In-laws are not known for their pleasantries during the holiday season. In fact, snarky, hurtful in-laws are so commonplace that they have become a consistent stereotype throughout film and TV.
Reddit user throwaway4592301 unfortunately found that she was no exception to this stereotype when she continuously dealt with a hurtful joke coming her way about her husband and one of her closest friends.
After losing her temper with said in-laws, she was forced to go to the popular subReddit "Am I The A**hole?" or "AITA" to ask if she was in the wrong.
"AITA for yelling at my in-laws about their incessant, hurtful joke?"
Our original poster, or OP, began with the story of how she met her husband.
"I (29F[emale]) have been married to Luke (30M[ale]) for 3 years, together for 7. Luke has an identical twin, Jake, who I met first during my freshman year of college."
"Jake and I became close friends because we had a lot in common."
"In my junior year of college, I went to Jake's house for Thanksgiving and met Luke. We instantly hit it off, started dating long distance that spring, and married 4 years later."
"Jake and I are still close and he's both my BIL and one of my best friends."
And the origin and content of her in-laws' hurtful joke.
"The conflict: My in-laws have a joke that Luke 'stole Jake's soulmate' and that one day he's going to find us in bed together."
"All three of us find this disturbing and not funny, and have expressed this to his parents on multiple occasions."
"They just laugh and insist it 'makes sense' because Jake and I are so similar and he met me first. They also insist that he brought me home because he was in love with me, not because we were friends."
"Honestly the intense way they defend this 'joke' makes me think it's not a joke at all to them. They've always favored Jake because he's much more outgoing and sociable than Luke, and also because he went to college and Luke learned a trade."
"Jake has a lovely girlfriend, but they don't like her, and always insist he should date someone like me."
So the last time they made this joke, OP lost her cool, because enough is enough.
"This past weekend, we were having dinner at my in-laws house when they again started 'joking' that it was only a matter of time before Jake and I got together."
"I could see my husband shrinking in on himself and getting quieter and quieter, and I asked them to please stop. They took this as me protesting too much because 'something's going on' and said 'just sneak in her bed, Jake, she won't know the difference!'"
"This was the last straw, I basically erupted on them, yelling that this joke had gone on long enough and was incredibly f***ed up and disturbing."
"I also said that they were being bad parents by trying to pit their sons against each other and not supporting either of their son's happy relationships. Both Luke and Jake backed me up and we all left."
Now, the OP's family AND her in-laws have sort of ganged up on her.
"Yesterday I got a phone call from my MIL, in tears, begging me to get her sons to talk to her as they refuse to until she genuinely apologizes and promises to stop this."
"My family thinks I should convince them because she's their mother and deserves a chance to make things right, and also that I was an a**hole for being so disrespectful at the dinner."
"Honestly, I don't think it's up to me whether my husband and BIL forgive their mother for her behavior (especially since she hasn't apologized other than some half-hearted texts saying she didn't realize it was hurtful), and I was only disrespectful after enduring years of disrespect."
"But maybe I'm too close to the situation, so Reddit, AITA?"
Redditors helped OP decide 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 agreed that OP had no share in the blame here.
"NTA - excuse me WHAT. Your family should NOT get into the ring with this."
"This is family business and I find it absurd at best, that your husband's mother calls you to convince your hubby + brother to not be offended even though you AND them are all equally disturbed, this could be so easily solved if they would just apologize..."
"If this is the hill MIL and FIL are willing to die on, be my guest."~Mesapholis
"NTA. Don't give in and double down. She has accused you of infidelity or actively promoted it."
"She has questioned your morals and you should be suitably offended. Next time she calls or texts, tell her she owes you a heartfelt apology as well and that you are also not speaking to her until she provides one."
"Your parents have no say over this."~Asura_Law
"They've already told her what to do to start rebuilding the relationship: 1) apologize, sincerely, for what she's been saying and 2) don't 'joke' like that anymore. Say 'sorry, I was wrong' and STOP, that is all."
"She and your family have no right to call you an a**hole for not smoothing this over/sweep this under the rug. You are not in the wrong here, it is not your responsibility to make amends."
"Your only job is to state your boundaries and, when/if you are ready or willing to think a renewed relationship is possible, let her know what she can do to make you 'whole' again."
"BTW, she has a lot of audacity calling you for help. She doesn't need or deserve it."
"Ya'll have already given her the recipe for some good old fashioned Making Amends Cake, it's her job to bake it and present it."~UmbraScit
"NTA for a variety of reasons, but especially because 1. she didn't really apologise, and 2. she said THIS - 'just sneak in her bed, Jake, she won't know the difference!'"
"She told her son, in front of you and his brother, your husband, to RAPE you. Because that's what sneaking into someone's bed is in this context."
People are saying that OP's mother-in-law doesn't even deserve the help OP is contemplating giving her.
"NTA! That's messed up."
"It's her own fault her sons won't talk to her and she knows what she has to do to fix that—sincerely apologize and give up her 'joke.' This really isn't a big ask."~MidwestCPA91
"This is a situation of her own making and instead of dealing with it, she's trying to get you to. I assume because if she accepts it was her doing and apologises that proves she knows what she was doing was wrong."
"I bet she's never actually apologised to her sons for anything, even minor things, has she?"~Bob-Lowblow
"NTA. A joke is only a joke when all parties find it funny and your in laws have been pulling this shit for years despite being repeatedly told that no one finds it funny, and in fact you all find it quite hurtful."
"You're also correct in refusing to take part in any mediation, all she has to do is sincerely apologise and promise never to tell the stupid joke again and she seems incapable of it."
"You're also the victim of this joke as well as it brings your morals and ethics into question and as such deserve an apology as well."
"As it is all she's offered is half a**ed non apologies of 'some half-hearted texts saying she didn't realize it was hurtful' which is bullsh*t (as she has been told for years this sh*t is hurtful), she realised, she just didn't care to change her behaviour."
"Luke, Jake and yourself all need to hold to your boundaries and make sure she fully apologises and if she pulls this shit again, she get's put in No Contact time out again."
"As for your family they need to keep their noses out of this, it's nothing to do with them and everything to do with you, Luke and Jake."~Screaming-Harpy
"NTA - considering she disregarded and ignored many respectful asks to stop joking about this.... I'm going to guess she's probably dismissed the feelings, thoughts and beliefs of her children many times in the past."
"She also probably gets joy from making people uncomfortable or angry too."~ohcommash_t
Jokes are not meant to be disrespectful and uncomfortable for the subjects.
"NTA. It might have been a joke, once. Now it is insulting and hurtful, to all parties."
"Your husband for suggesting that he's not good enough for you. His brother for suggesting that he is the type of person who would steal anyone's wife, let alone his brothers!"
"And you for suggesting that not only do you not know the difference between your husband and his twin, but that you are capable and comfortable with cheating on your husband."
"You have ALL asked them to stop and they haven't. Why did they think that if they continued to insult their adult children and their partners that there wouldn't be repercussions?"
"You are not controlling either man, forbidding them to speak to their parents are you? I'm assuming no one's fingers are broken and they are physically capable of calling their own parents to speak with them?"
"The reason they haven't apologized is because they don't feel they've actually done anything wrong. The reason they've played dumb is because they are hoping that you'll forgive it as 'well they didn't know it was wrong so they can't be held accountable'."
"They are adults. Adults are capable of a full apology, once they understand that they have wronged someone. Spoiler: it doesn't start with 'I'm sorry IF.'"
"NTA. It isn't your job to fix MIL's mistakes. MIL opening this can of worms and now she can lie in it. You, Your hubby and BIL all have said you didn't like in-laws 'joke' and thought it was messed up, cause it is."
"If they can't be happy with their sons' happy relationships, then they shouldn't talk about it. If MIL is really so distraught over the situation she should own up to making everyone uncomfortable and actually apologize."
"Years of torment aren't going to be forgiven with excuses and half-a** apology over TEXT. NTA at all"~Hot_Knee95
"NTA - I'm happy that you finally stood up to her and gave your husband and BIL the courage to also speak out against her. Let her fight for their forgiveness. Don't make it easy on her."
"Your family is ridiculous. All you did was stand up for yourself. I'm sick of people thinking being 'nice' is more important than standing up for yourself and putting a stop to an uncomfortable situation."~mezamic000
"NTA. Excuse me? She wants you to do what now?"
"How about she get her head out of her own butt and actually apologize. She has been acting inappropriate for years."
"I would have told her she needs to go to therapy and work on herself before I would want anything to do with her because you were sick of the unhealthy dynamic and that you won't be telling any grown person what to do."
"If she wants her sons to forgive her she needs to figure out what she needs to do. She isn't sorry she did it. She is sorry she got called out."~Viperbunny
Reddit is with OP here.
As the subject of the joke, who stood up for all three parties who felt uncomfortable about it, she is in no position to do her mother-in-law's apologizing for her.
Hopefully this situation will be resolved in due time, and with the right apologies made to the right people.