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Man excludes wife from family funeral; says, 'it's family only.' CONCLUDED

Man excludes wife from family funeral; says, 'it's family only.' CONCLUDED

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"AITAH for rejecting my husband’s offer to join him for a family funeral after he explicitly uninvited me?"

Clear_Card_92

I’ll try to keep this brief. Husband (28M) and I (30F) have been together for a decade. Have a house together, no kids, we both work, we have a couple of dogs, the works. We met in college, I was local, he was from out of state. All of his family therefore lives out of state. When he graduated we stayed in my state, as he didn’t want to move back to his home state.

This past week his grandfather passed away. He was over 100 years old, so while the family has been bracing for his passing for a number of years, the actual passing was quite sudden and unexpected. I of course was there for him when he found out, helped him and his family in arranging Grandpa’s funeral services, etc. They decided on an intimate viewing with burial right after. I respect that completely.

I ask my husband how he’s getting back home in such a short period of time. I offer to drive, we price check against bus tickets, train tickets, planes, etc. He says he’d like to go alone because he’s concerned about finances, and besides, our dog takes daily medications and I’d need to stay home to manage this.

I’d already let my bosses know I may need to take time off, and had already arranged with a neighbor to be on call for medicating our dog, but okay, I understand his point. We can’t afford to both get tickets out, that’s fine. Just let me know how I can support you, ya know?

The funeral is planned for Wednesday. He originally says he need to be there Tuesday, so he will work on flying out Monday. Then he decides he will just drive (and volunteers my car, not his, for this trip). I say that’s fine and since we no longer need to worry about buying tickets does he want me to join him to support him after the funeral?

He says no, that it should just be family, and ultimately he wants to be there 100% for his dad with no distractions. I’m a little hurt, but at the end of the day, it’s his family and his grief and it isn’t about me. Then he decides that he should really leave Friday night.

That way he has time to get there and spend some time with his family before the funeral and he won’t have to miss work. He says he wants to work from “home” the Monday and Tuesday and he will only need to take off the Wednesday and he’ll be driving home after, getting him home that night. Okay, seems fair. A little longer than I expected, but again, his family, his job, not my say.

Yesterday he calls me to let me know his family has decided to play hooky on Monday and have a big get together, including his sister and her husband, and his brother and his wife and kids. He also informs me that he will probably stay through the week so as to not miss any work unnecessarily and will return home Sunday.

At this point my feelings are incredibly sore. He’s assured me for years that I am part of his family and that I’m not an outsider, even though I have felt that way often. He first disinvited me because of finances then when finances were no longer the issue he said it was because it was an intimate family gathering - but his siblings in law are welcome?

He’s concerned about missing work and wants to stay even longer but is willing to be off his computer Monday without calling off to go to a big impromptu reunion? Then he has my car and leaves me with his busted van for twice as long as he originally was going to be gone.

I let him know I was feeling hurt, and even though I knew it wasn’t about me and it was a mournful event and I didn’t hold things against him, I did feel very specifically excluded and like I wasn’t part of his family. He said I was being selfish and I’ve been keeping my distance from him in terms of communication since.

Today he texted me to ask when I wanted him home as his siblings were going to take some time off if he were “allowed” to stay longer so they could all catch up and go out and all that jazz. I told him to just come home when he wanted and to give me 24 hours notice so I could watch to make sure he got home safe (it’s a 12 hour drive and we share our locations).

I then turned off notifications as I was pretty heated. Now he’s blowing up my phone saying they want to buy me a one way ticket out to be with them. At this point I’ve already told my bosses I won’t need the time off, I told my neighbor he won’t be needed after all and he’s already made plans for the week. I’ve made plans to see friends, work on the house, etc.

I called him and said no, that I had been excluded from the start and I wasn’t going to scramble to make plans to assuage whatever guilt he felt when he was called out. He said that it was a hard week and his grandfather just died, and that I was being an a**hole for not giving him grace and understanding.

I feel like I’ve given him nothing but grace and understanding from the start. So before I say anything I regret, Reddit, am I the a**@ole?

Here were the top rated comments from readers after the intial post:

rizyukaizen

NTA. I'm sure one of his siblings or their significant other has noticed you missing and said something. I'm sure he lied and is not freaking out cause one call or text to you will tear his lies apart and his ass will be grass from his family. Would be one thing if he did fly out and it was expenses that stopped both of ya but he now has no excuse.

Immediattghtghgtg

Have a feeling one of the husband siblings has noticed her missing and is lieing his a** off to save face in front of the family.

RatioAcgfdg

I’m so sorry that your husband doesn’t see you as his family. Even more sad, his family sees you as one of them even if he doesn’t.

Maleficent_Link1755

If OP were inclined to maintain whatever little standing she has with his family (and I can see what she wouldn't, sounds like that ship has sailed), she could message a family member her condolences and set the record straight about wht she isn't there.

I would have a hard time moving past this personally, at least without a fawning and sincere apology from my idiot spouse, which seems improbable here.

The next day, the OP returned with an update.

'Update: AITAH for rejecting my husband’s offer to join him for a family funeral after he explicitly uninvited me?'

Clear_Card_92

So, I took your advice and reached out to my father-in-law to share my condolences and express that I wished I could be there, but wanted to respect my husband’s wishes that it be family only (and no, I was not passive aggressive about it, I’m not trying to pit family against one another despite what some have implied).

He called me immediately. He apologized on behalf of my husband and said he and the family were surprised that I hadn’t come along, as when husband said he was driving they assumed any conflict of finances were no longer relevant and that I’d be joining him as I always do.

I guess they tore husband a new one when he explained what happened and insisted he call and invite me, and that they’d pay for my ticket out there so I wouldn’t have to drive the busted van. He said I am part of the family and should be involved.

I sucked up my ego and took the offer, as I don’t want this to hang over us for the rest of our marriage for one, and thoughtlessness or not, my husband deserves to be supported after losing his grandfather.

As I said in my previous post, I understand grief very well and know it can fog our normal sensibilities and have been sympathetic to this throughout this whole affair. I asked my bosses if I could work from home, they said that was fine, and while my neighbor was unavailable I managed to convince my sister to stay at the house for a few days in exchange for childcare down the road.

I flew out this morning, and my husband picked me up, so we had a good while to speak privately before getting to his dad’s. He says that he genuinely thought after the chaos of arranging the viewing and hearing how distraught his dad was that it was going to be a brief, solemn, intimate visit and that nobody would be bringing their spouses along.

He says it didn’t even occur to him that just because the viewing was immediate family only, it didn’t mean the whole visit was. He thought his dad was going to need a lot more support, but on getting there he realized his dad was in pretty good spirits and pretty level headed, and that he wasn’t going to need to be Dad’s rock for the whole visit.

Then when his siblings started to arrive with their families, he realized he f*cked up, but was embarrassed to admit it since he had turned down my offer to come along no less than five times and didn’t want to admit he f*cked up. The family noticed my absence and asked him what happened.

He said he insisted I stay home and that I wanted to come along to be available to him and the family, and I guess they smacked him upside the head and told him to get his wife on the phone and that I needed to be there too, and he was being a d*^k. As I’d suspected, he could only think about making sure his dad was okay.

Someone asked if my husband has ADD, and yes, he is diagnosed and medicated for it. He added that growing up, his dad was prone to huge tantrums when he was upset and would often scream at people and throw things (which I have witnessed) and with emotions being high this weekend he was hesitant to subject me to that in any way.

I told him I had seen it before and I am obviously more than capable of giving people some leeway when they’re hurting, and that if it was an issue I had no problem removing myself or the both of us from the situation until it became safe. I asked why he felt it was okay to change plans so many times and not even clue me in.

He said that he was caught up in the chaos of the sudden gathering and didn’t feel he had the spine to tell anyone to wait to make further plans until he could talk to me, as they’d already given him sh*t for my not being there in the first place. He figured an “ask for forgiveness, not permission” strategy was the best one.

I mentioned that I had posted about this on Reddit, and that it received a lot of responses, and before he hears about it from a disembodied voice reading it over a video of a Minecraft backdrop, I wanted to show him everything first.

He was upset that I had shared this vulnerable time but was understanding that he put me in a hard situation and that at the end of the day, I needed support and advice and I was asking because I cared about him, not because I wanted him laid out.

We agreed that regardless of his motivations at the time, there was some serious concern with how blasé he was about leaving me behind and how ready he was to say I wasn’t close enough to come. We are going to be seeking counseling, both for this, and for working through some of his own familial trauma and overall grief counseling, as this is his first close death.

The OP also added in the comments to address some theories that readers had regarding her husband's behavior:

Clear_Card_92

To answer some common questions/concerns/DMs:

Why did you let him take your car?

At the time it was only supposed to be a three day max trip. As I commented in the original, he broke a side mirror on his van and didn’t feel comfortable taking it on a 12 hour highway drive with limited visibility. I agreed with that concern as I wanted him to be safe, and it would only be for three days so limiting my own driving wouldn’t be an issue. Ten days? Not so easy to manage.

Why can’t you just communicate like adults?

We do, and we did. I didn’t feel it was necessary to detail every word said, but I did say we had discussed my feelings before he left, during his first post-departure plan change, and again when he changed his mind.

The first two times I tread gently but expressed my feelings transparently and offered full support of his emotions. The third time I was less gentle but still firm, and placed a boundary on how my time and efforts were to be respected. I wasn’t just keeping this all inside, I promise.

He’s cheating!!

No, he isn’t. As a regular on BORU/AITA on my main I totally understand where this is coming from, but genuinely, he isn’t. As I mentioned before, we share locations and I can plainly see where he is at any time. Since his arrival, he’s been firmly with FIL, and there are no exes/old flames in the area.

Anytime he has visited family up until this last trip, for the last decade, I’ve been with him, so he hasn’t had the opportunity to cultivate a side piece even if he wanted to.

Why do you feel alienated?

His family is very wealthy and focused on financial growth over familial connection (and was like this during husband’s upbringing as well). They have previously expressed classist views but stopped when they learned of my upbringing (broke as s@*t).

They’ve expressed to husband that they don’t understand why he doesn’t take longer hours, why I don’t pursue a higher paying career in my field, etc. when we chose our careers to have a better work life balance. I’ve also recently learned they’ve made some less than great comments to my husband about his and my weight and how they feel we’re better than “blatant laziness and gluttony.”

I didn’t think it was relevant at the time but since many people asked, we separated briefly in 2017, two years before we married, as he had just graduated college and was in a crisis of direction. While it was amicable and we got back together within two months, his dad had told him that he was glad he dropped the leech.

When husband said it was just a break while he figured stuff out, he rescinded the comment. Yes, this was six years ago, but I’ve always been suspicious of their treatment since then. That said - I am not rude to them, despite some assumptions. I am the same around them as my own family.

Lastly - yes, I used the term “his” and “my” throughout the post. This does not mean I don’t consider our families blended or that I don’t accept his side as my own. It’s merely for clarification and to emphasize that I knew this weekend was not. about. me. Which is why I didn’t make a fuss until plans had been changed for the hundredth time with no explanation or warning.

I don’t understand why you can’t go to the funeral.

It’s a long story, but the bulk of it is this: Grandpa lived in Texas during his final years, not hubby’s home state. Being older than God, his wife had passed a long time before and he wanted to be buried alongside her. He was 101 when COVID hit, and his other son (his caretaker) made end of life arrangements during the pandemic assuming he’d die that year.

Because of gathering restrictions, this didn’t involve a funeral, just shipping him to his home state and burying him in the plot his wife was laid in. This was never changed after the pandemic ended and he continued to spite mortality. When he passed, FIL and husbands siblings did not get a chance to say goodbye and the funeral home was unwilling to change plans to allow him to be seen.

As the family was in hysterics in grief, I took it upon myself to get in contact with the other son, the funeral home, and the cemetery to arrange a viewing. At the end of it all we managed to secure a private, brief viewing for immediate family to say goodbye before he was buried. Nothing formal, no priests, just Grandpa and his son and three grandkids in a room for fifteen minutes.

While I wish we could have arranged more, this is all we could manage, and I am not even a little bit upset that I couldn’t be at the viewing. They deserve privacy and intimacy in that vulnerable time.

How do you expect him to act the next time things get hard?

I don’t know. I know he supported me completely in a two year battle with cancer, and through four miscarriages, and with my brother’s attempted suicide. I’ve supported him through years of addiction recovery and other trauma.

He was a bit thoughtless and self centered this go around, and I’ll grant that, and I still think my feelings in the matter were totally valid, but I don’t think he’s a bad man, or a bad husband. Grief is a son of a bitch and I don’t expect anyone to be in their right mind. We have a good relationship, and I don’t want a funeral to be the end of it.

Why would you even post this if you felt you were in the right?

I didn’t. I snapped at a man who was out of state for a funeral. I wouldn’t ask if I was the asshole or not if I had no doubt that I was in the right. I felt it was important to discuss my feelings in the event there was any semblance of deliberate intention, but wanted to hold space for if it was unintentional.

Why are you such a doormat?

I uphold boundaries 99% of the time and stand my ground on my needs. He does the same. A family member died and he was in disarray. I’m willing to ease up on technicalities while someone is going through it, just as I hope others would do for me.

Thank you all again for the advice and thoughts, it really helped me see more clearly how things happened and helped me to navigate this very delicate situation. I hope this is the last of this saga, but if some shit comes out of left field, I’ll be sure to drop another update.

Here were the top rated comments from readers after this latest update:

Flowerpot33

Good luck OP . I’m glad you are going to marriage counseling. It is very much needed. Something is wrong. I am curious to know what it really is. Stick with the counseling even when it gets hard and uncomfortable. I hope you guys come out the other side of this stronger.

Glittering_Metal_768

Maybe I'm too jaded but the fact that he doubled down at first and didn't want to admit he'd f*&$%d up is pathetic. It was better for him to act like a d*@k and dig in then call you and be like hey I was wrong can you come now because xyz? Yea that makes perfect f*cking sense.

Grieving or not why is respecting his partner so hard? I guess good for you for getting counseling, hopefully he actually goes and isn't giving lip service so you play nice for his family.

It's just weird and makes no sense that he would dig in and not want you there once he knew it wasn't just his dad and siblings unless he really didn't want you to be there and now he has to pretend for his family because they called him out. Good luck.

unwillingdramamagnet

I'm so glad for you, OP!!! Good luck to you and you're hubby, too!

So, do you think the OP made the right call? Does her husband owe her an apology? What would you tell her to do moving forward?

Sources: Reddit,Reddit
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