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. 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 apologize 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?
NTA and your cousin Dave learned a hard lesson many men have learned. They grossly underestimate how attractive their partner will be and grossly overestimate how attractive they will be when they beg to open a marriage.
I've read many stories on here that end like Dave's. She goes along to keep the marriage "lively" and finds she's quite the prize for others, while "bored boy" gets left behind in the dust. Makes me LOL every time.
You had zero to do with Dave thinking he was going to get laid left and right and getting a rude surprise instead. He made that mess of a bed and he can lay in it.
Everyone in the family pointing fingers at you is out of line. Tell them to STFU and back off or they'll never see/hear from any of you again. Keep in touch with Mary though. She's sounds lovely.
Adopt your cousin in law and her kids and be done with blood relatives. They obviously have rocks for brains.
All the consenting adults in your household are happy. You just keep it that way. Good for you. If consenting adults in another household are not happy, it's none of your business and it's none of anyone else's business to impose fixing that on you. I would just keep pushing the "nothing to do with us" line and insisting on privacy.
NTA. Dave sounds like he has the emotional maturity of a 15 year old. He did not understand anything about you and your wife’s relationship with Sallie and yet he’s blaming that on the demise of his marriage under the terms of what she agreed to. People can be astounding in the way they see things.
NTA. You are making it work and you all are happy. Your cousin sounds like an idiot. I would definitely keep Mary.
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 some kind of 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 stuff and screaming. I thought the last time he did it was the time he hit my little brother and I. (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'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 kid 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 hell 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.