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Husband refuses to help in-laws anymore; 'they look down on me for being in foster care.' AITA?

Husband refuses to help in-laws anymore; 'they look down on me for being in foster care.' AITA?


"AITA for refusing to help my wife's family anymore?"


I (34m) got married 9 years ago to my wife Jessica (33f). Jessica and I have two children Robyn (7f) and Theo (5m). Growing up I didn't have a family. I was a foster kid who was bounced around a lot because sometimes my bio mother would take me back but she'd always end up losing custody again or placing me back.

When she finally stopped trying I was 11 and too old for most people who wanted babies or really little kids. So I aged out of the system without being adopted or finding a family.

I had hoped when Jessica and I met that I'd be welcomed by her family. But that's not how it went. Took me years to figure it out though. They look down on me. They're not totally obvious about it but I see it in the way they are with me vs the way they're with the other sons/daughters in law.

Like asking them about Christmas plans but saying they didn't expect us to do anything else because I don't have a family. Or asking about the others jobs and promotions but never me, then acting so shocked both times Jessica or I mentioned I was promoted.

There was a time when my SIL mentioned a foster kid who won a scholarship to college and it made it into the local news. The whole family's reaction was "oh wow a foster kid making it to college is so unexpected" and Jessica pointed out that I went to college.

They looked a little uncomfortable and I heard two of her siblings whisper something about "Jessica and that story" so I assume they believed she lied about where we met.

They don't make an effort for my birthday. They make assumptions that I don't spend time with my kids. They assume any effort made by me is me doing it for Jessica and don't believe me when I say it's not.

Yet they will always ask for my help with repairs around the house or assembling something, because I'm good at that stuff. I have helped Jessica's parents and all her siblings at least twice.

Once I realized (with help from therapy) that they really didn't like me and seem to think less of me for being a foster kid, I did that stuff for Jessica and not for them. But then a few weeks ago Jessica's parents had issues with the stairs. I went and fixed them up.

I spent hours working on one part and had to go and get extra materials. It was a whole thing. Some of the family came over while I was there and Jessica's parents made food for them... but nothing for me.

When I asked them if there was any for me they told me they didn't think I'd want to eat after working so hard... for hours... with no food in between. I told them they didn't think that, they simply didn't want to be polite to me and offer food after doing all that work for them.

I was called out by Jessica's parents and her siblings. Jessica took my side as did some of the the siblings spouses. But I was called out again for not helping fix a shelf for one of Jessica's sisters and saying never again would I help any of them. They said family helps family. I asked them when they ever treat me like family. AITA?

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:


You're not a husband or Jessica's partner. You're a built-in handyman and that's all they'll ever look at you at. The hired help. You should tell Jessica that she can keep in all the contacts you want from their family but you need to go very low contact or no contact at all with them and that's it.

Maybe one holiday a year and that's about all I would do.

And if they ever ask for help again say my hourly rate is $500 an hour and I need 3 hours up front. NTA.


Bro, you are a saint for dealing with them for so long, completely cut them off and if your wife still can’t see how awful they are treating you then I would have a serious discussion with her. They are treating you like a low class citizen , not like family. Definitely NTA but you will be an AH if you let yourself get treated like this any longer.


"I asked them when they ever treat me like family."

NTA - Fair question.

They have demonstrably treated you as "other than family" for years and they need to put their money where their mouths are and actually treat you like a human to start, treating you as family would also be nice. Why they have such hurtful prejudices is beyond me. You've done nothing and they are the ones in the wrong here.


NTA. They’re rude and don’t deserve any favors from you. Completely taking advantage of you. Glad they’re on their own for this stuff now. I’m embarrassed for them.


NTA Your experience of not being offered food after working for hours on the stairs gives you a good reason to refuse to help them in that way in future. I'd just point to that perfect example. What they said doesn't make sense -- that they thought you wouldn't want food after working so hard.

The opposite is of course what you would assume -- that you'd be hungry. Them excluding you does make sense if they were thinking of you as if you were like hired help -- just a workman who of course wouldn't be invited in to eat with the family.

They really have no excuse for that. You can tell them that that incident of inexcusable rudeness blew it for all of them as far as you allowing yourself to be treated like an unpaid handyman. It's not that you don't help out family -- you don't allow yourself to be treated badly by people who can't show basic consideration and gratitude.

Any kind of good relationship has to be built on them giving you basic consideration and respect. You giving in on this and allowing them to fit you into the convenient free handyman slot in their lives, to be used and then figuratively sent off out the servants' entrance will only be an impediment to them ever seeing you differently.


NTA, it's embarrassing that your wife has let them treat you like that with no repercussions. I guarantee that she knows exactly how they feel about you and she continues to let them treat you like less than.

No one deserves to be treated like that, especially when they have the gall to ask you to do things for them. I'd be having a serious conversation with your wife about her complacency in their abusive behavior towards you and why she doesn't address it.

You know very well they talk shit behind your back and she apparently just lets them. The only way they will respect you is if she does something about it. She is just as guilty as the rest of them imo.

So, what do you think about this one? If you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit
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