Deciding when someone is or isn’t part of the family should be mutually understood in a relationship to avoid conflict.
For some people it’s pretty straightforward—birth, adoption or marriage are the only acceptable ways to join their clan.
Others cite longevity of the relationship as the deciding factor on who’s in and who’s out.
While for some it’s all about feelings—if they feel like family then they’re part of the family.
When a birth, adoption, marriage person encounters a longevity or feelings person, misunderstandings and hurt feelings are inevitable.
A person dealing with that situation with their boyfriend’s mom turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
“AITA for not sharing a family recipe with someone who doesn’t consider me family?”
The original poster (OP) explained:
“My boyfriend Nick and I have been dating for 3 years, almost 4 now. Before this incident I got along great with his family.”
“I was invited to spend holidays with them and we exchanged gifts on birthdays so I thought we were pretty close. Every year Nick’s family goes on a trip, this summer the trip was to somewhere I really wanted to go.”
“I asked his mom, who was planning the trip, if I could tag along if I paid for myself. She said ‘sorry no but this is a family trip’ and I ‘wasn’t family yet’.”
“I told Nick and he said no one’s s/o was invited so I wasn’t the only one being excluded.”
“I was still upset but dropped the subject.”
“It’s now fall and the weather is getting cooler. Nick’s family was coming over so I decided to make my family’s chili recipe to celebrate the cold weather.”
“Nick and his family love my chili so I made sure there was enough for them to take home. Before Nick’s mom left she asked if I could share the recipe with her so she could make it for a work potluck.”
“I told her sorry but this is a secret family recipe. She asked ‘aren’t we already considered family’.”
“I replied ‘according to you we aren’t’.”
“After that she when ‘oh, OK’ then left.”
“After everyone was gone Nick told me I was being cruel. I reminded him that his mother was the one who said I wasn’t family first and she can’t pick and choose when we are.”
“He said that was a completely different situation and I was being petty. He left after that and has been cold to me for the past couple of days.”
“I don’t see how I’m in the wrong here. It’s OK for his mother to deny me something because we’re not family but when I do it I’m an a**hole?”
“Am I an a**hole or was my response justified?”
The OP summed up why they might be the a**hole.
“I may be the a**hole for not sharing a family recipe with my boyfriend’s mom even though we’ve known each other for almost 4 years.”
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
The majority of Redditors thought the OP was not the a**hole (NTA) with many suggesting the relationship is fatally flawed.
“NTA. Yeah, it’s different because this time his MOM is the one being disappointed.”
“This guy wouldn’t stick up for you when you suffered a major disappointment. His family traveled somewhere you always wanted to go. You weren’t allowed to join them, and he was fine with that because…that’s just the way it was.”
“But his mom suffers a minor disappointment and he’s willing to go to bat for her AND ice you out because…his mommy couldn’t get your chili recipe?”
“I hate how quick Reddit is to urge people to end relationships but in this case?”
“Girl, kick him to the curb. It doesn’t sound like your happiness will ever take priority over his mom’s.” ~ _hootyowlscissors
“NTA. ‘That was a completely different situation’. I agree with this. But not in your boyfriend’s favor.”
“A trip is just a one time trip, if things don’t work out between you and your boyfriend, they don’t have to keep you invited for their future trips.”
“A family recipe is a family recipe. Once you give it to them, they have it forever regardless. This absolutely requires more of a family status than a vacation.” ~ beefsmoke
“NTA. I am here for aaaaalllll the petty! She brought it on herself.”
“I couldn’t imagine being together 4 years and finding out they don’t see you as family, my husband’s mom welcomed me into theirs the first time I ever met her—3 months into dating!”
“If she had treated me like this years into being together and my husband was okay with it, I definitely would have rethought my standing not just in his family’s eyes but his as well.”
“It’s not just about a recipe or a trip, it’s about how they view you.” ~ haillordvecna
“NTA. TAKE THIS AS AN OMEN ON THE REST OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP.”
“Rules for thee, but not for mommy.” ~ cultqueennn
“Girl, dump this Mama’s boy and tell him you’re taking your next boyfriend on your trip.”
“And keep that recipe secret. You’re NTA.” ~ Putrid_Musician_7670
When a Redditor posted an INFO request…
“INFO – 1) Is it really a secret family recipe? 2) Is it really a family trip that SO’s are not allowed to attend? 3) How many family members have SO/spouses?”
…the OP responded:
“1) yes it’s only shared amongst family members both related by blood and marriage”
“2) yes I didn’t know non married SO’s were never invited, I thought I wasn’t allowed because I was the newest”
“3) Nick’s brother has a fiancé, sister has a husband and cousin has a boyfriend—only the sister’s husband is invited”
But since the answers were in a comment thread, most Redditors may not have seen them.
Some people agreed the OP was being petty, but weren’t fans.
“They aren’t even engaged AND no other significant others went on this ONE family vacation. That’s completely reasonable.”
“YTA and burning bridges for your own pride.” ~ ShakeItOff96
“YTA. His parents have set a family rule about not including unmarried significant others on vacation. Sounds reasonable when there are multiple siblings.”
“I think you made it awkward by inviting yourself. His mother gave you a fair and honest answer to your question, what else could she say? This was a conversation to have had with your fiance, not his mom.”
“After the recipe ‘gotcha’, everybody knows that you’re the type to plan and wait for the petty revenge moment.”
“Honestly, I would have thought this was masterclass if I’d read it in the sub it belongs in, but this is real life and it sounds like you just shot yourself in the foot in order to get that last laugh in.” ~ Prestigious_Cow_6669
“YTA- inserting yourself in their holiday when no one else was bringing partners is not the same as sharing a chili recipe. You sound petty.” ~ Calm_Violinist5256
“YTA, you’re being petty. There is a big difference between a family trip—where no one else’s SO was invited and a recipe.”
“If you were going on the trip would you share the recipe?” ~ Tabbytabs81
“YTA. That was petty. Not keeping the recipe a secret, but making it about their summer trip was petty AF.”
“You could have just said ‘maybe I’ll trust you with it after a wedding’ and laughed it off.”
“You haven’t gone on any of their summer trips in 3 years, no other SOs are invited, but you are throwing a temper tantrum because it’s in a really cool place this time and they won’t make an exception for you.” ~ C0V1Dsucks
“YTA. No, it certainly wasn’t cruel, but it was def petty and obnoxious. And you casually created a bad feeling between you, just because you’re sulking over a decision she made to have a family only trip.”
“Now your MIL is going to think less of you, and she’s going to like you less, and I don’t blame her. I hope it was worth it.” ~ HoshiJones
“YTA. You didn’t like how they treated you, and you retaliated by giving the same treatment passive aggressively back to them.”
“How a person who is not an A would respond: ‘Yes, here is the family recipe. By the way, I do consider you family, so when you excluded me from your family trip it hurt my feelings’.” ~ sws1138
“Soft YTA. A family vacation where no non-married partners are invited is BIG deal—especially since dedicated, quality time with your adult children is truly precious.”
“It would be quite different if they singled you out, but they clearly didn’t. If they didn’t let someone’s fiancé go, it would’ve been extremely unfair for you to go.”
“I say soft YTA because your actions are VERY petty and will likely have long term repercussions with your future relationship with your potential MIL.”
“So, you’re technically right, but being right doesn’t mean your actions won’t have consequences.” ~ AppropriateScience71
After receiving their judgment the OP provided an update.
“I had a talk with Nick and his mom. I explained how after all we’ve been through hearing her say I’m not family to my face hurt.”
“And it made me feel even worse when she only considered me family when she wanted something from me. His mom apologized and said she didn’t mean for it to come out that way.”
“She was trying to say the trip is like a reward for marriage or an official welcome gift. Nick apologized too saying he didn’t know what his mom told me.”
“He thought she just told me I couldn’t come, not that she didn’t consider me family. He admitted that seeing his mom sad overrode the rational part of his brain which is why he didn’t stop to think and immediately reacted in anger.”
“Although we talked it out Nick and his mom are walking on eggshells around me, not sure if this is better than them giving me the cold shoulder though.”
While the OP got the chance to talk it out with their boyfriend’s mom, it seems like it didn’t yield the results they wanted.
Only time will tell if this relationship goes back to a place where everyone is comfortable with each other… or if things will remain chili forever.