Lady screaming with her hair flying up in the air and hands up

When you marry someone, it is often the case that you gain not just a partner but their family as well. Sometimes, the package deal doesn’t work out how we want it to, though. After telling his brother-in-law off for being an over-protective sibling, one man wonders if he’s the one in the wrong.

He takes his question to a popular online forum to help him decide. Is he the a**hole for telling his brother-in-law that his “big brother act” is old and needs to stop?

The Argument

Two men sitting on a couch arguing
Image Credit: Andrey_Popov via Shutterstock.

The OP (original poster) explains that he and his wife Anna have been married for about a year. The two of them arranged a weekend getaway, and Anna wanted to include her brother, Mark.

The OP says, “We recently had a couple’s weekend vacation away with my brother-in-law (Mark, 31M) and his wife. I initially didn’t want to invite Mark, but Anna insisted.”

The reason that the OP didn’t particularly want Mark to go is that he and his brother-in-law have never had the best relationship. The OP believes this is because of his past. He says, “Mark and I have never really gotten along much. I have a criminal history, and I don’t think Mark has ever really been able to look past that with me, even after marrying his sister.”

The couples go on their vacation together, but the tension reaches a breaking point one night. The OP explains, “We all got a little drunk. As I went to get another drink, I noticed that Mark was following me.

He started the whole protective big brother act again and talked about how he hopes I’m “treating Anna right” and have “truly left my past behind me.”

While this lecture is familiar and something the OP would usually ignore, this night is different. “It was probably just the alcohol, but I had had enough of this speech which I had heard a hundred times at this point,” the OP says.

Fed up and full of liquid courage, the OP pushes back. He states, “I got in his face and told him that Anna and I had been married for a year, and his protective brother speeches were wearing out my patience, and he needed to back off.”

The sudden pushback from OP doesn’t convince Mark to stop. Things devolve into an argument. The OP says, “We ended up in a shouting match, and Anna and Mark’s wife had to come in and break it up. The weekend was more or less over after that due to the tension between us.”

The OP feels that the comments from his brother-in-law need to stop, but his wife wishes he would have just let the whole thing go. The OP says, “Anna says I should have just ignored Mark when he started going off like that, but she isn’t the one who is constantly on the receiving end of his comments towards me.”

Overwhelming Support

Couple arguing outside of apartment building
Image Credit: Ekateryna Zubal via Shutterstock.

Checking the reactions from users on the forum, the OP received an overwhelming amount of support from users. The OP was voted officially NTA (not the a**hole).

“OP is NTA. The brother doesn’t act like he cares about OP’s wife. He’s just posing,” reads one comment. Another user adds, “Regardless of what OP’s past is, the brother is dead wrong to do this. It undermines his sister.”

A third person states, “NTA. He sounds judgemental and privileged. Hopefully, this is something you can all joke about ten years from now, but you’re not the a**hole in this situation at all.”

Some comments called on OP’s wife to step up, feeling that her role mattered more here. One person says, “You don’t have a brother-in-law problem; you have a wife problem. Every time BIL starts on his spiel, ignore him. Tell your wife. It’s your wife’s job to tell her brother to shut up.”

Another user agreed, adding, “The brother needs to get off your back, and your wife needs to learn to stand up for you and talk with her brother about boundaries.”

Some thought that everyone was at least partially at fault. One person adds to the conversation, “ESH (everyone sucks here), your reaction wasn’t the best, but Mark also needs to get over his problems. The worst thing here is that your reaction is exactly the kind that will make sure he will never let it go and will keep on bringing it up in the future as well.”

What do you think? Is the OP the a**hole for how he spoke to his brother-in-law? Or do you think that the OP was justified in his reaction because of how he was being treated?

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Inspired by this thread – photos for illustrative purposes only.

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