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'AITA for telling my sister she should listen to the therapist who told her to wait a few more years and live apart?'

'AITA for telling my sister she should listen to the therapist who told her to wait a few more years and live apart?'


"AITA for telling my sister she should listen to the therapist who told her to wait a few more years and live apart?"

My sister and her kids have been going to therapy for the past four months. My sister lost her husband 3 years ago and started dating again 2 years ago. Now she's engaged to a guy (Kev) and he's living with her and the kids. The kids are 11, 8 and 7. My sister had this idea that the kids would be crazy about Kev and would be so excited to have another man around and that they'd think of him as another dad figure/second dad/bonus dad or however people prefer to title it.

Kev does seem like a pretty decent guy from what I know of him. But I also know the older two kids remember their dad really well (he was actually the SAHP in the relationship) and the youngest despite being 4 when his dad died also has some memories of him, so it's not easy for them to accept Kev being there. The kids pulled back from my sister after she told them she was dating someone and they were very closed off with Kev when they met. Despite this they moved in together and got engaged.

My sister decided they needed therapy together because the kids would try to stay out of the way after Kev moved in. They weren't enthusiastic about time with her or with Kev. If they weren't at a friends house or playing outside, they would hold up in their rooms. My sister tried coaxing them out but she knew they were just not interested and so she started going to therapy with them to figure stuff out.

It became clear in therapy through the kids opening up (and my sister had to leave the room for this to happen) that they are having a very hard time with their mom being with Kev. All three kids said they'd rather be left behind than brought forward the way their mom is moving forward. They're also very fearful that Kev will be as involved as their dad was and they don't want that. They don't want him being their parent or taking care of them.

After maybe three months of therapy my sister was told by the therapist that her recommendation would be for her and Kev to live separately and not get married for a few more years and for her to focus on her role as the kids' mom. She told her it would be better for the kids. She also told her it would be the easiest way for them and Kev to have a friendly and maybe even close relationship in the future.

My sister really didn't like hearing this. She vented to me about it twice and then she asked me what she should do and she told me she really wanted to hear my thoughts. So I told her I thought she should listen to the therapist because I agreed with what she said.

She asked me why and I brought up some family friends we've had since childhood where the dad remarried after his wife died and the kids from the first marriage felt it was too fast and are very distant from the family today. I told her I would hate to see that happen with her and the kids. She was upset hearing this from me. Then she got mad and told me I should encourage her to follow her heart on this. AITA?

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

No-Pace-6721 said:

NTA. Always be honest and direct. It seems like your sister wanted affirmation from the therapist that the kids needed to accept the situation. When she didn't get this she thought the therapist's advice wasn't worth listening to. I had a step Dad so I understand the kids position.

They have no interest in being parented by, from their perspective, some random dude who isn't their Dad. He might be a decent guy, but her kids should come first. No one said they had to break-up right? Just not live together yet. I resented my Mom for bringing my step Dad into my life. Is that what she's looking for?

harleybidness said:

NTA. Telling people what they want to hear is far more damaging than telling what you truly think. Her reaction reveals her selfish desire to be with Kev. With Kev she might have a happier life, but cost would be paid by her children. Not very motherly.

Classroom_Visual said:

It sounds like sis started therapy as a way of bringing the kids around to what she wanted. And, if she wants to follow her heart, why don’t the kids get to follow their hearts as well and have space just with their mom. Why is her heart more important?

Moving on that fast with kids that are that young is probably always going to be very, very emotionally fraught for the kids involved. But, your sister may not be emotionally ready to hear this or act on it, and she is grieving too. I wouldn’t back down from what you said, but I’d try to resume friendly contact with her. NTA.

DDBillyblue said:

NTA. Unfortunately, your sister only wants to hear what she wants to hear. She is prioritizing her happiness over the kids. Her kids will resent her for it.

Normal-Height-8577 said:

NTA. What's the goal of "follow your heart"?! Does she want a good long-term outcome? Or does she want to play house with her new beau so much that it doesn't matter if she loses her relationship with her kids? Only she can decide what her priorities are.

But if she wants the long term happy ending, where she can move on to a new romance and has a good relationship with her kids, then she needs to take the professional advice and stop acting like there's a short cut.

She cannot act like her kids are merely extensions of herself that echo her own feelings and don't have feelings of their own. She cannot act like her late husband is erasable, or some sort of plug-and-play replaceable part. It's going to be hard work and take time. But no-one is asking her to dump Kev; just to take it slowly, and give the kids time and space to figure out their own relationship with him.

JennyBeanseesall said:

NTA but…looking at both sides here. She is being told to put her life on hold for YEARS. She is looking at the consequences of that. Finding a partner who is also willing to put their life on hold for YEARS. That might be best for the kids…but how does that also play out for your sister long term.

Not sure of age of sister, but what if she and Kev wanted to expand this family….either they live apart and do that or the kids decide that they don’t get to have a child together (just expanding the scenario here). The idea that the kids well being is paramount to everyone is a bit nonsense. This leads to general entitlement because they will never learn the value of considering the entire situation or anyone else because they are always first and most important and only.

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

Sources: Reddit
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