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Man accused of 'destroying' cousin's marriage; 'Did I mislead him by discussing my 'weird' marital lifestyle?' AITA? UPDATED 2X

Man accused of 'destroying' cousin's marriage; 'Did I mislead him by discussing my 'weird' marital lifestyle?' AITA? UPDATED 2X


When this man is concerned that he messed up his cousin's marriage by bragging about his own odd marriage, he asks the internet:

"AITAH for "misleading" my cousin and "destroying his marriage"?

There's some really weird drama in my family and I feel like I'm going insane. So. Here's the background: my family is a little unusual. There are three adults and two children. The adults are me, my wife, and another woman best described as my wife's platonic life partner (and also my very dear friend). I'll call the partner Sally.

Sally has lived with us for twenty years. The kids call her Ma. We live in a four-bedroom house and Sally and the kids each have their own bedrooms.

Sally is aromantic and asexual. She and my wife love each other very much, but platonically. Sally is like a sister to me. I cannot overstate how incredibly platonic her relationships with both of us have always been.

We're all very happy together. I've been super glad we have her since we had the kids - parenting is so much easier when you have a numbers advantage.

My cousin "Dave" has been married to his wife "Mary" for something like fifteen years. They have two kids.

Dave talked Mary into "opening the relationship" about a year ago, and now they're getting divorced because he's struggling to find anyone willing to date him, Mary isn't, and he's incredibly pissy about it and it's destroying their relationship. And by it's I kinda mean he's. He's jealous and resentful and making that her problem.

And also, now, mine, because he says it's my fault. According to him, he thought it would totally work great because my family "make polygamy and open relationships look easy". Which. What?

Setting aside that Sally's relationships with both my wife and me are platonic - there's no open relationship in our household. Sally and I each get a weekly date night with my wife. (I take the kids on her night, she takes them on mine - I did say parenting is easier with the numbers advantage.

I think my wife and I have significantly more quality time together than we would if it was just the two of us. When the kids can't sleep, they go to Sally, so my wife and I are never disturbed after we go to bed. Sometimes Sally and I go to games together, and my wife takes the kids then because she's not into sportsball.)

No-one is our house is dating anyone from outside it. These are committed relationships that are, to all intents and purposes, exclusive. None of us has ever mentioned seeing anyone else.

Even if we were - which, again, we're NOT - I don't see how that would make me responsible for him treating Mary terribly because he's jealous.

Somehow he was apparently convinced that he and his beer gut would get all the girls but no men would be interested in a charming, kind woman who keeps herself in reasonable shape and bakes the best cupcakes you will ever taste.

I'd have dismissed this out of hand, but my aunt (his mother) and like six other family members agree that I'm the AH and have been insisting I should apologise to my idiot cousin and help him talk Mary into closing the relationship and staying with him.

I like Mary. We've been friends for twenty years and she's good people. Also friends with my wife and Sally and a wonderful aunt to my kids. Given the choice between her and Dave, I'd keep Mary in the family along with her kids.

Someone in my family is insane, here. Is it me or them? Who's the AH?

Before we give you OP's updates, let's take a look at some top responses:

crmie6 writes:

Absolutely positively NTA. Dave fd around and found out! It’s absolutely not your problem that he assumed that you had an open marriage with your wife & sally! Or even that it would work for his!

Even if your spoke to Mary, there no guarantee that she would listen and take her asshole husband back! Mary sounds like she deserves much better.

I’d tell Dave & all the flying monkeys to kick rocks! Dave opened this Pandora’s box and cause all these issues himself! He’s responsible for HIS life choices!!

nyzzz writes:

NTA.Yeah, this is like the backstory to at least 80% of the couples I know - and there are a lot - who tried the open / poly lifestyle, after they were a long-term couple: guy gets bored with se% life, sees others who appear to havr successful open / poly lifestyle, convinces wife to try it, she eventually relents, she is quite successful finding other partners, he was never a prize and thus fails miserably, he gets mad, they split up. Rarely there’s some gender reversal here.

Maybe another 10% each partner finds someone else while open, that they want to be with more than their original partner, so they split and go their own ways, but as 2 couples rather than 1 couple and 2 singles.

Of the rest, almost all try it for a couple of years, and either decide (mutually) it’s not for them, or they decide to start a family and decide (mutually) it would be too inconvenient or something to do both at once, and just go back to their previous lifestyle.

OP’s situation really is a unicorn, a completely stable poly (even if one leg is ase%ual / aromantic) group, and that should never be one’s standards or expectations in anything.

hahar$ writes:

So all these other people are trying to make you apologize for your cousin's fups? I wonder how it is that he ended up with such an entitled and over inflated ego? Such a mystery! Please throw that back in anyone's face who tries to guilt you with this absurd idea.

You're NTA in any way, shape, or form. Platonic or not, your life isn't anyone's business, nor a way to model their's after. If he made assumptions about your romantic life, that's all on him. Honestly, I'd take a step back from the lot of them for a bit because that is some toxic crap they swim in.

pleeed writes:

NTA you are not the insane party here. Seems that Dave miscalculated and thought he was the best thing since sliced bread and now he’s discovering like every other man in a relationship who wants an open relationship that shit isn’t always greener on the other side.

Now, instead of fixing his relationship (which I doubt could ever happen) and apologizing to his wife, he’s making this everyone else’s problem but his own as the person who messed it all up in the first place.

His jealousy is what got him here in the first place, he’s immature, and entitled. Frankly, I don’t know how he stayed married for this long. It’s no one else’s fault, but his own. He got envious of someone else’s relationship and thought he could somehow replicated it, and it went badly.

The flying monkeys coming at you telling you it’s your fault, It’s not!! I hope his wife is having the time of her life. She absolutely deserves to be cherished and appreciated. She did her dues.

And now, OP's update:

Sorry in advance, it's gone pretty dark. tl;dr: my cousin Dave persuaded his wife Mary to open their relationship, now he's pissed she's dating and he isn't, he was blaming me because he claims my extremely closed relationship situation made open relationships look easy just because there's a third adult in my family, a bunch of other people were hassling me to take the blame.

So far, so stupid, right? Turns out that unbeknownst to me Dave's sister "Tina" reads this sub. A lot.

And she saw my post and immediately figured out that it was me, posting about her brother, and she won't tell me if she was one of the commenters or not but for those of you who called that Dave was the "golden child" Tina says you were right on the money. (She called me this morning.)

And, like, she seemed to find that really validating and I have literally never heard her sound so happy, she's usually pretty depressed, so thanks, everyone who decided to read into their family dynamics, you did her a solid.

That was about 8am. I had to get off the phone to head to work, and then at about 10 I got a text from my wife that just said COME HOME NOW.

I got another one just as I was starting the car that said THE KIDS ARE FINE which I really appreciate, because that at least let me change gears from PANIC to CONCERN. At some point we might discuss that, like... it would be good to include that in the first text. Anyway. Not the point.

I got home as fast as I safely could. I pulled up on the verge and tried to go in the front door, but the handle's broken. Mary's car was parked in the driveway. I had to go in through the garage.

Inside there was my wife, Mary, and Mary's eldest Jack (M12). Mary was banging around the kitchen and Jack was crying on my wife. As I understand it, what happened was.

Just before she called me, Tina texted her brother a link to the post and made smoe kindof comment about it, I don't know what exactly she said, but Dave went into a rage.

Like the kind I thought he grew out of when we were teenagers, breaking shit and screaming. I thought the last time he did it was the time he hit my little brother and I beat the shit out of him. (I'm not saying it was right, but we were kids. I'm also not saying I'm sorry, tbh.)

And then he hit Mary. She's got a bruise coming up on her face. I'm shaking writing this. I feel like it's my fault. I can't remember if we told her that he used to be like that. We honestly thought he'd grown out of it.

Mary managed to get the kids in the car and drove straight to our place because she knew there'd be someone home. Sally's a stay-at-home mother and my wife works from home some days and there's just generally someone home.

Dave followed and tried to force his way in. Apparently my expensive security door was worth the money because he managed to damage the handle but the door stayed closed. Seems he gave up and ran when my wife yelled that I was on my way home.

Jack burst into tears while he and I were moving furniture, so we talked and hugged for a bit and now he's having a lie down in my bed because he was kinda wrung out. We're waiting for a locksmith as well to fix the door.

After that we're going to take him and Mary to the police station to make a report and give statements and whatever's involved in all that.

Sally took our kids and Mary's youngest to my parents' place in case Dave came back, they're too young for this shit, but Jack refused to leave his mother. We're going to meet up with them after the police station.

Those of you who said we should adopt Mary are getting their wish, at least for now. Jack's going to be sleeping in my youngest's big boy bed. The kidlet gets to stay in his cot and sleep in Sally's room for a bit, and Mary's youngest and my eldest will be sharing a room because they're only a few months apart and they get on well. Mary's sleeping on our couch until we get all this figured out.

My youngest will probably think this is the best day ever. He hates his big boy bed and he's going to get a reprieve from the transition, plus he gets to share a room with his Ma and there's cupcakes in the house because Mary stress-bakes and our kitchen counter is covered in cupcakes.

I should add that according to Tina Dave was telling his family that I talked him into the open marriage thing specifically because I wanted to sleep with Mary.

Plus a bunch of other shit that I've honestly forgotten, it's been an absolute shit of a day and it's only half past two. I'm pretty sure I just acquired a twelve-year-old son ten years early and seriously messed up, at least for a while, and I have to figure out how I'm going to fit Jack's needs into my life without neglecting my own kids.

I can't even tell if I'm exaggerating, Jack's a wreck and maybe those "please be my dad now" vibes are temporary but maybe they're not, you know? Gonna end this now before I start rambling. Or keep rambling, I don't even know.

Thanks everyone for all of your input. Don't be mad at Tina, I don't think there's any way she could have predicted Dave would lose his mind.

Update 2:

I didn’t think another update would be necessary but I forgot to log out of this account and my inbox says I was wrong. First of all, update on events for the people who were concerned:

Mary and the kids will not be staying with us, as charming an idea as that is. This weekend her brother will be coming to pick them up and they’ll be going to live with Mary’s parents for now.

They live about six hours out of town so it’s not an easy dropoff. We’re looking for a counselor for Jack who does telehealth, because there aren’t really any in her parents’ small town.

I don’t know what’s happening with the legal stuff. It’s only been a couple of days, I’m not sure anyone entirely knows. There were a few general themes in the comments/DMs I got, so I’m going to do some collective replies.

Those of you who were worried about Mary and the kids: Thank you. Hopefully they’ll be okay. Her family is rallying round and mine and my wife’s are all taking her side, so. Those of you who thought this was all fake: ok? Not sure what you want me to do with that.

The person who kept spamming me with “hi Liz”: how did you not realise you had the wrong username for over 24 hours what the hell.

Those of you who thought the story was unrealistic because I was too heroic throughout: hot damn, thank you for noticing what a goddamn hero I am. What was your favourite part in all my heroics?

The part where I was a teenager with anger issues, the part where I got a text message and came home after all the drama was over or the part where a traumatised child burst into tears and I panicked so badly I thought it meant I had to be his dad now? When they make the movie I want Hugh Jackman to play me.

The people posting their harem/sister wives fantasy stuff: you’re as bad as Dave, but I’ll allow that you spell better. If you can’t even imagine the possibility that a man could have friends who are women he doesn’t f that’s a you problem. If you can’t imagine that even when one of the women involved is aromantic and ase%ual you might BE a problem.

The people who were concerned I was endangering Mary and the kids by putting it in a post that Dave might see that they were in my house where he already knew they were: since he already knew, I don’t think so.

What do YOU make of OP's story? Is he TA here? Any advice for this family?

Sources: Reddit
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