It’s no secret that some in-law relationships simply do not get along, no matter how good the core relationship or marriage is.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean a person can’t still be a good host, collectively shrugged the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor nothostingaita was unconvinced that they held any responsibility in keeping their mother-in-law (MIL) comfortable while she visited them for three weeks.
But when their wife said they were being a jerk and pointed out her mother was going through a difficult time, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if they were somehow in the wrong after all.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my wife it’s not my responsibility to make her mom feel comfortable while visiting?”
The OP’s wife was arranging a time for their mother-in-law to visit.
“My wife and MIL (Mother-in-Law) have been trying for the past few months to find a time for MIL to come to visit us.”
“MIL is currently separated from her husband (my wife’s stepdad) and is kind of bouncing from family member to family member helping them out.”
“She’s been house-sitting, dog-sitting, cleaning, painting, organizing, etc. in all the different places she goes.”
“I honestly do not want that kind of help at our place, because I don’t think we need it.”
“But my wife wants MIL to visit so she can at least spend time with our 3-year-old son.”
The OP wasn’t particularly excited about the visit.
“Two weeks ago, MIL texted my wife on a Thursday to let her know she would be coming the next day.”
“Not the most respectful or convenient thing to give one day notice in my opinion, but not the end of the world.”
“She also told my wife that she plans on spending 2-3 weeks with us.”
“Again, that seems like a long visit and a bit presumptuous on MIL’s part.”
“I told my wife I would appreciate a bit more advance notice, and she just kind of said this was what works for MIL.”
“I asked about the long stay, and my wife said that she has a lot of work stuff going on the next couple weeks in the evenings and on weekends, so MIL could help me out at home.”
“I told her I don’t need the help and I don’t necessarily appreciate the implication that I do.”
“She told me it will be good for MIL and our son to spend some extended time together.”
The OP found themselves clashing with their MIL being there.
“Last week my wife did have to work in the evenings and on Saturday.”
“I tried to keep to our son’s routine as best as possible, but MIL kept indulging him whenever he wanted to stay up later or play outside later than we usually do.”
“Not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, just kind of frustrating. But my son loves playing with MIL so I didn’t say or do anything about it.”
“What I did do was pretty much ignore MIL after my son went to sleep or when my wife was home.”
“I just hung out in the basement and relaxed. I wasn’t rude to her, I just didn’t really initiate conversation or go out of my way to spend time with her.”
“I guess she told my wife that I have been making her feel unwelcome and uncomfortable.”
The OP’s wife was not happy about the OP’s actions.
“My wife confronted me about this over the weekend and told me I need to be nicer to her mom and make her feel more welcome while she visits.”
“I told her that it is not my responsibility to make MIL feel comfortable in our home.”
“I told her that I will be civil and polite and help MIL if she asks, but I am not going to go out of my way to be proactive for her.”
“My wife said that MIL is going through a hard time and it’s been hard on her going from place to place without having anywhere to call her own.”
“I told her that’s of her own choice as she was the one who moved out on her husband and that she has a place to call her own, she just doesn’t want to go back.”
“My wife told me to stop being a selfish jerk and to at least act like I am ok with her mom being there for a few weeks.”
“She said it won’t hurt me to not act like an AH while she’s here.”
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 urged the OP to try harder to be there for their wife.
“YTA. How hard is it to be nice to someone going through a hard time? Yes, it is inconvenient, but just try.”
“However, the real issue is between you and your spouse. Just be kind to your MIL for the sake of your spouse. It will make your wife’s life easier.”
“It’s short term. In long marriages, people make sacrifices for each other. Every little act of kindness you do for your MIL, you are really doing for your wife.” – Sunny9226
“My wife’s sister was going to stay with us one summer for 2 weeks. It basically turned into a month’s stay. In a 1 bedroom apartment. Not ideal. But she’s family and I love my wife. So we try and make the best of it.”
“The next year my brother and his family asked to stay with us for 2 weeks. Which turned into 3 weeks. Luckily we have a house and more room. Again not ideal. But it’s family. And my wife loves me.”
“Sometimes you make sacrifices and make yourself a little uncomfortable for your spouse. Because you love them and want to make their lives easier. It’s easy to be selfish, it’s hard to be accommodating. But marriage isn’t selfish. If it is, it’s not gonna work out.” – malarkey0_0
“My mom passed away a year ago and my dad took it very hard. He came over every other weekend for a coffee and my husband (even after a long week running his company when he’d rather play some games and de-stress) would always have a coffee/drink with him and chat with him.”
“It made me fall in love with him all over again. That’s what marriage is, something you do things for your partner. You don’t just act selfish and say, TOO BAD.”
“The OP is behaving worse than a child.” – kat_192
“Compromise is one of the bedrocks of marriage/living together (as long as it’s not a one-way street, of course). A lot of people on this sub seem to think compromise is equal to letting someone walk all over you.” – heretoreadandlmao
“My sisters-in-law live in China. They stay for MONTHS (usually 3ish but once almost 4) when they visit because it isn’t cheap to travel here and they need to arrange for the elderly grandmother’s care. They sleep in my sister and her husband’s room (2 bedroom apt but hopefully that will change soon) and my sister and husband crash on an air mattress in the living room.”
“It’s an assumption it will happen when it convenient for my sister’s husband’s mother’s brother to take their mother (basically my BIL’s grandmother lives full time with the eldest daughter, BIL’s mom), and there isn’t much choice about it so when BIL decides what will ‘work for him,’ that’s when they visit here in the states and it’s not always a ton of notice.”
“It’s not always convenient (we’ve had vacations planned we had to cancel/reschedule or find them accommodations for) things just are different when they are here, but if my sister made this into a ‘you didn’t ask me, it’s not convenient,’ her husband’s parents wouldn’t really see him or their grandkids, and she isn’t going to do that.”
“When you love your partner and kids, you try to do what’s best for everyone, even if that’s not always the thing you want to do most even if it puts you out sometimes.”
“I really doubt it would kill OP to show a little pleasantry and grace to his MIL for his wife. Unless she was openly being rude to him or something, there is no reason to avoid her completely like that. It’s not like the wife is asking him to spend all evening every day with the MIL and it’s only for 2/3 weeks.” – Puzzled-Passion7255
Others pointed out that it wouldn’t kill the OP to be kind to their MIL during this time.
“This is absolutely essential in any functioning marriage, hell almost any live-with situation. A LOT of time you have to do stuff you do not want to do… just because that is life in a home”
“Also, being nice to a person won’t kill OP. OP does not have to chat for 2 hours a day with MIL, just be ‘extra’ polite, and a ‘How you doing’ a couple of times a day is usually all it takes. Many people are sensitive and feel hostility or derision if their presence is not acknowledged often.”
“By the way, it’s ok if it does not come naturally for OP to do that. I had to have this explained to me as an adult as well, but once you know, you just do it and get it over with.” – gordito_delgado
“If we’re going by this post, OP only wants MIL to stay if he needs the help. Since he doesn’t need the help, he doesn’t want her to stay at all. There’s no talk about helping MIL in her time of need, or any consideration that his wife wants to see her mother. That’s one AH point.”
“It doesn’t sound like OP agreed to 2-3 weeks, but it does sound like he begrudgingly accepted that there will be a visit. Again, his view is that because he doesn’t need the help, he doesn’t want her to stay that long.”
“It sounds like MIL didn’t do anything out of line other than doting on her grandchild and OP is ignoring her, which of course makes her feel uncomfortable. It’s not a huge imposition to make small talk every once in a while or have a meal together. That’s another AH for me.”
“The wife probably should have gotten a more solid ‘yes’ before she invited her mother over, but OP’s position of ‘no MIL unless I need her help’ and ‘MIL’s situation isn’t my problem’ is pretty cold and AH-ish.” – Real_Bear_6755
“It’s not that difficult in a partnership to occasionally suck it up to make your partner happy. That’s how you stayed married by not acting like a selfish a**hole.”
“MIL is going through a rough time and it makes sense that she’d want to stay longer with her daughter and why it was a bit of an impromptu stay. She’s also helping out with child care so it’s not like she’s being an awful guest. Like he mentioned his son loves her, so it’s nice for his child as well.”
“The fact that he just completely ignored her all night is awful behavior especially knowing she’s going through a hard time. It isn’t that difficult to be a kind human being, especially to your family, and knowing how it’ll make your wife happy.”
“I’d love to know what OP’s reaction would be if his wife ignored his family when they came over. So yes, OP is clearly YTA. I don’t know why you even need to ask.” – kat_192
While the subReddit could understand why the OP was frustrated with their mother-in-law visiting so suddenly, and for an extended period of time, they could also understand where empathy and genuine engagement would go a long way to help her.
Though coordinating parties and events surely wasn’t expected, basic daily communication would be kind.