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Woman forces fiancé to cut off his late wife's family, 'he’d chose her over me every time.' AITA? UPDATED 3X

Woman forces fiancé to cut off his late wife's family, 'he’d chose her over me every time.' AITA? UPDATED 3X

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"AITA for forcing my fiancé into cutting off his late wife’s family?"

I, 25f, am getting married to my fiancé, 29m, in May. When we first got together he told me that he was married from 20-22yrs old to his high school sweetheart (we met when he was 25) but she passed of sepsis from a botched surgery. He didn’t cope well and stayed in contact with her family, namely father and two sisters, 19 and 24.

It was a soft spot for me for a while at the beginning because there was so much history they had that we would not have and it was tough knowing that she was all around him. I never told him and decided to work through it on my own, especially with the fact that he would often spend time with her family during our relationship.

Her birthday, their anniversary and anniversary of her death, he’d spend the day with her family. It was uncomfortable at first knowing the man I loved was reminiscing about love he had with someone else but I kept trying to see it from his perspective and the last couple years I am completely secure in our relationship and it doesn’t bother me much any more.

Well, he proposed this time last year and I was over the moon. I love this man with all my heart but I recently learned that he never told them that we got engaged. I’ve been trying local coffee shops the past few months rather than my usual run and tried a new one. His LWs sister worked there and other than being awkward, she did a double take of my engagement ring and looked really unhappy. I didn’t mention it and left.

My fiancé told me that she kept messaging him on social media about it and I wasn’t happy that he kept it a secret. He apologized and was very depleted by it all. He said that he didn’t want to hide me but he didn’t want to hurt them either and that both of us were a huge part of his life. I understand that and let him off the hook slightly, just told him to be upfront with them from now on. That was that. At least I thought so.

A week ago, on Sunday, I got a message from the 24yr old asking if I was happy with myself, that I would never replace his LW and that if she was still alive he’d chose her over me every time. She even said that he only kept me around for me money and something to be intimate with. I ignored it but I can’t say that it didn’t effect me. When you’re in my position, all these points are ones you have to work through and it’s not easy to get over those insecurities. It feels like a knock in the teeth when they’re used against you.

I mentioned it to him and he comforted me and reassured me. He said he’d set boundaries with her and I’d never have to hear from her again. Fine by me. That was until I found my car with "wh*re" and "grave robber" smeared in red paint. I had saved for this car for a year and it was expensive, very expensive.

The tires were slashed and the windows cracked. I asked the store a few doors down for their CCTV camera footage of that night but it was blurry and didn’t catch much. It did manage to catch half a licence plate though and the colour and make of a car. It was his LWs youngest sister’s car.

I told him I was filing a police report and he asked me to hold off until he talked to them first. I told him no but I would if they paid for the damages and apologised to my face. He set up the meeting for last night and it didn’t go well to say the least. Everyone was shouting. The sisters told me they, yes both of them, had nothing to be sorry for and that I should leave their family alone, including my fiancé in their family. He told them that it wasn’t fair to him to be lonely forever and that he’d hoped they’d be supportive of him finding love again.

They told him he was betraying LW and that he never loved her if he’d marry someone else. They didn’t have a problem with him having a new gf because he’d "realize she was the only one for him" and get tired of me. Now that hadn’t happened, they were putting their foot down. The youngest told him to tell me that they were right and that he’d never love anyone like LW. My fiancé broke down at the table.

I picked him up and made us leave. I told them I’d be filing a report and suing for damages, and the next time they saw us would be in court. When we got back and calmed down, I gave him an ultimatum. Either he cuts contact or we call off the wedding and go out separate ways. I wasn’t going to live my life with this harassment and someday subject my children to their bullying. He said they would never bully a child but I shot him down and said he didn’t expect any of this either.

He called their father, who was fairly chill about it all but still defending his daughters. They say I shouldn’t control him and that I’m horrible for cutting them off. I don’t know what to do. I can’t live like this and I don’t think I should have to just because we’re getting married.

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

ReflectionSweet7222 said:

NTA. I understand why he keeps in touch with them and views them as family, but if my family treated a partner this way I'd go no contact until they could treat us both with respect. He may be dealing with some guilt about moving on but if you can work through your hang ups regarding this, so can he.

Caspian4136 said:

NTA. What they did is completely unacceptable and I'm glad you're standing your ground and filing the police report. Look into a restraining order as well, since you must still have all the proof of the messages and such.

As for your fiancé, I understand why he kept in touch with them, but he messed up big time by not telling them he's moved on and loves someone else. He's hid you from them, which is stupid as what did he expect? He needs to grow a backbone and put them in their place.

virtualchoirboy said:

NTA. File the police report, give back the ring. If they're willing to be so unapologetically mean to your face, then suing for damages and getting them in trouble with the police will only be the first step. The drama between them and your part time partner will never stop and as long as you're in a relationship with him, you'll be dragged in too.

And I say "part time partner" because he's just as busy defending them as he is defending you. Even when faced with absolutely horrendous behavior towards you, he still tried to defend a relationship with them. To me, that says he's either still putting them first or, he's so conflict avoidant that you will never truly be first for him. You'll be asked time and time again to "be nice" or "keep the peace" while having to endure abuse after abuse after abuse. So, file the police report and give back the ring.

FunStorm6487 said:

Nta.... but this isn't going to end well. If he's not willing to cut them out after their behavior, you should walk away. Good luck.

1568314 said:

NTA This isn't a healthy relationship for any of them. They don't respect him as his own person, just as some sort of talisman for the life their sister could have had.

Mysterious_Ad7461 said:

NTA. Usually stories like this involve overly jealous new partners that feel threatened by the memory of a dead person, but this isn’t that. Her family is awful, and the fact that it needs to be an ultimatum instead of him telling you he’s cutting them off is a huge issue.

Specialist-Poetry70 said:

Wow...how sad. Did the LW's family expect him to spend the rest of his life alone and grief stricken? That's a very selfish attitude! I would never want my husband to spend the rest of his life alone. TBH, I lost my first husband young. He'd always told me that he'd never want me to be alone. He dearly loved me and wanted me to be happy.

That's the way I felt as well. So, I met and married a man who'd lost his wife young. We accepted all family members into our lives. Thankfully, they've all celebrated our union. It's very painful to be subjected to such vindictive nonsense. I'd say you two have no choice but to cut these people out. Your fiance sounds like a decent man. Best wishes to you.

UPDATE:

Just a mini update to clear some things up before I have a discussion with my fiancé either later today or tomorrow about my ultimatum. I didn’t sleep at all yesterday or the night before, for obvious reasons. There’s a ding on my phone at least once an hour from them saying one thing or another, mainly the 19yo and I don’t know what they’ve told people but I’ve got a message from one of their uncles and grandparents calling me horrible stuff too. So obviously they’ve been spreading what’s happened this week and twisting it.

I haven’t blocked them because I want to gain as much evidence as I can for the inevitable case. Regardless of any outcome with my fiancé, I will be suing and filing a criminal case for harassment and vandalism and looking for a restraining order. I just haven’t had the mental fortitude to do so yet. I’m hoping my fiancé will help me.

I haven’t spoken to my fiancé since the argument at the table, other than to tell him they go or I do. It was my choice to give him a couple days space to come to terms with everything. All of this, from the first message till now has been a week. It’s a huge weight to contemplate leaving people you’ve known for 15 years and who you grew up with.

He did set hard boundaries with the sister from the coffee shop as I’ve seen the messages. He said, paraphrasing, ‘you have no right talking to OP at all if this is how you’re going to behave. She doesn’t deserve this and you’ve gone too far. Why are you being like this?’ And she responded with more name calling and back and forth. He ended by saying not to message me again and to make sure everyone else does the same. I was happy with that. At this point only one person in that family had an issue, to my knowledge, so it was silly to have him cut all of them off. It may not be enough for some but it was enough for me to feel safe and comfortable.

For those saying he needs therapy and counselling, he’s already getting it. He’s been getting it since before we even started dating after an incident at work. I don’t know about any of their family though. The first time I had a conversation with any of them was that night.

Some people are wondering what LW died of, and it was a botched weight loss surgery where she died of sepsis. People were wondering if he was somehow the reason behind the surgery, hence the family’s insane reaction, but he was not in the slightest. He likes bigger women and wouldn’t pressure something like that onto her, speaking from experience.

I also want to clear up the not calling the police about the car thing. It was entirely my idea to not file charges in exchange for a face to face apology and damage payment. He only wanted me to wait so that he could talk to her to see if she regretted it and then have her father pay the damages.

At the time, we thought it was just the 19yo that smashed up my car, not both daughters. Neither of us wanted to ruin her life. When I found out it was both of them, it was full steam ahead. Thank you all for your messages and hopefully I’ll have a positive update for you tomorrow.

Here's what top commenters had to say after the first update:

Legitimate_Towel_534 said:

He hasn’t spoken to you in a couple days because why exactly? If anything you’re the only one he should be actually speaking with. Their behavior is inexcusable. However, he’s not off the hook. He should have been upfront with everything and everyone. And, because he wasn’t he basically betrayed everyone involved. Honestly, if he hasn’t already shown you that he has your back fully in words and actions. He’s probably not the guy you should marry. NTA… Just be careful…

That_Operation9286 said:

If he chose you then you would know it by now.

throwawayindelulu said:

NTA, I am very sorry for what is happening to you, but I would also like you to analyze what would happen if the harassment stops but he does not move away from his ex-wife's family, you already know how they feel about you, they are not going to stop telling him about it, poisoning his mind on every visit.

flickercat said:

Full steam ahead with the charges! Brava! The fact that your fiance is not livid on your behalf is…very very strange. Imagine asking someone to marry and spend their life with you and to love you, only to continually allow them to be abused by people who are only in your life because of you being unable to cut ties. He wants you to love him in a way he’s incapable of loving you back. He wants to be your #1 - but you clearly aren’t his. Show up and save yourself, OP. You don’t deserve any of this. NTA.

Unkle_bad-touch said:

NTA but I think if your fiancé was going to choose you then you'd know by now. You would've known when they destroyed your property in his reaction. I'm saying this from a somewhat similar place where a friend of my partner verbally attacked and threatened me. I left for the weekend and when I got back, the problem was gone. I appreciate they've known him a long time and he considered them family but I would have my sister sectioned if she keyed someone's car on my behalf because that's unhinged behavior.

newtonianlaws said:

NTA for your own sanity, you need to start preparing to move on. It seems your bf has a lot more work to do on himself including managing the guilt his LW’s family is quick to lay on him. Most of us have hearts that are not whole (typically through loss of a dearly loved one), but you only want and deserve someone who can love you with all of the whole of what’s left.

SECOND UPDATE:

Well what a wild morning I’ve had. My fiancé came over bright and early this morning and I’ve never been so damn tired. You may want to take a seat because this will be long. Sorry in advance.

First of all, I want to set the record straight here. A lot of people are coming for my fiancé over not cutting them off from the get go which I don’t think is fair. He’s a very mild mannered, calm and calculating person and that’s who I always knew he was. Nothing has changed. If he had been Rocky Balboa and flipped the cafe table shouting obscenities, he would not have been the man I fell in love with. He did exactly what I expected him to do and exactly what I was comfortable with. You may be attracted to other things in men and expect other things and that’s awesome, but not me.

I text him saying I thought it was time to discuss this and he was back at home not a half hour later. He’d been staying with a friend the couple nights we had no contact. We sat on our bed to talk because my back is sore from all the packing and I wasn’t gonna force myself to sit at the table.

Before we even got to talking he asked if we could cuddle for a minute. It definitely took some of the weight off and we were able to talk like a couple and not awkward strangers because, regardless of some peoples beliefs, we do love each other and it took me a very long time to feel confident in that fact. Before anyone calls me a doormat again, no, I was still sure I would stick to my ultimatum.

The first thing I asked was if he felt he had enough time to make his decision and he said he didn’t need time. He was very shocked and bewildered at how so much could change in just a week and how everything he knew was shook up that he couldn’t think and went numb.

He did apologize that he didn’t take a more defensive stance at the cafe and he doesn’t want to make excuses for it. An explanation was that he genuinely didn’t expect such a vitriolic response. He hid the engagement because he knew they weren’t over LWs death and would be upset at the news. It wasn’t like I would feel upset by them NOT knowing, which I wasn’t really. He’s known these girls since before they were in double digits and he would never have thought them capable of it. It came so far out of left field that he froze.

I asked him if there was any possibility that either of them had a thing for him and he looked very confused and disturbed. I said how I’ve had people tell me it’s not uncommon for siblings to do this after loss and he thought on it. Turns out you were right. He said the 24yo, about 8 months after LWs death made a move and tried to kiss him. He immediately left and told her mother about it (mother and father are divorced now but weren’t then.)

She was a minor at the time and messaged him saying she would be 18 soon so it wasn’t a big deal. Her mother made her see the school counselor and didn’t allow her to be alone with him for a while. It was years ago so he’d forgotten it even happened. He said he was sure that wasn’t the case now because it had been so long but I’m not so convinced. Not that it matters anymore.

He opened up his Facebook and gave it to me to read. 24yo had been messaging him which he ignored. She ranged from telling him off to crying and saying how betrayed the family was to trying to manipulate him against me. He said he was sure that he needed to put them behind him, and had been thinking it on and off since he proposed, but couldn’t bring himself to do it. After this week, the fire was lit and he knew what he had to do. It was all just abstract until suddenly it was very real.

He asked me how I’ve been coping and I told him. I felt like I’d done everything right but somehow things turned out worse than if I’d been the jealous type and stopped their contact at the beginning. I tried to be understanding and put in so much effort to be secure in myself and our relationship only for everything I worked on to be thrown in my face like I was a mistress that was cheating with him. He didn’t blink the entire time and just listened. He said he should have been more observant and realized I was struggling with this so that he could help me but I’ve always been the "strong one" so he neglected to and he’ll do better.

As I’ve said in a few comments now, his parents had him in their late 40s and are retired. He hates to involve them in negativity but I was stunned when he said he’s been talking to them about this since the first Facebook message. They were very understanding but his father took a tough love approach. He said the best quote I think I’ve ever heard. "Get your act together before the jig is up." They offered to come stay for a while and help us move. I don’t think that’s necessary but I really appreciated the thought.

On the subject of moving. I made it clear that I would not be living in this house any longer than I had to and he completely agreed. His parents offered to find us a place in their state if we wanted to have more of a support network and I’m honestly considering it after all this. They’re only a state away from my own family so we’d be a lot better off. His job is remote and I should be able to find work there easily enough.

I’ve been in contact with a friend who’s a mechanic and they’ve quoted me between 1-2k for the damages, but that’s an "at cost" estimate as a discount. A few people have said to get a real statement and to shop around. The real cost is between 4-5k and that’s just for the noticeable damage. My friend thinks they’ve done something to the engine so thank God I couldn’t drive it anywhere. He thinks I may be entitled to a replacement car all together. If so, I will be sure to sue for it and that’s not gonna be cheap.

After all the emotional things were discussed he mentioned when would I be comfortable enough to go to the police. I made clear he was okay with that or id go on my own. He said, the surest I’ve ever seen him, that this is what needed to be done and he wasn’t going to let them continue. He’d done enough to try and shield them but he wasn’t going to let it come at my expense.

I’m currently in the bath frothing in bathbombs but we’ll be going to the station as soon as I’m done. He’s down stairs right now printing out the new quotes from the mechanics and the messages 24yo sent him over the past couple days so we can go prepared. People have said that nothing will come of it, and you may be right. But I have to try. Hoping my local police don’t have anything better to do. It’s a small town.

To finish, I made a point of asking again if he would cut them off or I had to go. He didn’t miss a beat and said that they’re no longer going to be a part of his life, even if I decided to leave. He did ask for one last meeting to say goodbye to her parents and to put a close on that part of his life, and to explain to the girls that this is not my fault but his decision after seeing how cruel they were capable of being. After that, we would block them on everything and move forward. I was completely fine with that.

So, there we have it. Writing all this out and being able to talk to people about everything has been both helpful and a good distraction from the dumpster fire that was my life and everything worked out as well as I could have hoped. We’ll see how his meeting goes with them. I’m sure they won’t be very happy about it but that’s not my problem. Thank you all and I’ll update after they’ve met up.

Here's what top commenters had to say after the second update:

Putrid_Awareness_916 said:

The 24 year old was jealous that he didn’t pick her and still stay in the family Good for you tho

Trailsya said:

I did think your fiance's response was way too weak initially, but he's rectifying that now. This 24 year old seems literally insane. Her father also seems weird for defending this behavior. Good idea to move. Also, NEVER accept any return to contact. There will likely be some point when one of them comes with a sobstory about how 'dad is ill' or some sh$t like that and 'could he please come over." NO. Make clear this is very unacceptable. Zero tolerance for their horsesh$t.

bishopredline said:

He will need to be careful at the last meeting. The family is cable of anything! The best would be a good-bye by email or FB message

Glass-Intention-3979 said:

I'm glad your both OK. I would just question the meeting with the girls. The parents I understand but, given you are going to the police over the car damage and harassment. Meeting the girls is not appropriate.

MissMalhone said:

Very mature conversation from both of you. I’m glad that was a happy ending! Hopefully fiancé does exactly what he said he would, and I hope you get a new car back as well.

InvSnake said:

Congratulations. I am sure you will need to comfort your fiancé after the meeting. He knows he needs to cut his late wife's family off, even if you wouldn't stay with him, to be able to move forward in life. But it still will hurt him a lot. But the way the two of you care about each other, I am sure that together the two of you will be able to come through this all together.

THIRD UPDATE:

So we drove down to the police station with our block of paperwork and had a couple hours talk. They were so sweet about everything. As some of you expected, they did say I should have come earlier but they didn’t really care because it was only a few days. They said that it often takes people about this amount of time to actually file charges if they weren’t in immediate threat or danger (so unless someone was about to throw punches.) I handed them everything and it looks like I’ve got plenty of evidence.

They’ll be contacting my insurance on my behalf to get the ball rolling and so they can come to do a check of my car themselves. And then they can open a claim with me if I want. (They’re not filing a claim, they’re just notifying about the criminal damages) I’ve filed criminal charges for harassment and vandalism and they’ll notify me with more details about my restraining order this week.

My fiancé told the police that he was planning on meeting with LWs family and asked if that would contradict my case and they said no. We’re not married at the time of filing so legally we’re too separate entities in the case. Or something. So, my car is totalled. My mechanic friend, I’m gonna call him Tom because I can’t keep saying "my mechanic friend." So Tom and his partner at the shop did a full check on my car and this is the damage they found:

Shattered windshield. 4 slashed tires. Two broken windows. Paint (obvious, I think). Unknown substance in the engine oil. Battered bodywork. They said with this amount of damage, I should just go for a new car so that’s what I’ll be doing. If anyone is curious, it was a Volvo. I’d always wanted one and managed to buy one new two years ago. Either they get me a new car if they’d be set back about 60k. Either way I’ll be alright. The amount classifies the vandalism as a felony so they could be looking at jail time too.

My fiancé met with the family on Saturday and Tom sat by the window. I currently live in a one party state so as long as my fiancé consents, the recording can be used in my case. While it may not be as drama filled as some of you may want, it was still pretty stressful to see.

They met at the same cafe that we did before and Tom sat a few tables away. Fiance arrived after their father and before them. For the best because they managed to have a calm conversation for once. Fiancé told him how he was feeling and FIL was very understanding but still trying to minimise.

He was saying things like "you know they miss LW" and "they’ll come around and just need time to come to terms with you moving on." He kept trying to initiate paying for the damages but fiancé wouldn’t talk about it until the sisters arrived. It was like butter wouldn’t melt with the 24yo but 19 came in like the Tasmanian devil.

My fiancé didn’t acknowledge anyone until it had all settled down where then he said this would be his last meeting with all of them and they’d be going their separate ways. He turned to the girls and said that he would miss who he thought they were but the way they could treat people horrified him, especially me. He said that this was all him and they needed to accept that I was not to blame. He even said that it was me who offered the apology in exchange for not filing charges.

The 19yo then interrupted asking what charges and that no one was going to charge them for "barely touching" a car. She was a deer in headlights when he asked what they’d done to the engine oil and the two looked at each other. Seems they didn’t expect me to find that out. Queue up the grovelling.

24yo actually tried to touch his hand and told him he had to stop me pressing charges because this would ruin her and interfere with 19yos college. He said it was too late and the cops should be issuing a warrant soon (it can take a few days. I thought it was an instant thing but apparently not.)

This is when their dad got involved again and said for everyone to calm down and fix this "like adults." Now he wants his girls to be adults. I see. He asked if fiancé would convince me to drop the charges in exchange for that apology and he’d pay the damages. When my fiancé said it was 60k, the eyes he gave to those women would shave the hair off a cat. The video wasn’t the best but I swear I could see the colour drain from their faces. I may sound awful but I enjoyed it. Call me what you will.

They kept going on about apologizing and that they’d pay but he just said it was too late and he was done. He’d tried to be civil but they were the ones that wouldn’t let it go. 24yo actually asked him to set up a meeting with me so they could get to know me and put it all behind us. He didn’t reply and after the silence they piped up again like ‘so she won’t even meet us? So she’s behind all this because she doesn’t want us around. We’ll see about that." (Not using exact quotes because I don’t know if I’m allowed so not risking it.) Things like that.

They went on and on and frankly it was funny more than hurtful. But they did incriminate themselves more and more for my harassment case and the nail in the coffin was when 19yo said "if we can do that to a car, imagine what else we could do." That, my friends, is both a confession and a threat of bodily harm.

My fiancé said one loud stop before wishing FIL well and telling the girls to not come near me. He then got up and left. That’s where the recording ends because we wouldn’t be able to use anything afterwards anyway. As for moving, we’re pretty much all packed up and have a truck coming on Friday. We’ll be staying with his parents until we find a place. We’re looking at buying this time but might get an RV in the meantime so we’re not all stepping on each other. I doubt his parents would mind at all but.

This is the last update for a while I think. I have a wedding to finish, a venue to change, new invites etc and less than 2 months to do it. Send help. But thank you all for being ears and helping me get through this. If only to distract me from ruminating and digging a huge mental hole.

Here's what top commenters had to say about the third update:

ThrowRAhelpagirlout said:

Thank you so much for the update, OP. Unbelievable that they have escalated to threats of physical harm. It’s stories like these that always make me wonder where people get the courage / audacity / will to KEEP GOING. Like, you’ve been caught, you’re in the process of being charged with a felony, you’re 60K in the hole, you’ve lost your ex BIL from your life forever, and you’re going to issue a physical threat now? You’re going to say, “we’ll see about that?"

I don’t have the right words because that’s mind-boggling behind comprehension. I’m just glad your fiancé and you are doing all the right things. And truly, I have to commend you for being more rational and level-headed throughout this whole thing than the vast majority of us could be. It truly paid off. I wish you well.

canyonemoon said:

Holy sh%t, that's so scary? They already know there's gonna be charges put against them and they still went ahead and threatened you? I'm so glad you have the footage, that your fiancé is a stand up guy who has put in the work to move past his grief and support you, and that you both are ready and set to move. I wish you all the best luck in moving and I hope you have a wonderful, beautiful wedding!

Ashamed-Particular10 said:

It boggles my mind that these girls can act this way and the father is still trying to sweep it under the rug. I understand they are all mourning the LW but just wow.

Altruistic_Isopod_11 said:

Wow. Good luck. I hope everything goes well for you and your man and that those two fools that wrecked your car get what they deserve.

MajorMathNerd said:

Please have security for your wedding and reception. After those comments, I wouldn’t take any risks even if they have friends or other people do anything to sabotage it for them.

tuna_tofu said:

What is most scary is that the girls seem to think this is perfectly reasonable behavior. Ah well time to let insurance and the courts teach them that it isnt. Its gonna be an expensive lesson. Use the recording to get a restraining order and potential additional charges for the threats. Good luck!

Everyone was unanimously on OP's side for this one throughout. What's your advice for this couple?

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