The internet has been outraged after a father shared an unusual dilemma on Reddit: his wife’s estranged parents don’t like him because he used to be homeless.
According to the post, shared on the popular “Am I the A**hole” forum, the man was homeless at age 23 when he met the woman who is now his wife.
“My wife was the first to be nice to me,” he wrote in the post, which has more than 20,000 votes.
“[I] almost got kicked out of this small restaurant trying to avoid the rain. She was there pretending we were meeting so they would let me stay. Got a free meal and we talked for a long time. She really helped me turn my life around, like helping me fill out job applications. From there we became good friends. Two years later, after I got everything together thanks to her, I asked her out.”
He added that her parents hated dating because they thought he was “garbage”. Four years into the couple’s relationship, with him in a “steady full-time job to help with the bills,” they still didn’t approve. Her parents were not present at their wedding and did not get in touch when they had a son.
That son is now 16, the father explained, and his wife’s parents “contacted us out of the blue. They still don’t want to talk to me or my wife, but they were willing to put their feelings aside.” know him. We never went into details with him about why we don’t talk to them and he never asked much.’
He continued: “We left the choice to him whether he wanted to meet them. And he agreed. He has been on several occasions over the past 3 months to spend time. Recently he asked us why we do not keep in touch with them .To him they seemed nice people, so he doesn’t understand what the conflict was.
“They told him we stopped talking about a conflict we had, but didn’t let them know they were the ones who didn’t want to see us.”
Upon learning what had happened, the son became “angry” at his grandparents and decided he no longer wanted to talk to them, the man said. The grandparents “think we’re assholes because they were finally building a relationship with him and we screwed up.”
Tensed relationships between married couples and their in-laws are common, although this is an extreme case. In fact, research has shown that it is generally rare for the son-in-law to be the center of parental discontent.
In 2008, psychologist Dr. Terri Apter of Cambridge University a 20-year study of family dynamics. She found that 75 percent of couples reported problems with in-laws — and most of the disagreements involved the female relatives. Contrary to the cliché, only 15 percent of mother-in-law/son-in-law relationships were described as tense.
In this case, the Reddit verdict was clear: the man was not at fault.
“Did the grandparents really expect you to lie about the reason for the estrangement?” asked one user. “Honestly I would consider OP… [the original poster] and wife are guilty if they didn’t tell their son the truth.”
Others agreed that the father would be guilty only if he had not been honest with his son.
One Redditor thought: “The only thing I think the original poster and woman are a bit of a hole for is that I think they should have told their son from the start. It was definitely information he wanted, and it’s not surprise that he would realize what ugly people his grandparents are.I think he would have been less hurt if he hadn’t bonded with these people before he knew their true nature.
“But I understand you wanted him to be able to make the choice about his relationship. However, I think he had a right to know before deciding if he wanted a relationship with them.”
Another commented: “You weren’t spiteful or cruel, you didn’t lie or even exaggerate. Heck, you didn’t even try to get in the way of their relationship with your son, despite everything your in-laws had done to hurt you.
“The truth is so simple: if your in-laws had been more genuinely compassionate people at some point in all these years, your own son, whom you clearly raised to be a thoughtful young man, would have had more compassion for them too. .
“They live with the consequences of their own actions, as hard as that is for them to face, and you are” [not the a**hole].”
Another put it even more succinctly: “You have shared the truth. If that’s a bad reflection of them, it’s because they are.’