For better or worse, there is a societal pressure to bring the whole family together under one roof for the holidays.
The family-wide obligation to cram a bunch of people together can bring varying results.
One Redditor who goes by Lazy-Celebration-872 recently shared her experience with exactly that.
She explained it all in a post to the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit, where she was able to ask for some feedback from the interested folks of the internet.
The Original Poster (OP) provided a title that laid out the cause and effect behind the friction.
“AITA for refusing to go to my in laws house for the holidays after what I overheard?”
OP began with an indication of the relevant family dynamic.
“I’ve always got the impression that my husband’s parents didn’t like me. They aren’t rude, but they are fairly cold and indifferent.”
“I’m the shy nervous type and holidays always stressed me out a little to begin with.”
That dynamic sharpened in recent months.
“Over the summer we went to a beach house and I overheard my MIL [Mother-in-law] talking to her sister.”
“The sister asked how she felt about me (we were newly married) and MIL said ‘I don’t hate her or anything, but honestly it sucks when for the rest of your life you have to invite someone you don’t want to to Christmas dinner.'”
OP was forced to act.
“I didn’t confront her because I struggle with confrontation and she can get super emotional and deflective, but I told my husband when we got home.”
“He said it sucks, but she was probably just trying to work through her feelings.”
“I told him that I didn’t ever want to go on another family vacation or holiday because of what she said, and he said he could understand.”
But the looming season remained top of mind.
“Now that Thanksgiving is coming up I am sticking to that and he is upset, because he thought I would get over it.”
“He said I’m being unfair when she has always been polite and she was venting to his aunt, and then he said I’m a hypocrite because I don’t like her either.”
“This has been causing a lot of tension.”
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked to provide feedback by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
A large majority of Redditors declared OP not the a**hole.
“They don’t want you there and going to dinner is only going to cause you more stress and anxiety. Don’t waste your time trying to get along with people who clearly don’t care for you and instead enjoy your time with your husband.”
“Stand your ground and be firm, it’s tough but you’ve got to do it. Good luck. NTA” — tfydb
“NTA. I really don’t want to go a house where a polite person hates me. Call me crazy.” — Art0002
Some took particular issue with her husband’s response.
“NTA. Tell him you are still working through your feelings. 🙄 Why does he find it so easy to confront you, but doesn’t feel the need to do so with his mother?” — HelpMeUpPls
“NTA. Your husband should have your back. He should also ask his mother what her issue is.” — Prior_Ad_8201
“Nta. If he was a supportive husband, he would’ve cleared the air with his parents, not act as if it’s something you should just swallow.” — cultqueennn
“NTA The main problem here is your husband. That he would excuse what she said and minimize your feelings isn’t a good sign. Please stand your ground.”
“If your husband doesn’t change his behavior quickly, I’d insist on marriage counseling.” — Tapioca44
Others offered pragmatic advice about how to move forward.
“NTA – I’d skip Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years except via FaceTime. [Pandemic] precautions should cover all of them.”
“Since she doesn’t want you there, she’ll have to pretend that she wants you there. You can pretend that this is all about keeping his parents healthy.” — PhilRiverStreet180
“Time for you and husband to make your own traditions.”
“Or you go to YOUR parents house/friends house/stay home/volunteer at a shelter/wash your hair/organize the sock drawer…while HE goes to visit his parents.” — Servantofbosco
A few re-framed the situation. They acknowledged the conflict but advocated for civility.
“NAH. You both don’t like each other. That’s ok. Just because you are family doesn’t mean you have to like each other.” — saveyboy
“NTA. It’s okay that she doesn’t like you and it’s okay that you don’t like her. You don’t have to put each other in uncomfortable situations just to make it easier on husband.”
“I think as long as you’re not doing something like ‘but she doesn’t liiiikkkkeee me’ and whining like a child then you’re totally fine here and honestly doing both you and MIL a favor.”
“Just keep the peace and try not to make this a ‘thing’ at other events.” — amihollo
Between this whole situation and the ongoing pandemic, it’s safe to say OP’s holiday season will be atypical this year.