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Parents Stunned After Son And His Wife Randomly Tell Them They Won’t Support Them In Old Age

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Expectations for how children will care for parents in their old age can vary wildly from family to family.

A person on Reddit found themself embroiled in drama when they and their husband decided to sit the husband’s parents down and inform them they have no intention of supporting them when they’re elderly.

They weren’t sure about how they’d handled things, so they went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for input.

In their since-deleted post, the Original Poster (OP) asked:

“AITA for sitting MIL [mother-in-law] and FIL [father-in-law] down and telling them we will not support them in their old age and they can’t live with us?”

OP explained:

“My husband’s parents have been divorced for 15 years and both remarried within a year or two of splitting. FIL and his wife are not doing well financially. He has a gambling problem, she has a shopping problem, and they live way beyond their means.”

“I try to mind my own business, but my husband is the only child, and I worry that they think we are going to provide in their old age.”

“MIL doesn’t work. She is married to a man who works in commercial real estate and is very successful. He owns a share of the firm, is semi-retired and they live very well. We aren’t close to MIL. We are civil when we see her a couple times a year, but there isn’t much of a relationship.”

“We decided that we had to talk to FIL about his retirement plans and the future. We want him to have fair warning and understand that we are not going to be helping. We decided to talk to MIL as well, not that she expects anything, but to make it less embarrassing for FIL and to be fair.”

“We asked them both to lunch and told them that they will never be welcome to live with us, and that we are not going to fund them in their old age, so save accordingly. FIL seemed embarrassed but said he understood. MIL began to get angry and wanted to know why she was there.”

“I explained we were just being upfront, but she kept demanding to know if she had ever asked us for anything. she said we wasted her time, we haven’t seen each other since Christmas, and why would she even want to live with people she sees two or three times a year. She then said she doesn’t even like us, which seemed kind of dramatic, and stormed off.”

“I am somewhat friendly with MIL’s stepdaughter and I heard from her that MIL’s husband is pissed. He is pretty old fashioned about gender roles and the man providing, and I guess he took it as a huge insult. MIL is apparently offended because she thinks I lumped her in with her ex. I think everyone is being crazy dramatic.”

People on Reddit were then asked to judge who was in the wrong in this conflict based on the following categories:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Perhaps unsurprisingly, most were utterly mystified by OP’s behavior.

“YTA. You took someone out to dinner who never asked to live with you, and who you barely see, just to tell them they’re not welcome to live with you? And you’re going to sit there and pretend you’re completely shocked that they might take offence?”

“Also you WERE wasting her time.”FermisFolly

“Waste someone’s time to set boundaries that were never needed -> shocked Pikachu face when they’re offended.”Reality_Rose

“I just want the OP to know – I’m not taking care of you or your husband when you’re old. I know I’m a stranger on the internet, but just wanted to clarify that since you picked the Jeopardy category ‘things that don’t need to be said’.”

“Also shout out to your MIL. I legit might take her in after that response!”checkinisatnoon

“They used her as a meat shield from FIL. Total AH move. When you do something offensive, be prepared for someone to be offended.”singerbeerguy

“I’m so embarrassed right now for OP. Like, cringing so hard at them doing this and then not understanding why its fu*king weird and a**holey.”Iownamovingcastle

“You insulted them both. I’m seeing now why MIL doesn’t come around you much. YTA”Littleballoffur22

“Same goes for FIL, really. He and his wife may be more likely to ask at some point in the future, but they haven’t asked yet and this dinner was ridiculous. Their son could have found a way to bring it up at a better time when it was appropriate to the conversation.”

“Like if the FIL had said something about money, son could have said something like, ‘Dad, I hope you know that OP and I won’t be able to help you out in the future, so please plan accordingly for retirement.'”indi50

“YTA here OP. If you are truly concerned about FIL and Step-MIL needing to depend on you and your spouse in future, there are waaaaay nicer ways to go about things.”

“As in, ‘hey FIL, I’ve been reading up on this investment thing here and I think it sounds intriguing. Perhaps it’s something you and your wife could think about in terms of retirement.'”

“You know, something HELPFUL and ENCOURAGING. From what I’ve read, it doesn’t seem like FIL is expecting help. But, even if he were in dire straights down the road, he is still your spouse’s father. Which means he’s family.”

“I don’t agree with enabling people, but not wanting FIL and wife to potentially be a ‘burden’ sounds a little bit selfish. Life happens. What if you and your husband hit hard times? Would FIL help you guys? Because that’s what most families who care do. Just food for thought.”

“And poor MIL. She was just minding her own, and you pull her in ‘to be fair’? If you see FIL as the potential problem, and wanted him to not be so embarrassed, it seems like you would have done this more constructively in a PRIVATE setting and not in the presence of his ex-wife. To me, that feels like it would be way more embarrassing for him. And you would have definitely left her out of this altogether.”Lonerizme

Hopefully OP and their husband can learn to have a bit more tact in the future.

Written by Peter Karleby

Peter Karleby is a writer, content producer and performer originally from Michigan. His writing has also appeared on YourTango, Delish and Medium, and he has produced content for NBC, The New York Times and The CW, among others. When not working, he can be found tripping over his own feet on a hiking trail while singing Madonna songs to ward off lurking bears.