My sister (56f) and I (58F) each inherited our grandmother's wedding bands (I got mine from our maternal grandmother and my sister got her set from our paternal grandmother). Obviously, the idea when we were young was to pass it down to our children. Well, my sister had a daughter in her late 20's and I found out that my fallopian tubes did not form quite right and I could never get pregnant.
But then my sister got pregnant again 10 years later and I was relieved it was a little girl. A few months later we agreed that when she grew up, she would get the other set. Well, the oldest niece (now 28f) has the set from the father's side and the youngest (18f) is young so I'm still holding on to them.
Not really relevant to the story, but my first husband left because he wanted kids. I have since married a wonderful man (60m) who has a son (27m and I don't know if this relevant, but he is an only child and so is my husband. My husband's parents died a decade or so ago and he has really become attached to my family. My step son's mother has a large Italian family, so he has a lot of cousins).
Anyway, he is getting ready to graduate grad school next year and has a girlfriend that he wants to marry. His own (maternal) grandmother has offered her set to him if he wanted them (which to be honest I thought was really generous and sweet of her).
He didn't like the style and declined. But he has now asked if I would give him my grandmother's set. Here's the kicker: his reasoning is that my niece who is intended to receive the ring is asexual, or ace.
I tried to gently and reasonably explain that it didn't matter what she does with it, they belong to her. She may very well want them for a wholly different reason. He said that there isn't a better reason than a marriage since that is what they were made for and that she made sure that isn't in her future.
I (maybe stupidly) suggested maybe she would want a ceremony to commit to her own wellbeing and health and happiness. He got real bratty and joked about her marrying her cat.
I told him I'm sorry, but they are family heirlooms from my side of the family to be passed through my side of the family. He got angry about "I guess I'm not in your side of the family" at which point my husband said that this hurt his feeling since he thought I considered his son "part of my family".
An absolute clusterf*^ck of hurt feelings ensued and it ended with the step son storming off and my husband in the guest room. And I'm here completely alone, no kids of my own to give this to, my husband acting like I just somehow severed him and his son from "my family."
And here's the thing. I don't care if my niece is ace and if she is for all her life or if she explores romantic and personal relations of whatever nature (enthusiastic consenting adults is my only caveat). She is under no obligation to find a sexual partner of any gender and certainly doesn't owe anyone children.
She's 18 years old for christ's sake. She may very well decide to share it was a platonic life partner or she might do what my sister and I did and agree with her sister to pass it down through her children (which ironically the oldest niece has two baby girls (3 and 4)). But somehow I'm the a-hole? I mean, am I?
Sorry, if this is rambly and emotional or if it's confusing. I should proabbly wait to write later, but I've spend the last hour crying and needed to vent. I'm sorry, my husband did not ever ask me to give his son the rings. When S (his son) made the comment about guessing he's not on my side of the family.
My husband got upset and things got derailed because his feelings got hurt and the argument turned into me being an asshole for saying his son isn't on my side of the family.
From R (husband) pov I think it's because my family is the only family he has aside of S... so if it seems like I cut S out then that leaves R without anyone outside of my family?? I don't know... I don't think R will not support me with the rings tomorrow, things just got complicated and ugly and hurt with the whole "part of the family" thing.
NTA, Your step son is just wants the nicest ring he can get for free. His own grandmother offered him her ring, but he wants the one from your grandmother because he or his gf likes that one better. You have already promised the ring to your niece and I think it is important to honor your word here.
Agreed. Your step son is greedy yucky person. Also, a promise is a promise. And the fact that the niece is ace is NONE OF STEPSONS BUSINESS freaking step-son-a-phobe.
NTA. Before your husband and step son entered your life you pledged to pass your rings on to your niece, it doesn't matter what her sexually is, they effectively belong to her and you do not have the right to give her belongings to someone else.
Only if you had no plans for the rings would your stepson be able to ask. It has nothing to do with whether he is part of the family, it's to do with honoring a promise. What makes your stepsons even more of a entitled asshole is his rejection of the rings he was already offered as not good enough.
NTA. The fate of the rings was decided long ago. The only mistake I see you've made here was entering into a discussion with your stepson. "I'm sorry, those rings are already spoken for" would have been sufficient. NO is a complete sentence.
I am absolutely overwhelmed. There are so many responses from what I thought I would get. I don't think I can respond to everyone. Thank you to everyone for being so helpful and supportive.
First, thank you so much for the overwhelming response. Days later I am really shocked at how many people shared their thoughts. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Second, A MASSIVE thank you to everyone who took the time to share their thoughts, experiences and information about what being ace is. When my niece came out to me, I took her quite literally in that I took it as "I have no sexual appetite, attraction or feelings" and that literally everything beyond that was her business to share as she wanted.
I 100% accept my niece as is, a beautiful work in progress with the singular caveat that everyone she is involved with is both enthusiastically consenting and an adult. Otherwise, nothing can stop me from loving her and supporting her and protecting her when she asks.
BUT, that is all I know of her in this regard. I took it as prying to try to define it further (an extension of defining her I suppose), so as many of you picked up: I know absolutely nothing about what it is to be ace.
Your information has been so well received as it will be what helps me in addressing my SS... and I will, mostly to preserve and foster his relationship with my niece (because honestly they genuinely like each other, so his comments really did seem to come out of left field).
But I also need to talk to him to correct him - intentional or not, his perspective allows for harmful behavior towards people I love and the LGBTQ community at large. So thank you for being generous with your experiences and information because that ripple is going to go out further.
Third, I need to come clean about what happened that night, or broader context. This event went down after a large meal where we drank a little over 2 bottles of red wine. None of us were in a position for that discussion and we all spoke out of turn.
So for those who called me out, you're right and thank you. My words reflected poorly on me and I own that and have apologized for it (well to husband, I will to SS when I see him next). I thought that if I included that detail that we were drunk, then people would be "mean" to me here and I was feeling too fragile for that.
So out of fear I didn't include the fact that we were drunk. While all of us drink on occasion, this night I think all of us drank more than we normally do and allowed ourselves to get drunk. I think we were just got too comfortable and things got out of hand and we used our inside voices on each other.
Fourth, husband and I made up almost immediately the next day (in between a greasy breakfast, half a liter of water and some aspirin). Of course he knows that both he and S are every bit my family as my mom and sister and her children. I came from my grandmother and he from his and SS from his.
Those women are all part of the same family, but we come from different women and I feel it's a happy obligation to hold a place for the women I came from. A lot of people who responded seemed to share that sentiment, which I am grateful for the reaffirmation.
Husband got it immediately as he brought up the cuff links his father gave him that are to be passed down to SS when he passes. So the clarity is there for us. We also discussed SS and his behavior.
We're supposed to have dinner on Friday where husband and I will together explain (soberly) that the rings were bespoke when he was still a little boy, and that his father and I have agreed to pay to have his grandmothers rings recast (if she's even willing to give them to him, but that is between her and SS).
If he declines I will send him to the jeweler who made my set and we will help him with the costs. If it turns out that he just truly adores the rings I have, we'll use them as a template which would be rather sweet anyway. So there are options in that regard. He's normally a really good kid, so I think in the light of sobriety he'll be happy with this.
Aside of that, as mentioned above, I'm more concerned with his comments about my niece and the broader context. Husband and I will try to focus more on that issue and less about the rings. For us, the rings are a nonstarter so hopefully it will be easier to address and then move past. Wish us luck on this because there are a lot of sticky questions here.
Fifth, I currently have no idea if his gf is even aware of any of this to be frank. If she is, she hasn't reached out to husband or I. To answer: yes, she has seen grandma's set. She seems like a nice young woman and I don't get the feeling that she was that interested in them, or that she would be asking him for them. I could be wrong, but it's just the impression I have so far.
Sixth, the rings themselves are now in a safety deposit box. Until everything is resolved they stay there. Someone had questioned why I wasn't giving them to my niece since she is now an adult. This is true, legally she is an adult.
However, this is not a legal matter, but a matter of judgment and family - and 18 is a still growing young adult. Her prefrontal cortex will not be fully developed until around 25, when the executive center of the brain is fully functional.
Until then, I love her and trust her with my heart - but I'm not comfortable giving her sentimentally priceless heirlooms. If she is anything like I was, they may very well get hawked for concert tickets and weed. I'd rather she just ask for the money.
Christ on a cracker this is long. I am sorry, thank you for getting to the end of this. I'm sorry if I didn't respond or answer a question. I'll be heading over to the AskLGBT subreddit for some finer points in getting ready for Friday. Thanks again!!