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Dad torn between son and wife after 'insulting' wedding speech, wife betrayed. AITA?

Dad torn between son and wife after 'insulting' wedding speech, wife betrayed. AITA?


"AITA for staying at my son's wedding after he referred to his grandmother as the most important woman in his life even though my wife was his stepmom most of his life?"


My son got married a month ago and ever since then tensions have been high with my wife and her parents. My wife and I married after the death of my first wife. Our son was 6 when she died.

But our relationship had been over for a couple of years before she passed. We had stayed legally married for a while and tried to keep up pretenses for the sake of our son. But we both met people we wanted to be with and then my first wife died.

I continued to see my wife (the woman I had met and wanted to be with) but I did not introduce her to my son for another year and I saw her far less for several months while I focused on my son and helping him through the loss of his mom.

My son was 7 when he met my wife and I admit, my wife and I married quickly. He was a few weeks shy of 8 years old. And he struggled with my wife being part of our lives. He was still in therapy but we also did some group therapy together with a different therapist.

He was respectful to her but emotionally distant. He was not affectionate and did not love her. Over time, she did take on more parental responsibility, but we didn't jump straight into that. I didn't marry her to pawn my son off on someone else like some men do. I was always engaged in my son's life and I always parented.

He always turned to his grandmother, his mom's mom. He would call her regularly and would turn to her if I wasn't around and he was upset about something. He would see her as often as he could.

And eventually, per the advice of the therapist and after talking to my wife about how she was struggling doing all the parental things but him being emotionally distant with her, I decided she should try to fill more of a friend/aunt kind of role and not that of a parent.

She wasn't okay with it at first but then admitted it would wear on her if he never returned her love or see her as a mom to him and he was clear in therapy that he didn't want her as his second mom. He wanted nobody as that.

Fast forward to the wedding and, during the toasts, my son thanked me and my wife and his grandmother. And he mentioned his mom and how she was always his number one but how after she died, his grandmother was the most important woman in his life until he met his wife. And how they both loved her.

My wife became very upset upon hearing this. She told me she wanted to leave once the speeches were done. I told her I didn't want to leave my son's wedding. She asked how I could stay when he showed how much he doesn't really value her or love her. She left. I stayed. And she ended up at her parents house.

When I got home she told me she felt abandoned and her parents told me I was a bad husband and I should have put my son in his place and told him only one living woman deserved to be declared the most important woman in his life (besides his wife) and that was my wife. They feel I should have left with her because the ceremony was over and it was just the reception. AITA?

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:


NTA Sounds like you did things right with your son and his grief. Until the end this was a beautiful story and you should be proud. I'm sure you know that your son turning to his grandma was "normal". I think on some level you know your wife's reaction (and her parents) was not.

I do sympathize with your wife that her dreams of being his mom didn't work out, but that was naive of her. I can understand her being hurt, but her behavior isn't ok. She took on the role of an aunt/friend, which is appropriate, and she was treated as such at his wedding. I also applaud you for raising a son who spoke from the heart.

The OP responded here:


Yes, the therapist said that some kids will seek out another mom/dad after the loss of their mom or dad. But other kids, like my son, will seek a comforting presence from the family members of the lost parent. And that some kids will never possess the wish or ability to see a stepparent or a parents long time partner as another parent.

This has confirmed to me that my wife always hoped my son would change his mind or would realize he felt differently than he was saying and showing. Or maybe not hoped but believed he would.


"... other kids, like my son, will seek a comforting presence from the family members of the lost parent."

It's not just about a comforting presence. His grandparents, and his grandmother in particular, are his only connection to his mother.

They knew her. They cared for her. They have stories about her. They remind him of her. His grandmother makes him feel like his mother is still around for him.

I don't fault your wife. But your Your wife and your in-laws are complete ah0les.


You don’t fault the wife? She’s a huge AH here. She had 20 years to come to terms with the reality of the relationship and she refused. The son didn’t ignore her at the wedding, and then she tried to pull his only parent away from his wedding. She is selfish and couldn’t be more wrong.


NTA. Your wife was thanked in his speech. He recognized her. She’s had a couple of decades to understand and accept your son being closer to his grandmother. It’s not how she hoped her stepparent relationship would work out and I understand her disappointment but there was no need to be dramatic about it and be especially hurt and make a statement by leaving, even a quiet one.

Any advice you receive from people telling you to put your son in his place at his wedding because they feel he wrongfully ranked the top two living female relatives in his life in his speech should be summarily ignored for the incredibly poor, subjective judgments they are making.

This was your son’s wedding. Your wife was being very self-centered.

The number one job of all wedding guests is to not create drama. Your wife failed.



Question - do people know what your son's relationship with your wife is like? Because I see only one reason for her anger - she was embarrassed because she played the role of a loving and loved mother to the outside world, so your son's speech destroyed this image.

The OP responded:


Yes, people know. My son's friends all know, his wife and her family know. Friends of ours know and so do both our families. This is not something that would have come as a big revelation to anyone there. Except maybe some plus ones but even then I can't be sure that's true.


NTA, But your wife sure is. She isn't his mom, she isn't, and wasn't, the most important woman in his life. Her primary relationship is with you, not your son. And the selfishness of her expecting you to walk on on your son on his wedding day because she can't accept that her relationship with you does not entitled her to a close relationship with him is ridiculous.

Your son doesn't need 'putting in his place' he is doing just fine. It sounds as though he was polite and generous enough to thank your wife, as well as you. Your wife needs to get over herself and realise that not everything is about her.

I think she owes your son and his spouse an apology, especially if she was obvious about leaving or if she or her family have been bitching publicly about this. She also owes you an apology.

So, what do you think about this one? If you could give the OP and his wife any advice here, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit
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