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Man tells wife she needs to work more in order to help sister, she calls him 'heartless.'

Man tells wife she needs to work more in order to help sister, she calls him 'heartless.'

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It's expensive out there for everyone, even people who haven't needed to worry about money in a minute. The price of mortgages, rent, groceries, gas, flights, and pretty much everything under the sun has rocketed sky-high, while wages remain relatively stagnant.

This is causing a pinch for most people, with the worst hitting those who were already struggling. If you have the means, it's only natural to want to help a loved one, it's just a matter of what feels possible.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a man asked if he's wrong for telling his wife she needs to work more if she wants to financially help her sister. He wrote:

'AITA for telling my wife to work more if she wants to help her sister financially?'

My wife (38f) and I (37M) have been married for 12 years and have 3 kids (10, 8, & 5). We both work full-time and have the kids in daycare during the summer until school starts up again. We both make decent money, but with the cost of literally everything going up more and more often, our budget is getting tighter.

We still live comfortably within our means, but we are saving much less and are being more conscious of our discretionary spending. Our youngest is starting kindergarten this fall, so that will help because we aren't spending on daycare anymore. But our oldest kids are now in more sports and extracurricular activities which pretty much offset any savings we would be doing on childcare.

We aren't anywhere near struggling, but we are definitely more aware of how we spend our money now. My wife's younger sister, Jen (30F), is 6 months pregnant with her 3rd child. Jen is not married and this is her 3rd different baby daddy. Only one of the first 2 fathers is involved, the other is a complete deadbeat who regularly skips child support payments.

Jen recently called my wife and told her that her current baby's dad left her and she's freaking out and asking for help. Whether that be money, a place to stay, anything. My wife's parents have both passed away and they have no other siblings, just each other. So, obviously, my wife wants to do whatever we can to help.

But, we don't have the space to house them and don't have a lot of extra money to give them either. My wife wants to give Jen a few hundred dollars every month and to start watching her 2 older kids so Jen can keep working. Personally, I think that idea is shortsighted because Jen won't be able to work after the new baby comes.

My idea was to dip into savings and pay for a lawyer for Jen to do a better job of getting the child support she is owed. I would rather bite a bigger bullet once than death by a thousand cuts over months and months. But my wife says that won't help put food on Jen's table every week. I laid out our budget and asked my wife where we can make cuts to support Jen, because I just don't see it.

I asked her what she would be willing to give up, or have our kids go without, to support Jen. She got mad at me and called me heartless for not wanting to help. It turned into a fight and I ended up telling her that if she wants to support her sister like this, then she is going to need to work more or get a second job because I'm not compromising our family budget long-term.

All of our finances are shared, so it's not like either of us has our 'own' money to use however we want. I also know that my wife and I are the only family Jen has and I agree that we should help. But adding hundreds or possibly more to our monthly budget isn't going to work.

Jen needs more help than we can provide and she needs to find resources that can do that for her. But my wife thinks I am being an uncaring AH about this.

The jury of the internet soon adjourned.

KronkLaSworda wrote:

'I asked her what she would be willing to give up, or have our kids go without, to support Jen.'

She dodged the question that needs to be asked and played a guilt trip on top of it.

NTA Stay the course. Your SIL has made her own bed and can continue lying in it.

mizfit0416 wrote:

NTA - Someone might want to explain to Jen what keeps causing these pregnancies...

TemptingPenguin369 had a clarifying question:

NTA. This is one of those cases where just giving her some monthly help will never solve the problem. I prefer your suggestion of paying for a lawyer so Jen can can what is legally owed to her, but Jen is clearly too selfish to change her own behavior. How does your wife propose she can watch Jen's current children?

OP responded:

'How does your wife propose she can watch Jen's current children?'

That was definitely a 'we' thing. 'We' will end up helping with Jen's kids. No idea exactly what that is going to look like yet because they live almost an hour away and her kids are in school too.

shiny_new_spine wrote:

'I laid out our budget and asked my wife where we can make cuts to support Jen, because I just don't see it. I asked her what she would be willing to give up, or have our kids go without, to support Jen. She got mad at me and called me heartless for not wanting to help.'

She didn't answer the question? She understands the situation. I'd ask her where the extra money is supposed to come from. Jen makes bad decisions, and it's unfortunate, but she needs to get that child support for the kids. I think your offer is very sound and forward-thinking. Stay strong with what you have laid out. NTA.

cachalker wrote:

NTA.The cold, hard truth is that you don’t have the financial bandwidth to send several hundred dollars a month to her sister without either going into debt, penalizing your children by taking things away from them or compromising your future. This does not make you uncaring. What it makes you is a man who prioritizes his immediate family first. It’s not about not wanting to help.

It’s about understanding the limitations of your own financial situation. If she wants to help her sister, she’s going to need to increase that bandwidth. There’s a cost associated with being her sister’s savior. She’s just refusing to acknowledge that right now. Unfortunately, you’re going to need to keep a close eye on your finances. Your wife may well try to do and end run around you in order to help.

OP isn't TA here, it's just an unfortunate situation all around - particularly for Jen's kids.

Sources: Reddit
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