A lot of “traditions” are just code for sexism — and thankfully, many people are refusing to participate or are changing them to be meaningful and different for a new generation.
One Redditor has a boyfriend who comes from a culture where some traditions — such as the aforementioned “test” — are pretty much misogynistic. The OP learned about the “test” when she was spending time with her boyfriend’s family and speaking with them about their future engagement.
Basically, the “test” her boyfriend’s mother was speaking about has to do with homemaking and whether or not the future mother-in-law approves of her son’s partner and thinks she’s good enough. The OP said no thanks, I don’t want to take this test — and now there is conflict between her and her partner’s family.
“My boyfriend Eric (29M, fake name) and I (27F) have been dating for three years. For context, I have met his family and they are friendly. We don’t meet them very often because they live in my bf’s home country. I don’t want to reveal country names either for privacy reasons but my bf and I are of different nationalities and we both work in my country.”
“The conflict happened during our last visit last weekend. We have been looking up houses to move in together and engagement rings. While we were having dinner, we mentioned this to his family as it’s a big step in our relationship for us(we are not engaged yet.) His parents and brothers expressed their happiness for us then out of nowhere his youngest SIL asked ‘So is she going to take the test?’ I asked ‘what test?'”
“In summary, bf’s family has this tradition where the future MIL tests future daughters-in-law to see if they are good enough for her sons. Apparently, his mother and aunts went through the same test. The tests include how clean they can keep a home, how well they can cook, their manners, etc. Basically life skills most people learn from childhood. I found it ridiculous because 1. If I’m good enough for my boyfriend, he should be the one deciding it. and 2. I don’t fit in their targeted category. In his mom’s words, you can’t be a good SAHW and SAHM if you can’t be a good homemaker and she wants to make sure of that.”
“To be clear, his mom and all three of his brothers’ wives are SAHMs and although I respect their choice, I am not quitting my career and did not under any circumstances make my bf think I could compromise on that. I hate house chores and I would rather buy homemaking gadgets and hire staff no matter the cost than have to do chores myself. I told my bf’s mom all this and it caused an argument that eventually ruined dinner and in extension our visit. Bf doesn’t care whether I’m a working wife or a SAHW but he thinks I should have just done the test because ‘it’s just a test’ and it’s not like they would reject me if I failed it. He thinks it’s a fun tradition that everyone was looking forward to and I should have gone along with it anyways. My boyfriend thinks I’m the AH and suggested I make this post. If I really am the a**hole, I’m sure you guys will let me know so am I?”
Redditors agreed that there was no reason for the OP to submit to a sexist “test.”
“He thinks it a fun tradition for women marrying into the family to be judged on their ‘skills’ in traditional, old-fashioned gender conforming roles? Fine. let HIM take a test. he can rotate the tires, change the oil and maybe rework the transmission on a car. install a new muffler while he’s at it. then he can perform a series of tests of lifting heavy objects. how are his plumbing skills? he’s gonna need to know how to fix a leaky faucet. your father and brothers and male friends can judge him on his manliness and decide if he is prepared to be a ‘proper’ husband. he might also need to prove he makes enough money to support you for when you have to stay home and perform all those ‘wifely’ duties. What an obnoxious family. NTA.” —miss_trixie
“NTA. This isn‘t just some ‘fun test.’ This shows you everything about their views that you need to know. Just a gentle warning. My ex husband came from a traditional family like that. We talked about me not quitting my job and him helping with kids, chores, etc. and before we got married, he always assured me that he doesn‘t want a relationship / family life like everyone in his family has, that he wants to be more modern. Welp, it was all BS. After the wedding he wanted me to be a stay at home wife, keep the house tidy and spend all day cooking meals for him. He just grew up with this kind of life being normal, and ultimately, it was what he wanted, too. We got a divorce over this. Take care.” —HighOnCoffee19
“NTA – if your bf knew they would expect this from you he should have given you a heads up and let you know that it’s not serious but he would appreciate it if you went along with it, and it would mean a lot to his family. Then you would have had the opportunity to think about it rather than possibly offending his family/causing any conflict with your gut response. For avoidance of any doubt, I absolutely would not be taking this test either and think you had every right to express your feelings on the matter.” —Chance-Bread-315
“NTA. What test is your boyfriend going to take to prove he’s good enough for you?” —sherlocked27