We always want to be mindful and respectful of the customs and traditions of other cultures.
Especially if we find ourselves marrying into a culture different from our own.
Needless to say, it can be very distressing if we say or do something we didn’t realize is considered disrespectful or insensitive to another culture, but moments like these can usually be taken as a learning opportunity to become more open-minded.
On the flip side, some very traditional families from specific cultures don’t take too kindly to their children marrying someone from outside their culture.
Such was the problem for Redditor Round-Tumbleweed2582, who despite her best efforts, was never welcomed into her husband’s family.
Largely owing to the fact that she came from a different culture from their own.
However, things recently reached a boiling point when the original poster (OP)’s sister-in-law (SIL) accused her of being disrespectful during a recent dinner, causing an even further divide.
Wondering if this was true, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**Hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for telling my SIL to but off and let me eat food the way I want?”
The OP explained why she had trouble accepting her SIL’s accusations that she was being disrespectful on a recent dinner out.
“I (36 F[emale]) am a white girl married into a Japanese family.”
“My husband’s family has never really accepted me because I am white, but they’re not that bad most of the time.”
“Usually, they are just cold but my SIL is very hostile, especially when it comes to food.”
“I don’t like Sushi and my SIL always tried to get me to eat it and has yelled at me for things like using too much soy sauce, eating my dumpling whole and not dipping it in sauce first, mixing wasabi with my soy sauce, drinking sake with rice, etc.”
“Recently we went out for dinner with them for my birthday. I am okay with chopsticks but I still struggle with them sometimes. I was trying to pick up a piece of meat and I just used one of the chopsticks to stab the meat and eat it.”
“SIL immediately started yelling at me, saying I was disrespectful.”
“I told her I would eat my food however I liked and to please mind her own business.’
“She always does this, and I have had enough. People can eat however they like.”
“I am sick of her picking at my food habits.”
“She said I was being disrespectful to her culture. I told her how I chose to eat food is my choice and to mind her own business.”
“Things got ugly and I left.”
“My husband stayed with them.”
“I have been married to him for 5 years and dating for 7, I have learned his language and speak Japanese with his family. His family has had none of that same respect for me. To this day, none of his family has ever tried Egyptian food or tried to learn the language. I have been expected to learn it even though they speak perfect English.”
“We live in Europe, yet I am always expected to conform to his culture.”
“Every time I ask for a fork, his family gets very offended so I can’t ask for one.”
“99% of the time, I do okay with chopsticks. This piece was just tiny and slippery.”
“I used the bottom chopstick to just poke it a little for extra grip, then used the other one.”
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 clapping back at her sister.
Everyone agreed that not only was the OP not being remotely disrespectful, but her SIL was blatantly bullying her, with many others shocked that her husband made no effort to stand up for her.
“Your husband’s behavior is a huge issue.”
‘The main problem here.”
“His sister bullies you because he allows it.”
“His refusal to shut this down is a pretty clear signal to her that she can treat you any way she wants to, so she does.”
“This is the only mention of him in this whole post.”
“Have you discussed his family’s hostility with him?”
“Have you asked him whether he thinks you disrespect them and their culture?”
“Sit down with him when you are feeling calm, and tell him how you feel, and ask him how he feels.”
“Ideally you should be able to just tell him to grow up and behave like a decent husband, but IRL that’s not usually very successful.”
“I’m really sorry this is happening to you.”
“One of my partner’s siblings absolutely hated me for years. It was really horrible.”
“The difference is that my partner did not take their sibling’s side and never condoned their behavior.”- Moose-Live
“My question is why would you go to a Sushi restaurant on YOUR birthday when you don’t like sushi?”
“It’s your birthday. Choose a place you enjoy.”
“And why would you be okay being treated like dirt by your spouse?”
“Forget the in-laws. Your husband should be the one defending you.”
“Most Asian cultures inherently put the men above the women. If he shut down this behavior from his family, you wouldn’t be here on Reddit.”
“Do you truly want to be with someone who doesn’t love you enough to stick up for you?”
“Hun, I would seriously consider if this relationship is worth a lifetime of this BS.”
“Him staying with his family after you left is very concerning.”- Wide-Heron-1015
“Your husband just asked for a divorce.”
“Give it to him.”
“He doesn’t defend you. He allowed you to be insulted until you had to leave the situation, and he still stayed with them.”
“SIL is, but your husband is the biggest problem.”- KronkLaSworda
“The fact that your husband has allowed his sister to bully you relentlessly for years is unacceptable, but on your birthday?”
“He seriously let you leave your own birthday dinner and stayed with them?”
“Why are you still married to a man that week?”
“He either agrees with their racist attitudes, or he doesn’t care enough about you to protect you from them.”
“Either way, you should leave him.”
“He’s never going to protect you.”
“Don’t waste any more of your life on someone like that.”- Cursd818
“Your husband chose his family over you.”
“On your birthday.”
“You have much bigger issues than his sister not respecting you – he himself doesn’t even respect you.”- Salty-Watermelon789
“I will say that stabbing food with chopsticks is very rude in Japanese culture because the only time they do it is for an offering to the dead, which might explain why your SIL would have acted that way at the time.”
“That said though you are definitely NTA.”
“Given that it’s not the first time she has attacked you for how you eat not to mention not allowing/offering a fork, which is incredibly rude and something Japanese people would normally never do, I’d say the family (and your husband, for not calling them on that kind of bullsh*t) are major a**holes.)
“The fact you also had to learn Japanese, but he shows no interest in learning your language and his family don’t show the slightest interest in your culture despite demanding you follow theirs shows that they are also a**holes.”- Strain_Pure
“NTA but you have a husband problem if he lets them attack you every time you see them.”
“I think you may need to really think if this is how you want this for the rest of your life to be.”
“If you really want to be with someone who will never stand up for you and lets his family belittle you every chance they seem to get?”- FutureOk6751
The OP later returned with an update, sharing how the incident ultimately affected her marriage:
“Some of these comments have opened my eyes to the ways my husband has been failing me, and I didn’t want to see it.”
“We talked today, and I asked him to live with his family.”
“We will be divorcing. I guess I never wanted to admit to myself how bad things were and how disrespectful his family was.”
“I learned their language when they never learned mine. I learned their customs when they didn’t learn mine, I celebrated their holidays when they didn’t bother to do the same.”
“Yet to them… I am still the ‘disrespectful’ one.”
Had the OP used the chopsticks in a deliberately mocking fashion, one could have understood why her SIL might have been offended.
However, it seems clear that the OP was merely trying to eat her food, and her SIL looked for another opportunity to make it clear that the OP wasn’t good enough for her brother.
One can only hope the OP’s soon-to-be former in-laws are happy that their bullying seemed to pay off.
And that the OP will not only find love again, but that she will find someone whose family will welcome her in with open arms and try to learn as much about her Egyptian culture as she will learn about them.