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Man tells wife he can't fulfill her Mother's Day wishes, she says 'you're being rude.'

Man tells wife he can't fulfill her Mother's Day wishes, she says 'you're being rude.'


Remarrying when you already have kids can get super complicated. Not only do you have to navigate the emotions of your romantic relationship, but you have to draw lines around how stepparenthood and what it looks like in your specific situation.

Enforcing these lines, even if they were previously agreed upon, can sometimes lead to hurt feelings and tension.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a man asked if he's wrong for telling his wife he can't fulfill her Mother's Day wish.

He wrote:

AITA for telling my wife she cannot use my kids to fulfill her wish?

I (40m) am married to Claire (39f). I have two children with my late wife who are 15 and 16. Claire has a grown son in his 20s. My late wife was Meggie and I still love her and always will. She passed when our kids were 2 and 3 years old. We had talked about the possibility of it happening because she had a job where she put herself at risk to help others. She is still very much part of our story.

When I was ready to date again I went into it with some basic points that needed to be okay with a potential partner.

Those were; I was not looking for a mother for my children, they have a mother and did not want a relationship where they called someone else mom (yes we talked about it), Meggie would always be part of the picture and any partner of mine had to be okay with that, Meggie would not be forgotten or erased just because I was ready to date. I also did not want to have more children.

When Claire and I met she told me all of that was good with her because she had a grown son and did not want to start over and she respected that I still loved my late wife. She and my kids got along so I felt good about our relationship.

Things were good until last year when my youngest told me Claire had been making them uncomfortable around Mother's Day and that she had requested that my child suggest a change of plans and we do something for her that Mother's Day.

Claire was always with her son while the kids and I would visit Meggie's grave, go out for lunch at the diner Meggie and I took them to while she was alive and we'd chill afterward.

Claire wanted us to drop that and never said a thing to me. I brought it up to her and she told me she felt it was time the kids and I joined her and her son for Mother's Day and embrace the person who is here. I told her she was celebrating with her son while my kids and I were remembering and honoring their mom.

She was very closed off and I told her we needed to speak to a therapist because I could see there was more going on. It's taken this long but from February she has been opening up and saying how she does want my kids to view her as a mother and how she isn't okay with how things are with them seeing her as family but not a parent and with how much Meggie is still part of things.

She also admitted her relationship with her son is not what she has pretended it to be and how she wanted a chance to have a closer adult relationship with my kids and to be the mom of an adult she always thought she would be. I told her she could not use my kids to fulfill her wish when they are not wanting to be part of that.

She told me if I loved her I would encourage them to at least try and that I said that to her in a very dismissive way. She told me I was being rude for the sake of rude. Though the therapist agreed with me Claire is still hurt about what I said. AITA?

ETA: I remarried 4 years ago. My kids have known her 5 years. When we discussed what Claire's role would be and the fact she would not be a mother to my children, she wanted it to be clear that she didn't want to do all the work for none of the motherly benefits. So we agreed I would parent and she would enjoy a relationship with the kids.

It might be more strict than some would say is normal and I will acknowledge that. But we did communicate about this a lot before we married and when we were still figuring out things. This was fine at first. But then her relationship with her son deteriorated. She lied about that to me for at least a year.

Then it became a problem that we had agreed she would not be a mother to my children. Because she wanted that stronger adult relationship and was not going to have that with her son.

People quickly weighed in with their thoughts.

Emotional_Koala_ wrote:

NTA - as long as this is what your kids want. The thing is: kids can have more than one kind of parent in their lives. Rather than focus on “never replacing their bio mum” You could encourage the three of them to form a different kind of relationship - one where she’s a trusted adult in their lives without erasing the presence of your late wife.

I can tell you love your kids. I also wonder if their reluctance to embrace Claire comes from a place of not wanting to disappoint you. They were really little when Meggie died and aren’t likely to remember much about her, but they instinctively understand your position on this.

essres wrote:

Let's look at it from your wife's perspective.

I assume her son does not live with you and therefore she is surrounded by a 'family' who do not want to completely let her in. Add to that her relationship with her son is not good so she's feeling isolated and an outsider She might also be looking at the reverence you hold your late wife in. Jealously would be natural.

I can appreciate she wants to feel closer to all of you but she can't transfer her failing relationship with her son to be replaced by your kids. Equally, she needs to see she is going to be let into the fold a bit more. For instance, do you plan to visit her grave on Mother's Day in ten years time when your kids have flown the nest?

Will you be insisting you all get together for her birthday every year forever more? I suppose my main question is are you doing this for the kids or yourself? Are you truly over your late wife. Soft ESH - even though your wife knew the rules she is crying out for more and you need to give her something before you ruin the relationship forever.

jijitsu-princess wrote:

As a widow myself I can identify with some of what you have said. My kids remember their dad and we talk about him frequently. But you are TA for idolizing your late wife and moving on to another relationship. No one expects you to forget your late wife. But you are basically worshiping her and you forced your kids to do so as well.

They were young when she died and while she played a significant role in their life your children have their entire life ahead of them and they need parental figures. That leaves very little room for your future romantic partner. Your current wife basically serves you as a sex provider, companionship, and auntie. Not a wife. If I were her I’d leave.

Your wife is TA for discussing this with your kids instead of you. But if she already feels “othered” in the relationship who would she talk to about it?

channilein wrote:

Please stop making this about 'what the kids want'. The kids were 2 and 3 when their mom died. They probably don't even remember her face or her voice except from photos or videos. What they do remember is you continuously grieving and establishing these rules for your new wife. If they've lost one parent, kids will of course make sure to please the other one out of pure survival instinct.

So, yeah, they've always wanted to do it the way you expected them to, because that's how you taught them. They never had the chance to form their own opinion on the matter. 'Mom' to them is a concept, not a person. It's an ideal you put on a pedestal. Claire on the other hand is trying to find her place in that dynamic you created.

Of course, she is not trying to replace your late wife, but she still doesn't want to feel like the only outsider of the Meggie-cult where she isn't even allowed to attend mass. She is not saying 'forget about Meggie, make it all about Claire', she is saying 'treat Meggie as Meggie and Claire as Claire, both in their own right.'

There are things she can't provide your children with that Meggie could, but there are also things she can provide (as a living person) that Meggie can't (anymore). Excluding her from doing those things with the children on principle is robbing all of them of the possibility to form a meaningful relationship.

Is Claire TA for choosing Mother's Day of all days to raise this issue? Yeah, that was unfortunate timing. Are you TA for how you treat your wife and children? Also Yes. So my vote is ESH.

I-Have-Decided wrote:

Why did you marry her if she wasn't going to be a part of your life? For her sake, Claire deserves better. You should never have married her. Poor Claire.

This is a post and situation that has truly divided people across the opinion spectrum, an impressive feat for the internet.

Sources: Reddit
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