We all have family members that can be a little unaware of themselves.
For some families, they take the time to help their loved ones improve with a soft, guiding hand. For others, they make cutting remarks.
Redditor kicksjoysharkness is unsure which of these camps he falls into. To that end, he takes his story to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) board to be judged.
The original poster (OP) asks:
“AITA for telling my family that my brother earns less than his wife?”
It sounds bad, but here’s the full story:
“My brother (M[ale] 32), who we’ll call Luke is a good guy, but he’s very lazy. He’s always wanted money but never wanted to work for it.”
“His wife; (F[emale] 30) who we’ll call Jane, is awesome. Me and my wife are so happy he’s with her because she’s just very kind and funny, and has become a good friend to us as well as family member, particularly with my wife.”
“She has a high paying job. She live in a nice house, buy nice things, have a nice car etc. My brother has a pretty normal job, he’s not very ambitious and now that he’s with her, he’s content with that (which is totally fine by the way).”
“Jane has told my wife a couple times that she doesn’t mind paying for everything, but that he doesn’t like to talk about it in public, and get defensive if she mentions anything that she bought when friends or family are present, I have noticed this too.”
“Well, my parents got vaccinated so we all went there for dinner. It was a great time. At one point, my dad is taking about finances and saving, etc. And my brother mentions the house ‘he bought’ and the car ‘he bought’, me and my wife are rolling our eyes, Jane looks a little disgruntled.”
“And then, at one point he says ‘yes we have a simple relationship with money, I make it, she spends it!’ Like a joke, but joking about the wrong thing if that makes sense, because he’s alluding to the fact that this is true.”
“So I say ‘Luke, that’s a bit unfair. Jane is the bread winner in your household, and she bought the house and car didn’t she?’ He laughs and says ‘no!’ So I don’t bother after that.”
“He called me later and blasted me saying it was none of my businesses and so what if she bought those things. I said he should be a little more appreciative and respectful. We haven’t spoken since, and my mum and dad are annoyed that I said it because it made dinner awkward.”
“Jane appreciated it”
On one hand, it’s really difficult to justify even unintentional shaming of someone’s financial situation. On the other hand, it sounds like Luke was talking bigger than he should have.
AITA is there to judge the actions of OP and figure out who is the a-hole here.
This is done with one of the acronyms:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
The board easily determined that OP’s brother was TA in this situation.
“He brought this on himself when he kept going on about how only he paid for stuff. Normal couples say ‘we bought a house’. You just asked for some decency for his wife. NTA.” – Spinthiscity
“NTA. You should let him know that no one ever thinks less of him because of the money he makes.”
“Let him know you only think less of him when he puts his wife down and suggests in front of all of you that she doesn’t contribute to the household.” – 8foot10foot
“NTA. I was originally going to say you were the AH from the title because it wouldn’t be your place to tell anyone about your brother and his wife’s finances, but it sounds to me like you were just trying to defend your sister in law from your brothers comments which weren’t just untruthful, but purposefully mean spirited at his wife’s expense.”
“Maybe not the most opportune time to put him on blast, but he was lying AND making rude jokes about his wife and making her embarrassed and uncomfortable and you came to her defense. So not the AH.”
“Your brother, however, is a massive AH and I hope his wife keeps her finances separate.” – lnwint
“NTA I think it’s important to smack people like this upside the head when it’s called for. Why should he be allowed to perpetuate this idea that it is the mans responsibility to provide for the family, especially when that is not the case in his situation?”
“If Jane is okay with him being brought down a peg in his family’s eyes, I think it’s absolutely appropriate.” – owenamador
While most people commented that OP was NTA, others took a more nuanced approach. While they thought Luke was not the best person, they also weren’t big fans of OP’s actions.
He could have maybe found a better way or time to talk to his brother about this.
“ESH, you are a little. I get that you were defending Jane but this is her battle to fight. Probably should have talked to her privately about it ahead of time.”
“Yes she appreciated it but that’s just fortunate.” – bilgediver
“OP’s brother sucks for treating his wife that way. OP sucks for airing dirty laundry over family dinner. How does calling brother out change anything?”
“Seems like this is the first time brother was being boorish? OP could’ve talked to him in private. Or even talked to the parents in private after the fact.”
“If you’ve talked and he still does it, fine call him out.” – tanderbear
Even OP agreed with an ESH vote.
“ESH (except the wives)”
“Your brother is insecure and was rude to his wife. This was wrong on so many levels.”
“You’re rude because what you said was uncalled for. Their money is theirs, not yours. What they want to say about it is up to them.”
“There was no reason to say what you said except to embarrass you brother. If you said ‘That’s not fair, you’re married and have joint finances so you both paid’ that wouldn’t have been rude.”
“Just because someone is rude, doesn’t mean you have to be rude back.” – SnooMaps3443
“Yeah that’s a super fair take” – kicksjoysharkness
It’s definitely not a great idea to let someone just bad mouth people you care about. This is particularly worse when the person talking is also a loved one.
But how you handle it is up to you. The situation might warrant more immediate and direct action, but sometimes it can wait. It’s up to you how to handle it.