Frank has three children with his first wife: Ava (14f), Noa (13f), and Harley (10m). Emily also has a son (9m) and a stepdaughter from her ex-husband, whom she has custody of (12f). Frank and Emily started dating just before the pandemic hit.
The kids were not aware that Frank was dating. He told them two months before the wedding, and a month later, he announced that he was getting married, and Emily and her kids were moving in.
Frank's kids have adapted worse than Emily's kids. They have refused to take part in family activities, are distant and cold with Emily and her kids, and have yelled at my brother multiple times, accusing him of replacing their mom and saying things like, "Forget Emily, they don't care about Emily, they don't want Emily," etc.
Frank, Emily, Ava, Noa, and Harley have started attending family counseling (for about 7 months now). They have seen three therapists thus far because the kids would "sit and sulk," per Frank's own words, and would not open up or engage. Each time, the therapist ends up just talking to Frank and Emily.
Frank started to complain about how mad the kids are at him. He said they were selfish for expecting him to stay single for the rest of his life. He said he's tired of them making no effort to make the blended family work. He hates how they work against it and how people treat him like he made a mistake when he remarried. He wanted to know if he wasn't entitled to his happiness, etc.
I listened to him vent countless times. The last time he told me he felt I had something to say, and I should just say it. I told him his mistake was never in remarrying but in how he did it. He only told the kids he was dating two months prior to his wedding, told them a month later he was getting married, and three people were moving in.
Then, they married in that two-month timeline when everything was still very new and strange to them. I told him most kids will struggle with the idea of their parent moving on after divorce or the death of their parent.
That's why people usually spend years dating and getting the kids adjusted so they have time to process and work through their feelings, to work through the fresh wave of grief that hearing news like that would bring. I said dating and letting everyone get to know each other over a period of time and helping the kids through is the best way to make a blended family.
He got mad at me and told me he shouldn't have to adjust his timeline for anyone, not even his kids. I asked him how he'd feel to hear dad is dating someone (30 years after our mom died). He told me there is no way dad would do that and "screw me" for even suggesting it.
I told him so he'd have a problem with it but can't understand his kids having a problem with him doing it. He told me it's not the same, and he's not judging dad, but I'm judging him, and that makes me an a#*hole.
Here are the top comments from the post:
"He got mad at me and told me he shouldn't have to adjust his timeline for anyone, not even his kids." And now we know why his kids don't say anything during their family counseling sessions. NTA (Not the A^#hole).
NTA-He shouldn’t ask questions or request opinions when he doesn’t want to hear the truth. He didn’t give his kids nearly enough time to adjust to the first change in their lives before he kept adding more changes.
It makes it seem like he cares less about his children and their wellbeing than his does his own. He’s a hypocrite to boot. It’s exactly the same thing if your widowed father started dating.
NTA (Not the A%#hole). He got mad at me and told me he shouldn't have to adjust his timeline for anyone, not even his kids. And his kids are taking that same attitude towards their dad's new marriage, so how can he be mad at them for adopting the same outlook he clearly thinks is ok to apply his decisions to.
You hit the nail on the head. The kids still might have reacted poorly to this no matter what but, telling them two months before the wedding was never gonna end well. NTA.
NTA at all. Those poor kids. Frank sounds like he is the worst. I actually want to cry for these kids. Ugh, this is absolutely awful.
Do you see them a reasonable amount? I hope so. Sounds like they'll need whatever healthy relationships they can get.
What do you think? Would you have told Frank the truth?