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Man abandons wife at the airport; 'WHAT DID SHE EXPECT?!' AITA? UPDATED 3X

Man abandons wife at the airport; 'WHAT DID SHE EXPECT?!' AITA? UPDATED 3X

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When this man isn't sure if he made a bad "husband" move, he asks the internet:

"Am I the AH boarding the plane and leaving without my wife?"

(Sorry ahead of time for the length of this one, but there is a lot of key details I think are important) I know how this sounds, but hear me out. This is also not my usual account but I don’t want to risk my wife seeing this, as it is currently a sensitive subject.

My wife (female 43) and I (Male 47) have a daughter (Female 21) who goes to college out of state. We will call my wife Meg and my daughter Jess.

Jess is in her Junior year of college. Over the summer she was employed by her university and was able to stay in the dorms. After summer she was moving out of the dorms and into her own apartment off campus.

Meg and I live in the PNW (Jess goes to school on the east coast). We usually go to visit Jess a couple times throughout the semester, typically parents weekend and move out day. She also comes home during the holidays.

Let me start by saying that traveling with my wife is not a great experience. I am very type a, I like to have everything organized and make sure that we get where we need to be early, especially when traveling.

\My wife is the opposite, very “go with the flow” and “we will get there when we get there”. I do my best to meet in the middle, but not when traveling by plane.

Last year, during parents weekend Meg and I were going to fly out to see Jess. Our flight was at 10am. Our airport isn’t huge, but not a tiny airport either.

I told my wife that we needed to be at the airport 90 minutes early, and we live about 30 minutes for the airports. This being said I wanted to leave at the very latest by 8, since we would also need to park and walk a little bit.

I of course got up at 6, to make sure everything was ready and accounted for. My wife does not like to get up early. It took me attempting to wake her up 5 times before she eventually got up at 740 then wanted to make coffee, shower, and eat a bowl of cereal … let’s just say that we didn’t leave the house until 9.

It ended up being busier at the airport than normal (likely due to many colleges having parents weekend) and it took so long to get through security that we missed our flight.

Rightly so, the airline refused to refund our ticket. We were able to get new tickets but not until the next day and missed Friday afternoon and Saturday morning with our daughter. Jess was disappointed to say the least.

Fast forward to now. We were flying down for a long weekend to help her move. We take one flight from our town to a bigger town nearby, then fly from there to my daughters college town.

Again it was a long morning of me pushing my wife getting her to move along. Due to the last airport mishap I wanted to make sure I told her we needed to leave extra early as to not miss the flight again.

We got there on time, with a bit of time to spare, and my wife was annoyed. Kept going on about how now we just have to sit and wait for 45 minutes for them to start boarding.

We took our first flight and landed in the connecting city, at a much larger airport. We only had about 1 hour layover. We got off the plane at 915 and our next plane started boarding at 940.

We had to take multiple rails to get from where we landed to our terminal. We got to our terminal and had about 15 minutes until our plane was set to board.

My wife tells me that she wants to get coffee. There was a little market next to our terminal that sold hot food and coffee. I asked if she wanted me to go grab it for her. “No I want Starbucks” she said. Well Starbucks we a rail ride away, and a little bit of a walk. I told her we couldn’t do that, we didn’t have enough time.

She stated that we had enough time and if I wouldn’t go with her she would go by herself. I tried to discourage her but she was determined. She walked away, at a brisk pace for her, and said she would be back in time.

15 minutes went by and she was no where to be seen. The started calling boarding groups, I called my wife hoping she was near by, she didn’t answer. They called a few groups, then called ours.

In a panic I called my wife again, 3 times, finally on the last call she answered and said she was on her way, it was a long line and she had to wait a bit. I told her they were almost done with boarding and she needed to hurry up.

I waited by the gate but the attendant said they would need to shut the gate in 2 minutes. I waited and waited, but she didn’t show up. The attendant asked if I wanted to board, otherwise she was closing the gate. I tried to plead with her to wait a couple of minutes but she insisted that she couldn’t. So, I boarded the plane.

A few minutes later my wife calls me saying the the attendant won’t let her on, they had already removed the boarding ramp at that point.

She told me I needed to tell them to let me off the plane to be with her and I said no. It is not fair to do this again to Jess, I said I told you we didn’t have time but you decided to go anyways. I told her to go purchase a new ticket for the next flight and I would see her when she arrives.

She got to Jess’s school and seemed unbothered by the whole situation, didn’t even really talk about it. I thought maybe she realized it was her fault and just wanted to drop it.

Boy was I wrong. We are now home and she hasn’t talked to me since the trip, over a week ago, and is insisting that I am an asshole. So, AITA?

Before OP's updates, take a look at some top responses:

fekines6 writes:

NTA.You need to make a line in the sand. Sit down and tell your wife that you love her and you cherish her but the way she disrespects your desire to be punctual is just too much. Tell her that from now on you're going to make separate arrangements when traveling.

You are not responsible for waking her up. You are not responsible for getting her out the door. She's an adult and she can do what she wants.

The first time she completely misses an event I suspect things will change. But you've been accommodating her to such a high degree that she can act like an infant.

garatg5 writes:

NTA… enough of the commenters have covered your wife and her issues, so I’ll just say this: Your daughter should have been the main priority for both trips.

Serious question, does your wife do this to your daughter often? Does she regularly miss/arrive late/ruin big events for your daughter? Because doing this twice in a row seems……. Intentional. And cruel.

Do not apologize, OP. Do not back down. You were not in the wrong.

Editing to add: if I was your daughter, I’d be furious. My parents did something similar to my sister during move in day, and she hasn’t forgiven them…

granted our mother chose to get drunk instead of help her daughter go to college… but right now, your wife is as big of an asshole as my mother. Your wife didn’t show up on time TWICE.

brefatk writes:

NTA - even if she had time-blindness associated with something like ADHD she is unequivocally TA here, not you.

If you are chronically late and disrespect other people's time, and you can't even bother to try and find reasonable accommodations for yourself, you deserve to be left behind by people who are always giving you a chance.

My partner is incredibly time-blind and it's incredibly frustrating. But instead of saying 'This is who I am take or leave it', he plans around it and asks for help from me to keep him on track if he needs it.

Your poor daughter and poor you for dealing with this kind of selfish behavior. I have left friendships because of this because my time matters to me and I treat other people with the same regard.

Have a conversation around the idea that you are willing to help keep her on track to a certain degree but she is responsible for her own time management and if her bad choices start impacting you, that you will leave her behind again. When you draw that boundary and act on it, she then has the choice to get used to being left behind (and can't be angry about it) or she does better.

And now, OP's update:

Wow, I know a lot of people say this but I really didn’t think this would get as big as it did. Thanks everyone for the responses. I have been trying to read them in batches when I have time, because I have been getting some good suggestions. I wanted to answer a couple questions I saw as well as add a bit of extra info.

For those who are outside of USA, PNW is Pacific Northwest. As far as how she acts in other situations, she generally doesn’t have any issues. She is never one to be late to work or anything like that, or just seems like travel is her poor area.

I never noticed things like this until we started traveling often to see our daughter. This is why I never considered ADD/ADHD, she really shows no other signs of this.

I saw posts implying that my wife might have an addiction of some sort, I’m not sure how that would line up but I don’t see that being a possibility.

I didn’t think the following information was important, but my daughter made a comment, and so did a friend that I discussed this with, so I thought maybe I would mention it here.

Jess is not Meg’s daughter. I was married one before and my wife unfortunately passed away due to complications during Jess’s birth. I remarried Meg when my daughter was 6. My daughter made a comment that Meg doesn’t like want to come to see/help her and that is why she is always running late, but I have offered to go alone and Meg was always very against that idea so I wouldn’t think that is the case.

Update 2:

I can’t say that Meg and Jess have had the easiest relationship. Meg always wanted to have another child but we were unable to conceive. She did make comments that she wanted children of her own and that caused a little riff in our relationship at the time because I wanted her to see Jess as her daughter.

But they really never had the typical mother daughter relationship, it was always very much pushed that Jess was my daughter.

Meg did make comments about being excited to have an empty nest, but I assumed this was just because we would have more room.

Jess is a great kid and really never says anything bad about anyone, but she had made comments before stating that she think Meg is jealous of her, but this never made sense to me.

She has also told me that she doesn’t want Meg to come to her school for parents weekend as she would rather spend it just with me, or wait for fathers weekend. But Meg always says she wants to go and I have never gone without her.

This being said I have never seen any negativity directed at Jess from Meg, or resentment. Maybe I am missing something?

Update 3:

Hi everyone, thanks again for all the advice, I read as many of the comments as I could and took in all the information. I wanted to provide an update.

My wife finally started talking to me again. When she did i told her that I wanted to have a conversation about the situation, but I wanted to give it a couple of days for emotions to settle down.

Some of the comments here gave me a great idea and I wanted to see what she thought about it. For all future trips I will have my tickets, she will have hers. I typically drive to the airport and leave my car in one of the pay lots, so I would drive myself and she could Uber.

She will have all the freedom she wants to do what she wants but it is up to her to arrive on time and board the plane.

I let her know that it was starting to feel like I needed to keep track of both of us, I phrased it in a way to make it sound like I didn’t want to be controlling over her and let her manage her own time. She wasn’t happy with this, but she reluctantly agreed.

Now to get to the bigger issue that I didn’t realize we had until reading the comments of this post. Call me oblivious, but I really never thought there was any issue between Meg and Jess.

After talking to my wife she wouldn’t admit to any issues, and stated that she would never intentionally delay a flight so that we couldn’t see “our daughter” and acted offended that I would ask such a thing. If that was her actual purpose, I don’t think I would be able to prove it. But, it will be at the forefront of my mind in the future.

After talking to Meg and Jess, we decided on the following. Meg and I will be visiting Jess on parents weekend. But, I will be attending fathers weekend from now on, and I will be attending by myself to get some alone time with Jess. Jess seemed very excited and surprisingly Meg didn’t seem to have an issue with that this time.

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to read and give me advice, I really appreciate everything and I hope these steps can work towards a resolution for the issues.

Sources: Reddit
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