In her first year of law school and enjoying a comfortable life in the US with her accountant brother, the Original Poster (OP) finds herself at a crossroads when a family request from back home challenges their financial boundaries. As their cousin dreams of studying abroad, an unexpected demand for monetary assistance thrusts OP and her brother into a whirlwind of family discord. The situation escalates, causing ripples throughout their extended family leading to a confrontation that tests their ties.
OP, a 24-year-old woman, embarks on her journey through her first year of law school. She secures a well-paying job at a corporate law firm to support herself. Meanwhile, she shares a home with her brother, a 26-year-old accountant.
Living the American Dream
Both OP and her brother moved to the US after completing high school. With no marital or parental responsibilities, they live a comfortable life. Their current situation contrasts with their past, rooted in a different country.
Ties Back Home
Their South Asian origin remains a significant part of their identity. Many of their relatives in Southeast Asia, including their aunts and uncles, grapple with financial difficulties. As a result, OP and her brother often find themselves supporting their family monetarily.
The Ambitious Cousin
OP’s 18-year-old cousin graduates from high school. OP holds a special bond with her, nurtured since their childhood playing together and enjoying one another’s company. Dreams of studying abroad are a recurring theme in their conversations.
A Proposition Postponed
The cousin’s mother, OP’s aunt, once suggested the possibility of her daughter coming to the US to live with OP and her brother. It was a suggestion met with no objections, at least not until recently.
The aunt reveals that they have been researching universities for the cousin. Unfortunately, all their options fall significantly beyond their financial reach. Sending her abroad now seems like a distant dream.
A Different Perspective
Empathetic, OP and her brother offer a practical solution: the cousin could pursue her undergraduate studies locally. Afterward, she might work part-time and consider postgraduate studies in the US, but the aunt has other plans.
An Unexpected Demand
The aunt boldly asks OP and her brother to fund, or at least cover 60% of, the cousin’s tuition fees. The brother’s response is swift and stern as he retorts with a firm “No.” He didn’t expect this request from their family.
Explaining Their Side
OP tries to reason with her aunt, highlighting their own expenses and the need to save for their futures. With basics like healthcare being costly in the US, they also have financial challenges. They will never be able to save for houses and their own families if they bankroll their cousin.
The aunt dismisses OP’s explanation, accusing them of being selfish. She argues that their earnings could purchase two homes in their home country within a year. She believes they can and should provide the money.
The Reality Check
Frustrated, the brother points out the higher cost of living in the US. He tries to make their aunt understand their financial commitments and how their situations are different. Everything from housing and utility costs to food and clothes is more expensive here.
The siblings’ attempts to explain the cost of living difference and why they can’t fund their cousin is met with resistance. Unable to handle the disagreement, the aunt hangs up on them, ending the conversation abruptly.
The aunt doesn’t keep the matter to herself. She shares their conversation with the extended family, painting OP, and her brother in a negative light. Soon after, OP and her brother find themselves under scrutiny.
Relatives label the pair as “selfish, spoilt brats,” a drastic shift from their earlier supportive role. Both OP and her brother must deal with the fallout from the unexpected demand while navigating damaged family relationships.
Was The Woman’s Behavior Appropriate?
OP posts her story online for feedback and constructive comments from the internet community. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter.
One reader said, “As a fellow South Asian, it’s important to set boundaries like that with family because they never think about anyone but themselves.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “I’m Southeast Asian and can relate. It would help if you got used to being villainized to set monetary boundaries. The one thing that makes it easier is remembering they will never stay mad or cut you off permanently because they will always need the money.”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “Stop lending them money. Just explain that since you’re so selfish, you won’t be giving out any money.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader commented, “You had a sound plan that you gave them. She said ‘no.’ Tough for her. Enjoy what you’ve earned. You don’t owe anyone anything. Good Luck!”