Class can play a major role in a relationship dynamic.
Even if you and a partner are running in the same circles and making the same money as adults, how you were raised often shapes your philosophies around money, and your extended family's world views.
Bridging the gap between upbringings can be simple when you're one-on-one feeling googly-eyed and in love, but it gets more complicated when dealing with logistics and in-laws.
AITA for telling my in future in-laws that it's not a wedding gift unless it's given to both people and telling my fiancee I don't want to live in a house I don't own?
My fiancee [27F] and I [29M] grew up very differently. I was an immigrant who moved here when I was 6, and we were definitely struggling a lot. My parents worked extremely hard to provide for me and my siblings, and they always prioritized our education over everything.
My dad always told me it was his dream to live in a house that he owned, since we'd always rented, but he couldn't save up enough since we were renting in expensive areas with good schools. Unfortunately, both of my parents passed away before being able to realize that dream.
My dad passed away when I was 17 and my mom passed away almost 3 years ago due to COVID. My fiancee grew up fairly wealthy. Like private schools, designer clothes, 3-4 international vacations per year flying first or business class the whole way.
I was able to attend college thanks to student loans, scholarships, and part-time jobs, which delayed my graduation a bit, while her parents were able to fairly easily cover all expenses themselves. However, I'm the last person to say that my fiancee hasn't earned everything she's gotten.
She's an extremely intelligent person, and besides funding her education, her parents are in no way responsible for her accomplishments. My fiancee and I met 6 years ago when we started working at the same company, in the same position, at the same time, after graduating from college.
We hit it off almost instantly and it didn't take long for us to start dating. Both of us still work at the company, however, I've progressed through the career ladder a bit more quickly than she has and now make just over twice what she does.
I'll be the first to admit that this is completely undeserved and I've benefited from a lot of luck and definitely some sexism as well, since we work in a male-dominated field. Still, that has allowed me to aggressively attack my student loans, and once they were paid off, I put that into saving up for a down payment on a house as a way to fulfill my parent's dreams.
I proposed about 6 months, and things have been great so far. However, this past weekend, we were at her family's house, when her parents told us that for a wedding present, they were going to give us a house. My fiancee was overjoyed, and although I was also happy, I wanted to know the details as well.
Pretty quickly, her parents told us that the house would be in her name only, and that they expected us to sign a prenup to protect any (and only) pre-marriage assets 'just in case'. I was insulted that they thought I was after their money at all since I make more than she does anyway, and I ended up telling them that they can't call it a wedding present if they only give it to one person.
I then told my fiancee I refused to live in a house that I don't own, and she knows exactly why. All three of them got very upset with me. So AITA?
The post was soon flooded with responses.
NTA. Honestly, I don't think they're terrible for wanting to give a nice gift but also ensure their investment goes to her in the event of a divorce. In addition, I'm sure prenups are much more common and less offensive in their world. That said, you've been dating for six years. They know you, they presumably know your background, homeownership goals, etc.
Also, a potential solution/suggestion. Between the two of you, own TWO homes + get some sweet AirBnB income on one of them. You will have a much easier time saving up for the second while living in the first. ETA: just make sure your home is covered in the prenup, too.
NTA. That is not a wedding gift. That is a bridal gift, for the bride only. They aren't giving the house to you as a couple. They are giving her a house and making sure that you get NO equity in it whatsoever. That IS insulting, and pretty damned obvious, too.
The prenup on its own isn't that bad, and I suppose it's common enough among people who have wealth...but as I understand it, this house would be a 'pre-marriage' asset. Of course, they are upset with you. You saw through scheme and called them on it. The fact that your fiancee is taking her parents' side in this disturbs me.
NAH. While I think it's nuts, I don't think it's an AH move to offer your child a house, and I don't think it's an AH move to want to protect the house you're buying. But I also think it's totally reasonable for you to say 'no thanks' to the gift, and find/buy a place with your spouse. They obviously understand the value of property - they should understand your desire to have some of your own.
NTA. It’s insulting that they wrapped it as a wedding gift and it speaks to their prejudice against you in my opinion. They could gift whatever they like to their daughter separately, and perhaps she can choose to rent it out for extra income that she can keep in her account.
But it’s definitely not a wedding present for both of you, and I wouldn’t live there either when you clearly will have no rights to your home.
NTA. Gifts don't come with strings attached. Their 'gift' is putting you in your place.
NTA. She’s going to have her cake and eat it too! She gets the gift house, plus any house you buy during the marriage. Hell no! Do not live or have children in a house you do not own. You’ll never be able to give any opinions about it.
They will hang it over your head every time you have an argument. Basically, they will force you to do their will as you have kids and the kids have a paid house to live at. If your wife refused to move out, what are you going to do? Divorce her and have weekend visitation with the kids? Way too risky!!!
Also big red flag the fact that they already crafted LEGAL Papers behind your back! She will always do her parents bidding. Imagine a divorce… with kids… you’ll never see those kids again.
NTA. Listen up to your brown sister!
Say no thank you to all of this. Ask for your ring back and walk away from all of that noise.
I’m assuming your fiancé knows about your (and by extension your parents’) dreams of homeownership, but is willing to dismiss it for her own personal gain. She will not be a partner to you.
If you’re not buying a house, you’re not building equity. That is generational wealth, my friend. No matter how much you earn, it’s not the same as this kind of equity. Odds are that she will quit her job and expect you to support her because “she brought the house to the table.”
This is definitely racism. I’m totally getting ‘Get Out’ vibes. 😒
Run, don’t walk away from this!
NTA. Sorry dude, but she ain't the one. Her family already thinks little of you and don't care about you. Them giving the house to her has nothing to do with the wedding. They were always going to give her that house. At least now you know what kind of people they are.
Edit: You can also tell who here is from a wealthy family as all of them are saying this guy is TA.
Edit/Update: So I was requested to add some information that I included in the comments into my post, and I also just had a long conversation with my fiancee and my in-laws, so I have a small update to share as well.
Here's the info from the comments:
The hilarious part of the whole prenup conversation was that they basically said that they expected the prenup to only cover premarital and inherited assets. They said they would absolutely refuse to accept any clauses that include future assets.
So if I want to own a home where only my name is on the title, I have to purchase it before the marriage and also make sure to never use any of my wife's money to pay the mortgage or anything. Apparently they already had their lawyer write the whole thing up, but wanted to give me a heads-up so I can retain my own lawyer to review it.
I have a suspicion that any lawyer is going to think it's massively unfair just based on how they've described it, and I'm assuming that they think I'll just get a cheap lawyer because of my upbringing. Admittedly, I don't know any better, so this is kind of difficult for me to determine what's fair and isn't fair here, but it doesn't seem fair to me.
Besides that though, it's also just a personal thing. I want to live in a house that I own. Not them. Not my wife alone. I'm happy to live in a home that both my wife and I own, but not one she owns on her own. I don't want someone else living in the home that I own. I want to live in it myself.
I also should mention that currently, my fiancée and I share our finances. She makes about 120k USD and I make about 250k USD. We split things according to income, so I pay around two-thirds and she pays around one-third. Based on our conversations, my fiancee and I both expected this arrangement to continue after marriage.
As for the update, well I'll start with my fiancee's older sister [29F if it's relevant] calling me out of the blue a few hours ago to tell me that her parents did not ask her husband to sign a prenup before they got married.
Both of my fiancee's sisters and my fiancee's BIL were at the dinner where her parents talked about the house, so they both heard the whole conversation. My fiancee's sister thought I deserved to know. My fiancee's BIL comes from a well-off family as well, but I don't know how well-off or whether they are on the same level as my fiancee's family or just upper middle class.
Their wedding was pretty extravagant. My fiancée's family is white and American, as is the BIL. I am Pakistani. I don't believe her parents are racist, but it seemed like this information was important according to the comments. Anyway, about 3 hours ago, my fiancee finally came home.
She had stayed at her parent's house because we'd gotten into quite the argument. I was expecting her to continue the argument, but she actually came and apologized straight away. Apparently, her younger sister [22F] chewed her out after I left her parent's house.
She really laid into my fiancee on how she was being inconsiderate because everyone knew how important owning my home was to me. She also said that her parents weren't treating me right, or equally. That made my fiancee see my side, as she said, but she was too embarrassed, which is why she didn't come home last night.
If you can't tell, I'm a huge fan of my fiancee's little sister right now. She's always been a sort of no-nonsense firecracker type of girl, while my fiancee is a bit of a people pleaser and definitely a Daddy's girl, and she's kind of always vying for her father's approval. My fiancée has even said she knows she needs to work through that before we get married. I'm going to buy her sister a cupcake.
Then showed her the post and she got pretty uncomfortable reading a lot of the comments, especially the ones saying that she doesn't care about me. She also got really uncomfortable when she read the comments about her parents being racist.
I pressed on that a bit and she went on to mention that they've never been overtly racist, but they did make comments when we first started dating about being concerned about the future, specifically about our children looking different and being treated poorly by her family. They asked her many times if she was sure about me.
Like I said, I don't believe they're racist, but I do understand that they probably have some biases. This was also the case when they said they didn't want to do any traditional Pakistani events for the wedding. That was fine for me anyway, so I didn't really care, but now it makes me think a bit.
I explained to her how I was feeling like I was going into this as an unequal partner, and she absolutely agreed that it wasn't fair. She even said she was going to tell her parents that she was going to refuse to sign the prenup. I told her to slow down, because she was going between extremes.
I told her that we still needed to get the prenup because her family was already having difficulty accepting me and this was going to make it worse. However, I told her that under no circumstances was I signing anything her parents had a part in drafting, and that we would each retain our own lawyers outside of her parents' influence and get something that is fair and equitable. She agreed.
We then talked about the house, and she said she was going to tell her parents that she wasn't going to accept unless both of our names were on it. I told her to slow down again, and I got her to agree to me paying for a quarter of it.
My initial proposal was to pay half, but she said that what I said about it being a wedding present so it should be for both of us was true. So we came to the agreement that we would each get half ownership of the house, with her parents paying for 75% of it and me using the money I have saved plus a small mortgage for the other 25%. Both of our names will be on the title.
We then called her parents together and told them our plan. They grumbled about it a bit initially, especially because her dad was still upset that I had been so ungrateful, but eventually, we were able to talk it through, and they agreed to the plan. I doubt that this is the last I hear about this, but at least for now, it seems like the situation is mostly resolved.
It sounds like OP and his fiancee have landed on a solution, hopefully, it holds up.