Not all relationships will become a happily ever after story, but sometimes after the divorce, new and better relationships could come along. The previous couple might even be able to remain friends.
When an important event comes along, like a wedding, sometimes underlying issues will make themselves known, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Own-Nature-4960 looked on as her father and stepmother encouraged her biological to share her time, even when as a mother, she felt slighted.
That was why when it was time to plan her wedding, the Original Poster (OP) wanted to set aside time that was specifically designated for her mother.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my stepmom I don’t want to include her as a mom of the bride and telling my dad that it’s unfair to expect my mom to be perfect?”
The OP had a complicated relationship with her stepmother.
“My parents divorced when I was five. I don’t actually remember them together.”
“My dad met my stepmom when I was six. My stepmom tried to fill a second mom role and my dad tried to facilitate that.”
“At times, it meant them asking my mom to let me go someplace with them on her time or trying to get a Mother’s Day celebration in.”
“I know it hurt my mom, the thought of sharing the role as my mom. She never said anything. She never discouraged me at all. But there are always ways to tell if you know someone well enough and pay enough attention.”
“I want to reiterate, my mom NEVER interfered or said anything against my stepmom or dad. My noticing could be the reason I’m not closer to my stepmom.”
“Though I definitely don’t despise her or see her as nothing. But a second mom is not something I ever considered her as. I do like her, though.”
The OP felt pressured to feature her stepmother on her wedding day.
“For my wedding planning and dress appointments, etc., I wanted to make it small and something for just me and my mom.”
“I wanted the experience with her anyway, but I also wanted to give her something she doesn’t have to share with my stepmom.”
“This became more of a thing when my grandma and great aunt, on my dad’s side, called my stepmom ‘Mother of the Bride’ on Facebook, and the three commented that it would be a great experience for her to see me pick a dress and stuff.”
But what she really wanted to do was to highlight her relationship with her mother.
“After seeing that, I went to my stepmom (and dad technically) and told her I didn’t want to give her a role as Mom of the Bride, and she wouldn’t be doing the traditional Mom of the Bride stuff with me (dress shopping and fittings).”
“I told her we could figure something else out. I asked if there was anything else she’d want to tag along for, like looking at flowers.”
“She was sad and asked me why I didn’t want her as the second Mom of the Bride.”
“I told her I wanted that for just my mom.”
“Dad then brought up that my mom wouldn’t mind and she’d want me to have both my moms there.”
“I told him he was wrong and that she only ever agreed to share it because she felt it was the right thing to do but it hurt her.”
The conversation led to a considerable revelation for the OP.
“He looked stunned and asked how I knew.”
“I told him those close to her always knew.”
“He then said he never would have expected that from her, because she was always the perfect parent and person.”
“He said that was why they ended up divorcing, because he couldn’t handle it and was envious of her.”
“I told him nobody is perfect, and it’s unfair for him to expect my mom to be.”
“I asked him if he’d be happy to be one of my dads.”
“He said of course not, but he always thought my mom would be better about this than him.”
The OP reflected on what her father had said.
“He’s said stuff over the years that made me wonder about the reason for the divorce. My mom would never talk bad about him, though.”
“But he spoke about her sometimes like she was almost meant to be better than everyone, and sometimes I’d get the feeling he resented how easy she found life with me when I was a baby.”
“Hearing him confirm his feelings put a lot of pieces together for me, and it is unfair. My mom is still only human.”
The OP could feel a rift developing in the family.
“The whole conversation left my dad and stepmom with rough feelings, and she made it clear she was upset that after all these years, I wouldn’t give her the love and respect to be included as a Mom of the Bride.”
“Also, I have spoken to my mom about the overall topic before.”
“She has never admitted her true feelings and always said she wanted the best for me and for me to be happy.”
“Her best friend confirmed it for me, though.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some found the couple to be inconsiderate of the OP’s biological mother’s feelings.
“YOU HAVE A LIVING MOTHER.”
“It’s incredibly narcissistic for your father and your stepmom to think that she is going to serve in the role of your mother for your wedding preparations when you have a living mom that you are close to.”
“It’s also completely unreasonable that these people hold your mother to a higher standard than they hold themselves.”
“NTA at all.” – imothro
“OP, NTA at all. But your dad is a major one and so is your stepmom to an extent for her active behavior of trying to replace your mum at all.”
“But the fact that your mom is still alive and able to do her role as your mom just makes your stepmom’s behavior even worse.” – Environmental_Art591
“You need to stop catering to your father and put your mom first.”
“That means all holidays, birthdays, days off, vacations, kids things, mothers day…”
“You should make your mother and in-laws a priority, and then if you have the room, you can include your dad and his wife.”
“Your dad pushed his wife on you long enough and took so many things away from your mother. She didn’t willingly share, she was forced to so she didn’t look like the bad guy to you.”
“So from now on, you can put your mom first instead of having to worry about your dad’s wife’s feelings on the matter.”
“Because she’s not your mother. You don’t feel that way about her because you HAVE A LIVING MOTHER (and the way they pushed you still wouldn’t be okay if your mother had died).”
“You should stop making room for your dad’s wife unless YOU want to include her. It’s completely okay to not include her in everything, or not at all, or in very few things.” – Intrepid-Database-15
“Honestly, OP is a better woman than I am. The stepmom is lucky OP invited her to anything with her in regards to her wedding when her BIO MOTHER is alive and has a close relationship with OP.”
“It’s insane she got offended that OP wanted dress shopping to just be something special with just her and her mom. NTA at all!” – goth-h*e
Others were concerned about the father’s relationship with the women in his life.
“Does your father not realize what his confession says about his current wife? That she’s f**ked up and flawed enough to be acceptable to his ego??” – AnnieAbattoir
“This gets so deep. Dad was jealous of how well the OP’s mom handled OP. He got divorced when the OP was five and met his current wife when the OP was six.”
“It was such a tight turnaround probably because he couldn’t handle OP on his own any better than when he was with the perfect Mom. But his new wife is also imperfect enough that it doesn’t hurt his ego to stay with her.”
“So he wants OP to treat this ‘bad’ stepmom as her mother in the wedding despite her… not being a good mom? (Also despite her own mother being alive, but that’s a side issue to the weirdness I’m talking about.)” – apri08101989
“Instead of a partner he could aspire to be a better version of himself FOR, he wanted a partner he thought he could be better THAN.” – CimoreneQueen
“To be honest, based on the dad’s whole ‘perfect wife unbothered by raising a young child’ confessional bit, it kinda sounds like he wanted someone to be miserable beside.”
“Like, OP’s mom didn’t complain enough or feel miserable enough raising a child, so he fled to find someone who, like him, doesn’t find much joy in raising a child.”
“So, yeah, he probably wants OP to exalt and celebrate a woman who joined him in complaining about her breaking her back instead of her own loving mother.”
“After all, the stepmom’s complaint is, essentially, ‘It’s not fair; I put in work to raise you, so this is my RIGHT,’ rather than the more sentimental, ‘I thought we were closer than that.'” – EarlAndWourder
The subReddit not only understood the OP’s feelings of reservation about involving her stepmother and her wish to take this opportunity to bond with her mother, but they also were equally surprised about her father’s confession.
It spoke volumes about the relationship the OP had watched unfold her entire life, but it made it even more obvious why the couple was so insistent about the OP’s stepmother getting a center-stage spot at the wedding.