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Woman 'hides' MIL's hurtful birthday present for her husband from him. AITA? UPDATED

Woman 'hides' MIL's hurtful birthday present for her husband from him. AITA? UPDATED


"AITA for 'hiding' my MIL's hurtful birthday present for my husband from him?"

My (f27) husband (m28) is clearly NOT the favorite child of my mother-in-law (f54). She has three sons and my husband is the oldest and only one not from her current husband.

She separated from his father while she was pregnant and shortly after this met her current husband. After a while they became parents to both my husband's younger brothers (they are 6 and 4 years younger than my husband). The relationship between my husband and MIL is not really bad.

She’s not evil or trying to hurt him but she just isn’t very affectionate towards him. All three of them moved away for university and my MIL sends packages of sweets, clothing or something like this to his younger brothers. My husband never received a package with the exception of his birthday.

His brother got a brand new iPhone, two expensive pullovers and one Parfum for his last birthday. Similar to the other brother and I would guess most of the times for their birthday it’s something in this price range. She writes a nice card or a personal letter for them and sometimes bakes something like cookies as well.

My husband is sad EVERY year. It’s not about the money but two years ago he got a 40 Euro giftcard for an online shop - send via the online shop. I tried to talk to him about it but he’s so hurt that he doesn’t want to talk about it. I waited a few weeks and tried to talk to him again but he refused.

Last birthday I gifted him a little vacation and texted my MIL that she could gift him a tour for one of the museums he wanted to see there (he dreamt of going to this city for years).

It would have not been expensive but thoughtful and would probably made my husband happy. She said she already had something. It was a candle (he’s not very into candles) and a shower gel.

This year a package arrived two days before his birthday. It was small and I could see that it came straight from an online-shop. We weren’t at home and our neighbor took it.

When I came home my neighbor told me that I’m lucky to see him because he’s away for the weekend and we would have missed the package. I just knew it would hurt my husband.

I asked him if he could keep the package a little longer so my husband would get it AFTER his birthday because it’s probably something disappointing from my MIL. He laughed and agreed. One day before his birthday I told him the package from his mom arrived but our neighbor was out of town.

He had a great birthday - full of friends, lovely cake and gifts and didn’t think about it one time. Our neighbour gave it to him yesterday and made a joke that his dad is also bad at picking gifts. My husband got curious and asked him about his words and my neighbor told him everything.

He talked to me (while his brother who was there for the party and stays with us for the week was present) and said he understood it. His brother told my MIL, who is now furious with me. She texted me and the group chat of his family lit up. She said that I’m mean and spoiled and had no right to hide the gift. So AITA?


His brothers never said anything about the different presents. Now his brother said that he found it harsh from me to hide a present. My husband is „older“ and apparently that’s why it’s justified to not get expensive or thoughtful gifts.

Funny enough - we are nearly 10 years together and he NEVER got a good present even as he was the same age his brothers are. One of his brothers also works (like him) so it’s not the job that makes the difference.

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

BeMandalorTomad said:

You are so not the AH. You are selfless and caring. Your motives are so pure and not at ALL self-serving. If anyone has a problem with this, it is 100% because they wanted to ruin your husband’s birthday and you foiled that attempt.

Honestly, how could it be anything else? They wanted to drive home the fact that he is not the favourite child in a totally cruel manner. I so applaud the way you want to protect your spouse. I would do the exact same thing in your shoes.

Terra88draco said:

NTA. Since your MIL lit the fire in the group chat I’d respond in a similar thread (I’m a petty b tho). Something like, “I’m sorry you are offended. But for years I’ve witnessed the absolute sorrow your “gifts” have caused my husband. And as his wife; one of my main objectives is to PROTECT HIM.

Furthermore; I stand by my actions and if that makes you think less of me; I cannot control you or your thoughts or actions. Only my reactions. I will gladly take a step back from interacting with you and leave all interactions to Hubby.

But before I step back; I have to say that whether intentional or not you have continually slighted my husband in terms of gifts and showed favoritism towards his brothers (and I do not fault them).

But I do find it unfair that you have continually spoiled them and tried to pretend that you are fair to my husband. Perhaps some introspection is required and I pray you find some.

And if I have to continue to be the villain in your story to be the hero in my husbands; then let me grab my pitchfork and cape and minions! I didn’t marry you. I married him.” But that’s me. Just let your husband know you didn’t want to start the war but you’ll launch grenades if you have to to protect him.

NeptunianCat said:

Your MIL's opinion is irrelevant and I am not sure why that is even part of this question. Was your husband upset about getting it late? If not, then NTA.

SolomonDRand said:

NTA. Ask in the group chat what candles and shower gel his brothers got for their birthdays. I bet they’ll be interested to learn that there’s a double standard.

NotCreativeAtAll16 said:

NTA. Your compassion meant that he had a nice birthday without being reminded that his mom couldn't give two sh%ts about him.


Thank you for all the messages. I wrote in the family group chat a good mixture of what you all said. That I was just trying to save my husbands birthday because he’s been sad for years because of his presents that not match the energy of his brothers (and it’s not about money but about thought).

I listed everything he got vs everything his brothers got. In return I got thrown out of the group chat. My husband left the chat after that. My MIL wrote me in private that I’m a toxic person who destroys my husbands relationship with his family but we choose to ignore that and go LC for a while.

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