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'I just found out why my boyfriend never holds my toddler niece.' MAJOR UPDATE

'I just found out why my boyfriend never holds my toddler niece.' MAJOR UPDATE


You never know what heaviness someone's carrying until they tell you.

"I just found out why my boyfriend never holds my toddler niece."

I (27F) have been with my boyfriend (28M, Jay) for 5 years. We’ve both been very close with each other’s families, and we’ve even talked about marriage. However, one touchy subject is children. Whenever we discuss it, he gets kinda stand-offish. He doesn’t really dismiss the idea though, it’s just that he doesn’t seem invested.

I’ve always wanted kids, and he just always says he’s fine with whatever makes me happy. Ever since, I’ve been content with this situation. However, things escalated during this holiday season. Our setup has always been that Jay spends Christmas Eve and dinner with my family, then I spend Christmas Day with his family.

This was the first Christmas I’ll spend with my first and only niece (2F, Ana, she spent her first Christmas in the hospital due to her health condition, but she’s okay now), so I made sure to spend a lot of time with her. We played a lot, we opened gifts together, and I even reenacted Ana’s favorite storybook using her favorite doll. We even had matching outfits!

My sister (30F, Amy) thanked me for giving her and her husband some relief from childcare the entire day. However, Amy also said she noticed that Jay, who was just either sitting on the couch watching me or helping my mom with the dishes, was kinda distant with Ana.

I told her I’ve also noticed that before, and I just chalked it up to maybe Jay was hesitant and awkward to play with Ana because he feels he’s “just my boyfriend.” Then Amy said she won’t mind, since she and her husband already treat Jay as part of our family. I then went back to Jay and encouraged him to play with Ana and help us set up her new dollhouse, but he said he’s not feeling too well.

He ended up drinking a few more beers and stayed on the porch by himself, scrolling on his phone. I didn’t press harder and thought he might really just be feeling under the weather. I just want to add for context that Jay isn’t an alc0holic. He’s a sweet, wonderful, funny man who’s sometimes broody and deep in thought.

But he’s never ab*sive, manipulative, or moody, and he only drinks on special occasions. The next day, on Christmas Day, we had lunch with Jay’s family. Afterward, I volunteered for cleanup to help Jay’s mom (62F, Mary) and brother (31M, John). Jay’s family was the best any significant other could ever ask for. They’re very sweet and supportive of us, but they’re never prying.

They always check up on us, but they never overstep. So, as we were cleaning up, Mary asked me how my sister’s baby was (they helped with the bills when Ana was hospitalized last year). I told them that Ana’s in great condition now, and that she already spent the Christmas at home. They were very delighted upon hearing this. Then, I shared with them the thing I noticed about Jay.

Initially, I thought maybe Mary could just give me advice on how to approach the issue with Jay since he’s clearly not the playing-with-kids kind of guy, but then John casually said something like “Oh, because of Rosie,” then Mary quickly shushed him. Rosie was the daughter of Jay and John’s eldest sister, Beth (35F).

I never knew the actual details because everyone was very secretive about it, but all I knew was that Rosie passed away when she was just 3 years old and Beth and her husband moved away afterward. I never met them in person.

So, later that night, when Mary, John, and the other family members got a bit more dr*nk and Jay was already sleeping in the bedroom, they told me the story (I didn’t force them or anything). Apparently, Jay, being the youngest of the siblings, was really close with Rosie back then. Jay was just around 14 years old when Rosie was born, so he became the super fun uncle (like I am now with Ana).

He was actually Rosie’s best friend. Then, on summer of 2012, Jay was playing with Rosie outside (he was blowing bubbles and she was chasing and popping them) when a speeding car, driven by a woman who was distracted on her phone, skidded into the yard toward Rosie’s direction.

Jay reacted quickly and was able to reach and grab Rosie so the car actually hit him, but the impact of the crash caused Rosie’s head to whiplash as Jay hugged her. Jay was in a coma for 3 days and had multiple severe injuries and internal bleeding, but Rosie didn’t make it.

Everything was caught by the neighbor’s CCTV so everyone knew that Jay was a hero for trying to protect Rosie (it was even covered by the local news), but Beth, who was understandably in grief, resented Jay for not being able to save her daughter.

Beth and her husband then decided to move to another country to cope with their grief and start a new life, and they’ve had minimal contact with the family ever since. Jay, meanwhile, took the loss really hard. He blamed himself for not being able to save Rosie and not being able to attend her funeral since he was still at the hospital at that time. Mary said that Jay was never the same after that.

He never went near kids, and he became a lot colder, quieter, more reserved, and antisocial. He also had anger issues, but it thankfully went away (I haven't had any issues with this). We also live in an area where people don’t believe in therapy, so Jay never received professional help. After learning all of this, I bawled my eyes out because I never knew Jay was carrying such a heavy burden.

The whole incident became a taboo family secret that no one mentions in fear of Jay breaking down or doing something he might regret (although to be fair, he’s never had vi#lent or self-harm tendencies ever since, so this was just a precaution). They also never told me before because they assumed Jay would be the one to tell me, but I told them that he never did, and that I never really asked him.

I then thanked everyone for letting me in on this, and I told them that I’d talk to Jay about it when the time is right. They understood, and they said I could just ring them up if I need help or support in any way. For now, I just want Jay to enjoy the holidays and his remaining vacation days from work. Now, I don’t really know how to start with him.

I know seeking professional help to process all the trauma and grief, even if it’s been over a decade ago, would be the top priority, but I don’t know how to bring it up to him. I don’t even know when is the right time to bring it up. I just want him to know that I love him no matter what, and that I’ll support him in every step toward his healing, especially if we’re to form a family of our own.

The internet had a lot to say in response.

lovinglifeatmyage wrote:

Jay is amazing, what a shame his sister blamed him, but I guess that’s what grief does to you.

I hope he gets the therapy he needs.

OP responded:

From what I gathered from Jay's family, Beth never really voiced out that she blamed Jay for Rosie's passing. However, she became cold toward him to the point of almost ignoring him during family gatherings before they moved. Of course, everyone knew what it was all about.

CynicallyCyn wrote:

Holy crap I think we were all thinking that he had the worst intentions in the beginning. But that couldn’t be more wrong. This man was a hero and unfortunately his family has turned it into a dirty secret. I feel for you both so much.

I don’t really have any advice. I just want you to know that you are both incredible people and I hope your love finds a way and you’re able to raise a beautiful family together, if you choose.

OP respodned:

It's really sad how the family handled it, but I can't really blame them because I grew up in the same area. We live in a provincial, non-progressive city, and their family even lives in a more rural community where everyone knows everyone. If there's any "scandal" that potentially tarnishes the family name, it's swept under the rug.

I guess the "heroic" part of the story is something the family could have been proud of, but the trauma, anger issues, lashing out, and antisocial behavior that Jay developed, as well as how Beth left the community afterward outweighed everything, so the entire thing just became the family's dirty secret.

FruitcakeAndCrumb wrote:

She died as he was hugging her, I. Can't imagine the grief he went through.

OP responded:

That's also something bothering me a lot. Of course, I'm just assuming here, but knowing how much of an overthinker Jay is who hyperfixates on what ifs, I know he has replayed that moment in his head a million times, overanalyzing every little detail.

One of the worst things he could possibly be thinking is that maybe he was the one who k**led Rosie, because it was the whiplash and not the actual crash that impacted her the most.

It's bad enough that he lost his niece and best friend, but for her to die in his arms and thinking that it was him who might've accidentally killed her instead of saving her is absolutely horrible. That's the "what if" I fear he's thinking the most. And just to be clear, no one actually blames him.

NoshameNoLies wrote:

Why are they so hard pressed on forcing him to interact with a child more than he wants to? Instead of letting him get comfortable in his own time, you're all forcing him to do it right now.

I'm very uncomfortable with children but given time I'll come around, I just need to get over the anxiety and panic about hurting them by accident. If somebody and their family were this insistent I'd just be more uncomfortable.

OP responded:

I don't think anyone is really forcing him though. In the 2 years we've welcomed Ana into this world, no one has forced Jay to interact with her just for the sake of it. I've been interacting with Ana every time our family gets together, and Jay has been distant but fine overall, and we just let him be because it was never an issue. We all just accepted that he wasn't comfortable around kids.

Also, when I was encouraging him to interact more during Christmas Eve, it was more along the lines of "Hey, you know you're welcome to help us with this dollhouse, you know? I know you're judging my lack of craftsmanship here lol" Amy's intention of bringing this to my attention is just to make Jay feel more welcome in our family.

Again, it was me who assumed that maybe Jay was just awkward with Ana because he might've felt like an outsider and he didn't want to overstep. My entire conversation with Amy was rooted more in including Jay in our family and making him feel comfortable enough. However, given everything I've learned, I'll make sure that everyone is more sensitive with this subject around him.

Four months later, OP shared a major update.

Hi, it’s been a while since my first post. I have some major updates for anyone interested. You may check my profile for my previous post. Also, I took some time to organize my thoughts first to make sure I don't miss anything pertinent. It's kinda long as a lot have happened since, so I've divided this into sections to make it easier to follow.

QUICK RECAP: My boyfriend (Jay) and I have been together for 5 years. Throughout our relationship, I noticed that he's always distant with kids, including my niece, Ana. During Christmas, Jay's family revealed that it was because of an incident over a decade ago. Turns out, Jay was really close with his toddler niece, Rosie.

One day, when they were playing outside, they were hit by a distracted driver. Jay tried to save Rosie. He sustained severe injuries, but Rosie still didn't make it. Beth (Rosie's mom and Jay's sister) acted cold toward Jay after this, then she and her husband moved to another country after a few months.

From then on, Jay's personality changed, becoming cold and antisocial, and he never received professional help. All of this has become Jay's family's "dirty" secret.


Since learning about Rosie and posting here on Reddit, I’ve been so conflicted about what to do. A lot of you had opposing opinions, and all of them had merit, but knowing Jay and how he’d most likely react, I chose to keep it a secret until I find the perfect time. What I didn’t anticipate was that the perfect time would come in the form of a pregnancy scare. Back in January, I had a false positive.

Everything happened so quickly within a day. I had a rollercoaster of emotions, but bottom line was that I’m not pregnant after all. When Jay got back home that night, I knew I had to tell him everything. I told him I had a pregnancy scare, but he has nothing to worry about since it ended up being negative.

At that moment, I saw all the blood drain from his face, and he became so pale that I was worried he was going to faint. I was holding his hand, and he became so sweaty and cold and shaky. He rushed to our refrigerator to get some water, and it was obvious he was spiraling really hard. That was when I told him I knew about Rosie.

I came clean because I knew that was what he was panicking about. I assured him that I’m by his side, and he could react however he wanted to. I repeatedly apologized for disrespecting his trust and lying to him for weeks. I also asked him to please not be mad at his family because they meant well when they told me.

Throughout all of it, I couldn’t really read Jay’s expressions. I wasn’t sure if he was about to scr*am out of a*ger or burst into tears. I told him that we don’t have to talk about it any further if he doesn’t want to, but I’d be willing to listen and support him whenever he’s ready. His only response that time was him asking me if I wanted to break up with him, which confused me.

I told him of course not, then we hugged, then he said he needs some time to process everything before we discuss it, which I respected. For the rest of the week, we tried to interact like nothing happened, but everything was awkward since there’s this huge thing hanging between us.


The following weekend (which was 8 days after), we finally sat down and talked about everything. He started by apologizing for not telling me sooner, but he revealed that his last girlfriend dumped him after he told her about Rosie.

He said he was so relieved after I reassured him that I wouldn’t do that. He then told me that it was something that’s been weighing him ever since, and he’s confirmed that he never sought or received professional help. He said he’s very much open to doing that, but he didn’t think he’s ready yet. He also said he’s afraid to go down that path because it might release some inner d*mons and drag me down with him.

Another thing Jay told me was that ever since Rosie was born, he felt an instant and deep connection and a sense of responsibility for her, even when he was just a teenager that time. He said that having Rosie in his life made him realize how much he wanted to be a father when he's older.

However, since the incident, he’s afraid of messing things up again, so he never really considered having kids from then on despite really wanting to do so. I then reassured him that we’re on the same page on this. Although I also want to have kids with him in the future, I don’t want to force it on him when he’s not yet ready.

He also said that whenever he sees me with Ana (my niece), he gets kinda jealous because he wants to join us every time. However, he constantly reminds himself to keep his distance just to be safe. I told him he doesn’t have to worry about that, and that he’s more than welcome to join us if he wants to.

I also told him that my sister and the rest of my family actually considers him a part of our family, just to reassure him more. Jay tried to lighten the mood by joking and saying now that I know everything about him and still didn’t break up with him, I could finally expect a proposal anytime soon.

We both had a good laugh, but we agreed to wait for his recovery first before getting engaged or discussing our future family.


During our discussion, Jay also had another heartbreaking revelation. He said that during the height of the pandemic, Beth’s husband (Brian) reached out to him. Brian said that Beth had C0VID and was confined in a hospital, and that he was already running low on funds due to bills and unemployment.

He also said that Beth had been almost catatonic since Rosie’s passing. She had been resistant to any outside and professional help, but she was institutionalized for about a year after a self-harming incident. For the past decade, she’d been cold, distant, and withdrawn from society. Apparently, the rest of Jay’s family also knew about all this, but again, they just swept it under the rug.

To be fair, they had been helping Brian by sending financial aid to support Beth, but their version of the story was that Beth had just gone low contact since they moved. Also, to be very clear, Jay said that Beth never blamed him for what happened to Rosie, although he initially felt that way when he was younger.

It was more of their parents interpreting and spinning things a certain way to avoid tarnishing their family’s reputation, but when Brian reached out to him directly years ago, he started to understand better. However, he still hasn’t processed everything, and he still partly blames himself for the whole thing.


For now, what we’re exploring is couple’s therapy so we can discuss our mutual issues in a safe and pressure-free space, and hopefully, kind of ease him into the world of therapy.

We’ve already found the perfect therapist to help us, and we’ve now had 6 sessions with her. From what I can tell, Jay seems a lot happier and less burdened. We’ve also had “homeworks” from our sessions, and Jay was even the one reminding me to do them. Right now, I’m just hoping that he becomes ready enough to open up about Rosie so he can heal and recover from his trauma.

Not for me, but for his mental and emotional well-being. No rush though, all in his own time. Also, Jay has no social media, but I showed him the original post I made. He spent like three hours reading through all the comments. It was the first time I saw him get teary-eyed because he never expected so many people giving him support and saying kind words to him.

He was extremely overwhelmed by everyone’s kindness, so we’re both grateful to all of you for that. We also saw some TikTok and YouTube versions of the story, and you bet Jay browsed through all of them. He’s still baffled why the TikTok versions have Minecraft or cooking videos in the background, but I just told him it’s a trend haha

So, there, if you've made it this far into our story, thank you for your time! I have a good feeling that Jay and I are going to be fine. We still have a lot of challenges ahead of us, but here's to hoping for the best!

EDIT: So Jay and I now kinda share this account. He might reply directly from time to time (this is his first time on Reddit, so please be kind to him. I had to explain to him what OP and a lot of the other lingo mean haha). Yeah, but we're both reading everything! Again, thank you for being so kind!

The supportive comments kept coming.

Daemon48 wrote:

I hope Jay continues healing, and eventually Beth somehow gets out of the mental hole she’s in. Both them went through something horrible that no one who hasn’t been in that situation can comprehend. Thoughts for both of them.

OP responded:

Thank you for your kind words. As for Jay, I can see that he's already making some progress, even though it's more like baby steps. Nonetheless, it is still progress. As for Beth, I can't even begin to imagine what she's going through. I just pray that she finally finds some peace eventually.

Lyons_99 wrote:

I'm so happy with this update, that now Jay knows that you're on his side and is getting professional help. What happened to Rose was a tragedy and wasnt his fault at all. My heart hurts to think of the weight he must be carrying for all this time.

Wishing you two all the best!

OP responded:

Yeah, he's starting to open up more about his internal struggles and burdens, but he hasn't touched on the subject of Rosie yet. The least I can do for him is to let him know I'm here for him.

Thank you for your kind words!

fxzero666 wrote:

This is such a sweet update <3 Thank you so much for posting. As someone also dealing with trauma and healing, my heart feels for Jay. He sounds like an incredibly sweet and kind man and reminds me a lot of myself. I wish both of you luck on your healing an future journeys! I'm sure you will both make amazing parents.

KobilD wrote:

What if HYPOTHETICALLY he's never ready to have kids?

OP responded:

That's something that already came up in couples therapy. Won't go into too much detail here for now, but Jay and I already discussed this. Bottom line is we're both in this together, come what may.

Trick-Effective-2398 wrote:

This is such a good example of a healthy relationship and communication. I'm so proud of both of you for your handling of this.

Sources: Reddit
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