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Guy Upsets Spouse By Repeatedly Traveling Abroad To Help His Family ‘Fix Things’

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There’s an old saying that when a person marries their partner, they’re also marrying their partner’s family.

But there absolutely should be limits to that concept, argued the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor noteveryoneshero was at her wit’s end with the extent of her husband’s international travels to fix his family’s problems for them.

But when his family began to push back against her, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was wrong to complain.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for not letting my husband fly to another country to help during a family ’emergency’?”

The OP didn’t like the pressures placed on her husband from his family.

“My FIL (Father-in-Law) is old and unwell, so now whenever there is an issue, my in-laws look towards my husband (oldest son) to solve them.”

“It’s not just his immediate family either; his entire extended family also expect the same thing.”

“It would be fine if we lived in the same country, but we don’t, so my husband often has to fly away just to solve an issue someone else could’ve fixed, or to play family judge, jury, and executioner.”

The latest issue had the OP at her wit’s end.

“The latest issues are the consequences of a series of bad decisions made by my BIL (Brother-in-Law) finally catching up to him.”

“He got someone that isn’t his wife pregnant and she’s threatening to blow his life up, and he got involved in a bad crowd and is now struggling to get out.”

“My MIL (Mother-in-Law) called my husband to ask him to come and fix things.”

“He told me and was planning to leave immediately, but I asked him not to go.”

“I don’t want to be left alone right now, we have a newborn baby, and my BIL is a big boy who knew what he was doing and can do just as much as my husband can to fix things.”

“I started crying when I asked him not to go and he ended up staying.”

The family pushed back against the OP’s wishes.

“A few days later, my BIL called me to beg me to let my husband come because he desperately needed his help and that it was a time-sensitive emergency.”

“I told him no and he said I was being selfish and that as a family, we should help each other during a crisis. Now, he’s angry at me.”

“My MIL also asked me to reconsider because the situation was causing stress for my FIL and having my husband there would help ease his worry.”

“Although he hasn’t said anything, my husband also clearly wants to go.”

“He’s on the phone constantly with his family and is trying to solve things from here but is very clearly frustrated that he can’t do more and that he isn’t there.”

“AITA?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some said the OP having a newborn was enough of a reason to stay home.

“It’s unreasonable to expect him to leave his life behind every time a problem arouses. He has his own family, job, and wife. They need to be self-reliant and let him have his own life. It can rapidly deteriorate from here.”

“I suppose that they don’t reimburse him for the flights and time off of work as well. That’s financial exploitation because he pays this money to be able to help them.”

“It’s unreasonable to expect him to leave his life behind every time a problem arouses. He has his own family, job, and wife. They need to be self-reliant and let him have his own life. It can rapidly deteriorate from here.” – Compensate1995

“NTA.”

“Newborn or no newborn, your husband really shouldn’t be constantly leaving you to go and solve his family’s issues for them. Surely they’re all adults and can figure it out?”

“If anything, your husband is enabling them every time they screw up because they know they can get him to fly home and try to fix everything. I’d put my foot down about this stuff unless you want this dynamic for the rest of your life.” – kq314

“What exactly is your husband supposed to do to get a grown man out of a pregnancy and cheating scandal and a bad crowd? Is he the only person able to resolve this due to some special skill or circumstance?”

“NTA. Convincing someone to have an abortion against their will makes someone AH. She might not be evil and is only threatening to blow up his life (i.e. tell his wife about the affair and baby I’m assuming?) because he is trying to force her to abort a baby he 50% made. If the wife doesn’t know yet, ESH.”

“The BIL is the definition of, ‘Well, if it isn’t the consequences of my own actions.’ He needs to figure it out alone. It is normal to help fix family problems, but it is not normal to get involved in someone else’s pregnancy and the bad crowd while they have a wife and baby at home.”

“What happens if OP’s husband gets hurt and he has a wife and kid? What if the baby gets sick while the husband is away? How is OP’s newborn going to grow up with his dad often away facing consequences of other people’s problems? How does this affect their livelihood and marriage?”

“This isn’t a normal family dynamic. The family needs to stop leaning on him for everything. Everyone feels ok asking OP’s husband to solve the problems because they aren’t giving anything up themselves, only he and his wife and newborn are.”

“They’re asking for too much. It is unusual to ask someone to put BIL’s well-being above his own.” – iwasthehat

Others agreed and said the husband needed to work on establishing boundaries.

“People need to grow up and manage their own life, problems, and issues. Yes, sometimes there are things where someone else would be helpful but that shouldn’t be the default for everything.”

“As for the husband …… boundaries! Create and enforce them!” – Ducky818

“My husband was like that. We lived in the same town as his parents. He worked in the family business, along with one of his older brothers. He was always the one to take care of everything.”

“At 64 he had a heart attack and died. I think the stress over the years contributed to the heart attack. The last years of his life he said that he wished he had done things differently. We were married almost 40 years.”

“We both loved each other and were best friends. You can be married to someone and get mad at them or the situation, and still have a good relationship.”

“You are NTA. Your husband isn’t the a**hole, either. The family needs to stop asking him for help.”

“Since we know that won’t happen, your husband needs to find a way to let go of his role. He needs to understand that loving people does not mean that he has to always fix their problems.”

“Maybe talking to a counselor will help. Or reading about the issue. The basic idea is: once someone is an adult, they are in charge of themselves.”

“There are times that everyone needs help, but in this case, your husband having to take the time and money to provide his physical presence to his family is wrong. Besides the expense, the time away from his wife and child is the big problem. Even if money isn’t an issue, the travel distance and time away is a big one.”

“I hope you can talk to him and help him realize that he isn’t at fault if he doesn’t go help his family. Especially in this case. BIL needs to take care of his own problems without involving the whole family.” – mjw217

“This needs a longer-term plan. You and he need boundaries, and some communication on when you can accept him leaving you along and when you cannot. Whether his father dying changes the situation – because it sounds like the burden on your husband will stay the same or increase with FIL gone.” – snarfblattinconcert

A few pointed out the husband was indirectly using the OP as a scapegoat.

“That is still using you as the excuse, shifting the blame to you. You already see the outcome of that as they now see you as the obstacle to your husband being at their beck and call.”

“If he didn’t want to shift the blame, he should have stated he doesn’t want to go because their drama is not his responsibility to solve. Instead, he brought you into it, and now you are facing the fallout.” – mizuryuu

“That’s still blaming you, you realize that, right? It’s saying, ‘If I didn’t have a wife or if my wife were more self-sufficient, I would be over immediately.'”

“He didn’t have to say it was because of you. He could have said it was work or just a bad time. Or he could have actually been assertive and told them that they needed to handle the issue themselves. He CHOSE to make you the bad guy here, even if unintentionally.” – Ryuugan80

While the OP was confused from being confronted by her husband’s family, the subReddit believed she had every right to request her husband to stay. He had already traveled five times in that same year to help the family with their problems, and with a newborn in the house, the OP would reasonably need more help than she used to.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.