Each person carries with them their own set of beliefs, and they’ll be as varied as the person who carries them.
But sometimes their beliefs involve how someone else lives their life, including their thoughts on someone’s sexual orientation, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor ConcernEquivalent744 looked on as his brother and sister-in-law pushed their teen daughter from their lives, because her coming out as a lesbian didn’t mesh with their religious beliefs.
When they later tried to reunite, but with conditions, the Original Poster (OP) had some thoughts on the matter.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for saying that my relationship with my son is more important than my brother’s relationship with his daughter?”
The OP had a positive relationship with his niece.
“My (43 Male) brother (43 Male) has a difficult relationship with his daughter (25 Female).”
“His wife comes from a conservative Christian church, and when they got married after he got her pregnant, he pretty much drank their flavor aid and became a practicing Christian.”
“Lo and behold, when she was 17 years old, his daughter comes out as a lesbian.”
“This was an awkward situation, to say the least, and it ended with her living with our parents for the rest of high school, and our parents paying for her college.”
“I tried to be a safe space for her, as well, because she’s a great kid with a bright future ahead of her, and her now-fiancée is basically already my other niece.”
The OP’s brother recently attempted to improve on their relationship with the OP’s niece.
“In the past two years, he and his wife have tried to reconnect with her.”
“They’ve been attending family therapy, and seem to have made some progress in getting over their dumb fairy-tale hangups over her being gay.”
“A year and a half ago, my son (16 Male) also came out. My wife and I told him straight away that our lives are better because he’s in our lives, and that who he loves will only ever matter to us as far as making sure that the person he loves makes him happy.”
Unlike the OP, his brother and sister-in-law still had reservations.
“My niece is getting married in six months, and she really wants her parents to be there.”
“They, however, still say that this is a ‘mental block’ for them.”
“They’ve actually asked her to move the wedding back so they have more time to adjust to the idea of her being married to another woman, though she came out eight years ago.”
“When she told me this, I told her straight up that that’s bulls**t and if my brother and sister-in-law are too wrapped up in their own Jesussy Christiness to watch their daughter marry the love of her life, I’ll walk her down the aisle instead.”
This led to a family argument.
“My brother has… taken issue with this. He showed up in a huff and demanded to know where I got off undermining his relationship with his daughter, why I would try to push him out, he has the right to ‘give’ his own daughter ‘away,’ etc.”
“I reminded him that my son is gay, too, and I need to make sure that he knows he’s safe with us, and I’d be doing a pretty p**s-poor job of doing that if I took my brain-dead homophobe brother’s side over my niece’s.”
“Here’s where I may be the a**hole: he asked if I was saying that my relationship with my son is more important than his relationship with his daughter.”
“I responded, ‘Yes, because I don’t have to see a f**king therapist to teach me how to love my own f**king kid.'”
The OP felt conflicted after that.
“My wife tells me I ‘probably could have handled that better.'”
“My parents are p**sed at me and say that I need to be more understanding of my brother and my sister-in-law because they have a lot to unlearn that I don’t.”
“My sister (51 Female) says that I need to judge less and listen more.”
“And apparently, courtesy of my son, I’ve become a meme in the GSA Club (Genders and Sexualities Alliance Club) at the high school where my kids go to.”
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 thought the OP was wrong to meddle.
“YTA. To support your son, you don’t have to be the champion of everyone in this world. He is your own brother. You should not interfere in his relationship with his daughter no matter how bad it is.”
“How would you feel if your brother went behind your back to deal with your son? If he doesn’t accept his daughter, then that’s their issue. Let her get married whenever she wants and you may attend as a guest.”
“But to actually egg her on to do it, to spew comments against her dad, and to volunteer to walk her down the aisle is a bit too much. You crossed a boundary here. You should have acted as a neutral party.”
“To sum it up, let her decide alone when and how she wants to get married and you can attend it as her aunt/uncle. That’s it!” – Winter-Ladder-3591
“YTA. While it’s great that you accepted your niece, that doesn’t mean that her parents love her any less than you love your son. To say that to your brother was hurtful and damn cruel. Your older sister is right. Listen more and judge less.” – cutipatutie
“ESH. Yes, your brother and SIL are morons for their attitude, but that doesn’t mean that their relationship with their daughter is any less valid than your relationship with your son. Kudos for being supportive of both kids, but let brother and SIL come to their own understanding of their daughter and her future wife.”
“If they don’t attend the wedding, feel free to walk her down the aisle. If they do come, that’s his job unless she decides he can’t or she doesn’t want to.” – sharirogers
“ESH. Your brother more than you, but you know (and your wife knows) that was you said was unnecessary. Just because they are seeing a therapist to work on their issues doesn’t make their relationship less important.”
“Also, that comment could very well turn your brother away from the idea of therapy. It reads as you bashing therapy honestly. It sucks that it is needed. It sucks that he still can’t accept his daughter fully.”
“But don’t you think encouraging the thing that is allowing him to build this relationship back up is more important than getting the last word?”
“Also, his daughter might not like what you said either. A relationship goes two ways. Not just one. If your brother’s relationship with his daughter is less important than your relationship with your son… then his daughter’s side of that relationship is also less important.”
“Please don’t take me listing out the reason for you being an AH as me saying you are more of one. Your brother is a massive AH and it is so obvious why that it is that I don’t think it needs to be spelled out.”
“Also, thank you for taking your niece under her wing and showing her you love her. Let her make her own decision about the aisle. You’ve offered to walk her, which I thought was super sweet, but definitely don’t push it or make her feel bad if she does have her father walk her down. Best of luck OP!” – Critical-Musician630
“You probably could have handled that better.”
“Tell them, ‘No, my relationship with my child is not more important than your relationship with yours. It is, however, more important that your daughter, and my son, feels loved and supported in their lives. That is more important than your religious choice, to me, and if it needs to be me that shows her how important she is and not you.'”
“And then add, ‘I’m sorry you feel the repercussions of your religious decision. I will not back away from her and hurt her even more than you already have just for your convenience. I will not show my son that is okay for anyone to do, not you to your daughter, nor anyone else.'”
“I have a hard time even saying ESH, because your brother is frankly an a**. But yes, you should have handled that better (easy to say back seat driving and it pains me to omit it out) so a reluctant ESH.” – Intrepid-Potential60
But others applauded the OP for showing his niece his support.
“I mean, a more honest answer is that the two relationships aren’t at odds with one another, but I don’t blame you for not pointing that out in the heat of the moment. Your wife is right that you could’ve handled it better, but your brother could’ve as well.”
“An E-S-H could technically be issued here because nobody is acting like the best version of themselves, but you being snide to your brother is nowhere near as a**holish as him trying to hit the snooze button on his own kid’s same-sex wedding.”
“If you care about preserving the relationship with your brother, then you should be more diplomatic in how you talk to him. Even though he’s being an a-hole. It should not affect how supportive you are to your niece, act exactly the same around her as you have been.”
“If you don’t care about preserving that relationship, carry on as you like.” – savetheclocktower
“OP handled this perfectly. Bravo, OP!”
“The brother doesn’t need kid gloves. Kid gloves don’t work on people like that. Maybe this verbal slap in the face that holds up a mirror to their actual repugnant behavior is actually what the brother needs.”
“Or maybe he will never adjust, and the daughter will continue to rely on her uncle. Either way, both kids know OP has their back. Good.” – False-Explanation702
“Most of the time I don’t advocate for escalation, but frankly, I think OP handled this like a f**king champ. I know that the brother and SIL are victims in a way because it’s how the SIL was raised and the brother got sucked in.”
“But we’re in 2023. If you STILL can’t fathom the idea of two women getting married, then that’s your problem. Frankly, I think OP’s line of ‘I don’t need to see a therapist to teach me how to love my own kid’ is f**king gold.” – TheSecondEikonOfFire
“They kicked their own 17-year-old daughter out for her sexuality. Sure, it’s hard to be someone raised in a conservative religion that takes over your life (and I would know, I was raised in one) but it is NO EXCUSE for being a cruel and bigoted adult.” – Engineer-Huge
“I was raised in a very conservative religion (Jehovah’s Witness). And yes it was my whole life. My husband converted after we were married.”
“My son came out as gay when he was 16. Did my husband and I deal with an internal struggle? Yes, it’s hard to let go of indoctrination.”
“But that was never an issue that I made my son’s problem. It was our issue. Not his. We were still loving and accepting towards him while we dealt with our hang-ups as adults. We recognized that our son was not able to change who he is sexually attracted to, so it was us who had to change how we viewed the situation.”
“They have had years to do this and therapy. They have no excuse. NTA, OP.” – A-typ-self
Everyone in the subReddit could agree that parents should love their children unconditionally, but they were less unified on the OP’s approach to pointing this out. Some were grateful that the OP had unconditionally sided with his niece and son, but others thought it was time to focus on the son and for the OP to step aside for the parents to take care of his niece.