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Groom Balks After Bride Won’t Make Exception At Childfree Wedding For His 15-Year-Old Son

bride and groom arguing
Victor Dyomin/Getty Images

Whether or not to allow children at a wedding is a question more and more couples are asking themselves.

There are some good reasons for excluding children from a wedding, though.

Most ceremonies aren’t particularly fun for kids—there’s too much sitting still and being quiet for small children. Older kids are usually just bored.

While some receptions are family-focused, many take place in the evening and feature more sitting still and being quiet. When alcohol is served at receptions, another issue with children being in attendance arises.

But what if the bride or groom has a child? Should an exception to a child-free wedding be made?

A groom-to-be with a 15-year-old son is asking that question, so he turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

ChildFreeWeddingSon asked:

“AITA for refusing to have a fully child-free wedding?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“So I recently proposed to my long-term girlfriend, and we are planning for a wedding in summer next year. Everything is still in very early stages.”

“My fiancée has expressed that she wants a child-free wedding, which I am all down for, but I want to make one exception: my son (15M). I had him from a previous relationship, and we have evenly split custody of him.”

“Until now my fiancée has gotten along great with him. We’ve had days out as a family. She’s gone to see his games (he plays ice hockey), and she’s even taken him out on fun days just the two of them.”

“I brought up that I wanted to make an exception to the no kids rule for my son.”

“She shot the idea down straight away and said that she didn’t want anyone under 16 there as she didn’t want to feel like she or anyone else had to babysit on her special day. I told her that no one would have to babysit him, he’s 15, and she knows he’s well-behaved and a generally quiet kid.”

“She then changed her reasoning and asked why I wanted my old family and life on the day I was supposed to be making a commitment to her and our new family. I told her while I will be making a commitment to her, my son will still very much be my son and my family.”

“She then equated it to wanting my ex at our wedding, which I do not and never asked for.”

“I told her that I don’t care about the aesthetics of the wedding and that she could pick everything else, the food, the aesthetic, the music, the dress, but all i want is my family at the wedding (my parents, my sisters, and my son), that is my only ultimatum when it comes to our wedding.”

“She started calling me controlling by giving her an ultimatum and said I had initially agreed to a child-free wedding, and now I’m ‘gaslighting’ her.”

“I said we can have a mainly child-free wedding, but with this one exception, an exception that guests can’t even complain about being unfair since the only child is the son of the groom.”

“She called me a d*ck and is now not talking to me.”

“I really think this is a reasonable want, but maybe I’m not seeing something, so AITA?

The OP summed up their conundrum.

“I think I might be the a**hole because we’ve never had an argument like this before, even if we’ve disagreed or had a differing opinion.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole (NTA) unless he married this woman.

“Wow wow wow. She doesn’t want your own child to come to your own wedding. And not a crying baby or a terrible two, but a fifteen-year-old, a kid that will be old enough to drive next year-when the wedding is???”

“If this goes on as she wants, do you think your kid won’t remember?”

“Yea, I’m sorry, bud, this is all kinds of evil stepmother red flags—the whole thing about you making a new commitment to her and her family, and equating having your son there to having your ex-wife there!”

“Dude. Get out now while you just have to eat the nonrefundable deposits for the wedding. Save yourself and your kid a world of hurt. YWBTA if you marry this woman.”

“You have never had a fight like this before because up to this point, she has been putting on a show. But now she is comfortable enough in the relationship to show you who she really is.” ~ YouthNAsia63

“Don’t go through with this wedding. Your fiancée is being controlling, gaslighting you, and showing you exactly how she will behave if you are married.”

“She doesn’t want your son in the picture and will do everything she can to ruin what relationship you have with him. She equates him being at your wedding to your ex being there?”

“Your son = your ex to her, and you will end up wondering why you’re in a miserable marriage and never see your son anymore. NTA. She’s TA.” ~ imaginary_labyrinth

“NTA. OP your fiancée just showed her hand. She considers your son part of your old life and your old family.”

“That lil’ slip up may very well mean she is only tolerating your son and will start trying to push him aside once you’re married, not to mention favoring any children you have with her over him.”

“I would think VERY carefully about whether this is the woman you want to marry or not after her ultimatum.” ~ Reevadare1990

“NTA. There is a giant red flag on the play here. Your son is your son. He’s not going anywhere.”

“She seems to be under some sort of illusion your relationship with your son will change when you’re married to her.”

“You need to resolve this—or very seriously reconsider.”

“Blended families are tough, and I think she has a fantasy in mind. You’re not fitting into it because you have a history she isn’t able to contend with.” ~ thesweeterpeter

“I got as far as your ‘old family,’ and she is your new family. This woman will destroy your relationship with your son and anyone else from your past.”

“She has given you a glimpse of what is coming your way. Once married, she will slowly manipulate it so you are being separated from your son, any friends that knew you before, and any family members that still have contact with your ex.”

“I can tell you from experience that most of the time, someone claims you are gaslighting them, but they are the ones doing it. Even if she changes her tune about your son coming and blames wedding nerves or other conditions, DO NOT fall for it.”

“She has shown you who she really is. She may start to backpedal a bit when she sees this isn’t her hill to die on, don’t let that fool you.”

“Anyone who refers to you child as part of your old life, and says you might as well be inviting your ex is not a decent person to have around your son.” ~ NuffSaid8

“Dude, you can’t marry someone who calls your child your ‘old family’. She has no interest in him.”

“That’s not healthy for a kid/teen. If you marry someone who doesn’t want him around next she’ll demand that she be your sole inheritor and ‘promise’ to make sure you son is taken care of in the event of your death.”

“Dude, she doesn’t want your kid around. She called him being there ‘babysitting’.”

“You Would Be The A**hole to marry her.” ~ LOC_damn

“NTA. OP, this is a very big deal; do not underestimate her intentions.”

“I’m dating a single dad; we both very much understand that his kid is #1 (in a normal way, not like an enmeshed way). I wouldn’t want to date a parent who doesn’t consider their kid #1 because then they’re not a good parent. I don’t f*ck with bad parents.”

“This is bad, really bad. She’ll keep pushing your kid out. The mask is slipping. Please don’t give ‘the benefit of the doubt’ to her here; she’s showing her true colors, and it’ll get worse.”

“OP, you love your kid, so don’t let her lead you down a path to hurting him. This is one of those situations that your son would never forget, and she’s banking on that to set the new tone of your relationship.” ~ NoPantsPowerStance

“NTA. Even at child-free weddings, there are reasonable exceptions – and a child of the bride and/or groom are very reasonable exceptions.”

“Of course, if the child is of a very young age, it could be unfair on the guests if the kid gets free run to disrupt the wedding whilst older, better-behaved children aren’t invited on the basis of being distractions.”

“And given he’s 15 now, and the wedding is next summer, surely by then he will be only at most a few months shy of her cut-off?”

“Since you say she’s a long-term girlfriend, I presume that fiancée has known your child for some time. And you’ve proposed, so I am also presuming she’s not excluded him before. But now….”

“‘She then changed her reasoning and asked why I wanted my old family and life on the day I was supposed to be making a commitment to her and our new family…’.”

“Wow. So what, is she expecting the boy to no longer be a part of your life the moment you say ‘I do’?”

“Because that revised reason for excluding him from the wedding screams that she’s already mentally excluding him from your life.” ~ Ok-Status-9627

The OP didn’t provide an update, but Reddit was very clear in their opinion.

This relationship isn’t prepared or willing to include the OP’s son.

Now the OP needs to decide if he wants to stay in the relationship or maintain a healthy relationship with his son.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.