It’s important to be able to confide in our loved ones.
But what are we supposed to do when a loved one breaks our trust?
One mom, “Yofdle” on Reddit, wrote in to the “Am I the A**hole?” subReddit, asking if she reacted reasonably to her daughter-in-law’s breach of trust.
The OP (Original Poster) asked the sub:
“AITA (Am I the A**hole) for giving my kids unequal wedding gifts and honestly one gift sucked?”
The mom explained that with each of her children, she’s done her best to give them a quality gift on their wedding day.
“I have three children. When my oldest son got married my husband and I paid for the down payment on his house. When my daughter got married we were going to do the same but they chose to live in one of her FILs rental properties so my husband and I paid for all of the furniture.”
“I always assumed that when my youngest son got married we would do something similar.”
The OP’s feelings about gifts began to change after speaking to her in-law.
“My youngest married a woman I have issues with.”
“I was actually fine with her for a while, but once she asked me if I wanted grandchildren. I said I didn’t have particularly strong feelings. She began to cry and told me that her mom puts a lot of pressure on her to have kids and she doesn’t think she wants them, but she comes from a traditional family and her mom has called her broken and said she needs mental help.”
The OP saw this as an opportunity to share a piece of wisdom that no one ever gave to her.
“This [struck] a chord with me because I wish someone told me that I didn’t have to have children. I told her that she absolutely is not broken and she shouldn’t have kids if she doesn’t want them.”
“I confessed that I regretted having kids, I resent that no one made it clear to me that I shouldn’t have them if I want enthusiastic, and that [being] a mother had been very draining and unfulfilling and my husband and I struggled emotionally with how much we didn’t want to be parents.”
But there were serious consequences to being so honest.
“That b***h went home and told my son everything I said, and he told his siblings.”
“She said he had the right to know that I didn’t love him, which isn’t what I said at all.”
“Then she implied I was stupid for having kids I didn’t want, but she was considering doing the same, so she can’t be that smart either.”
After all of this transpired, the OP decided to go light on the gift-giving.
“This caused a lot of family drama and I told her that I’ll never forgive her and I’ll never view her as family.”
“They got married last year and I bought them a $50 gift off of the registry.”
“My son still brings it up on occasion, but I feel like I don’t owe them a house when she betrayed me like that.”
Fellow Redditors wrote in anonymously, rating the OP’s gifting behavior on the following scale:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some Redditors were infuriated by the OP’s treatment of her children.
“so first kid gets a house down payment (presumably something in the mid 5 figures?)”
“second kid gets… furniture (I’m guessing worth around 10k?)”
“third kid gets… 50$”
“I don’t think they needed her to tell them that you’re an unenthusiastic parent that regrets ever having kids.”
“YTA” – funkativity
“I think you must lose some self-awareness when you become a parent if you believe you know their feelings for a fact. I imagine a lot of people just put up with their parents casually blurting out devastating comments in order to avoid conflict. I don’t know anyone that has confronted their parents about every single thing they’ve said that hurt their feelings.” – scrapsforfourvel
“I think it’s on OP’s son to not have the emotional maturity to understand that his mom’s ‘confession’ was to comfort his conflicted fiance.”
“I know for a fact that my dad wasn’t ever sure about having kids but he’s a d**n a good dad and always has been – you know how that makes me feel? A lot of love, sympathy and respect for this man who put his preferences aside and did a great job anyway.”
“That’s how OP’s children would’ve reacted (had she actually been a good parent) or should’ve reacted (if she indeed was a good parent).” – mum_mom
Others agreed and said the OP never should have shared this bit of advice.
“Why in ch***t would you let your kids know that? Even worse, you had multiple ones? One is an accident, two plus is alllll on you guys.” – BulkyBear
“‘I never said I didn’t love you, just that I regret having you and that my life is worse being a parent than it would be if I wasn’t.’ You don’t need to say ‘I don’t love my kids’ verbatim for that to be the impression taken.” – PrettySneaky71
“Op can say that she wished someone had told her having kids was optional, and not really emphasise how much she regrets having them.”
“Saying ‘I wish someone had told me that having kids was optional and that not having them was a valid option, so that I thought about it more carefully and anticipated the impact it would have on my life ‘ is a subtle, but different thing to ‘I wish someone had told me having kids was optional, because I’ve always struggled with regret over having kids and all the negative impact having them had on me’. Or as least tempered it with pointing to all the love op has for their kids.”
“Sure, op didn’t say she didn’t love her kids, but it is pretty common to assume having regrets over something, means you wish [it] hadn’t happened. That’s a big thing to put on someone, especially someone who should be expected to primarily support the kid that is regretted (if loved).”
“Sure, hindsight makes it easy to see what one should have said. Though, yes, DIL did blow it out of proportion, and if it was just about that specific event, I’d say e s h. Op has decided to punish her child for marrying the woman who revealed a partial truth about her. But op doesn’t get to chose her DIL, only her child does.” – Sfb208
Some argued the OP got burned simply for trying to help her daughter-in-law.
“What the DIL did was two faced and back stabbing. She made OP feel like she could trust her with her feelings from back when she first at children and then turned that around and backstabbed her.”
“OP was clearly describing different feelings back then to now. DIL is a cruel person & due to what she did, they got what they deserved. NTA.” – 16Bunny
“OP was being supportive and telling the DIL that her feelings were valid and she was not alone with them. She did not tell the DIL that she did not love her kids. She was sharing the very real struggle that she and her husband had.” – tphatmcgee
“DIL was a jerk for going back OP’s back, twisting her words and causing a rift in the family. DIL sounds like she enjoys drama with the whole ‘he deserved to know’ bull.”
“I see why the $50 gift was given, I wouldn’t want to give DIL anything that would reward her betrayal. It’s a shame the son had to go along for that ride but oh well. A gift is a gift, no one’s entitled to 10k gifts just because.”
“Raising kids is hard. Even people who actively dreamt of being parents have a hard time. But most cultures/religions stress parenthood and even now, there’s a stigma that child-free people are selfish.”
“OP shared something very personal in an attempt to bond with DIL and assure her that it’s okay not to have children. A lot of women would have felt relief to hear such words coming from a MIL because they’re usually the ones to stress for grandchildren. NTA.” – ClawedRavenesque
A few pointed out the daughter-in-law didn’t burn the OP but rather put her husband first.
“DIL’s first loyalty is to her partner and this ‘confidence’ was about him. OP is TA for putting DIL in the position where she had to betray one of them.” – funkativity
“I personally believe you should never tell a person something that you don’t want their spouse to know.”
“I think OP was dumb about how she said what she said. She should have just said she understood and there’s no pressure to have kids if she doesn’t want them. I don’t think OP is wrong for feeling what they feel, but I think it was extremely naive to think that conversation wasn’t going to get back to her son.” – zarza_mora
“‘Hey don’t mention this to my son, your fiance, but I regret having him'”
“No one can reasonably expect someone to keep that secret.” – Dan-D-Lyon
“OP could’ve stopped after saying that DIL isn’t obligated to have kids and that being a parent was draining at times. Instead she went on to say that it was unfulfilling and they struggled with how much they didn’t want to be parents.”
“Regardless of how they feel now, that’s a pretty s**t thing for a parent to say to their DIL and puts her in a super awkward position. That isn’t the type of info you relay to an in-law.” – Blipblipbloop
After receiving many comments, the OP gave her final word on the situation.
“Edit: No one is going to change my mind that this woman did something horrible but I am going to buy my son a car, so he doesn’t have to be punished for what she did. Thanks for the advice.”
It must feel terrible to the OP to have shared such personal information, only for it to be leaked to other family members.
Still, the OP should consider how her current treatment of her daughter-in-law will impact her relationship with her son.
Though having children may not have been her first choice, maintaining positive relationships with them must be of a priority.