Everyone grieves a late partner differently.
Some people never seriously date or marry again, carrying the memory of their loved one as a substitute for ongoing partnership. Others find comfort in the here-and-now, and give love another crack with someone new while honoring the memory of their late love.
Unfortunately, how the widowed handles their loss doesn't affect just them. Children, friends, and extended family often have complicated feelings about the idea of a new romantic partner being a 'replacement' even if that's not what they are.
AITA for cancelling on family vacation after my newly widowed mom decides to bring her new boyfriend?
My dad lost his 1.5 year battle with cancer one year ago (April 2022) at only 62 yrs old. He and my mom were married for 31 years. The few months before my dad got sick he and my mom were not on great terms and were contemplating divorce.
However, through my dad's diagnosis and extreme ups and downs of treatment, they came together, squashed some of their issues and my mom was there to care for my dad every step of the way. I miss him every day. Me and my mom had always been pretty close but since my dad died I feel like I'm seeing and talking to her less and less these days and it makes me sad.
In August of 2022 (4 months after my Dad passed) my mom started seeing someone. She'd call him her 'friend', slip in mentions of him in conversation but I personally wanted NOTHING to do with him. (Still don't.) I thought it was TOO SOON and told her so.
Everyone grieves differently and dating after losing a spouse is hard but conversations I've attempted with this guy and the chemistry between them has been super awkward IMO. I feel like she's disregarding any feelings or push-back that me, my sister and extended family have about this relationship. Large extended family, all very close-knit.
She has now started bringing him to events and parties and there is an awkward vibe when he's around. Nobody wants to say it out loud. This past week, he showed up unexpectedly at our family Easter party (at my parent's house). My mom knew he was coming and did not mention to anyone.
Following tradition - we stood in prayer before we ate dinner and my uncle prayed out loud for those who we have lost, and I felt SO awkward that my mom's boyfriend was there, holding hands with my family as we talked about my Dad, in my Dad's house, almost only a year to the day that he died.
We're now booking flights for a large family vacation in June (condo has already been booked for MONTHS) and my mom casually mentioned at Easter that she's bringing her boyfriend. I didn't hear this at the time and found out later from a cousin.
I immediately called and told her my feelings about him going (I don't want him to) and she completely changed the subject and did not acknowledge what I told her at all.
Not to mention, we had decided to leave a day early to save money on flights, but now that her boyfriend is going, it will actually cost me MORE because we will no longer be splitting the costs that we originally planned since they will be doing things separately. Money is not the problem though. It's now principle to me.
Of the 20 family members that will be on this trip, not one person really wants him to be there, except her. He WILL be staying in the same condo and we are going to have to tip-toe around this awkward situation for an entire week while we should be relaxing and enjoying family time together.
AITA for wanting to cancel on the family vacation and/or stick to my guns about not wanting her boyfriend to go even though she already booked his flight?
YTA. Sounds like your mom put aside the reasons she wanted to divorce your dad to be there for him in his time of need and to honor their 31 years together. I’m sure you’ve read on Reddit how many men abandon their spouses when they get diagnosed with cancer. Your mom stayed until the end for him, even though the marriage was done.
She stayed with him through his cancer and helped him and now what, you’re mad that she has a chance at happiness again? How many years of her life does she have to sacrifice before you decide it’s ok for her to be happy?
1-2 years to nurse him, 1 year to grieve- that’s already at least 3 years of sacrifice for an older woman who wanted to be free and have a better life. It doesn’t matter what you think of her boyfriend. My own mom is dating someone I don’t like but I’m not going to say s**t because he makes her happy. And yes I’m going on an awkward family trip with them. Be a better child to your mom, goddamn.
YTA. Grow up. Your mother and father were already contemplating divorce, she stayed with him through his illness anyway. She didn't move on too quickly or do anything wrong. I'm sorry for your loss, but seriously, your mother deserves to be happy.
NAH. I think that you should let up on your mum though, it's likely her marriage with your dad was over a good bit before he died and so she is probably in a different place in her grieving process than you think she 'should' be.
That being said she also needs to respect where you are in your grief and recognize that while she is comfortable moving on, it will naturally make someone's child feel uncomfortable if they see them being 'replaced.' If you aren't comfortable going on the trip though it would be best to not go imo. Talk to your mum about it though, don't do it out of spite.
YTA. You said yourself they were having marital problems before your dad's illness. Your mother did right by him and cared for him, but the issues were still there, just 'squashed' as you called it. It makes sense that she moved on faster than you because her relationship with him was different than yours.
He was your dad, but for her, he was a husband who she was considering divorcing. If this new man treats her well and makes her happy, just be happy for her. Don't you think she deserves to be happy?
I'm sorry, but YTA, you are an adult and are CHOOSING to make this awkward. You already admitted that your parents' marriage was ending long before he passed. Would be N T A if it were only about you paying more than you agreed, but you already said that is not the issue.
So what you need to understand is, the more you push this new bf away, the more you're pushing your mom away. Your mom pushed down the issues she had with your Dad so his last years on earth could be good ones. This does not mean they didn't still have issues with each other, that would be in her mind during that time.
You also do not know what they'd talked about, had agreed on and were ok with. Your Dad might have wanted her to move on and find company/companionship after he passed away. Please go get therapy, carrying around all this anger is not helping you.
NAH, no one here is TA. You are all still very much grieving and it is damn hard. I lost my Dad due to a long-term illness and yes I got angry at lots of things. I think you are targeting the BF because it is easy too. Will having him along on the trip make your mom happy? Yes. So just suck it up she has gone through enough already.
One thing is unanimous: OP's mom is NOT an AH.