Anyone who has ever been in a committed relationship has inevitably had to impress someone in their partner’s life: a best friend, a brother, their parents.
But what about after the wedding day? How far do our good behavior and our respect have to go?
One woman found herself asking the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit this question when her husband, yet again, involved his extended family in what should have been an intimate event.
Redditor throwaway343156197 explained that, despite her wishes, her husband and mother-in-law (MIL) frequently made plans behind her back.
Feeling fed up, the Original Poster (OP) asked the sub:
“AITA for walking in [and] then immediately walking out of the restaurant when I saw my husband’s family [was] present for our wedding anniversary?”
The OP has struggled against her MIL throughout her three years of marriage.
“This happened last week, and I’m getting scolded for what I did by everyone I told about what happened.”
“Last week was mine (26[Female]) and my dear husband’s (29[Male]) wedding anniversary.”
“His mommy started calling asking about ‘our plans’ for this year’s anniversary (we been married for 3 years btw).”
“My husband told her that we were gonna go out and celebrate and have dinner together. She asked if she could host the anniversary at her house instead and invite family members.”
“It was an instant no from me. My husband seemed to be wanting it but I already made other plans.”
Despite the OP’s clear “no,” she was suspicious of her MIL’s constant phone calls.
“She had us celebrate with her while we were together on a vacation for two weeks, that was horrific and the worst experience so far.”
“I knew my husband was still talking to her about it but I just let them.”
“Two days before the anniversary he asked if we could have a family celebration but still go to the [restaurant] and have [a] good time.”
“I felt uncomfortable. All I wanted was for some time together, alone. Plus I had other plans after dinner and to have the family come is not logical at this point.”
The day of their anniversary dinner, the OP’s suspicions were confirmed.
“I was working that day til 3pm. He didn’t go to work, but was busy all morning and didn’t want to say with what, so I figured he’s getting me a present or something.”
“He picked me up at 3pm. I remember his mom constantly calling while we were in the car. I got home, took a shower, made sure he checked with the restaurant about [our] reservation for the night, and we left at 7pm.”
“Again, his mom was talking to him on the phone in the car. I asked him why she was calling all day and he changed the subject.”
“We arrived at the [restaurant], [and] he walked before me.”
“I followed him and after I walked through the door and saw his mom, dad, sister and cousin and her kids, I froze for a second. My heart dropped, [and] I felt so much rage as he tried to get me to keep walking.”
“His family saw me when I turned around and walked out and back to the car.”
“He followed me and started saying sorry but I should just go inside with him since it was already done.”
The OP would not go along with the sabotaging of her plans.
“I yelled at him, literally just losing it and telling him that he ruined the night I was waiting for, and how he turned it into a family dinner to which I said no from the beginning.”
“He begged me to go inside but I refused. We argued til his mom came, trying to convince me to go in.”
“I went home in a taxi after I told them to go back and celebrate.”
The OP’s husband and his family were unhappy with the OP’s reaction.
“He came home not liking that I left and refused to talk about it.”
“His mom texted me about my behavior and how I ruined it for her son and the whole family, And that i should respect her family and stop [whining] and overreacting like that.”
Fellow Redditors wrote in, rating the OP’s reaction and the overall marital situation on the following scale:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some pointed out the OP’s husband was already in a relationship before getting married. Unfortunately, that relationship is not with the OP.
“It sounds like a classic case of momma’s boy. Don’t remember where I heard this quote, but it’s pretty d**n apt for this situation: ‘It’s easier to DUMP a momma’s boy than to DIVORCE a momma’s boy, and both options are much easier than trying to CHANGE a momma’s boy.'”
“Unfortunately, in a battle between you and his mother, you are going to lose every time.” – iscelces
“So much to unpack here.”
“He is allowing his mother be the second spouse in his life. It is not normal for a couple to spend their wedding anniversaries with extended family (I’m from the US so I recognize that this may be cultural). Frankly it’s weird as f**k that his mom wants to push so hard to spend your anniversary with you. Like, Freudian level weird.”
“Your husband knew you were adamantly against this whole thing, and he not only didn’t tell his mom no, he arranged for her and the rest of his family to have dinner that you did not want to have. That’s so beyond disrespectful and dismissive of your feelings.”
“Your husband needs to get it through his head that when he married you, you became his primary family. You and any kids you have (if you so choose) are his #1. His mommy is second place. She is clawing to maintain that top spot and he is letting her. He gave HIS MOTHER priority on YOUR WEDDING ANNIVERSARY. I mean, that’s just beyond the pale.”
“All in all, NTA. Set those boundaries and every single time he (or his mother) crosses them, leave. Ignore her texts, block her number, whatever. You need to tell your husband that you will be handling all future couple-related things in house and his mother is no longer a factor in the plans you two make.”
“ETA (this is in the comments but just so it is more easily seen): To clear it up a bit, my first point is not saying his mom is the second spouse as a ranking system wherein she is very obviously #1 in his mind. I was saying that the husband has two wives, one of which is his mommy. The wording on that could have been clearer, my apologies.” – bcrowe40
“I think at this point you have to accept that your husband isn’t going to change.”
“Your husband doesn’t want a marriage with you – he wants to add you on to a life that is centered around his family. You are being treated like an accessory to his life.”
“I cannot tell you to leave him – but he has told you many times who he is, what he really wants and how he views you. You deserve better, and you aren’t going to get better from him.”
“NTA.” – kittykiitos
Some agreed and said the husband needs to set healthy boundaries with his family.
“The root problem here isn’t that his family is crossing boundaries. The root problem is that your husband lets them cross those boundaries. In this case, he helped them cross those boundaries.”
“When his mother called him up and said that she wanted him to arrange to have dinner with you and him on your anniversary, your husband should have said no. And not, ‘No, my wife doesn’t want that,’ but, ‘No, I don’t want that.'”
“You and your husband need to sit down and discuss how he should be helping set and enforce boundaries with his family. That’s his job, not yours.” – MultiFazed
“If she’s too forceful in getting him to respect healthy boundaries, he’ll resent her for it. Op’s dear husband (DH) grew up with ‘no boundaries, is good boundaries’ thanks to his mom, and he is completely ignorant to the idea of boundaries being a necessary part of life.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if his ignorance were reinforced by his mother plowing over any boundary he ever tried to create, and making his life so h**lish until he relents that he can’t help but associate boundaries with [aggravation] because that’s all he’s known.”
“OP is NTA, and frankly, I’m surprised there aren’t more people saying, ‘it’s easier to dump a mama’s boy than divorce one, but it’s better to divorce a mama’s boy than always be the third wheel in your own marriage,’ or whatever. OP needs healthy boundaries and her husband’s respect yesterday.” – Vaidurya
“‘Family is important’ is having everyone to your place at Christmas, or making sure you attend all your cousin’s weddings. Maybe even giving money to a family member who fell on financial hardship.”
“MIL inserting her and her entire family into your marriage to the point of wanting to spend their anniversary with you against your wishes is not normal. Your husband dismissing helping them do this is not normal.” – emilyarran
Others asked if the OP was willing to live out the rest of her marriage, and celebrate her anniversaries, this way.
“You keep ignoring what everyone is telling you so I’ll repeat it your husband is the problem, he allows his mother to steamroll and control your lives. If he won’t fix this, you need to consider if you can live like this for the rest of your life or not.” – SavingsClothes
“OP you need to think about the future. What do you think getting pregnant and having a child will be like? Because I promise it’s not going to get better, it’s going to get so far worse beyond your imagination.” – tossedavocado
“You know this is your choice, right?”
“It’s been happening for 3 years of marriage and who-knows-how-long before that… and you’re still in the relationship with this person.”
“It’s way way past time for you to make up your mind about if you’re willing to live the rest of your life this way, and act accordingly. Maybe husband can grow up and prioritize you. Maybe not.”
“Nonetheless, the question is, do you want MIL there for wedding anniversary four? If not, you know what you need to do.” – xasdfxx
A few challenged the OP to seek marriage counseling if she wants to develop a legitimate marriage of healthy boundaries with her husband.
“You have more than a MIL problem, OP. You have a husband problem. If his perpetual disregard of your feelings isn’t addressed, you can look forwards to a lifetime of being second place to MIL.”
“You also mention this: ‘He came home not liking that I left and refused to talk about it.'”
“Shutting down and not communicating is not conducive to fixing anything. It’s passive aggressive at best and manipulative at the worst.”
“If this is his typical modus operandi when you have disagreements, then I’d really suggest counseling for the both of you to help improve communication. If he won’t join you, go alone.”
“Stay strong!” – lesmcqueenlover
“You also should see that your husband doesn’t respect you. He cares more about what his mother thinks, than he cares about what you think. If your husband is unwilling to set boundaries with his family, then you are married to his mother as well.”
“You need couples counseling, yesterday. And NTA btw.” – velocibadgery
“Oh my gosh please leave this man or get into serious relationship [counseling] fast before you have a child with him. You do not want to battle this woman with your husband on HER side when it comes to the life and wellbeing of your child.”
“You are not the a**hole. NTA” – kittytella
Pleasing our families is one thing, but allowing them to walk all over us and take over what should be intimate moments is another. Some of the Redditors made excellent points about the conditions of the OP’s current marriage, and how much worse it could get with children.
The OP needs to evaluate what she wants her future to look like and act accordingly. Unfortunately, her resulting future may involve one less person. Or possibly, something like 10 fewer people.