Boundaries are so important to any healthy relationship.
The nature of the relationship doesn’t change this fact.
Boundaries are vital.
What happens when standing up for boundaries isn’t enough? When you need to take other actions to ensure those metaphorical fences hold?
This was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) White-House1967 when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for advice.
“AITA for getting my wife a lockbox to keep her makeup because my daughter refused to stop taking it?”
First, an explanation of the background.
“I married my current wife Barbara (38) 2 years ago.”
“She and my daughter Molly (16) get along well.”
“They have lots of interests in common including makeup.”
“Molly loves makeup especially the more expensive stuff.”
Everything was fine, until…
“She, unfortunately, can not afford expensive brands because of money and so she started taking my wife’s makeup.”
“My wife works as a nurse. And has experience with makeup brands that she says are the best.”
“She buys her own makeup which in my opinion is expensive compared to what Molly has.”
“My wife wasn’t ok with Molly taking her makeup and brushes and damaging them but didn’t want to say anything out of politeness.”
“This went on for 2 months.”
“Molly has so far cost my wife money replacing expensive makeup that she kept taking without even asking.”
Previous conversations hadn’t changed the behavior.
“I, of course, had many conversations with Molly about it and her argument is always that women can share makeup and besides this is family and her stepmom is like a mother to her so why not take each other’s stuff.”
“I told her to stop and at least ask her stepmom before taking anything from the bedroom. She just shrugged and walked away.”
The situation escalated.
“Days ago my wife told me Molly took a whole set of makeup products and hasn’t returned it then said she threw it away when asked about it.”
“I was mad for my wife since she said she can’t tell Molly how upset she was and will just go buy replacement.”
OP then explained the issue at hand.
“I went out and bought my wife a lockbox and suggested she store her makeup there and she agreed.”
“I sat with Molly and told her she was punished for what she did and she happily took the punishment but threw a temper tantrum after I told her that I got my wife a lockbox to keep her makeup and how sad I was things had to come to that.”
“She said I don’t understand and that it’s logical and not weird to use her mother’s makeup products but I argued that it is unacceptable and just because my wife said nothing doesn’t mean what molly was doing was ok.”
“She started crying saying I know that she can not afford the makeup she used from her stepmom and that her stepmom can afford it and now I’m forcing her to go back to using cheap makeup that damages her skin.”
“She called me mean and selfish to do that instead of encouraging her shared interest in makeup with her stepmom.”
He was left to wonder:
Having laid out the problem, OP turned to Reddit for advice.
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: NTA
Some responses got right to the point.
“Molly wasn’t borrowing or sharing your wife’s makeup, she was stealing and destroying it.“~californiahapamama
There are also health concerns.
“Its also unhygienic for her to be using another persons makeup, especially the tools (brushes, etc)”
“She can get pink eye, facial warts (verucca), and herpes”
“Especially with a stepmom who’s a nurse, she could be a carrier for MRSA, and makeup sharing is an easy way to spread that.”
“One kid in drama class had herpes but was scared to say anything, next thing the school knows half the drama club got it from sharing pancake foundation.”~MiffedOrc91
Other responses felt that the issue ran deeper than mascara.
“OP’s daughter is doing everything just short of pissing on her dad in order to prove her priority in the home over her stepmother.”
“She’s upset because her dad figured it out and put a stop to it.”
“I expect there will be a great deal of flouncing and tantrums over the next few months, and probably demands to go live with her mother when none of it works.”~Ok_Cry_1741
“Yeah, I’m reading this thinking that OP has a bigger problem than JUST the make-up issue.”
“He’s got a daughter with a really warped sense of boundaries who won’t change her behavior even when she is corrected.”
“And she’s just outright stealing from her stepmother.”
“(And then either destroying expensive things that do not belong to her OR lying about having destroyed them in order to keep them.)”
“I also noticed that he does not mention Molly’s mother anywhere.”
“We don’t know if Molly spends any time with her, or has any hand in disciplining her.”
“We don’t actually know whether Molly’s mother is dead, or not.”
“Problems like this make me think that Molly is acting out for some reason.”
“She’s stealing, even after having been directly confronted.”
“She’s insisting on the idea that her step-mother MUST share everything with her (without asking beforehand for permission, but just taking what she wants at any time), in a way that makes me think somewhere inside her head, there’s an element of “I deserve this to make up for….” something.”
“Like, I’m glad OP says that Molly and his wife otherwise seem to get along, but?”
“There is something going on here underneath the surface, and it’s not good.”
“That’s what he really needs to attend to, at this point. And it might involve family therapy.”~eregyrn
Responses even gave suggestions.
“Ulta is starting to carry a lot of the same brands Sephora has. Not all, but much more than they used to.”
“I’d just like to point out that Ulta’s rewards tend to be better than Sephora’s Rouge program.”
“Ulta’s rewards program allows points to be redeemed as a cash discount on all merchandise in the store.”
“Sephora doesn’t do this and their major sales are usually in November (Rouge tier starts 11/5, btw) and April.”
“Ulta has sales, point multiplier events, emails, and such a LOT.”
“I love Sephora, but Ulta’s program is definitely better.”
“Where else can you spend $125 worth of points (when you have them) and not much of your own cash?”~Waterbaby8182
“There are TONS of good, relatively cheap makeup brands.”
“NYX, ELF, Wet n Wild, Colourpop, Makeup Revolution (and their billion sub-brands)… all of those have fantastic products for $1-10 an item.”
“Most of them have fantastic and well-known dupes for higher-end products.”
“Some of their things even outperform luxury brands.”
“She doesn’t need expensive makeup products, what she needs is a reality check.”~caffeinec*nt
Boundaries are important.
Healthy relationships depend on clear communication and solid boundaries. When those fall apart, the relationship can shatter with it.
Remember to check in with your boundaries, make sure they are defined and clearly understood.