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Groom tells off mom and aunt when they tell his wife to 'tone it down' at their wedding. AITA? UPDATED 2X

Groom tells off mom and aunt when they tell his wife to 'tone it down' at their wedding. AITA? UPDATED 2X

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When this groom is upset with his mom and aunt, he asks the internet:

"AITA for telling off my mom and aunt after they criticized my wife at our wedding?"

My wife (29F) and I (29M) got married last weekend. We’ve been together since first year of uni and got married on the 10 year anniversary of the day I asked her to be my girlfriend. We’ve grown up together, got through thick and thin and I know there is no one else I want to spend my life with.

For context, my wife is half Spanish and we incorporated a lot of Spanish traditions into our wedding. It also meant that, with all her family there, the reception turned into quite the party.

I was pretty tired after dancing for a while so I went to sit and talk with my family whilst my wife kept dancing with her cousins and friends.

After a bit of chatting, my mum and aunt essentially told me that they weren’t too pleased with my wife’s dancing to songs like “Low” and “SexyBack,” saying that her drops and “wiggling her bottom like that” weren’t appropriate on her wedding day and were disrespectful to me.

To be honest, I didn’t see anything wrong with the way she was dancing - it was nothing more than I think any person would dance to songs like that in the club when they were having fun and had a couple drinks - and I told them as such.

They said I should tell her to tone it down, but she was having fun with her friends and I didn’t see anything gratuitous about it, nor was she super drunk, so I told her it wasn't my place. We ended up wrapping up the party soon afterwards anyway.

The morning after, we had breakfast with my family and my aunt mentioned to my wife that she was pleased that I eventually got her to “tone down the fiesta.”

My wife asked what she meant by that and my mum told her about the conversation from last night (my wife has told me about this, I was talking to my dad and uncle at the time and didn’t hear).

My wife apologised but was then very quiet for the rest of the day, and when we left the hotel she was very upset with me, saying I should have told her that she had offended my family and that she was humiliated that I hadn’t told her anything about it on the night, like my aunt had assumed.

I was sorry that she was humiliated but I was not sorry that I hadn’t told her to tone it down, because in my opinion she didn’t do anything wrong. She still thinks I should have just told her because now she won't have a good relationship with her in-laws (she doesn’t have a good one with her parents).

I’m mad at my mum and aunt and want them to apologise to us, but she refuses to bring it up with them and wants to apologise again to them when they come over this weekend.

I want to stand up for her because I think they're being incredibly rude, but she doesn't want that, she just wants to mend bridges. She's still upset with me because I don't see it her way and because I'm not sorry that I didn't tell her. So AITA?

Before we give you OP's updates, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

paniccc writes:

Yeah, your wife was not disrespectful to you. Your family was disrespectful to your wife.

They put you in a really shitty position--I can see why your wife might wish you'd told her and now she's upset, but if you had told her she likely would have been upset then and I can understand why you wanted to keep that bs away from her and make sure she had fun at her wedding.

It was shitty of them to say to you, and even more shitty of them to say to her. I understand that your wife is nervous about having a good relationship with your family, but honestly if they're being this dickish to her at the wedding it doesn't seem enormously likely the relationship will be very good anyway. That sucks, but it's their fault not hers.

At the end of the day the relationship that matters most is the one between the two of you. I think you made the right call personally, but you shouldn't invalidate her feelings now. In my opinion you should say something along the lines of this:

"I think my family was totally wrong to judge you for dancing with your friends and having fun on our wedding day, and I only didn't tell you about it because I didn't agree with their opinion so I didn't think it mattered.

I understand you are worried about your relationship with them and so if you want me to tell you things like that in the future then I will. But in my opinion they are the ones who should be worried about maintaining a good relationship with you, as you are the most important person in my life and your happiness is my top priority."

believehype7 writes:

Exactly this. You weren't wrong in what you did or in not saying anything. She isn't wrong to have emotions about this. Explain your motivation, ask how she'd prefer things done in future. Validate her feelings, but encourage her to not bend over backwards to build a relationship if they aren't kind to her.

In addition: Your family is also disrespecting you in their behavior here. They brought up a concern in the name of "protecting you from your wife's disrespect."

You informed them they were mistaken, there was no disrespect, and you supported your wife's behavior as it was perfectly appropriate at your (both of you) wedding, where you get to set the tone. The bride and groom set the tone of the wedding, it's up to you what is ok or not (within reason I suppose, but generally).

You told them there was no issue and to leave it alone. They did not leave it alone and in fact brought it up again after the fact, to your wife, disrespecting her as well. Basically, they are rabble rousers here. Pure social troublemakers.

They disliked the dancing, based on their worldview, tried to pretend they were only protecting you (their family, from this new interloper who should have been considered family too).

This is disrespectful to you as well as your wife, and I think you should address it with them. Bring it up from that angle, of your own hurt for them going behind your back instead of from the angle of their disrespect of your wife if she prefers not to be the central figure. (Of course, discuss with her first to come to a middle ground on this.)

lilymay writes:

NTA. Your wife’s instinct to mend bridges and have a good relationship with your family is both sweet and commendable. But I think you should stand your ground.

“[Wife], a good relationship with my family will NOT be based on you making yourself smaller, or ashamed, or controlled. If they wanted a good relationship, they would have let you do whatever you wanted on your wedding day.

THEY are the ones who overstepped boundaries. I refuse to set you up for decades of being scolded and bullied by my family. You are doing nothing wrong, you have not created a problem. They did.

“It’s important TO ME that my family understand I love you, I choose you, I uplift you and I am delighted with you EXACTLY as you are.

“If you would like, I will tell them that you apologize. But I am also going to tell them I am fg furious, because I get to have my own feelings about my family too.

“We are a unit. I am on your side forever. And the fact they tried to hurt you on your wedding night was their choice and has permanently impacted my relationship with them, forever.”

wittydrop writes:

They were bound and determined to ruin your wedding for your wife. You did nothing wrong by not telling her because they were inappropriate and they were the ones disrespecting the bride on her wedding day. Since you wouldn't say anything they just decided to ruin the next day for her.

She does NOT need to apologize because she was not the one being disrespectful, she was just enjoying HER wedding. You need to put your mom and aunt in their place. They still ruined the wedding because now all she will think about is what they said instead of how much of a good time she had.

Your mom sounds like she just didn't want you to get married because she wants to be the only woman in your life. You need to shut mom and aunt down because they will now try to ruin your marriage.

If your wife apologized they would think they now have control of her. Nope nip it in the bud!! Your poor wife ! She needs to show them she is strong woman and she will not be controlled by them otherwise they will always be an issue in your marriage.

spiritlaywer writes:

NTA, but you’ve got a delicate situation coming up, and you and your wife need to get in the same page (even if you have different perspectives) before you talk to your mom and aunt.

On your part, you’re going to need to balance your wife’s right to autonomy - if she wants to apologize to keep the peace, definitely let her do that first, because it’s not your place to tell her not to- that’s her decision to make, even if I don’t agree with it.

But that is balanced with your duty as a partner and now husband to stick up for her (it’s a limited and context-specific duty of course, I don’t want people coming for me with examples of when a spouse is behaving unreasonably- that’s not the case here) when there’s conflict with your side of the family.

So after you give her time to her express her perspective and potentially an apology if she wants to your family, you’ve got to go to bat for her: time to be clear to your mom and aunt that you didn’t tell her to tone it down because you found the suggestion to do so was a wildly inappropriate policing of a perfectly normal behaviour.

What you think is socially appropriate is different from the WASP culture of Puritanism and repression, but it is just as valid.

If they were uncomfortable because this form of expression isn’t what they’re used to, that’s something for them to consider, but not something for them to force other people to change their behaviours (AT THEIR OWN WEDDING) just to conform to your mom’s and aunt’s perspectives on propriety.

Cultural differences exist, and your aunt and mom aren’t the authorities on propriety. I don’t necessarily mean culture based on ethnicity… for example I’m Caucasian but NOT AT ALL a participant in my parents’ culture, which is heavily based on their religion… but in your case we’d be remiss not to acknowledge that’s a factor here too.

Discuss the plan with your wife first, get her perspective and input, don’t steamroll her in how she wants to deal with it, but make it very, very clear to your family that you thought their suggestions were sexist...

culturally insensitive (and racist, but there’s a time to educate and then a time to accuse, and yelling at people aggressively for doing something wrong is a second step, not a first...

when you want to help them to change for the better) and completely not their place to make a request of that nature to the bride and groom on their wedding day. Let them know that you’re not an extension of them and their thoughts...

but your own person with your own cultural identity, and they don’t have to agree with it, but their opinion was neither warranted nor appropriate in that circumstance. They don’t police your wife’s behaviour.

You don’t police your wife’s behaviour either, and their suggestion that you do so to make them more comfortable was inappropriate. Good on you for recognizing it, but it’s time to make it very clear to your folks that this is your line in the sand.

So far you’re doing great, OP, but this has the potential to blow up if you don’t nip it in the bud right now. Good luck!

stove1366 writes:

Your wife is trying to fit in and didn't want there to be trouble. However, the comment by your aunt about the "fiesta" is a clear indicator that your wife's race played a part in their judgement.

Honestly, I think YTA for not saying something about that. Your wife has nothing to be ashamed about. You, however, should be a better husband when it comes to the judgement of potentially racist relatives. She shouldn't have to endure that to be married to you and it would eventually kill that union.

And now OP's 1st update:

Ok, reading some of these comments is making me realise that maybe I should clarify that when I say my wife is half-Spanish, I do mean from like mainland Spain, in Europe. Her mother's family is entirely from the north of Spain.

My family is all from the UK (where we both grew up, her father is from, and where our wedding was). That being said, I hadn't clocked the xenophobic element of this and now am feeling pretty upset (I don't think it's racism, personally, because she would proably count herself as white, but that's one to ask her, not me).

Guess this is also something for me to table with my wife. Maybe it was a one-off, but it's not something she's ever mentioned before and definitely not something she should be dealing with."

I'm very worried that my family has been rude to my wife because of her background. I don't know if I would call it racism - certainly xenophobia, and definitely unacceptable no matter what it's called - but nor do I think it's my place to, because I'm a white British man who's never had to deal with it.

But from what I understand from a lot of the comments here, British or European and American understandings of what constitutes race and racism are very different. I'm open to hearing opinions about it from the people who it affects.

The lights came on and everyone sort of just hugged and kissed each other as they left and then our families all went to bed. If they'd been more cold-shouldered with either me or my wife...

I would have probably given her a heads up, but to be frank I thought I had made my position to them very clear when they had told me to get her to tone it down in the first place. Never did I expect that they would say something to her at breakfast.

OP's 2nd update, a week later:

Hi all, bit shocked at the level of response to my post! Thanks for all the comments, I did read as many as I could.

I talked to my wife. I apologised for not telling her what my aunt had said, and that it was only because I believed what my aunt had said had no merit, and that she as my wife was always going to be my priority rather than placating them. She accepted my apology.

She still was wary to try and confront them about it though, and I ended up saying something that I read in a comment that broke my heart - that my wife was probably more than anything grieving the loss of the new family she thought she was going to have. And she immediately burst into tears.

So that commenter was spot on. Her parents went through a very bitter divorce that damaged their relationship with their children permanently. So it was a difficult conversation, but we came to the conclusion that we had to confront my mum and aunt in the hope of salvaging any relationship, though my wife wanted me to do it on our behalf (fair).

I called my aunt and basically let her have it. She wasn’t apologetic at all and said some pretty nasty things that I won’t repeat, so that was an immediate end to that relationship.

I then called my mum to do the same, and she was very ashamed. For context, my aunt is her older sister, and we invited her because my mum and my wife wanted her there (my aunt had never met my wife, but my wife really wanted to meet my whole family).

My mum grew up in a very conservative Christian household, and although she stopped believing, my aunt didn’t, so there's been some distance and disappointment.

My mum apologised to me and said she had been missing her sister and had let herself get brought back into "old habits". She wants the opportunity to make it up to my wife, but my wife and I have agreed on low contact for now, and we’ll see how we go.

My wife did say ok to flowers and a letter that my mum wanted to send, but I told my mum pretty sternly not to expect anything from my wife, which she took pretty well.

Most importantly, my wife now seems to be a lot happier. I don’t know if our relationship with my mum will be as trusting ever again, but it at least will be one with clear boundaries. Part of the reason for the delayed update is that, amidst all this, my wife realised she’d missed her period, and lo and behold - she’s pregnant!

Cue panic because she drank at our wedding and this is totally unplanned, but otherwise we’re ecstatic.

We haven’t told anyone other than her mother and sister, and now we’re going to have to really think about how this is going to work with my mum, but I’m now feeling way more confident that we’ll be able to figure it out together. As long as my wife is happy, I don't care.

What do YOU make of OP's story? Any advice for him?

Sources: Reddit
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