Life has a way of continuing on, even when relationships end and when people pass away.
But there are tactful ways to navigate these tough situations, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Having already set a date for his wedding, Redditor AdSuch5527 did not change his wedding plans when his ex-wife passed away.
But when his adult children criticized him for not postponing the event, the Original Poster (OP) felt conflicted.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for not asking my kids to come to my wedding after they RSVP’d no?”
The OP previously had a tough divorce from his wife.
“My kids were young when I left their mother. She decided that she preferred the company of another man to mine. I was heartbroken and humiliated, but I dealt fairly in the divorce.”
“My alimony and child support was set, and I never missed one payment or a chance to spend time with my kids. Beyond our scheduled time together I did all the dad stuff I came to see them perform in school plays and play sports. If they wanted to talk, I made myself available.”
“I never spoke about their mother other than to say she was a good mom and they were lucky to have her.”
The OP’s ex-wife later received an unfortunate diagnosis.
“When she remarried, my alimony ended but obviously not the child support. She had another kid with her husband.”
“When my kids were 18 and 17 their mom was diagnosed with cancer, and it was very aggressive. She ended up needing a lot of expensive treatment, and it ended her marriage. He left because of the debts, and he could not care for her. I don’t really know more than that.”
“My kids are in university. I do not live in the same city as them. From the moment their mom went into hospice care I checked in on them every day. Sometimes a call but usually a text. We didn’t always connect, but we did connect.”
“She didn’t make it five years.”
The OP had already become engaged before his ex-wife died.
“I felt bad at the time, but it had nothing to do with me anymore. I had just become engaged to my fiancee, and wedding invitations had already been sent before she died.”
“I sent my kids invitations to my wedding. It was just small in my backyard.”
“The invitations went out four months before the wedding. We planned the wedding to happen over the winter break so my kids and my new wife’s children could attend.”
“We saw the kids at Thanksgiving, and we had a long cry together over their mother.”
The OP’s kids then decided not to partake in the wedding.
“After that, they both said they would not be attending and that I was heartless for getting married just two months after their mom died. I said that I understood their grief and that I hoped they changed their minds. And then I dropped it.”
“I got married on Saturday, and my kids found out. They called me and said I was a d*ck for not postponing my wedding or at least calling to ask them to come.”
“I just said that they knew the time and place and I would have made room for them and had food if they had shown up.”
“They are both p**sed at me, but I don’t think I’m wrong for not changing my plans over the death of a woman I divorced over a decade ago.”
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 reassured the OP that he’d done nothing wrong.
“1. The wedding was planned and invites were sent before she died.”
“2. You’d been divorced for more than a decade.”
“3. You invited them formally. They declined.”
“I get that they’re kids and they’ve just lost their mother which is a horrible loss. But you’ve done nothing wrong here.”
“NTA.” – UsuallyWrite2
“Yes, their mom died which is very sad, but you can’t expect everyone who crossed their mother’s orbit to put their lives on hold indefinitely because of that. Especially when she’s the one who left their marriage more than a decade ago.”
“She battled cancer for five years, most weddings book the venue almost a year in advance. It’s not like the wedding was two weeks after his ex-wife’s death, it was months, and there are no refunds for canceling a wedding so close to the date.” – Andrew5329
“You invite a lot more people than your kids to your wedding. They were divorced for over a decade, it’s unreasonable to reschedule an entire wedding because your ex died. It’s sad, but lots of people have plane tickets and hotel rooms for that day, and they can’t change it.” – MoosePoints
“OP is NTA, and his kids didn’t deal with this maturely… but let’s not put a timeline on people’s grief. Their mom died two months before their dad got remarried and fair or not, logical or not, of course, that exacerbates their grief. Two months is not as long as you think it is, not when it comes to death.” – blondwhiteicedmocha
“Grieving a parent lost too soon is extremely rough. I lost my mom five years ago to cancer, I was 33, and I don’t know how I would have handled this.”
“It’s a really rough time, I still struggle now, and I was a mess then. My brother got married a couple of months later, but that felt different, he also lost my mom.”
“I’m not saying they were right, I’m saying they are deeply grieving, and RSVP’d the day after she died. I don’t know what I did the day after my mom died, but I would hate to be held accountable for it, as I was in deep dark sorrow.”
“People might disagree, but I say NAH. He had every right to move forward with the wedding, they get space to decline and feel very up and down emotions. They may apologize later after the worst part of grief, and I would encourage the OP to accept it, and all move forward.” – anneofred
But others thought the OP could have done more.
“Their Mother died two months ago, due to aggressive cancer, and their stepfather bailed, all the while medical bills were apparently stacking up for the Mother. These last few years should have been hell for them, and all shock and grief are still very recent.”
“Is it so strange that the sons, who I suppose love their father and would think he loves them back and would want them there and think of them as very important guests, would think that the father would postpone the wedding a bit so to give them more time to grieve?”
“I don’t that this would be much to ask, even if they were in their 40s.” – No-Acanthaceae-1209
“I was their age when my mom died and it doesn’t make it easier being a legal adult. They are young enough to know that so many life events she will not be there for including a huge one, their weddings.”
“Him getting married then, throws that in their faces. He had a right to get married, but he also gets to suffer the consequences of his choice of getting married when they were still deep in their grief.” – holisarcasm
“I’m not really sure where I land on this, but I think people are focusing too much on OP’s relationship with the ex-wife and not what his kids are going through.”
“They are young adults and just lost their mom. They are devastated, and it is probably unimaginable to them to even think about celebrating anything right now. It’s probably very hurtful to them that their dad doesn’t see that.” – zuesk134
“OP is thinking in terms of logic, rights, and responsibilities, and sure, he’s technically in the clear with what he did. But I’m sorry, if you make children with someone, it’s never that cut and dried.”
“The OP said, ‘I felt bad at the time, but it had nothing to do with me anymore.”
“‘At the time’ is two months ago if I’m understanding correctly.”
“The OP also said, ‘I said that I understood their grief and that I hoped they changed their minds. And then I dropped it. I got married on Saturday and my kids found out.'”
“But did he TALK to his kids at all? Was he there for them in their grief? They specifically say, ‘You should have talked to us.'”
“OP comes across as so cold. Like he fulfilled all his obligations. Great. But does he love his bereaved children?”
“I know people are gonna be like she cheated, kids are grown, whatever, etc. But I don’t think that’s how it works. Your kids are your kids, and their mom was their mom. Losing your mom is hard, guys. Even if you’re a young adult.”
“I’m not gonna say he should have postponed the wedding. I am gonna say: really, your young adult kids lost their mom, and you’re not calling and checking in and trying to work through this rift? You didn’t even extend a hand? You didn’t check and see that they’re okay?”
“You may not be TA, but I’m really glad you’re not my dad.” – Hoistedonyrownpetard
The subReddit was somewhat split on how the OP had handled this situation. While they did not see an issue with the OP remarrying, some questioned the timing and wondered if he should have taken his children’s grief and their ability to celebrate right now into account.