Engagement announcements are meant to be a fun occasion, hence the parties and fancy dinners typically attached to them.
But some people wind up not feeling so convinced, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor throwaway-H54535 was apprehensive of their daughter’s announcement to be married because they weren’t convinced she was ready for the commitment.
When their daughter refused to discuss it further, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if they spoke out of turn.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my daughter that she made a hasty decision to get engaged to her fiancè?”
The OP was uncomfortable with how their daughter had to care for her boyfriend.
“My daughter Hannah (23 female) is a medical student. She lives alone in a rental apartment while seeing her then-boyfriend, Tom (26).”
“Tom has a medical chronic condition that needs to be managed constantly. He’s a good guy and treats us and Hannah well, but seeing Hannah having to sometimes take care of his condition is, just… it affects her school and consumes her time.”
They were unhappy when their daughter announced her engagement.
“Last week, Hannah surprised us by announcing that she and Tom got engaged.”
“She made the announcement while visiting us, and me and her dad were in dismay.”
“She noticed and asked why.”
“I had to be honest and told her that she made a hasty decision to get engaged to Tom… knowing he has a medical condition that needs constant managing, which will fall on her, especially when she moves in with him.”
“We said she should be focusing on school for now.”
“She was shocked, but my husband agreed with me and said this wasn’t a wise decision.”
The situation escalated.
“Tom looked down for a minute and then excused himself outside.”
“Hannah got mad and said that Tom’s condition doesn’t affect or hold her back, not even one bit, and said that I was out of line to imply that Tom was taking advantage of her and that them getting engaged was a mistake.”
“I explained to her that getting engaged and eventually marrying a person with a medical condition requires commitment and dedication and frankly… I don’t see my daughter becoming her partner’s caregiver, despite her having knowledge about his condition.”
“She shamed me and my husband for saying this in front of Tom and then took her purse and walked out.”
Their daughter refused to continue the conversation.
“We called and called later but she was still mad at us.”
“I said what I said because I was worried about her and wanted to make sure she was aware of what she was signing herself up for.”
“Yes, Tom is functional and can do most things by himself, but I’m more worried about the future, because it can be unpredictable.”
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 were appalled that they would discuss this in front of Tom.
“I couldn’t believe Tom was actually there when OP said that.” – Fern-veridion
“I was thinking, ‘Oh wow, that’s rude and mean to say,’ and then she says how he looked down and left, and I realized, ‘Oh s**t, they were talking about him like that right there next to him like he wasn’t even a person?!?!'”
“Like, it’s one level to be cruel and think those things. It’s another level to say that about someone not there. And another level to say them about someone right there while you pretend they aren’t a person capable of understanding what they’re saying.” – Welpuhhi
“Ah, you see people with disabilities are not REAL people so you can talk about them even if they’re right there. (ends sarcastic comment)” – WDersUnite
“I can totally understand parents being concerned when they see their children make a commitment to someone with a chronic medical condition. I can even see them feeling the need to say something to their child about it. But there are common-sense ways to do so – if you absolutely must.”
“You don’t do it when the SO is there. Ever. That should be obvious.”
“You don’t do it when the initial announcement of the engagement is made. You let them have their moment in the sun, and you give them the support and congratulations needed to show that you respect their right to make decisions for themselves.”
“Then, at least a week or more later, if you still have concerns, you ask questions.”
“‘Would you like/need any support from family regarding x issue?'”
“‘How will x issue affect your school/work? Can I help?'”
“‘How are you handling x issue, if you don’t mind my asking?'”
“‘I’m sure you and SO have x issue under control, but if you need a sounding board, I’m always here.'”
“Or even, if you are seriously concerned, ‘I know you are an adult that can make your own decisions, and I respect that. I do want to make sure you have considered the way that x issue will affect your school/work/social life. Are you open to having a conversation?'”
“Parents will worry. But unless you can show that you respect your child’s right and ability to make decisions for him/herself, all you are doing by expressing your concerns is shutting yourself out of the details of their lives in the future.” – Alldone19
Others were overwhelmed by the ableism.
“I am in tears reading this post, especially after I got to that part. I suffer from chronic pain and disabilities and my boyfriend is so wonderful to me and helps me every day and never once thought of me as a burden.”
“Ableism is so disgusting and hurtful and poisonous and I can’t understand how people like OP can just treat disabled people like we’re nothing and have no agency or advocacy for ourselves. This is so fucking cruel and upsetting.” – FryJPhilip
“This also broke my heart. Because I guarantee that Tom constantly worries about all the horrible things they said already. For them to not consider his feelings was wanton cruelty.”
“There was a Reddit thread earlier today that was, ‘Tell me something somebody said that really hurt.’ I bet this would be Tom’s response. And the daughter’s. How incredibly minimizing of her capabilities and Tom’s value. Just completely horrible all the way around.” – noods-danger-tits
“I teared up too. It hit me particularly hard because I lost the only person I trusted to take care of me- my mom- just last year, and I 100% feel like a burden to my formerly estranged family.”
“My mom never made me feel that way, even though she chose to give up a large portion of her life to care for me (I was 10 when I started getting sick, so obviously she took care of me then, but she didn’t have to after I became an adult), so very suddenly not having that is just one reason I’m struggling without her.” – Love-As-Thou-Wilt
“OP, if they’re a happy couple, let them be a happy couple. They’re not happy in spite of his disability. They are a happy couple, full stop, and one of them happens to be disabled.”
“Everyone is unique and those with disabilities may accommodate it differently. Consider watching Squirmy and Grubs on YouTube. They’re a lovely inter-abled couple who are just enjoying life.” – MabelUniverse
“How they went about it does out them as ableist a**holes.”
“What she tried to pretend their issue was wasn’t being an ableist (though again what she pretended the issue was isn’t what we actually can all tell it is).”
“She pretended the issue was making sure their daughter was taking the caregiving role seriously. That’s valid. You want to take it all seriously and know what you’re signing up for.”
“OP proved that’s not what she really meant though because otherwise she wouldn’t have been upset at their engagement but rather have a civilized chat making sure everyone was on the same page.”
“OP is an ableist a**hole. Making sure someone takes their caregiving role seriously is not being an ableist a**hole. OP wanted to pretend that was her concern but we all know that wasn’t it.” – Welpuhhi
“OP also left out how long their daughter and Tom have been dating. They may have had years to discuss his medical future and be realistic about it, we would never know. I’m also disabled, it’s very likely to progress and further limit my mobility. My partner and I have had at least 5 discussions in the past year and half about how this might affect our relationship and future plans.”
“As others pointed out, all physical ability is temporary. You can become disabled any moment. Hell, there’s a pandemic going around that can give you any handful of acquired autoimmune disorders (such as the one I have, though mine was acquired through genetics lol) and permanently reduced lung function if it doesn’t kill you.”
“I think people hear the part of marriage vows ‘in sickness and in health’ and think the health part is supposed to be a prerequisite or something.”
“If Tom is like me, his internal dialogue has been saying the same thing as OP as long as he’s been disabled. The last thing I want to be is a burden to someone I love, it’s truly one of my greatest fears.”
“And they just heartlessly confirmed that’s exactly how they see him. I’d be surprised if their daughter keeps OP and their husband in her and Tom’s lives going forward. At least I hope he never has to suffer their company again.” – Bugsnatch
While the OP insisted they only had their daughter’s life in mind, the subReddit didn’t think so. They were more concerned about the ableist content of the post, as well as the fact that they had the audacity to talk about this with Tom in the room.