Family vacations are an ideal way for in-laws and/or relatives to get to know one another and strengthen bonds.
But such scenarios come with their share of drama in spite of good intentions.
Redditor Ok-Philosopher-7227 is a woman who vacationed in Spain two years ago with her brother’s family, which was far from ideal.
With the prospect of another getaway in the near future, she visited the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit and asked:
“AITA for refusing to go on a family holiday with my BF’s family because I hate his 7 year old nephew?
The Original Poster (OP) wrote:
“So – context first – 2 years ago I went on holiday to Spain with my boyfriend and his sister, her husband, three nieces and his nephew (then 5) (SIL [sister-in-law] and BIL [brother-in-law] for this).”
“We rented a shared house – they wanted to go to petting zoo’s etc where as me and my BF wanted to lie by the pool and drink so we agreed every other day we would do things together and then the other days we would spend time apart (just me and bf) – same in the evenings, some nights together some apart.”
“I should add they asked to come with us because they don’t earn a lot of money and it would be cheaper for them to share the cost of the house, food etc with us. We felt bad for them so agreed.”
“I’d spent time with them before and it was fine in short stints and we already knew his nephew was…. loud. But oh my god. He was a nightmare… he screams CONSTANTLY. Every day 4am to 7pm – screaming not matter what mood he was in.”
“He also constantly misbehaved – he hit his sisters, threw toys, threw food, drinks, etc. He went into my bag and pulled out my makeup and stuck his fingers in it.”
“Also whenever I was wearing a bikini by the pool her would pull the strings so it came apart – the first time it happened I flashed my BIL. It got to the point I wouldn’t lie by the pool or swim if the kids were there.”
“SIL&amp;BIL told him no but he kept on doing it. We had every other day to ourselves but whenever we were in the house with them it was just constant stress. Not what anyone wants from a holiday.”
“We’ve booked the same place again for August (hopefully if restrictions are lifted – fully refundable if not) – we weren’t going to say to them we were going but my BF mentioned off hand and she text us a few days ago to ask if they could come again.”
“BF said to them it’s been a tough year and we wanted some alone time together. She said we wouldn’t need to spend time going out together – we could just share the house.”
“BIL lost his job this year etc and they really need this as a family break and her mum agreed to pay for them all to go (she actually agreed to give them £400 for a holiday of their choice but coming with us means they save money and can actually go away rather than camping or something in the UK).”
“SIL said we would be like ‘Ships in the night’ was the way she described what it would be like. That might be what they intend but even by BF’s mum has admitted that nephew is no better now than he was a few years ago… if anything he is worse now.”
“My boyfriend said to her he would ask me, but he wasn’t sure it would work. Separately he then said to me he thinks we should say yes – mainly because we don’t really have a way of saying no now.”
“He feels bad because it’s his sister and he knows they’re having a tough time – which I get but we deserve a holiday too. He’s not going to go behind my back and say yes – or blame it on me. But he does think we’re being a bit cruel saying no.”
“If it were up to me I would just be upfront with them and say we don’t want to because if the way Nephew behaved last time and we want a relaxing holiday. But I understand from my BF’s perspective this isn’t something he feels he can say to his sister – I’ve said I would say it. But would this make me an a**hole if I was honest about not wanting to go because of her son?”
Strangers were asked to declare one of the following:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Most Redditors declared the OP was not the a**hole.
“NTA – You want alone time and you’re entitled to that. And quite frankly, regardless of the nephew, I think it’s pretty rude for them to just invite themselves along anyway.”
“I’m sure it’s been a tough year for them, but it’s been a tough year for everyone, and that doesn’t make them any more entitled to share the home with you. It’s your vacation, and you shouldn’t have to ruin it for yourself just to appease them.” – Slurav
“NTA. I think your SO [significant other] needs to say, ‘Sorry, Sis. We have this planned as just a couples getaway. We don’t really want to share the house with anyone. Maybe another time.'”
“And she needs to accept that. You don’t have to go into detail as to why, just no thanks, just us this time. And your SO needs to make it clear that this is a JOINT decision and NOT that YOU didn’t want them to come.” – SoValkyrieMama
“NTA. Telling a 7 year old no, isn’t enough consequence. They failed parenting. Don’t go on holidays with them until nephew can behave. They’re fine with him abusing his sisters too.”
“Someone should tell them that they’ll be hearing a lot of no because their Don behaves horribly because they can’t be bothered to properly patent.” – Mera1506
“’We’re having a couple’s retreat, not a family vacation.’ That’s a valid reason.”
“If they keep persisting you could add:”
“’If you and your husband wanted to come you are welcome, but not your children. Again – this is not a family vacation. If we wanted a family vacation we would have invited you.’”
“If they keep pressing then go ahead and say it’s specifically because of the 7yos atrocious behaviour and that you won’t even entertain the thought of travelling with him again until he shows some improvement in regular interactions.” – Ohcrumbcakes
“Man I hate it when people say I’ll have to ask my partner instead of just saying no. It puts all the crap on the partner. Nobody believes it was a joint decision.”
“How about saying no and THEN asking the partner? If you both decide yes then the partner looks good instead of being the crappy one. If it’s still no, you’ve protected your partner because YOU said no first.” – Twasbrillig1
The OP clarified:
“I don’t think I explained this bit very clearly – he said he’d discuss it with me because HE wasn’t sure he wanted them to come but he would ask me what I thought – he didn’t say this to her but he is leaning towards saying yes but he knew I probably wouldn’t be, but wanted to discuss it before saying one way or the other.”
“He’s 100% not to type to throw me under the bus just to get out of an awkward situation and I don’t mind him saying he’s speak to me before saying one way or the other.”
The OP, overwhelmed by all of the responses, provided an update.
“a lot of people saying nephew sounds like he is on the spectrum, has ADD, etc. I agree but he has been tested and has come back negative for any sort of neurological issues.”
“If it were me I would have him tested again and seek a second opinion but parents are adamant that this is a phase and he will grow out of it as apparently as well it’s an “at home” issue and at school he is fine. Although obviously we can only take their word for this.
“Also a lot of people saying it’s my responsibility to say something to them about getting him tested again? I have to say a hard no to that – I’m comfortable addressing his behaviour with them; but I 100% do not think it’s my place to go to them and tell them I think he needs to tested for Autism, ADD, etc again.”
“Especially as I’m not a doctor or an expert in this in any way, shaper or form. Also I have to respect that I am not blood related – at the moment I’m just the SIL’s, brothers, girlfriend.”
“As for my BF, he is his uncle, not his father – he has made the suggestion in the past that he might have issues which is what lead to his parents testing him in the first place – but as I said, all was negative and as parents they have made the decision to leave it there. Same as me, BF is not comfortable making this suggestion again.”
“I’m at a loss as to why so many people are so angry at my boyfriend here… I’ve noticed a lot of posts were people just seem to be angry at men in general so I’m not sure if this is a theme? I’m going to spell this out again – but just to be clear. I’m not here to get your opinion on my BF – he’s not the issue here.”
“when SIL text my BF to ask if they could come he text her back saying HE did not think it was a good idea they came.”
“BF does not mind that much if they come as he would like to see his family. However did NOT say this to his sister as he knew this would make me look like the bad guy. He is going to respect my wishes and tell her WE do not think it will be a good idea if we come.”
“He said to SIL we would discuss this together and he would get my thoughts and then let her know. I AM GLAD HE DID THIS. I HAVE NEVER CONSIDERED MY BOYFRIEND HAVING AN OPEN CONVERSATION WITH ME ABOUT ANYTHING A RED FLAG.”
“I would rather we came to decisions together and present a united front on what could be a potentially contentious issue – I don’t think either of us should ‘take the blame’ in this situation.”
Overall, Redditors thought the OP wanting to get away with just her boyfriend was not an unreasonable request.