When you don’t trust your future in-laws, how do you handle building a new family unit separate from theirs?
Redditor ThrowAwayMIL1208 found herself confronted with the issue of needing to financially plan for her family with her future husband, but not feeling comfortable enough to share that information with her Mother-In-Law [MIL].
She went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole? or “AITA” for feedback and asked:
“AITA for hiding my finances from future MIL?”
The original poster, or OP, loves her fiancé, but her future mother-in-law makes her feel slightly uncomfortable and insinuates that she’s only in the relationship for the money.
“I recently got engaged to my boyfriend of 3 years. For background, he’s an oncologist, his parents divorced when he was 5, MIL never remarried or had more kids but FIL did and so Fiancé has a younger half-brother and a step mom.”
“I have a BA and MBA from decent schools, but I quit my conventional office job to be a yoga teacher and eventually opened my own yoga studio. MIL was not outwardly hostile towards me, more like polite but very cold.”
“She told Fiancé it was because a yoga teacher wasn’t good enough for him. Why couldn’t he find a nice ‘lady doctor’ or nurse at work, etc.”
“Fiancé told me this because we don’t keep secrets but I never mentioned it to MIL, I just stopped trying so hard. She would periodically warn fiancé I was out for his money, because he’s a doctor, he needs someone ‘on the same level’.”
Therefore, OP has never felt any obligation to disclose her financial situation to her MIL.
“What MIL did not learn until after we were engaged is that, through my grandfather, I have a substantial trust fund. I have zero student loans, a paid off home, car, and own my studio with no debt.”
“I keep this information private from most people because I don’t want to be judged for it. I didn’t tell fiancé until about 15 months into our relationship.”
MIL did not take this well.
“When we got engaged she was telling fiancé he needs a pre-nup and that’s when he told her about my finances. She lost her mind.”
“Told him he and I should not have withheld that information, we were disrespectful, deceitful, manipulative, etc. She then started trying to act like my best friend. I maintained a polite distance.”
“She asked fiancé why and he told her that I knew she didn’t like me because a ‘yoga teacher isn’t good enough.’ Y’all, she turned on the waterworks, tears, sobs, said he should not have told me and that he ruined her relationship with her future DIL.”
Though the relationship was ruined by MIL’s behavior, she is refusing to take responsibility.
“I think she’s full of it. His father and step-mom have been kind, accepting, warm and loving to me since the day we met.”
“It didn’t matter that I’m just a yoga teacher. His mother insists I and my fiancé are cruel and deceitful.”
“I think people like her are the reason I am right to hide my financial situation. Fiancé thinks we should apologize just to smooth things over and clean the slate.”
“I have no interest in doing so. AITA?”
Redditors decided if and where guilt belongs by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Reddit does not think that OP bears any responsibility.
“NTA. Keep on eye on how much fiancé wants to placate his mother. That he thinks you should apologize for her bad behavior just to keep the peace is worrisome.”
“Your finances as a single person & the finances of both of you as a married couple are none of her concern. She was wrong to ask about them & she was wrong to try to tell her son what to do.”
“Any truthful apology that I can think of would probably not suit.”
“‘I am sorry for thinking that you meant it when you said a yoga teacher wasn’t good enough for your son’. ‘I apologize for not realizing how interested you are in things that are none of your business like my finances’.”~YMMV-But
“NTA. Her son loving you wasn’t good enough for her, she basically has stated that she thinks she only has to be kind to people in her life if they meet her standards of ‘good enough.'”
“Also – anyone who uses the phrase ‘lady doctor’ in a serious way needs to take a time machine back to 1953.”~MrsAjd
“I think you should get a pre-nup though. Just in case. It would protect both of you. As for your MIL, just keep maintaining a polite distance.”
“I don’t know why your fiance wants you to apologize to his mother. Is he a mama’s boy? You didn’t do anything wrong.”
“Clean the slate? I don’t know, because she showed you her true colors. So it’s kind of too late to put the toothpaste into that tube, isn’t it. Just continue being civil. Your fiance should be satisfied with that. So should she.”~WaDaEp
“NTA I’ve learned from many years of personal experience to keep my finances private from EVERYONE but my wife; particularly in-laws. The same goes for you and your fiance/husband. Absolute code of silence on that.”~YorkPepperMintPaddy
Finances are such a touchy subject for most people that Redditors are saying even if MIL had not been so difficult to approach, OP was NTA.
“NTA. Sounds like the mother in law wants to be financially dependent on her son in retirement. And your finances have absolutely zero things in common with either of your in laws. You don’t need to apologize for her being condescending, assuming, and nosy.”~FlacidWatermelon
“NTA screw your MIL. Cut her out of your life as far as possible.”
“Tell her straight up you don’t want to be around her because she didn’t like you before she learned of your trust fund, now she is gold digging.”
“Sorry to the husband, but seriously, distance yourself as much as you can. She’s likely to try any old trick giving how other stories have been.”~Aururai
“NTA. your finances are your business, not your MILs.”
“She sounds like she has impossibly high standards if a well educated business owner who makes her son happy isn’t good enough. Why would you even be interested in your fiance’s money when you can make your own?”
“The only reason I can think that she believed you were just after his money is because she is like this herself. All about money, the fact that she basically admitted she’d have been nicer to you if she knew you had a trust fund – why else would her not knowing have ‘ruined’ your relationship?”
“I wouldn’t apologise, she can kick rocks.”~Chainmaille-Witch
“NTA. It’s none of her business. Do not apologize. Absolutely, under no circumstances, ever, should you apologize. People like her ARE the reason you are right to hide your financial info.”
“AND your fiancé crossed a big boundary by telling her in the first place. He should have refused to discuss it further with his mother—because it’s none of her damn business—but instead he shared your information in an effort to get her off his back.”
“He’s her son. He’s known her all his life. He should’ve known that wouldn’t work.”
“Tread carefully in this marriage. I am not saying to break up with him, but you need to be careful that you don’t accidentally end up marrying your MIL instead of your man, if you catch my drift.”~bristly_hedgehog
And people are also now advising OP to tread carefully throughout their marriage, in case the mother-in-law becomes a recurring issue.
“NTA, but I advise having a prenup, especially now that his mother has said all these things. Perhaps she has planted a seed of doubt in him, which may grow during your marriage and become a problem. Just to clear conscience.”
“Financial issues are one of the main reasons for fights in marriage.”~DELAIZ
“NTA. I’d keep an eye on how fiancé responds to his mom. We (AITA readers) obviously can’t make a call here – we only know of one instance where he acted like a “mama’s boy” and it’s this:”
“‘Fiancé thinks we should apologize just to smooth things over and clean the slate. I have no interest in doing so. AITA?'”
“That could be a one time thing. Or, now that we’ve pointed that out to you, you may notice a trend of his behaviors, past and present, perhaps future. It doesn’t seem like he is one though, sounds like he keeps her informed but they’re not super close.”
“Not sure if you’ve answered this: Were you okay with fiancé letting his mom know about your financial status? If he did that without your permission and just to stop his mom, that is not okay. He should have your ‘Yeah you can tell her.'”
“That clean slate is only an option because she found out you have money. In the event that some financial disaster strikes you and only affects you, is she going to tell her son to leave you?”
“Besides, MIL should have been acting the way FIL and FIL’s wife have acted towards you since Day 1: at least with consideration.”~padam__padam
“NTA, and do not apologize. She is greedy, manipulative, and deceitful, and apologizing to her for HER BAD BEHAVIOR will only empower her more.”
“Your fiancé is obviously already used to caving to her, but you have every right to draw a line in the sand. Also, maybe have a discussion with your fiancé that this scenario is exactly why he should not have shared with her your financial situation.”~Redacted4NatSecurity
“NTA – Also be really careful about her starting to ask for money.”
“Now she knows your her son could give her his entire salary and you could still support you both. She is seeing dollar signs, which means she is going to hit you up for money (most likely through him).”
“If he is too agreeable with his mom, he may give her money without speaking with you. That is going to be an issue. (I have a gold digging Mom…)”~engg_girl
OP provided a brief update on the situation, highlighting more of MIL’s bad behavior:
“Edit: For those asking – My Fiancé would defend me when she insulted me. She did know I owned the studio but assumed that I financed with loans. He did not have my explicit permission to share my finances with her but was so sick of her harping about a pre-nup he ‘wanted to shut her up.'”
“As for all the advice about the pre-nup – that was always the plan, which my fiancé is obviously fine with. She’s probably going to lose her mind.
“I’ve poked around on JNMIL [Just No, Mother In Law; another Reddit forum] and I think my fiancé is what people refer to as a ‘surrogate spouse’ to his mother.”
“Another incident comes to mind where she started crying when he wanted to spend his birthday dinner on the day of his birthday with me instead of her and offered her the day before or after. That’s clearly not healthy.”
All agree that OP owes no apologies and MIL is responsible for repairing the relationship, or not.
Hopefully that tense dynamic does not intrude on OP’s marriage.