Just because you’re related by blood doesn’t mean your relationship with your family is going to be perfect.
In some cases, these relationships are so far from perfect, we find some family members no longer speaking, or completely estranged.
One dad wrote into the “Am I the A**hole?” subReddit after discovering his estranged son and daughter-in-law had just had a baby, wondering how he should move forward.
The OP (Original Poster) “Skavia4” asked the sub:
“AITA (Am I the A**hole) for refusing to meet my grandchild? My wife is begging me to come with her.”
The OP has been estranged from his son for six years.
“I have a son I haven’t seen in six years and he is dead to me. If anyone asks if we have children I say we have one daughter and that’s it.”
“He married a woman neither of us liked, made terrible financial decisions, and ended up having to move in with us. We let him live there for six months until my wife and DIL (daughter-in-law) ended up in a screaming match over lipstick, and obviously it wasn’t really about the lipstick but I couldn’t take it anymore.”
“I asked them to leave (not immediately but to make plans).”
The OP’s son made the whole situation much harder than he needed to.
“My son said that I couldn’t evict him legally and I reassured him that I didn’t mean that night, I just wanted him to figure it out.”
“He said they were tenants because they had lived with us for over 30 days. [Now] it is slightly my fault for not knowing the law, but in my opinion my son is the scum of the earth.”
“We had to go through a long court process and it was months before we could get him out.”
The whole legal process ruined their relationship.
“Living in that house was h**l. My wife screamed all the time and it was just unbearable.”
“I told my son the day he left to never contact me again. I don’t care if he’s terminally ill and needs a kidney, I’m not his father.”
The OP said his and his wife’s lives have been much better since their son has been gone.
But now that the couple has a baby, they’re trying to get back in their parents’ good graces.
“Well everything has been great for six years but DIL had a baby and he called [my] wife crying about how much he misses us and that he wants us to meet his son.”
“My wife agreed, though when I asked her about it, she admitted that she really doesn’t want to meet the baby, she just felt guilty.”
“She is now begging me to go with her, because she’s uncomfortable, but I never want to see either of them again and that baby is nothing to me.”
Fellow Redditors wrote in anonymously, rating the OP’s approach on the following scale:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some pointed out the OP was not at fault, if for no other reasons than his son’s “tenant” claim and total disrespect for boundaries.
“So the son needs therapy. The mother may need therapy.”
“The father is happy and comfortable in his resolve. I would never every speak to anyone who invokes the 30 days=tenants law.”
“NTA” – Crazhy_Lie
“You’re right, the dad would be a hell of a lot happier if his son respected the request of, ‘never contact me again.'”
“But, since the kid didn’t, and the wife is not willing to stand by her husband–especially since she doesn’t want to deal with her kid either–the dad has to risk either A) enabling the kid and reinforcing ‘family first’ over healthy boundaries, or B) disown the kid, up to and possibly including a restraining order, just to have peace of mind that the kid’s f**k-ups are theirs and the parents no longer have to fix what the kid breaks.”
“OP is NTA.” – Vaidurya
“I’m with you here. NTA all the way. In fact, judging by how crappy the son appears to be, I would almost guarantee that these cries for help are to guilt the grandparents into free babysitting/money for the kid.” – whinywino89
Others were less concerned about whether or not the OP was at fault and stressed instead who in the group needed therapy.
“You get therapy to develop coping skills, to deal with the family, and how that impacts your life.” – Square-Concept
“You don’t need therapy because you are happy and comfortable in your resolve. The son wants to reconnect. The mother has agreed even though she didn’t want to. There are unresolved issues here.”
“If they want to try and be a family therapy would be a good avenue. If his parents decide to stick with their estrangement he may need therapy to deal with that.” – YourBroadwayBaby
“I agree. If they don’t want contact, why do they have to have contact? Why is it necessary to have therapy for something you don’t want? I think OP and his wife should just be able to continue on happily without the son and DIL as they have been if that is what they want.” – 16Bunny
Some had little to say about the situation, other than feeling terrible for the baby.
“ESH. I feel bad for this baby, born into such a dysfunctional family. Every one of you needs therapy.” – DormantDormaus
“It’s more for the purpose of the grandkid. They’re not going to see ‘ah yes this event happened that tore mom, dad and grandparents apart’ naw.”
“The kid’s going to see that they don’t have grandparents and internalize it as ‘I have grandparents but they hate me and my family’ and only hear one side. I hate the therapy everywhere but this seems like a place where it might actually help. You shouldn’t have to make amends with people who have wronged you.”
“However, time has passed and there is a kid now. It might be worth it to see if a relationship is worth it since it seems like they might have made a meaningful change. I’m going to go with esh and I don’t op for not making amends. I just feel bad for the grandchild that is going to suffer in this already messed up family” – DeathPunkin
According to most of these Redditors, everyone in this situation was in the wrong at some point.
Now, they can either be accountable and make up for their behavior, or they can move on and continue the break in their relationship.