like this to you and your family, I’m advising you to RUN. This woman is bad news.”-Ophelia550

“NTA. All of what this post said! My dad passed away when I was very young too and my mom never remarried.”

“My mom is very religious and does a mass for him every year on his anniversary or on the closest Sunday possible.”

“My husband is not a religious person at all but he will not only go, but take time off of work to be there for my mom because he knows this is important to my family.”

“She is not your partner, she is trying to take you away from your family and your culture.”-Odd-Interaction-9980

“NTA but your wife is. She was told she didn’t have to dress up. Your mum does it as it makes her remember the love from your father.”

“As it was a special bond. I want to get the outfits for my children. They have background polish on their grandfather’s side.”

“And my daughters middle name is a tribute to his polish grandmother. Could you share a picture of your parents together in their traditional dress?”-naoyavcgxgsa

“NTA. But.. what exactly is she mad for? That you’re going without her or that you’re leaving her at home? If she doesn’t want to dress up, that is up to her, she can still go and enjoy herself.”

“I personally think it’s great that your mom found a way to remember your dad and you’re a good son for supporting her.”

“Please don’t ever stop doing this. Your wife needs to understand that this isn’t about her and if she is uncomfortable, she can make other plans.”-Pikachu_Princess90

“NTA. Your wife has been given multiple invitations and an ‘out’ for having to dress up, but still says she doesn’t want to go.”

“Both you and Mom are gracious and understanding and don’t pressure her to attend. And NOW she is mad because you intend to go?”

“And she is obviously aware this is the anniversary of your father’s passing? Your wife is being unreasonable and controlling.”

“Hey, I grew up eating Ukrainian foods from my father’s family. It has a lot of similar foods to Polish. I would happily attend the dinner with you! Does she serve Pierogi?”-77Megg77

And people were questioning if her selfish behavior was intentional.

“My husband is Colombian and from day one I embraced his heritage and participated in whatever cultural events I was invited to.”

“Your wife is immature and insecure to think that something wonderful like this would ever be about just making her uncomfortable. Tell her to get over it.”

“It’s a part of your story and she has absolutely no right to begrudge you that. NTA at all.”-Gooncookies

“NTA – I just googled traditional polish clothing and she literally just has to wear a dress. What exactly is it that makes her uncomfortable? It’s not like she’s going to be the only one dressed up.”

“She’s complaining she doesn’t want to wear it and complaining she’ll feel singled out for not wearing it. What exactly is her problem?”

“You literally gave her every option: Wear the clothes, don’t wear the clothes, don’t have to come. The only options left are you not going as well or the ridiculous ‘she goes and you don’t.'”-lumpthefoff

“NTA. But why is your wife so rude to your Mum ? Shouting at her for sending recipes ? Refusing to go to your father’s remembrance dinner ?What IS going on here ?!”

“I think you need to dig a bit and find out, because you’ve said several times how much you love your Mum, but your wife is being really, really rude to her.”

“Why is that ? Has your Mum said anything to her to indicate to her that she should be a housewife ? Is your wife jealous of your relationship with your Mum ?”

“Why the vitriol about your Mum sending her recipes and wanting her to come to dinner ? Because its not misogyny – nothing your Mum has done even hints of misogyny.”

“Does your wife get angry or upset when you spend time with other family members or other friends ? Or is it just your Mum that sets her off…. ?”-Enlightened_Gardener

“NTA. Your wife has no right at all to criticize your mother for hosting a dinner in memory of your father that also honors their shared cultural heritage but also allows for guests to choose their own level of active participation in the cultural dress.”

“She also has no right to get mad at you for going to that dinner, again to honor your dad’s memory without her when she chose not to attend.”

“I would honestly tell her that, if she doesn’t get over herself, she can live alone, too.”-vodka_philosophy

“NTA. She can dress up and go, she can not dress up and still go, or she can stay home. None of these things mean you can’t go.”

“She’s the one excluding herself. ETA my MIL has hubby and I around twice a week, once for dinner and once for Sunday lunch.”

“I always dress up nice cause I like to make the effort. Everyone else wears sweatpants and a t-shirt. It’s not a big deal.”-EngineeringOwn2299

At the end, OP provided an update:

“Thank you guys for the overwhelming response. I did not expect all the love showered on my mom.”

“I spoke to my wife about what has happened, I showed her this post and she got emotional. She said that she was an only child and it was super overwhelming for her to meet my family.”

“As I have previously mentioned, my family is like a huge clan haha. About my mom, she said that her relatives usually asked her to be more ladylike all the time and she has a bad experience with other people telling her to cook.”

“When my mom sent her recipes, she felt like the cycle was repeating. I told her that her behaviour towards my mom was still very much unacceptable.”

“However, we agreed to let her leave my mom’s home for a while to get head space whenever she felt overwhelmed. She promised to be cordial with my mom and to try to bond at least.”

Hopefully OP and his wife’s experiment work out, and lead to a healthier relationship between OP’s mom and his wife.

Written by Mike Walsh

Mike is a writer, dancer, actor, and singer who recently graduated with his MFA from Columbia University. Mike's daily ambitions are to meet new dogs and make new puns on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikerowavables.