Being there for both your spouse and your best friend when they need support can be quite a challenge.
And a chronically ill man on Reddit felt like his wife failed the test completely when she refused to skip a wedding to be with him during a surgery.
After a blowup with his wife, the man, who goes by username46799 on the site, wasn’t sure about how he handled things, so he went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for perspective.
The Original Poster (OP) asked:
“AITA For making my wife choose between me and her best friend?”
“I M[ale]36 am preparing for my upcoming surgery at the end of may. I have respiratory condition that I have been suffering from and my wife has been very supportive and accomedating of all my needs.”
“She has endured so much by shouldering this burden with me and I can never describe how much supportive she’s been with everything that has been going on with me.”
“The problem is that her best friend’s wedding is at the end of may, specifically on the 27th and my surgery takes place the exact same date.”
“Now 27th was not the original date of her friend’s wedding it was supposed to be on may 18th but got changed.”
“Her friend informed us about it on short notice. And my wife wanted to go but it’s a 8_hour trip since the wedding will be held in the groom’s hometown.”
“My wife and I discussed this, and I bluntly told her I needed her there for my surgery. She told me that that’s her best friend and this will hopefully be her only wedding and she wanted to attend.”
“She asked if I could get a friend as my support but I just didn’t think this was right. I was even puzzled that she asked me to get a substitute while she goes to her friend’s wedding.”
“I asked if her friend’s wedding was more important than my health.”
“She argued that there was nothing wrong with it and I won’t need her since the medical team will take care of me.”
“Then She said that by refusing I was making her choose betwen me and her best friend. We went back n’ forth on this argument and she insisted she wants to attend her friend’s wedding.”
“I told her she was being unreasonable and I never expected her to prioritize a wedding over my health. She loudly yelled ‘what do you want me to do?, I might lose my friend over this’ then stopped talking to me.”
“I think I handled this badly and acted in ungrateful manner but I think she’s the one who doesn’t understand the difference since my surgery is an emergency and if her best friend is a good friend then she’d understand, right?”
“So am I wrong for what I said?”
People on Reddit were then asked to judge who was in the wrong in this situation using the following acronyms:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
And most of them couldn’t believe OP’s wife was so adamant about this situation, declaring OP NTA.
“NTA – In sickness and in health does not have a temporary suspension due to BFF’s wedding clause.” —butt5000
“I just went through a breakup and even when I didn’t like her the last few months I would have chosen supporting her over ANYONES wedding. I can’t even imagine your wife’s mindset. I also don’t have a single friend that would be upset if I missed their wedding to support a loved ones surgery.”
“Sorry but both your wife and her friend (if your wife’s statement about losing the friendship is true) are being 110 percent a**holes” —BenGEE
“I couldn’t even celebrate at the wedding if i know my hubby will get operated right now. I think her friend would understand why she could not attend especial after changing the date with short notice. NTA” —Acceptable-Abalone20
“…if she would lose her friend if she decided to be by her husband’s side when he’s ill, then that’s not a friend, and she should actually be cutting that friend out of her life rather than going to her wedding. Any reasonable person would recognize that being there for your partner when they need you is the priority.” —-too-hot-to-handle-
“In our culture there is no way someone would attend a wedding while another family member is getting surgery.”
“It just really depends on how your family morals are. Can’t really be having fun while your loved ones are in the hospital. (Even if you are there or not)”
“Weddings are really not that important to be honest.”
“And all the people saying his surgery not a big deal – he’s having LUNG surgery DURING a pandemic – while his wife is thinking of going to a wedding 8 hrs away?”
“For what reason ??? I’m so confused at why she’s making it a big deal and why she even wants to go.” ~ Whateverbabyy
“NTA. While she might be experiencing burnout, and yes, a BFF’s wedding is important, OP is going under anesthesia for lung surgery.”
“God forbid, but should something go wrong, she won’t be able to get there at least for another 8 hours. This sounds like something almost any spouse would find hard to forgive or forget.”
“Even if everything goes without a hitch, she’s risking the relationship she has with her husband and probably even his family as well.”
“I’m close to my sister-in-law but if she ever goes to a wedding while my brother was under the knife, I’m pretty sure my whole family would find it extremely hard to forgive.”
“Also, with the current COVID situation, and considering that he’s having lung surgery, it might be unlikely that she’ll be allowed near him after surgery for a while, after being around a crowd of people.” ~ BookWormRules
But not everyone agreed, and some pointed out the toll a person’s illness care can take on a caregiver.
“I’m going to say NAH because you’re totally reasonable for wanting her there and she’s also reasonable for not wanting to miss a once-in-a-lifetime event for her best friend.”
“It also sounds like she’s experiencing some caregiver fatigue. Has she had to give up other things to care for you? Spending time with friends, going on trips, etc.?”
“If so, she might be feeling a little burnt out and like she really needs to do something for herself, and if that’s so, I think if you at least try to arrange to have someone else to support you for your surgery that will go a long way. For a lot of caregivers, the constant stress of having to put their own needs second can be really really draining.”
“Also with constant hospitalizations, people get numb to them. When everything is this life or death health situation the big surgeries don’t seem that big anymore. It’s a way to cope.” —somaticconviction
“Your wife won’t be PERFORMING your surgery.”
“I’m sure she loves you and is concerned about her health. BUT you are going to be asleep and she’s just going to be in a waiting room worrying about you AND missing an extremely important event.
“Her best friend’s wedding IS something she can participate in and if she can get a parent or sibling to be there in her place… WHY are you trying to take away your wife’s opportunity to go?”
“Why make her choose?” ~ Juxtaposedtocrazy
“A gentle YTA. I don’t know the whole dynamic here but as a health care worker who works with patients with chronic conditions, caregiver burnout is very real.”
“It sounds like she needs a break. I would suggest supporting her being able to attend the wedding.”
“It’s not fair to you but it may be time for you to not be the center of her world for the moment. Let her have this and in all likelihood she will be able to continue to support you in the future.” ~ Useful-Structure-203
“I think a lot of people really don’t understand caregiver burnout. And I don’t mean this in a bad way – it’s just that it’s the kind of thing you can’t fully comprehend until you’ve seen it, or lived it, firsthand…”
“OP’s situation is very sh*tty. I really do think it’s a NAH situation because this deals with a lot of very complex, very human issues about which there will never be a right or a wrong.”
“But all the people here completely trashing the wife make me ache for her.”
“OP is not at all an a**hole for wanting their main source of support there for a surgery. The wife is not at all an a**hole for feeling like she might want to put herself (or someone else) first for a change.”
“It’s a sh*tty, complex situation that doesn’t justify the amount of sh*t being given in this thread.” ~ velocity-raptor999
But while some were sympathetic, they pointed out there’s a lot more involved than go or don’t go.
“I’d agree with the caregiver burnout idea, but I think there are other points that need to be addressed. All surgeries carry risk of complications, even up to death.”
“How is the wife going to feel if OP’s surgery goes horribly wrong, and she wasn’t there?”
“OP if your wife is really insisting on this, let her go. But, you need some kind of medical POA from a lawyer for your friend/family member who is with you.”
“And that person needs to be okay making medical decisions on your behalf. On top of that, your wife better be okay letting someone else make medical decisions for you, since she is insisting on being elsewhere.”
“I honestly could not even dream of skipping out on my boyfriend’s medical procedure just for a wedding – no matter who’s wedding it was.” ~ Autumn988
But people still wondered what role the wife could play at the hospital.
“Um, you do realize that most places are still restricting visitors and such in hospitals right? So there’s a good possibility that she wouldn’t be able to be with you anyways.”
“And you’ve already stated that she’s been accommodating to all your needs. Making her choose between you (when she might not even be allowed in) and her friend’s wedding makes you look like an AH already.”
“Do you expect her to just sit in the car the whole time?” ~ cheshirecat9496
“I keep seeing ‘what if OP DIES and his wife isn’t there’ so let me propose an alternative scenario.”
“What if OP’s wife has been a supportive caregiver for months/years of chronic illness, treatments and surgeries and time and time again his wife is unable to prioritize herself.”
“What if these months/years of her missing quality time, and important moments OP’s wife loses her friendships.”
“What then? When can OP’S wife prioritize herself?”
“In chronic illness there isn’t really any downtime—at some point caregivers have to prioritize themselves even over the health of their loved one.” ~ Craftyhobby
“NAH, this is coming from someone that had two years of what felt like near constant surgeries for breast cancer, caregiver burnout is a real thing.”
“And supporting someone during surgery is literally just sitting in a hospital for like 8 hours doing absolutely nothing.”
“It feels kind of like a huge waste of time to the person doing it because you are sitting there reading a book or playing on your phone although you understand that you need to be there and why they want you there.”
“So be nice to your wife who is being asked to make a sacrifice here and give up something that is important to her and she wants to do. Of course she should be there especially not leaving town, but yes it sucks completely.” ~ TheSavageBallet
As many pointed out, this is a complicated situation.
Hopefully OP and his wife can come up with an arrangement that works well for both of them.