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Man's 21 yo son betrays him in the wake of their mother/wife's passing. AITA? TRAGIC UPDATE.

Man's 21 yo son betrays him in the wake of their mother/wife's passing. AITA? TRAGIC UPDATE.


When this dad cannot believe what his son does to him in the wake of his wife's death, he asks Reddit:

"My son betrayed me. I don't know how to process this level of betrayal? AITA?"

I apologize in advance if this isn't the most coherent thing in the world, this is partially just me venting to the void. About 4 years ago I lost my wife, the mother of my son, to lung cancer. We had been together since we were 14.

It was the darkest time in my life, I had considered suicide on a nearly daily basis. I pushed on for my son, and because my wife made me promise to make the most of life.

We had our son pretty young, I worked two jobs to keep us afloat and thankfully was able to provide a decent upbringing until he moved out at 16, although I still paid (and continued to do so until this happened) a portion of his bills.

The loss was extremely hard on my son as well, he came back to stay with me for awhile and we'd work through the grief together every day.

I got him into therapy, pushed him to get involved in things to keep his mind busy and when he moved back into his apartment I'd call every night to check on him and visited multiple times a week. We were always extremely close.

My wife told me outright after her diagnosis that she didn't want me alone, so I made myself available. My girlfriend and I met about two years ago and hit it off. She isn't my wife, but I loved her for who she was and we really connected.

I was reluctant to introduce her to my son because I was afraid he'd feel I was betraying his mother so I held off for the first year, which I regretted as they ended up getting along very well. We'd hang out together, my son was happy, I was happy. She moved in with me about 5 months ago.

This past Thursday he was over for dinner and movies. We've had this little game since he was a teenager where I'd pop up over his shoulder when he was on his phone in common areas and say "stop looking at that!" in an accusing way to mess with him even though he was never looking at anything.

Turns out this time he was doing something and I seen topless photos on his phone. I recognized the photos to be of my girlfriend, same tattoo placement between the breasts. I grabbed the phone from him and he immediately starts pleading his case.

I go into gallery and there are easily two dozen photos of my girlfriend, some of him I'm assuming he sent to her, one or two of them together.

By this time he's crying and trying to grab the phone back, I check his texts and he has two weeks worth of conversations with her (under a different name) detailing the fact they've been fg around behind my back. My girlfriend is in the room begging to know what's going on.

I'm not proud of the fact I lost myself. I screamed at them both, I smashed the phone (yes, I know this is unacceptable, yes I'm in therapy, yes it's the first time I got aggressive with either of them), I demanded details.

My son kept apologizing and saying he didn't know why and that it had only started two weeks ago, they slept together 3 times.

My girlfriend was sobbing and kept trying to hug me, telling me it was "a mistake", purely physical and that she'd never speak to him again. I screamed at my son that I'd given my life to him, that he knew what this meant to me, that he was all I had left.

I pulled him upstairs and gave him the money for his phone and kicked him out. I went upstairs to our bedroom, turned her drawers upside down and packed her clothes into two travel bags while she kept asking me to listen.

I put them outside, guided her through the door and told her she could have someone else get the rest of her belongings this week.

Both of them have been texting me nonstop until last night, at which point I blocked their number. I feel completely detached. The fact that after 2 years my girlfriend, knowing my history, could betray me is painful enough, and absolutely nothing will make me forgive her.

She refuses to get her stuff until I talk to her so I'm having a friend drop it off to her. The fact my son, who I dropped everything for, worked non-stop to provide for, who was all I had left in this world could do this to me knowing what it would do is another pain entirely.

It feels like I lost another family member. I ache for my wife all over again. I know everyone processes grief differently but this was two years after her passing, he had a girlfriend and I was there for him (as were therapists) every step of the way, so I have a hard time believing grief is the cause of his decision.

I can't see this as a mistake, he didn't trip and fall. It was a conscious choice to betray someone who loved him.

I want to honor my wife by giving my son a chance, to hold on to the little family I have left. But this isn't like he stole money from me, it isn't even something that happened once while drunk.

He was there for that grief with me, he knew how hard it was for me to move on. Of all the women, he chose mine. All the apologies or future effort can'r erase that fact or the memory of it. I never did wrong by him, and now I feel like the kid I raised isn't there anymore.

Thanks to friends I'm not drifting into thoughts of self harm again, but I don't know if I have it in me to ever forgive him. If and when that day comes, what steps can I take to process what happened, talk to him without feeling disgust and open the door to trusting him again? And if that day never comes, does that make me a bad person?

1.) Nothing caused him to move out, he asked and said it'd be cool and I helped pay his bills. No hidden resentment I've ever been aware of.

2.) Yes, popping up over his shoulder sometimes was something we both found funny. No I wasn't actually trying to invade his privacy, yes he was a part of the joke.

3.) Yes I know I was aggressive. I paid for the phone and will be discussing it in therapy.

4.) Yes I know this sounds like something out of a movie, it's not.

Before we give you OP's lengthy update, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

mountaingoat writes:

Holy shit. I'm so sorry this has happened to you. First I want to make sure you know that this is NOT your fault, at all, in any way. Your reaction was completely normal, you recognize that the phone thing was harsh and you corrected it immediately.

I don't think anyone could have asked more from someone in that situation. I think you're handling the girlfriend situation well. If she doesn't want to pick up her stuff without talking and you don't want to talk, have someone else give her her stuff and call it a day.

I don't think there's any coming back from what she did. I'm glad you guys hadn't gotten married or had a kid or anything before she showed you who she really is. As for your son, the only thing I can think of is to tell him he needs to go to therapy with you to attempt to start the healing process.

You sound like an amazing dad. You did not deserve them doing this to you. Who knows what the kid is going through, but it must be more than "eh he's 21, it's a tough age." Bullshit. That's no excuse.

He needs to be held accountable for his actions and he owes it to you to do whatever you think is necessary to start coming back from this. I would wait for a couple of weeks until this initial reaction time has passed before talking to him.

I don't recall if he lives with you or what, but I would try to take some time away from him if possible, or at least not talk to him. I don't think either of you are ready. I think therapy is the way to start, and I'm sure your therapist will be able to tell you about bringing him in or setting something up with a family therapist.

Again I'm so sorry this happened. But I am also really proud of how you're handling it. I hope I would show the same restraint and self awareness and maturity in such a situation. Everything is going to be ok again one day.

cyn44 writes:

I would have reacted the exact same way dude. I’m so sorry for the loss of your wife I can’t imagine what that feels like. I think this is the time to surround yourself with friends and people who have your best interest at heart.

I don’t think it’s the time to make any decisions about your relationship with your son going forward. Of course after reading all that my first thought (and probably yours too) was to just say f both of them and never forgive or talk to them.

But no one can say that one day you won’t want your relationship with your son back. Whether that means forgiving him or not. Basically, it’s just too soon right now to make those decisions.

I think you should take some time to be alone or with friends and try to pull yourself together for the sake of yourself and no one else. Maybe in a few months, or a few years you can think about this again and whether you think you want to talk to your son again.

I wouldn’t hold yourself obliged because of your wife’s wishes. As much as that hurts to say. But just think, I doubt she’d want you to put yourself in such pain just because of a last promise to her. Think of yourself. I hope everything works out for you, and reach out if you ever need help again. (Feel free to PM me if you want too.)

anddonynomous writes:

This makes me very sad. Something I have observed lately and is more and more confirmed the more I read stories like this. As much as it sucks, I think we have to go through life with the expectation that nobody really cares about us, and we have to learn to be ok with that.

We're all just people and ultimately love is like any other emotion, we feel it when we feel it, but no emotion can be sustained permanently, and in the gaps between feeling love, people are just as likely to do things like this.

I fear, that sense of love and trust and companionship that we all crave doesnt exist, or at least only exists now and then for brief periods. I am probably biased because of my own experiences, and for people whose experiences indicate I am wrong, I think you are very very lucky.

For the rest of us though, we need to truly appreciate those times that we actually feel loved and we need to learn to cope with the fact that ultimately, no matter how many people 'love' us, we are still on our own. I'm sorry for what you're going through. Best of luck.

floridagirlnikki writes:

I don't know you but if I could hug you right now I would. I would also really like to punch the everloving shit out of the girl. I truly hope you never have to see or speak to her again.

This might be an unpopular opinion on here, but I think it matters in this case who initiated things. I could be wrong but I picture her as the aggressor. I'm picturing a 21 yr old kid who lost his mom and likely still vulnerable (even though you did everything in your power to help with that)

In comes dad's gf who gives him attention and makes him feel good. Maybe plays the role of mom. Supports him. As fd up as it is, I can see how it would be possible for him to be persuaded and essentially victimized in this situation. The cost for him, could be the loss of the only other parent he has.

His involvement in this is FD UP and you have every right to feel how you feel. Take the time you need. But when you are ready, I think you should hear him out. Family therapy might be a good idea.

One thing is for sure... you don't deserve any of this.

OP provides this harrowing update:

First off, I'd like to thank everyone for the enormous outpouring of support. I've had numerous people offering to their well-wishes privately and such compassion from those who commented.

I believe it was this support, as well as that from my friends, that kept me from doing anything stupid. I'll try to keep this as concise and short sentenced as possible.

It's been a busy couple of days, to say the least. I unblocked both their numbers shortly after posting. My now ex called again that night, which I answered. I told her if she wasn't calling to make plans to pick up her stuff I was hanging up, and we decided on the next morning.

I called a platonic female friend of mine that night and she agreed to be at my place before my ex showed up as a witness. I had everything packed up and waiting by the door.

She showed up as expected and started crying immediately when I came out with her stuff, trying to pull the bags to the ground so I'd have my hands free for a hug. I put the bags beside her car and asked her to check if I missed anything, which she refused.

I agreed to a quick hug, told her to take care and walked inside, my friend pulled the chair she was sitting in on my porch over so it was in front of my door, and told her that she was calling the cops if she didn't leave. She did, and I blocked her number again.

I texted and called my son numerous times, and left a voicemail telling him that we needed to talk, but first he had to come clean to his girlfriend and accept responsibility for his actions.

He didn't respond, so I called her myself. We chatted for a while and she told me he was out with a friend. I asked if he had spoken to her about anything recently, and she said no. So I told her myself.

Mostly because I felt it was the right thing to do, as she was a victim in this too, but I'll admit partially because he's a grown man now and needs to deal with the consequences.

He showed up to my place that evening, and I let him in. I'm ashamed to say I wasn't nearly as calm as I hoped I'd be. He asked if ruining his relationship made me feel better, and I told him that he ruined it.

Pretty much any hope of productive conversation went out the window and it became a screaming match, at which point I told him to get out and figure out how to deal with being as alone as I was. He slapped me in the head.

This is a kid who never even threw a toy out of anger in childhood, who wasn't even spanked.

As disgusting and twisted as it is, this exploded into a physical fight with me being struck in the face multiple times while trying to restrain him as I didn't have it in me to hit him, my son very much not being a fighter while in my younger years I very much was, until I took him off his feet and held him to the floor.

I've never felt that level of rage before, how incredibly overwhelming it was.

When I seen the fear on his face I let him up and sat beside him on the floor. I told him to get out. He started crying and told me that his mother would be ashamed of him.

Thank you. The door isn't closed, there's just a lot of shit that needs to be moved out of the way before we can walk through it again.

As far as my son, I'm no longer comfortable financially supporting him. He works a decent job and is fully capable of covering his own expenses and that's without his girlfriend's income.

I've just given him money every month since he moved out and never stopped even when he got a job, partially out of guilt for him losing his mother, partially out of habit, which I'm realizing now may have spoiled him a bit.

If he's ever in a desperate financial situation I would bail him out, but I feel like, at least for now, it's not right for me to be giving him money he doesn't need anymore.

This made me break down, pathetically so, and realize how fucked up this while thing has been. I agreed that she'd be ashamed of both of us, and we hugged while he cried into my chest, something he hasn't done since my wife passed. He asked if it was too late to talk, and I told him it wasn't.

I cleaned myself up, we sat at the kitchen table and talked. He told me that he'd stopped therapy a while ago and lied about it, because he felt it wasn't helping.

He told me that he was hurt when I kept my girlfriend from him the first year, because although he knew it was to prevent him getting attached if it didn't work out, he still felt excluded.

It came out that he hid a very well concealed alcohol problem from me, and even his girlfriend. He told me he didn't sleep with her to spite me, that he was just feeling lost and he made a stupid choice.

I asked him why he couldn't have been honest with me before it came to this, and he told me he didn't feel like he could be honest with himself anymore.

We cried together again, prayed together despite neither of us being religious, looked through family photo albums together. We discussed the road forward, and we agreed that the loss we both felt went far deeper than we thought.

We decided on attending therapy together, we're going to look into support groups both for his drinking and other families dealing with loss, and now that he's without his girlfriend and I'm aware of the extent of his issues..

I agreed to let him move back home with me so I can make sure he attends his appointments and avoids alcohol, and hopefully so we can bond again with the stipulation that any more violence and he's out the door.

He asked me if I can ever forgive him, and I told him honestly that I couldn't, but he's still my son and I love him. And I reminded him of what his mother told him when he was a kid, that everyone messes up, it's what you do afterwards that makes the difference.

I'll never forgive what he did, but if he learns from this and becomes a better person then I can forget it and have a great relationship with him regardless.

Aside from the fact my lip resembles the mouth of the vampires from Blade 2 for now which has prompted concern from neighbors and friends, the past two days have been great.

We've been talking, we cooked dinner together, we've gone on walks and we're set to start looking into professional help this coming week. He's incredibly apologetic and has a tenderness I haven't seen from him in years.

I have no illusions about the amount of work to be done nor how serious this incident was, but I'm feeling very optimistic about the future.

Ex is out of my life for good. Son was left by his girlfriend, which led to a physical confrontation and an outpouring of honesty. The road ahead looks like it'll be long and full of hurdles, but we both seem committed to each other and getting through it together.

Poor OP. Any advice for this man? Can he get his relationship with his son back on track? What do YOU think?

Sources: Reddit
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