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Mom refuses to pay for 30 yo daughter's third wedding; 'But I finally found THE ONE after all my TRAUMA.' AITA? UPDATED

Mom refuses to pay for 30 yo daughter's third wedding; 'But I finally found THE ONE after all my TRAUMA.' AITA? UPDATED


When this mom is upset with her daughter's spoiled brat behavior, she asks the internet:

"I'm so disappointed in my daughter. Not paying for her third wedding. AITA?"

I should start by saying that my daughter is an only child. She has always been our "princess," so to speak, and she's received everything material that a girl could ask for.

Before you criticize my husband (her father) and I for spoiling her, we DO realize that we shouldn't have given her everything from a young age but we didn't know any better back then.

And we had the money, we're quite well off - so we figured why not support our only child?

My husband owns his own business and I am a schoolteacher. Together we make decent money, and I am looking to retire in the near future. When we first started out I stayed at home and my husband worked an office job, and so my daughter has been pampered with all of my attention and her father's support.

She is now going to be married for the third time in her short life. Her only job is occasionally supply teaching in the same school board I work at, so she doesn't have much of a big career yet but I do hope she will find work.

I'll spare you the long of it. She married her high school boyfriend at 22 years old, and they divorced less than two years later in a bitter fight. The wedding was lavish, as it was her first and we truly believed that they would make it work.

I guess my husband and I also saw through rose-coloured glasses since we were married very young as well, and are approaching our 35th anniversary. My husband and I pitched in around $25,000 for the wedding ceremony and reception, and perhaps another $3,000 for their honeymoon to Europe.

The second time she was proposed to by another man she was dating, he was a hard-working blue collar man but his family didn't have much money.

Again she asked if we could help out with her wedding, that it was true love this time around. We met the man and he was a stand-up, wholesome person and so, a year after that, my daughter (then 27) was married to this second husband. We paid for most of the wedding costs and the honeymoon, to the tune of $43,000.

Her then-husband's mother was a nurse, and his father was a deadbeat. They didn't provide much when it came to the wedding itself, and I admit, the husband and I did harbor ill will toward the fact that her husband's father's name was clearly printed on the reception and invitations as a 'generously contributing' member of the wedding party. But that's another story.

And they divorced because of money issues less than 3 years later. We, tired by this time, forked over money for her divorce costs and tried to regroup our finances.

We do have a comfortable nest egg saved up for our post-retired life (I would like to travel the world and maybe buy a small lake house with my husband, he also enjoys woodworking as a hobby), but now my daughter who has begun dating another man has excitedly showed us that she is engaged once again!

The man in question proposed less than a year into their dating and she is elated more than anything, because after her second divorce she didn't think any man would want her anymore. She is claiming that she finally found the one. She claims she's been through trauma with her last two husbands and now this is it.

My daughter has hinted at wedding costs and brings home bridal magazines and ideas for cakes and dresses and venues, and I want to be happy for her happiness, but there's a voice inside me that is screaming ENOUGH.

We have spent almost over $140,000 of my husband's and my money for my daughter's two failed marriages - wedding, reception, honeymoon costs, divorce costs - and I cannot believe she is thinking of planning another lavish ceremony at our expense.

I've tried suggesting maybe this time she should opt for a small backyard ceremony this time, but she turns it around on us and says that we don't believe in her happiness and that we are being cheap, as she is our only daughter and her father and I are quite well-off. Which, to be fair, she is right. I am at a loss of what to say to her.

tl;dr: Twice-married and divorced only daughter is getting married for a third time, where the first two times her affluent father and I paid for a majority of the wedding costs and divorce costs.

This time around we want to convince her to have a smaller ceremony but she says we are being cheap and that we don't care for her happiness. Feel like a bad parent. AITA?

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

fesssjuyi writes:

NTA. So lots of people have told you that you shouldn't pay. What I haven't seen yet is someone saying she will probably throw an EPIC tantrum when you put your foot down, and you will have to stick it out or she will win and the next time you try to put your foot down, she'll throw an even bigger tantrum.

This is a well-known and researched behavioral phenomenon known as extinction, which is what happens when you stop reinforcing behavior that used to be reinforced. If you don't firmly say no and stick with it, you are forever screwed. She will say mean things, she'll get really nasty.

Stay calm and don't budge. This is a 30 year old toddler that you've created. All the times you didn't say "no" are going to bite you in the ass here, and I'm saying- be ready. Do not let her manipulate you on this one. It's totally in your power not to write that check.

FWIW my well-off parents gave me $5k for my wedding in 2008 and I would never fking dream of asking for their financial support for a second wedding.

copacabana writes:

YTA. You've definitely only got yourselves to blame for letting it get to this point. It's clear that you've set an expectation of providing for your daughter, even through adulthood, and you're going to have to live up to that expectation and pay up or modify that expectation to something less expensive.

You're concerned that modifying the expectation that your daughter has and not paying for the wedding is going to cause strife. You're probably 100% right. So you've got options.

Pay up and continue the status quo; Compromise somewhere; Don't pay anything and risk relational strife

Rarely is breaking all expectations the right answer, like many have suggested in the comments. Relationships are built over time and changing expectations in a snap can do long term damage. I'd suggest a compromise. Contribute and help, rather than provide and do things for her.

Two things to bring up when you talk to your daughter. Money; Long term relationships

When you talk to her, let her know your thoughts on marriage. She needs to find a life partner, not a lover. I'd suggest that you try to tie the two together. She wants money, you want her to be both happy with you and happy in marriage.

Promise that you'll give her X amount of money (3-10k?)for her third wedding, IF she and her fiance agree to pre-marital counseling (that may be something worth an investment).

If through that, she figures out her fiance isn't the right one, you'll still set aside that money for a wedding, just not to this dude. If she feels like any contribution is tied to this guy, that could be an obvious issue.

In conclusion. Modify your daughter's perception of you as an ATM

Give her something, so she's not feeling like hating you completely (even think about non-monetary things like your service helping with things. Yes, that might suck, but be an example. Sounds like she could use one)

Get something for your money (like a learned lesson or increased maturity); Teach your daughter what marriage is all about

Make sure your daughter knows what to expect moving forward. I'd assume that's no more wedding contributions. Make sure you emphasize you love your daughter.

gargantua writes:

YTA. You created this. You feel like a bad parent because you have been. Start being a good one. Tell your daughter to go to the Justice of the Peace like every other normal twice-divorced person.

You do not care for her happiness by giving into her every whim while you drive yourselves to the poor house. Is she going to pay for your care in your twilight years? Probably not on a substitute teacher's position.

Does she need a ceremony at all? Absolutely not. It's quite shameful and embarrassing actually. I know a girl who's been married 4 times (FOUR) before the age of 30. She has had three lavish weddings. I attended the first one and gave a very nice gift. I attended the second one and gave a less nice, but still decent gift.

The third one, I attended with no gift and drank all the free booze I could get my hands on. I was not the only one attending/ who went down that path.

By the fourth time, she wised up that we no longer cared to watch her be the center of attention and would no longer arrive gift in hand. The only difference here is this girl and her husbands each paid for their own weddings by themselves, so at least they weren't milking mom and dad.

facetoface writes:

NTA! I know I'm late to this post, but if you're still reading comments I'd like to contribute.

I am (28F) and in a great relationship with my SO (34M). For the first time in my life I feel like I've found the person I want to spend my life with, and he feels the same.

I have no savings, as I've just finished paying off my student loans, and am currently paying off credit card debt. Both my SO and I work full-time, but have no real savings for a wedding or honeymoon.

My parents aren't well off. They were both hit hard when the market and economy dropped, and my father only JUST got another job after 11 months of looking for work. I know that they can barely afford Christmas and birthday gifts, much less a wedding.

I cannot imagine making them feel guilty, whether they have money or not, for not paying for a wedding. It's an old, and outdated tradition. What's more, is that I would be happy, elated, over the moon to go to city hall and get married there, followed by a small party with a few friends at my house.

Weddings are a ridiculous waste of money, IMO, and your daughter's love for you should not be conditional on how many gifts you give her. $140k??? Are you kidding me? She could have gotten an Ivy League education for that price.

Please, sit down with your husband and approach this as a team. You, and he, need to both convey that you aren't willing to dish out the money. Compromise if you must, maybe you can help her with the cost of a dress, or something like that, but please don't waste your hard-earned money on making her even more spoiled.

lalalry writes:

YTA. You created this monster by babying your daughter, and now you come to complete strangers for any other answer than the one you already know is the correct one.

You tell her no. You tell her that unless she wants to pay you back for the first two marriages, you won't be fronting her any more money for the 3rd one.

It's time to teach your daughter an actual life lesson. Life ain't free and life for damn sure ain't fair. She can deal with it or be a whiny turd.

Honestly, you are doing the same thing she is doing. You have a problem and you don't want to face the reality of you decided to get on reddit and try to find any other solution other than putting on your big girl panties and telling your daughter no.

Your daughter has a problem...she wants a big 3rd wedding. But she doesn't want to face the reality of paying for it herself so she is hinting and talking about wedding stuff hoping you will agree to pay for her 3rd wedding. She is also most likely trying to guilt you into do it, because manipulative people use guilt as a weapon.

I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but sometimes you need a kick in the pants and hopefully, this will be that kick.

creeepytut writes:

YTA. Good parents do not enable their children, regardless of how seemingly innocuous their behavior may be. If your daughter pitches a fit like a 5-year-old and says she's disowning you for not paying for her third wedding, then you really did fail as parents...because she attributes no value to your relationship besides financial value.

Your little princess is not a little girl anymore, and it is time--past time--to cut the cord. If she wants a wedding this time around, she's going to have to pay for it herself, or put it on the groom.

I seriously don't get this. My husband and I paid 100% for our wedding. Is your daughter completely helpless? Does she work? Did she go to school? Does she have a career?

I don't mean to guilt trip you, but if you've been enabling her all this time, you really have not done her any favors. The right thing to do is to cut her off financially. She's an ADULT.

Your job as parents was to make her self-sufficient, and you are not allowing her to be. Stop this stupidity. Tell her no and let the chips fall where they may, because like I said: if she stops talking to you, you really have no one to blame but yourself for the relationship you've created.

And now, OP's update:

Hello, it's been a long time. I wanted to retroactively thank everyone for the advice and the anger (must admit that hearing others rage about my situation was pretty cathartic for me).

I wasn't going to log back in to post an update, I couldn't even recall the password for this throwaway account but so many of you gave me excellent advice that I feel I must give an update sad as it is.

Long story short, my daughter is getting her third divorce. We are no longer on speaking terms and she has broken our hearts.

Short story long, as many of you predicted, she threw a great big tantrum when her father and I told her explicitly that we would not be paying for the wedding this time around. We said we would buy her a wedding dress and the cake, but that that would be the end of it.

That whatever else she wanted would have to come from her and her husband's pocketbook.

She said we don't care for her happiness, she cried, she said that we were selfish, everything all of you said was going to happen - all these things hurt so much to hear because they aren't true, we do care very much for her but enough was simply enough.

She went so far as to chuck her wedding planner binder into the backyard pool, which was grotesque to watch.

We asked to meet the fiance in question over dinner - what a gem he was. Tattoos all over his knuckles and his neck, showed up to meet us in sweatpants and an ill-fitting hoodie, didn't even shake our hand or introduce himself properly. He looked like trailer trash.

When we asked what his occupation was, he said he was a "sound technician" which made me feel embarrassed for being so prejudiced, but after a quick conversation at the dinner table (where he behaved in the most disgusting manner), turns out that he is a freelance DJ.

At 39 years old I believe one should at least be put together, not living with other roommates and working at clubs on weekends. My daughter, I do not know what was wrong with her.

She looked at him with such adoring eyes as if he were the best thing since sliced bread. We doubted that he could provide for himself let alone a family.

I don't know if this was a sign, but the sight of this man-boy solidified our decision to not finance a drop of our daughter's third wedding. We still agreed to pay for the cake and the dress, but no more.

We even had doubts that maybe this thug was only planning to marry our daughter for the money. We assumed it was true when we found out she had been paying for a few months' worth of his rent that he could not afford to pay out of her own pocket. Like I said, I don't know what was wrong with her.

We gave her a budget of $13,000 for a beautiful dress and maybe another $2,000 for the cake.

The wedding planning itself was a disaster as my daughter had a meltdown over every single little thing that went wrong even though we tried to tell her that she could use the $15,000 budget to plan the entire wedding instead of just spending it on the dress and cake alone (that was our intention), that maybe she could scale back the dress and cake for a more humble affair.

Maybe it would teach her the value of a dollar.

She would not budge. She did not invite us to the wedding, let alone the reception. We don't even know how it was, as we were not shown any photographs afterward.

I spent the entire week crying when I found out she had left us out of the wedding party. She came back a few times with a U-Haul and her disgusting husband to take her possessions from our home and moved in with him.

While my husband and I were gone on a vacation to New Orleans right before Christmas, we had received several voicemails all from our daughter. Her voice was slurring, as if she had been heavily drinking or on drugs.

She said that she was going to divorce as he was a "fg deadbeat" who couldn't even treat her to a nice dinner. She said she's had to sell her engagement ring to pay the rent, that she is still living with his roommates, and that...

this is the part that just sends me into anger - "that if only we had paid for her wedding and helped her buy a home with him (this wasn't even discussed between us, I do not know where she got this idea from) that she would have made this marriage last." If we had given her MORE money.

My god. What have we done. I am shaking with anger just typing this. My husband wanted to leave her a seething voicemail. I talked him out of it. As far as we know, she has moved forward with the divorce.

We will be here for her, we will take her back into our homes, but only if she wishes. At this point we have heard nothing from her and she does not pick up her phone. It is so easy to blame ourselves for being bad parents and I just feel so awful.

She is our only child, and if any of our nieces or nephews behaved this way to our siblings we would have cut them out of the family in a second. But we can't. She is our only child, now 31 years old and a thrice-divorcee. It pains me so much what has happened over the last year. I feel like I've lost a daughter.

Daughter is going through with her third divorce even after her father and I gave her a $15,000 budget for her wedding.

She is no longer speaking to us after sending us a voicemail that blamed us for not helping her with the entire wedding finances and buying a new home for her that we've never discussed. Husband and I feel like we no longer have a daughter.

She can't afford her own wedding. We paid for the first two divorce court-related costs. Husband and I have no idea how she will afford a third divorce.

Sources: Reddit
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