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Woman snaps at mom telling her to 'move on' from late husband, 'I'm not doing what you did.'

Woman snaps at mom telling her to 'move on' from late husband, 'I'm not doing what you did.'


Everyone handles grief differently, and regardless of how well-meaning you are, pressuring someone to respond the same as you is bound to backfire.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she was wrong for telling her mom she doesn't want to replace her husband the same way her mom replaced her dad. She wrote:

"AITA for telling my mom I don't want to replace my husband the way she replaced my dad?"

I (30F) lost my husband four years ago. We share two children together. Our son is 9 and our daughter is 6. Since my husband's death I have focused on myself and my children and I have no interest in dating or finding another husband.

My mom has experience with this as when my sister and I were children (6 me and 8 her) we lost our dad and mom remarried 15 months later and at the time she told us we were getting "a new dad." Once her husband arrived in our lives there was an expectation and a pressure to call him dad and mom took down all photos of dad.

We (me and my sister) took some photos of dad and hid them with our friends out of fear mom would destroy or throw them all away. She didn't. But the ones we didn't take were kept locked up in storage somewhere and have never seen the light of day. My sister asked for them on a few occasions and was told she didn't need them. Our dad's stuff is likely in there too if they weren't tossed in the garbage.

It caused a lot of strain between us and mom. For the last two years my mom has been dropping hints that I should get back out there and I always said I didn't want to or I would ignore it. Then a couple of months ago she told me I need to get my kids a dad before it's too late, that I need a husband. I told her they have a dad and he doesn't need to be replaced.

She dropped it for another few weeks but then last week she brought it up to me again. She told me the kids need a dad and I need a husband around or I will be alone and lonely the rest of my life. She told me I can't remain dedicated to being my husband's wife for the rest of my life. She said I'm too young and the kids are too young to never get another dad.

I told her I don't want another husband and my kids don't need another dad. She asked me where I would be if she had that mindset and I didn't have a dad. I told her I lost my dad at 6 and miss him every day and I never had another one. Things escalated from there and asked me how I could say that when her husband has been my dad for 24 years.

I told her he never has been and never will be and just because she replaced my dad doesn't mean I want to replace my husband. Mom was furious and told me that wasn't fair and I should understand her better. I told her I understood her even less after losing my husband because I would never remove all traces of him from the home and I would never deny my kids his things the way she did.

I would never force my kids to call someone else dad and I told her I can't even imagine wanting to find them someone else to call dad. I told her they had an amazing dad and he's still their dad. Just the way mine will always be my dad. She called me spiteful and selfish and she went to my sister for backup but she told her she feels the same way.

My aunt, who is my mom's sister, told me I shouldn't have said what I did and accusing her of replacing my dad instead of seeing she just wanted us to be happy is cruel and I am old enough that I should understand. AITA?

The internet had a lot to say about this situation.

coastalkid92 wrote:

NTA. Off the top, I'm sorry for your loss and I hope your kids keep getting to know their Dad through your and other loved ones memories of him. I think there is some validity in your mum saying you shouldn't have to feel like you need to live as your husband's widow forever. You can treasure that love and also find new love. But your mom is majorly overstepping.

Your kids don't need a father, they need role models in their lives and you don't need to be married to that person in order for them to be a positive influence. It's clear your mom was scared to be alone but her fear had a deep impact on you that wasn't positive and she's old enough to understand that her choices have consequences.

And OP responded:

I think it's valid in the point that nobody should feel pressured to remain single after losing your spouse. The decision should be up to the widow/widower themselves. I just don't feel like you should pressure someone to remarry or find love again either. It's very personal and I truly believe that and there are healthy and unhealthy ways to do both.

I hate the pressure and then the fact she can't see what her actions did to my sister and me. It's also hard to explain to someone who doesn't want to see.

SpecificCandy6560 wrote:

NTA because this is how you feel and that’s valid. From an outsider perspective I’m sure your mom thought what she did was good for you. She probably thought (wrong) that you were young enough to still develop a wonderful father-daughter relationship with her new husband. The lesson you learned was the exact opposite of what she intended.

Now you should take some consideration into how you raise your own kids with regard to their dad. I am sure they will love to hear what a great dad he was, but make sure not to put too much pressure on them to cherish his memory exactly the way you do.

Your kids were 5 and 2 when he died- their own memories of him will be minimal to none (you can share stories about him though, that might help them feel like they knew him). They might see other dads out there doing dad things with their kids and wish they had one…

Basically what I’m trying to say your mom took an extreme approach that she thought would be good for you and it wasn’t. I’d be careful not to take too extreme of an approach in the opposite direction. Let your kids have the memory of their father that is right for them. And you do what is right for you in regard to having or not having a husband/step-father.

And OP responded:

We have story time about their dad on his birthday, Father's Day and around Christmas. They love hearing about him and they like seeing photos of him. We talk about him but I wait for them to bring him up these days.

That happens frequently enough and their old therapists said that was a good way to move forward. Unless in a specific moment I feel it would be good to bring him up. That happened once so far but will likely happen more in the future.

Plz_Dont_Gild_Me wrote:

NTA your mom should have never tried to "replace" your dad. The way she handled your childhood was unhealthy for you and for her. It sounds like you just now are getting a chance to get these pent up feelings out, and your mom is probably very defensive because she is either in denial about how much her actions f#$ked with you or too upset to understand how much her actions f#$ked with you.

It's good that you were able to get it out there. That being said, if and when you try to date again, just remember that you are not replacing your kid's dad.

You can engage in a healthy adult relationship with someone who may wish to become their step parents, but it's important to establish to your kids that their dad isn't being replaced. If your hypothetical future partner can't understand that boundary, they aren't a good fit for you.

owls_and_cardinals wrote:

NTA, the only thing I might have done differently is acknowledge your stepdad's role in your life - assuming it was positive, of course. You are completely right about everything in this message but your delivery seems to ignore or deny the efforts your stepdad probably put into trying to be a 'father figure' to you.

All that said, it doesn't sound like that is even the basis for your mom's anger about this and it's probably for the best that this came to light because you and your sister were indeed hurt and damaged by her actions, and you were now facing pressure to operate the same way she did so really it needed to be said.

And OP responded:

He was very anti-mentions of my dad. So I don't have that many positive feelings toward him. My sister doesn't either.

OP is definitely NTA here, it just sounds like she has a different way of handling grief than her mom.

Sources: Reddit
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