When a family member needs a little help and support, helping out can feel non-negotiable. A sibling who's fallen on hard times may need money, a place to stay, or just a listening ear.
But sometimes, the new dynamics introduced to the relationship can become complicated.
One woman recently found that out the hard way. She explained it all in a post on the "Am I the A**hole (AITA)" subReddit.
The Original Poster (OP), known as Throw-Away3337091 on the site, led with a head-scratcher of a title.
"AITA: For telling my sister that my husband isn't her husband?
She began the post with some context.
"I'll just get straight to the issue. My [33-year-old female] Sister [28-year-old female] recently rented an apartment in our neighborhood."
"She moved out after she broke off her engagement with her fiancè of 4 years. She has a demanding job she works long hours (nurse) and added more days work to be able to pay for rent."
"I'd cook her meals once-twice a week and my husband would take them to her, I'd show up and clean the apartment for her out of respect for what she does which is pretty stressful."
"I knew she has been struggling so I did all I could."
But after just a little time passed, some new dynamics began to unfold.
"She'd come over whenever she has a day off to thank us for giving her meals and helping her out with the apartment."
"However after a week or so I noticed my husband cooking whenever I say I didn't want to, saying my sister could use a homemade meal..."
"...I'd call him to see where he was and he comes home to tell me my sister had him clean the basement so she could move the rest of her things..."
"...she called him and had him carry boxes for her for a whole day. She'd call him and not me to bring her a charger because she forgot hers at work."
"It's like she completely forgot about me."
OP sat down with her sister and inquired.
"I went to have a talk with her and she barely found the time to speak to me..."
"...I asked her why she didn't call me when she needed something but kept calling my husband, she said she didn't notice and that I must be busy with my son even though my husband would help with him too."
"I told her to call me if she needed something and let my husband get some rest from working all week."
But the conversation reached an impasse.
"She said okay but it got too much when she called my husband's phone while he was napping and I answered for him. She told me her kitchen faucet needed fixing and was messing up her kitchen and so she called my husband to help her fix it."
"I told her he was napping and wasn't feeling well since the morning, but she kept saying 'just a few minutes' [and] 'it won't take long.'"
"I reminded her that she should've called my phone but she said that fixing the faucet was men's work. Anyway, I gave her the number of a plumber we know but she complained about plumbers taking a lot of money..."
OP was forced to change her tone.
"I snapped and I told her my husband isn't her husband that she could call whenever she needed something. That just because she lives near she gets to have him work for her."
"She got upset and I haven't spoken to her since this conversation, my mom knew and berated me saying she's my younger sister, that she's going through a lot and I needed to help her."
"She told me I hurt my sister with my comment and that I needed to apologize to her."
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
Most Redditors dubbed OP "not the a**hole." Some kept their feedback simple and direct.
"Honestly NTA. She crossed boundaries. She had a warning. She still did it. Reminding someone of that never hurts." -- Luna-Strange
"NTA. But you need to talk to your husband. He needs to set some boundaries asap. Your sister is asking way too much." -- MrNjord
"NTA - She's in an apartment, she needs to call her landlord to get the faucet fixed." -- dellaevine
OP went on to include an edit to address that last comment's sentiment.
"Edit to say that she rented a ground floor apartment, it has a storage room that looks like a basement and it's obvious she's struggling with rent because I think it's expensive. But it was her decision so I can't comment on that."
Also those of you asking about her calling her landlord to handle maintenance."
"I honestly didn't think about it because I never lived in an apartment and I don't know whether her landlord is even aware of these issues as she'd quickly resort to us for help."
"But I'm definitely bringing up to see what the issue is."
But other Redditors didn't pay so much attention to logistics. They diagnosed the emotional motivations driving the situation.
"Also if she lives in an apartment then 9/10 have a super* or maintenance man so it sounds like she's missing her ex and just looking for an excuse to have a familiar masculine presence. NTA" -- dammitnicole
"Gaaah. You've probably heard this multiple times, but she may be looking for a replacement fiancee."
"Please be careful. She could just be going through a rough time and need extra help, but I really find it off-putting that she skips over you to go straight to your husband."
"Sure, there are times when calling your husband first would be better (if she knows you are busy), but calling him all the time for so many chores is either taking advantage of his kindness, or trying to pick up a hubby." -- NotSoAverage_sister
And plenty of people were suspicious of a whole lot more.
NTA. But, um...are you sure she really needed him to 'fix the faucet?'" -- revanchisto
"NTA. Do you want your husband having an affair with your sister? Because this is how you get your husband having an affair with your sister." -- mynuet
"NTA but you need to talk to your husband about boundaries too. I hate to say it but I wouldn't be surprised if his help turns into something more." -- Character-Square1065
"NTA. but sounds fishy at best" -- Quarter-Wide
"NTA but I'd really suggest you have a honest conversation with your husband about why he's sleeping with your sister" -- Annoyedforever3
"They're banging for sure." -- kgberton
"NTA That man double dippin" -- evee_eeve
Unless OP includes yet another edit, we'll never know exactly what was going on in that kitchen.