“My boyfriend’s cousin has four children. Each of her kids is the personification of the word ‘bratty.’ The said cousin refuses to discipline them and constantly makes excuses for their behavior. She’s also very judgmental of our decision to not have children. She has often made some snide comments towards me, implying I’m the selfish one who is depriving my boyfriend of the ‘joys of raising children.’ For these reasons and for her generally entitled behavior, my boyfriend had cut ties with her.
However, when he and I visited his parental home three days ago for his parent’s anniversary celebration, we ran into her again. My boyfriend’s dad had urged him to use this occasion to mend bridges with the cousin. So we both tried to make nice and engaged in small talk with her. During our conversation, my boyfriend mentioned we were leaving for Melbourne for vacation in a few days.
At this, cousin’s eyes lit up.
‘Oh, that sounds like so much fun,’ she said. ‘My husband and I haven’t gone anywhere since our honeymoon.’
She whined some more about how hard it is for them with four kids, if only they could afford such luxuries, etc. I could tell where this was going. My boyfriend probably felt sorry for her and, being the kind and generous soul that he is, offered to buy them a weekend in a resort in Mt. Abu (a hill station in the Indian state of Rajasthan).
Cousin (face scrunched up): ‘That’s nice, but why can’t you just take us to Melbourne with you?’
Boyfriend (getting a bit annoyed, but still patient): ‘Well, we want to spend some time alone together. Plus, we’ll be meeting some close friends there. Besides, Mt Abu is a beautiful place. Your kids will love it.’
Cousin (in the annoying ‘Karen’ tone): ‘I still don’t see why you can’t take us to Australia. You’re being so selfish, going on this great trip and sticking your family with a cheap weekend getaway.’
Boyfriend’s Mom: ‘He’s making a very generous offer. Either take it or leave it.’
Cousin (wearing the expression morons wear when they think they’ve had a bright idea): ‘Oh, I know! Why don’t my husband and I go to Mt Abu and you can take our kids to Melbourne.’
Cousin: ‘It’s a great idea. The kids can have fun in Melbourne with you two, and my hubby and I can enjoy a peaceful weekend. This way, the kids can actually spend some time with their uncle. You never make time for them!’
Boyfriend: ‘I’m offering for the last time. It’s either the weekend in Mt Abu or nothing at all. And why the heck would we ruin our vacation taking care of your kids?’
Cousin: ‘How can you say that? My kids are so well-behaved. You’ll have so much fun spending time with them. Besides, my husband and I could really use some quiet time together. You and her don’t have any responsibilities. You have no idea how hard it is to raise four kids. You can afford this trip. I don’t see why you won’t share with family.’
Boyfriend: ‘One more word and you’re losing my Mt Abu offer.’
On hearing this, the cousin shut her trap. We all had dinner together and she was mercifully quiet. If only her kids had followed her example.
You’d think this would be the end of it, but NO! We had seriously underestimated her dedication to her Karen-ness. The next morning, the cousin showed up at my apartment with the kids in tow. I was shocked to see her of course and asked if something was wrong. She smiled and said, ‘I’m just here to drop the kids off. You’re leaving tonight, right?’
After taking a second to recover from the shock, I asked ‘Did you fall and hit your head on something? We told you we weren’t taking your kids with us. What part of that did you not understand.’
She then tried to convince me my boyfriend had called her later on and had agreed to take her kids. I knew this was bull and called it as such.
Cousin became enraged and asked if I was going to break her kids’ hearts, why would I break our promise, and how boyfriend and I could be so cold. I called my boyfriend and after telling him what was going on, I turned on the speaker.
My boyfriend proceeded to chew her out brutally, telling her he would no longer pay for their weekend getaway and that this is exactly the kind of behavior that had made him cut ties with her. She tried to get a word in but he wouldn’t let her.”