When a close friend or family member falls on hard times, our first inclination is to offer help any way we can.
Specifically, financial help.
While this help is usually always appreciated by those who need it, constantly offering financial assistance can also be risky.
Those we offer it to may come to expect it, and often don’t take it well if we stop offering our help.
The sister-in-law [SIL] of a recent Redditor found herself in a precarious situation, resulting in her owing far more money than her family had.
Leading to the original poster (OP) to offer his help, even though it was still quite a stretch for him.
Unfortunately, the OP’s SIL found herself in this position twice more, and when the OP told her he simply wasn’t capable of helping her anymore, she and her partner did not take the news well at all.
Wondering if he did the right thing, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for refusing to cover the hospital expenses related to my sister-in-law’s childbirth?”
The OP explained how after twice helping his sister out with medical expenses, he had to draw the line the third time.
“My immediate family consists of me (27 M[ale]), my wife (29 F[emale]), and our son (8M).”
“We rely solely on my income to make ends meet, and while it is sufficient for our own needs, we don’t have any extra money to spare.”
“My wife’s older sister (31 F[emale]) is going through financial difficulties due to her poor choice in a partner.”
“Her husband was incarcerated for theft while she was pregnant with their first child.”
“Out of sympathy, we assisted her with everything and paid for her pregnancy-related expenses.”
“However, as soon as her husband was released, she became pregnant again.”
“Her husband is lazy and only works a few days per month, sometimes going for months without any employment.”
“Given their situation, I ended up financially supporting her second pregnancy as well.”
“On both occasions, we also gifted her some money.”
“Shortly after giving birth to her second child, she became pregnant again with a third baby.”
“At this time, my family was undergoing significant adjustments in our own lives, which involved substantial expenses.”
“During her pregnancy, she repeatedly asked for loans that she never repaid, but we anticipated this and didn’t plan on asking for the money back.”
“When the expected date of her third child’s birth arrived, we visited the hospital and provided a monetary gift as we always had done.”
“After the baby was born, the hospital expenses had to be paid, and the sister’s husband (38 M) and his family looked at me when the bill arrived.”
“I remained silent, and he handed me the bill.”
“I then explained that I couldn’t cover the hospital expenses this time.”
“I told him that we had never agreed upon it in the first place.”
“Additionally, I pointed out that the amount we had gifted her was roughly the same as the hospital bill, so it should have covered it.”
“The husband became angry and started speaking negatively about me.”
“He called me an a-hole for not paying.”
“His family members also appeared angry and openly criticized both me and my wife.”
“I responded by saying that they cannot expect me to pay when we didn’t agree upon it beforehand.”
“We’re from a developing country where government assistance is rare and insufficient.”
“Banking is limited, with most people relying on cash.”
“Insurance is almost non-existent, and upfront payment is required for everything.”
“Loans are mostly inaccessible to the general population.”
‘Private hospitals are expensive, while government hospitals are relatively more affordable but still require upfront payment.”
“While a few hospitals allow post-operation payment, it is still required within a short timeframe, usually within a few days, before leaving the premises.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
The Reddit community unanimously agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for refusing to pay his SIL’s medical expenses for a third time.
Everyone agreed that the OP was being extremely generous in offering his help for his SIL’s first two pregnancies, but his SIL should not have expected it for the third, as he was under no obligation to do so.
“Nothing stopping those family members from helping.”
“Let’s be honest.”
“Your SiL and her husband make horrible choices.”
“These choices are not your responsibility to pay for.”
“But you should stop enabling your SIL.”
“It must be super difficult to see her in this situation, but as long as you provide financial support, she has no reason to change her situation.”- DragonflyOk9277
“You need to draw a FIRM boundary regarding paying for your immediate family only.”
“If your SIL wants to keep getting pregnant, then the kids’ sperm donor can work a full-time job to pay for them.”- Comfortable-Sea-2454
“If the husbands and his family are upset, they can open their wallets and shut their mouths.”
“Frankly, you’re a better person than me. I wouldn’t have paid for any of the expenses for any of the children.”- sh1tsawantsays
“No one is entitled to your money, but you did it to yourself in all honesty.”
“Stop supporting them.”
“If they struggle that’s their own fault because there’s two adults in that home.”
“Also tell his family to pay the damn bill before they even comment on you.”- Vivid-Rent7730
“The level of entitlement your wife’s sister/husband’s family have is staggering.”
“You went so far above and beyond what anyone could possibly expect, and they are so ungrateful!”
“The set of expenses for baby 1 was a surprise, and she should have counted her lucky stars and made sure she could provide for her own care after that.”
“Paying for baby 2 is more than any reasonable person would or should accept, but the fact that they expected it is troubling.”
“Then the expectations for baby 3 are just infuriating.”
“I would never give them another penny.”- Ok_Expression7723
“You are obviously NTA.”
“Stop supporting this lazy couple that doesn’t know how to use protection or practice family planning.”
“Choices have consequences. It’s time they dealt with the consequences of their very poor choices.”
“You have been overly kind to them in the past. It’s time to step back and let them step up.”
“All that money should’ve been spent on you and your family yet you let it go to SIL’s family, it’s time that stops.”- chakz98
“The thing is, you created expectations on their part when you paid before.”
“They assumed that you’d shell out the money like you’ve done in the past.”
“That is on them.”- Straysmom
“But you and your wife need to sit down and have a discussion about no longer helping her sister financially.”
“Even with big presents like this.”
“The kids when they get older enough get birthday and holiday presents but the two of you need to focus on your family and covering your expenses.”
“There are ways you can help people that aren’t financial.”
“By all means do that.”
“But don’t be their piggy bank.”
“And if the only help they want from you is financially, you may need to be prepared to be there for your spouse when her sister is (1) mad at her and (2) pulls away from her.”- rak1882
“You need to cover all of your bases when dealing with people like this.”
“Think of all the loopholes, not just in the things below, and close them off completely.”
“The last thing you need is a bunch of losers trying to get you to pay for everything they need.”
“Your sister-in-law needs to learn to keep her legs closed, period.”
“She also needs to ditch the loser.”
“Staying together ‘for the kids’ is the worst thing anyone can do, especially to the kids.”
“If she keeps going back to the loser, she’s going to keep getting knocked up and you’re going to be expected to foot the bill.”
“It’ll never end.”
“Apparently his entire family are losers, not just him because they all seem to think it’s your responsibility to pay for this stuff over and over, just because you did it the first two times.”
“It’s actually their responsibility.”
“Have a family meeting and tell everyone on both sides of the family you’re not doing this ever again.”
“The first two times were because loser was in the clink, and SIL had nowhere else to go in her condition.”
“Don’t be afraid to tell everyone at the table what losers he and his side of the family are, and enumerate all of the ways this is true.”
“Ask SIL if she really wants to have and raise any more kids with someone who keeps getting arrested and who won’t provide the basic necessities for his own family.”
“How does anyone in his family think that’s ok?”
“Make sure SIL and hubby know that preventing another pregnancy is all on them, and if they don’t start using some sort of protection they’ll have way more mouths to feed than they can afford instead of just the 3, which I’m sure already places a burden on their meager finances.”
“If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.”
“If SIL wants to be able to provide for her children, she needs to get a job.”
“She can ask her parents, his parents, or anyone else in their circle of friends and family for help with childcare, but you and your wife will absolutely not make yourselves available.”
“You need to communicate this abundantly clear.”
“You will see them at family deals, but not other times.”
“Also, don’t let them entrap you or your wife into becoming the designated childminders at these family things.”
“These people are master freeloaders, especially hubby and his family.”
“They will go to any lengths to not have to do any work and instead foist it on someone else, then blame them for anything that goes wrong.”
“I hope you and your wife stay as far away from these people as possible unless SIL has an epiphany and leaves the guy in the dust.”- sharirogers
One can certainly sympathize with the situation of the OP’s sister-in-law.
Even so, being a grown woman, she can’t constantly expect others to bail her out when she hits financial hardships and has to start taking some responsibility for her own life.
Particularly as the OP gave her money, he didn’t really have to offer.