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Wife refuses to bend to father-in-law's 'authority,' sparking cultural feud. AITA?

Wife refuses to bend to father-in-law's 'authority,' sparking cultural feud. AITA?


"AITA for not supporting my reserved wife when she doesn't show my parents affection?"


My wife Lucy (33F) and I (35M) are both immigrants who met, married, and live in our current country. Although, we are actually originally from two different countries.

In my original country's culture, when you marry, your in-laws essentially become a second set of parents who you treat the same as your own parents. I treat Lucy's parents like my own, but Lucy doesn't treat my parents the same way she treats her own.

She's very polite and respectful towards my parents, but she doesn't show them the same affection or humor that she uses with her parents. Lucy is a pretty reserved person and doesn't show love often.

It hurts my parents that Lucy doesn't treat them like she does her own parents, especially as my dad (71M) is very traditional and misinterprets her reservedness as disrespect.

My parents love Lucy and don't understand why she's more reserved with them. I've tried explaining to them that Lucy is reserved, but they think that children (biological or in-laws) should treat them more affectionately anyway.

My dad loves talking politics with Lucy because they're both educated and well-traveled, and he's accustomed to people just agreeing with his opinions (since he's the oldest and therefore deserves the most respect, according to my culture).

Lucy doesn't always agree with my dad's more conservative views and isn't afraid to tell him so, but has never been rude to him. It came to a head when my dad tried to speak politics with her one day when we were visiting for dinner.

Instead of just agreeing with him, though, Lucy expressed the exact opposite view (which she genuinely believes) and then refused to change her opinion to appease him.

My dad got upset, started yelling, and demanded to know why she wasn't more respectful as a child should be towards a parent. Lucy told him bluntly that he's not her dad and has no authority over her whatsoever, and left the house when my dad started yelling again.

At home, I asked Lucy to apologize to my dad to keep the peace, but Lucy said I should have stood up for her, especially once my dad started yelling. I said that it's better to just let him run out of steam, as he doesn't mean it, he just talks very loudly, and he loves her.

She said that she doesn't love him like a father and told me that I'm TA for not taking her side. Now she won't talk to my parents at all, and my parents are upset at her silence. AITA for not supporting Lucy?

Here were the top rated comments from readers:


YTA. Your parents do NOT get to demand how Lucy treats them. That is not a thing. Stop blaming it on culture. Your dad sounds like a misogynistic ahole. Why, in a hundred million years, would Lucy show him affection? He absolutely does not respect her experience or her opinion. He respects her ability to mirror his own narrow opinion back at him.

TBH, Lucy should go no contact with your father. She's a grown ass woman,NO ONE has the right to scream at her. You are headed for divorce. Quickly. That you are still supporting your abusive parents over your wife makes me hope Lucy files soon.

She deserves so much better. If you want to stay married, start supporting your wife. Start with a time out for your awful, controlling, narcissistic, misogynistic father. Then see what Lucy needs next. Otherwise, I hope she gets out soon. Like tomorrow.


And to add to the culture thing. They're from different cultures. If this was something oh so important, it should have been discussed, in detail, before getting married.

Preferably before getting engaged. It's definitely not some card to pull out of your rear after being married and getting upset over "not following tradition" when it's not a shared tradition.


Also, why should she have to follow HIS family's traditions. She probably has her own family traditions from her culture that she might want to follow.


Exactly! Why are women expected to give up their ideologies and traditions they have had their whole lives once they marry into another family? A woman isn't reset to a clean slate when she marries, and it isn't up to the man or his family to fill up that slate how they see fit.


OP, she's not rocking the boat. Your father is rocking the boat and she's just refusing to be on the boat to steady it. Imagine telling someone to just let a 71 year old man have a temper tantrum until he tuckers himself out. Your family's decades of placating him have caused this, not your wife.


Exactly. OP’s dad’s real problem with Lucy isn’t that she’s not “loving”, it’s that she’s not submissive. And good for her! If OP didn’t want a self confident and intelligent wife, he shouldn’t have married a self confident and intelligent woman. You don’t marry someone and then expect them to change who they are, you marry them because of who they are. OP is definitely TA.


YTA, very massively, for a few reasons:

1). Nobody owes anyone affection. Affection is earned, much like respect - and it's very clear that your father has done nothing to deserve Lucy's affection or respect.

You can't simply demand them. The expectation that parents can demand affection and respect from children, especially from children that they didn't raise, is appalling.

2). You need to stand up for Lucy ASAP or she will divorce you. It sounds like Lucy knows her own mind and won't let anyone walk all over her simply because they disagree with her.

She's not being rude to your father by disagreeing with him. Rather, I'd say that it's a sign of respect that she can disagree with him politely and reasonably, when it's so much easier to be rude about it.

3). If your parents love Lucy so much, why is your dad yelling? I get that some people just talk loudly, but not everyone does, and it sounds like Lucy doesn't, either. Your dad needs to learn how to modulate his volume depending on his audience.

4). Did you ask your dad to apologize to Lucy for yelling at her? This is related to #3 - your dad might not have realized he was yelling (he might've thought he was just talking loudly), but Lucy clearly thought your father was yelling.

5). Also related to #3: if your parents love Lucy so much, why don't they respect her? Love and respect are intertwined: if you love someone, you also respect them. If your parents are treating Lucy like that, then I doubt they love her as much as they claim.


I love the part where OPs dad loves to talk to Lucy about politics because she's smart, but he becomes enraged when she has a different opinion, smh.


That's a simple case of YTA. Don't "appease" your parents at the cost of your spouse's values. Do you want your parents to dictate what opinions your wife is allowed to have?

"He loves her", but only when she agrees with him? Oh, how generous. They aren't owed respect. "It's the culture" is an oppressive argument based on rigid tradition that prevents social mobility.

So, what do you think? Is the OP in the wrong here? If you could give them any advice, what would you say?

Sources: Reddit
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