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'AITA for not calling my wife’s daughter to invite her to Christmas?' UPDATED.

'AITA for not calling my wife’s daughter to invite her to Christmas?' UPDATED.


"AITA for not calling my wife’s daughter to invite her to Christmas?"

I (63M) lost my wife (Beth 60F at the time) three years ago. We had been together for 30 years. When I met my wife she was already a widow. Her first husband had died in a car accident. She had a daughter (Jane 43F) who was 6 at the time her father passed. We married when Jane was about 10 years old.

When I came into Jane’s life, I had no idea how to be a parent to her. I expressed my fears to Beth and she said to just let her take the lead. I talked with Jane and told her that I knew I could never replace her dad and was not trying to.

However, I would be willing to do all the “dad stuff” that her dad wasn’t around to do if she wanted. I drove her to practices, attended every performance, stayed up late to help her study for math tests, taught her to drive, and to shoot.

Shared my love of fantasy literature and Star Trek. Our relationship was always hot and cold though. While she seemed happy, I was never dad, or step-dad, or even “Uncle Sam.” I was always just Sam.

Beth and I had a son (Tom 32M) and a daughter (Kristi 29F). Jane has a reasonable relationship with her half siblings considering their age difference. A year or so after Kristi was born, Jane became sullen and despondent. After talking with Beth, I offered to adopt Jane.

Jane did not take this well and I never brought it up again. I was the main disciplinarian parent in our household and while none of the kids were troublemakers, they all did things that got them grounded or their privileges with our cars taken away. I think Jane resented this as well.

When Jane graduated high school, each student was able to purchase two tickets to the ceremony. Jane purchased two tickets and I thought I would be attending, but the week of the ceremony Beth told me that Jane wanted to use her second seat to memorialize her father. I was hurt, but I understood.

She put a picture of him on the empty chair next to her mom. I think it also hurt Beth as well. Jane was an excellent student, and she got some good scholarships, and I paid the remainder of her costs to go to college (I did get to see that graduation!). When Jane got married, Beth and I were not able to pay for the entirety of her wedding (we paid about half).

She had her father’s younger brother walk her down the aisle (she would spend a week or two during the summer with her father’s family). At the reception my wife was again seated next to an empty chair to memorialize Jane’s father.

I was not given a seat with Beth at the family table, and honestly, I don’t remember where I was supposed to be because I spent my time at the bar or standing behind Beth who was having a very hard time. However, it was a lovely wedding and once the dancing started and everybody was out of their seats I stopped worrying about where I was supposed to be.

When Jane had her first kid, Beth and I were overjoyed. However, I soon learned that while my wife was going to be “gram-gram” I was not going to be “grandpa” but still just “Sam.” I am “Sam” to both her children.

This was again something that hurt, and when Tom had his first child he asked if I wanted to be “granddad” or “Sam” to his kids and I jumped at getting to be “grandpa.” Jane ended up getting divorced about four years ago, shortly before Beth was diagnosed with cancer. She and her kids moved in with us and we helped her with her Lawyer until everything was finalized.

During my wife’s last year, Jane was with us all the time. It was a huge help to both Beth and I. After Beth passed, I was a wreck and mostly useless. It wasn’t right, but Jane ended up doing most of the funeral preparation.

I am very grateful for the help she provided. When Jane’s father had died, his mother had helped with the funeral expenses and had purchased a double plot.

When Jane prepared the funeral, she organized everything so that Beth would be buried next to Jane’s father, her first husband. I was shocked and felt that this was done somewhat behind my back. My wife had never told me of this, but Jane assured me that this was what Beth would have wanted. I talked with Tom and Kristi, and they know I intend to be cremated.

Because of that, they thought that this was reasonable, and the plot was already paid for. At the memorial service, Jane was rightfully upset. She told many of the other mourners that she was now orphaned and that she and her two kids had no close family left.

This upset Tom and Kristi a lot, but I tried to explain that it was different for Jane. I talked with Jane during the memorial and told her that she does have a family that will welcome her if she wants it. She thanked me and was polite.

I have not really talked with Jane since the memorial. The first year I invited Jane to all the family get-togethers just like before, even though Tom and Kristi were angry with her. I left her voicemails asking how she was doing, how her kids are. However, the last couple of years I have stopped because I never get any response.

I still send her and her kid’s gifts for their birthdays and Christmas. I just don’t actively reach out. One of the last voicemails I left I told her that all she needed to do was call and I would help her.

With all that information, here is where I might be the AH. My daughter Kristi is getting married next year. She reached out to Jane in the past few months and has been working on reconciling with her.

Additionally, Jane’s Ex lives in a different state and her kids will be gone for most of the Holidays. Jane has told Kristi about how alone she is feeling. Kristi called me and asked me to invite Jane to my house for Christmas.

Kristi and her fiancé will be there along with Tom and his family. I told Kristi that Jane knows she is always invited. Kristi says that Jane won’t come if I don’t call and ask her to come. I told Kristi that she could invite Jane, or she could tell Jane to call me. Kristi says I am being an AH for not calling Jane.

I talked with my son Tom, and he says he is tired of the rest of us having to beg Jane to be part of our family. I love Jane, she is my daughter, but after so much, I just feel like the only way this will work is if she takes the first steps. So, am I the AH for not calling my wife’s daughter to invite her to Christmas? Jane, if you see this, just call.

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

Utter_cockwomble said:

My grandmother used to say "I turned the other cheek, but I've only got four of them. You just ran out of cheeks."

completedett said:

NTA Jane is a grown up now not a child she needs to act like one.

IMASA5 said:

NTA. You have gone above and beyond for Jane. I suppose if she is feeling lonely she can pull up a chair and put up a picture of her dad too.

BlueGreen_1956 said:

NTA. Jane is not a nice person. I would not reach out at all. She has thought of you as nothing for all these years. Now, you are expected to grovel one more time. Just say "no." If Kristi wants her to come, she can invite her. Frankly, I wouldn't want Jane in my house at all after a lifetime of her behaving like a peeved toddler.

sugarmag13 said:

NTA. Actually you are a better person than me. No way I would have tolerated all that. And your wife allowed it.

Appropriate-Dig771 said:

NTA. You’ve gone above and beyond. Jane likes being the victim, Kristi is still falling for it. She also really seems to like insulting you. It truly is Jane’s time to go out on a limb if she feels lonely. You’ve done your part.

Altruistic_Isopod_11 said:

NTA - you have reached out repeatedly only to be met with indifference or silence. She knows that she's welcome and has been told repeatedly that she is. Why isn't it enough that her sister is inviting her? Why do YOU always need to be the one to reach out?


I am really astounded by all the comments. I thought I would just get a few, but there are to many to answer them all. I do feel the need to clear some things up though. I tried to be the best parent I could be to Jane, with Beth's help.

I never wanted her to feel like our family was not also her family or that her family had been replaced. I never felt like an ATM machine. I paid less than half of Jane's schooling because of her scholarships. I did what we could for her wedding, and yes I was pissed about the seating and who got to walk her down the aisle, but Beth reminded me it was her day not mine.

I will be paying for a larger share of Kristi's wedding than I did Jane's because my financial situation is different now, but Kristi has asked for some thing I think her mom would have fought with her over already, but that is a story for another post.

I don't think I did anything that would make Jane resent me, besides marrying her mom. However, Jane has, except for a few occasions, always been polite and friendly to me.

Maybe I shouldn't have put the wedding stuff in the post at all, but she did have a "not-father-daughter" dance with me at her wedding. When Beth passed, Jane told me that her mother was "amazingly lucky" to have found true love twice in one lifetime.

When I offered to adopt Jane, it went very badly. Beth and I had sat her down and made the offer. We thought that after the birth of Kristi she was feeling left out. It backfired horribly. Jane said she didn't want "my stupid F***ing name."

I tried to explain that she wouldn't need to change her name, but she started screaming at me that she didn't want "my stupid F***ing name, family or anything else." Both Beth and I told her that this response was completely unacceptable, but she kept saying nasty things that teenagers say to both me and Beth.

I told her that her behavior was totally unacceptable and since her mom had lots of class and manners that this behavior must come from "her stupid F***ing Father's family." Beth told me that I wasn't helping and I left while she talked with Jane. A couple of days later, Jane asked to talk with Beth and I privately.

She said wanted to move in with her Uncle. I figured this was a hallow threat from a teenager since that Uncle lived two states over and her life and friends were all where we lived. I said something like "well if that's how you feel, you and your mom work it out and I will make it happen." I then left.

Jane didn't move out, I did tell her that I was glad she chose to stay with us. Our relationship did get better, but never substantially improved after that point. So I am not a saint, I am human, I did my best.

Everyone was on OP's side for this one. What's your advice for this family?

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