The practice of borrowing jewelry and clothing from friends or family members is something that seems fairly commonplace throughout the world.
But when it comes to treasured items that hold particular cultural or personal significance that others may not even be aware of, does denying such a request cross any lines?
Redditor throwra_mangalasutra recently encountered this very issue after her sister-in-law asked to borrow a special piece of jewelry from her wedding, so she turned to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) to see if she was in the wrong, asking:
“AITA if I don’t want to share my wedding necklace?”
The original poster (OP) first explained about her heritage and how it had been incorporated into her wedding.
“Some background first. I (37F[emale]) have been married to my husband H (36M[ale]) for nearly two years now. We live in Canada, he’s Canadian and I moved here 3 years ago.”
“Prior to that I was born and brought up in India. Neither of us is very religious or traditional, and I’m openly deist.”
“Both our families are somewhat religious but not very devout. They had a few reservations about us but so far it’s all been great.”
“For our wedding, we had small wedding ceremonies in both cultures and a party afterwards. And my husband’s family quite enjoyed participating in all the pre-wedding functions for the Indian part.”
But there was one wedding tradition the OP wasn’t too keen on.
“On to the problem. As part of the Indian wedding, my husband had to place a mangalsutra around my neck.”
“A mangalsutra is a gold necklace with black beads and in our culture it’s equivalent to a wedding ring but only for the women.”
“I don’t like them, because they’re sexist, and because they’re chunky, ugly and don’t go with anything. I told my mother not to get me this, and not to include it in the ceremony because it’s an expensive waste.”
“I won’t wear it, and it’s like a white elephant, I can’t give it away or sell it. I have to keep it.”
Her mother was able to come up with a clever solution, however.
“My mother being the smart cookie that she is, worked with my cousin to have one with a modern design, custom made for me. It’s stylish, minimalist and goes with almost, everything and I love it.”
“I still don’t wear it all the time, but quite frequently. As a contrast I wear my wedding ring all the time. Because my husband wears one too and because I like wearing rings.”
But the wedding necklace’s appeal and beauty also caught the eye of her sister-in-law.
“The problem I’m having is with H’s sister E.”
“E and I get along quite well, and I’m quite keen on fostering a good relationship with my in-laws because all my family is back in India. E loved the design of my mangalsutra and wants to borrow it.”
The OP balked at the request.
“Now, I’m not religious at all, but no one can shed the influence of their culture completely and it’s the same for me.”
“For me the mangalsutra is a symbol of my matrimony and not something that can just be lent out, especially not to my husband’s sister.”
“I’ve offered to have something similar made for her, but she says she doesn’t want us to go through the trouble or the expense for something she only wants to wear once or twice.”
And while she understands where her sister-in-law is coming from, she hasn’t changed her mind.
“Why I think ITA is that I can see her point. I am a logical person, and logically I have no reason to refuse. And I can’t just pick and choose the things I want to be logical about.”
“But emotionally, for me, the necklace is like underwear. You may or may not wear it, but you don’t share it.”
“FTR (for the record) I’d have the same feelings about it, if it were of the traditional design and I didn’t like it as much as I do.”
“I’ve tried to explain this to her. It’s not something we’ve fought about, and she always accepts a refusal graciously, but she doesn’t stop asking.”
“It’s like she thinks after a reasonable time passes it’ll be okay for her to borrow it.”
“So reddit AITA?”
Redditors then gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
They let the OP know that she was well within her rights to deny her sister-in-law’s request.
“NTA – it’s yours and it means something special to you and your culture so why should you need to lend it out to someone who’s going to wear it once or twice?”
“Especially since your mother had it especially made for you.”
“You wouldn’t give out something so personal like your wedding ring or dress for someone to wear so it’s unfair that she keeps asking you to borrow it.”