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'AITA for telling my boyfriend his family made a bad impression after he told me the same thing?'

'AITA for telling my boyfriend his family made a bad impression after he told me the same thing?'


"AITA for telling my boyfriend his family made a bad impression after he told me the same thing?"

My boyfriend and I went to his sister’s wedding over the weekend. It was the first time I met his family. We left Thursday evening and came back yesterday. For context, my boyfriend James is British, while my family is not, so this might be a contributing factor as to why the weekend was pretty uncomfortable. Which it was.

On the way home yesterday, James was talking about meeting my family sometime soon, and I said maybe when my dad is next in town (he lives in Spain). James joked he hoped he’d pass the dad test and I said my dad isn’t that kind of parent.

I made some joke about this weekend being a “Balmoral test” and if I passed. James got kind of squirmy and said it wasn’t a big deal, but I didn’t make the best impression on his family. I obviously asked what he meant.

Things I apparently did that were faux pas:

  • Woke up too early and dressed for breakfast

  • Chose to go to pick up food with my boyfriend and his dad rather than staying with his mum and sisters

  • Wasn’t friendly enough to the kids

  • Didn’t eat enough

  • Said no to too many offers (snacks, tea, shower gel)

  • Bought wine I liked at a supermarket

Now, I completely respect their right to feel how they feel about the things that I did. I may not agree, but between cultural and personality differences, if they just didn’t like me that is fair enough.

However, I feel like it was a bit unnecessary of James to mention this to me. It seemed like he was fishing for some kind of apology from me. I said as much and James said he was just being honest. I said that in the interest of being honest his family made a bad impression on me too.

Things I mentioned that made me uncomfortable:

  • Badgering me about my eating habits

  • Calling me “stunted” because I went to boarding school

  • His mother not allowing me to do anything for myself, such making my own tea

  • Repeatedly trying to convince me to play with his sister’s kids and telling them to bother me when I said no

  • His teenage cousins making extremely inappropriate remarks to me at the wedding

  • The whole family getting absolutely paralytic at the wedding

James said I was being cruel about his family and that I should have kept my comments to myself. He said he was just trying to make the point that I should loosen up when I next see his family, not saying there was something wrong with me, but I had basically called his family uncouth thugs.

I disagree there’s any difference in what was said. AITA for responding to his comment with my own feelings?

Here's what top commenters what to say about this one:

lynfaix said:

NTA but this isn’t a “British” thing. This is a “his family are judgemental AH’s” thing. I’m British - none of what you mentioned is a cultural difference. I also believe it’s a case of “don’t dish it if you can’t take it” with your response…If he didn’t want you to be that honest? Well, he simply shouldn’t have started the conversation.

TemperateEnd said:

NTA: So to sum up, your boyfriend's family were controlling, judgemental, and disrespectful? Yeah, as someone who is British himself, I'd like to say that that's not normal.

Additionally, about the part of his mother not allowing you to do anything for yourself like making your own tea: It's normal to offer to do things for a guest, but if the guest insists on doing it on their own, it's normal (and respectful) to let the guest do their thing.

Also, the part about you being "cruel" about his family? I'm sorry, but that's just rather hypocritical to call you out for being "cruel" when his family were the ones calling you "stunted" for going to boarding school. Not to mention trashy. If any members of my family were like that with a partner I have, I'd shoot that behavior down right then and there.

Especially the teenage cousins. I'm seriously convinced that there is a deeper problem here if it's not just the adults but also the younger ones. And for your boyfriend to brush off the "extremely innappropriate" comments made by his teenage cousins?

Clearly, on top of being a bad partner to you, he's also a terrible role model to his younger relatives. Which should serve to give you ample warning about what he will be like as a father if having a family is your plan. NTA at all. It's not going to get better. I'd leave and never look back.

RoyallyOakie said:

NTA...So he's allowed to tell you how his family feels, but you're not supposed to say anything? That's rich. Just be yourself and have no regrets.

C_Majuscula said:

NTA. He opened up the "let's criticize people" discussion, you just participated with your impressions of the weekend. If he expected an apology after that, you aren't compatible.

Unplannedroute said:

NTA they’re jealous and insecure. Boarding school AND American? They ran you through the wringer to feel better about themselves and your bf just wants you in your place. The drinking behavior is a red flag, I don’t care if that behaviour is normalized here, it’s a red flag.

DivineAna said:

NTA. But you need to have a serious conversation with your bf about this. My read is (a) his family was poised to dislike you. Some families are like this-- out of protectiveness, garden-variety judgment, etc.

(b) Your boyfriend really wanted them to like you, and because he cares about them/feels aligned with them, he is treating their petty quibbles as though they are meaningful issues. (c) Because he identifies with his family, he feels defensive when you point out things you didn't like in return.

You are NTA, but I do think continuing to try to weigh the offenses against each other is not a productive way to address this. I would focus on the feelings-- you really wanted them to like you.

You were genuinely trying. You feel hurt by the fact that they seemed to not accept you. You are worried about how this affects or reflects on how he feels about you. If he can respond compassionately to those valid feelings, then great. If not... think seriously about your relationship with this person.

Everyone was on OP's side for this one. What's your advice for this couple?

Sources: Reddit
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