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Guy Balks After Manipulative Mother-In-Law Asks To Join Romantic Vacation With Wife In Hawaii

Couple on the beach in Hawaii
jhorrocks/Getty Images

There are few greater feelings than finding and marrying the love of your life.

Of course, what just about all great love stories fail to mention is that when getting married, your in-laws will become an active part of your life.

Those that are lucky find themselves having fine, sometimes excellent, relationships with their in-laws, but a sadly high number of people find themselves not getting along with their in-laws at all.

Redditor nmomtwwy was one of those people who seldom had a congenial conversation with his mother-in-law (MIL).

Even more upsettingly, the original poster (OP)’s wife was also never in a particularly good mood following a phone call or conversation with her mother.

Things came to a head during one such occasion when the OP made it abundantly clear that there was no way he would oblige the request his MIL was making on the phone.

Worried that he may have overreacted, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for telling my mother-in-law that there was no chance she’d get to go on vacation with us?”

The OP shared how his relationship with his mother-in-law went from bad to worse after she asked to join him and his wife on an upcoming trip.

“I feel awful about this but I also feel like I’m just setting a boundary, y’know?”

“So, to set up the story, I do not like my mother-in-law because she is extraordinarily good at manipulating my [36 M[ale]] wife [34 F[emale]].”

“She airs her grievances and then just expects my wife to sit there and take them.”

“We haven’t produced grandkids; my wife moved away from her hometown; we do not visit enough; we never invite her on our trips.”

“But my wife is still her daughter and tries to be nice, even if there’s an hour afterward where she feels like garbage after a phone call.”

“My wife called her yesterday for Mother’s Day, which is all good and great.”

“I was cleaning up around the house so I was wandering in and out of the bedroom where she was talking, and she said something like, ‘okay, I’ll ask him when we’re done. When we’re DONE, mom’.”

“So I popped my head in and my wife sighs and says, ‘Mom wants to come to Hawaii with us in July’.”

“Without two seconds of thinking, I replied, ‘absolutely no way’.”

“And I think MIL heard me because my wife waits for a beat and responds, ‘why not,’ and I say ‘because that would be stressful, not relaxing.'”

“Well WWIII went off right that second on the phone, including some stuff about being retired and needing things to do, and about how it’s Mother’s Day, so I was supposed to be nice to her, and a bunch more stuff that I frankly think is just manipulation.”

“I learned all this after the call was over and we debriefed.”

“I am deep in the doghouse here, and while I’d rather be the bad guy than my wife, I still don’t like it when I’m in trouble with someone.”


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 telling his MIL, in no uncertain terms, that she could not tag along on their vacation.

Everyone agreed that the OP was absolutely right to put his foot down and draw the line, and his MIL not only shouldn’t be welcome on what was intended as a romantic vacation but also needed to learn how to respect boundaries in her daughter’s marriage.


“Your MIL knew damn well she was calling on Mother’s Day to ask to go on the trip.”

“Sometimes spouses have to be the bad guy, and this was one of those times that you stepped up for your wife to correctly take.”

“Do not give in, and you are absolutely correct that it would be stressful.”- CapsFan1066


“Neither you or your wife have any obligation whatsoever to her parents.”

“Why does she continue to contact her mother when her mother makes her feel awful?”- HelenAngel

“NTA, I would never go on vacation with my mil, but that is for a number of reasons.”- aeroeagleAC

“NTA, but I think it is beyond time for your wife to put her mother on an information diet.”

“Planning a tropical holiday?”

“She can find out about it after it happened because it was a ‘spur of the moment’ trip.”

“Just because you spent 6 months planning this tropical holiday, doesn’t mean she needs to know about it.”

“Should also look into the Grey Rock Method with your wife and hopefully that helps make interacting with her mother easier.”- Suspended_Accountant


“We went to a family wedding, and everyone booked at the same hotel.”

“We booked a Air B&B down the street.”

“Make your boundaries known.”

“If/when you decide to have children she will cause them to have that same anxiety.”

“My 8 and 12 yr old nephew asked that MIL not come to Easter this year.”- kittycait2021

“NTA at all.”

“Keep those boundaries, mother’s day does not mean invite your mil on vacations planned for you and your wife.”

“Your mother in law having a boring retirement doesn’t obligate you to provide her with activities or trips either.”

“She is toxic to your wife and will ruin the trip.”- ProtectionFrequent18

“As someone that has had to deal with difficult parents in relationships, NTA.”

“It’s clear that MIL is, at best, not considerate of your wife’s desires.”

“Not only did she push to make the request, it had to be down ‘now’.”

“I think it is definitely fuel for a potentially uncomfy conversation between your wife and her seemingly difficult mother, though.”

“So try to be sympathetic to the fact that YOU don’t have to carry the load of the blowback.”-thebrianeno

“NTA but your wife is for putting you on the spot.”

“That should have been a conversation after the phone call.”- GiddyUp18

“NTA your MIL sounds like a treat.”

“If she wants to go to Hawaii, then she can take herself there.”

“Also your poor wife.”- jillb69872


“I’m going to be harsh here.”

“You described your wife as a people pleaser, and you realized on here that it’s most likely that your MIL planned this whole thing to manipulate your wife into agreeing to let her come on the trip.”

“Your wife needs to grow a spine.”

“She needs therapy to learn how to set boundaries and enforce them.”

“You can’t constantly be the bad guy who does it, especially since she’s mad at you for looking out for her best interest when she won’t do it herself.”

“If she wouldn’t tolerate this behavior from someone else then she shouldn’t tolerate it from her mom ‘because family’.”

“It’s a dumb reason to let people treat you like garbage.”

“Family are the people that love and support you and lift you up, not someone who manipulates and tears you down.”

“Speaking from personal experience, you learn to be a people pleaser because you’re trying to manage someone else’s emotions.”

“When you grow up with someone that throws a tantrum or worse when they don’t get their way, it becomes easier to just do what they want so you can avoid the blow up.”

“It becomes a habit you practice with everyone, not just the one volatile person.”

“In the end though you’re just making yourself miserable because other people learn real quick that you won’t stand up for yourself and will do whatever they want, so they keep pushing and taking more from you.”

“She desperately needs to learn how to say no and enforce it.”

“She can’t let you do it for her because her mom will just go around you.”

“Your wife needs to be the one to set the boundary and enforce the consequences or it’s only going to keep getting worse with your MIL.”- Silaquix


“That’s what toxic people do when you set boundaries with them.”

“The only way you’ll ever have any kind of peace with your MIL is if you give in every single time to her every whim.”

“Stand your ground, firmly and kindly.”- steampunk_ferret

It sadly seems that no matter what the OP and his wife do, they will always do something to offend or upset his MIL.

Leading one to believe that even if they did include her on their vacation, she would be looking for things to complain about the entire time.

Making for anything but a relaxing trip, just as the OP said.

That being said, this sort of relationship will not end up benefiting anyone if it continues to be this way.

Hopefully, with a few open conversations, they can all come to a place where not every conversation ends in tears or anger.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.