Grief is hard.
People have to do what they have to do to get through.
Sometimes traditions get changed.
Often life gets a complete makeover.
But these changes can come with major complications for others.
Case in point…
Redditor Fabulous-System5176 wanted to discuss his experience and get some feedback. So naturally, he came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.
“AITA for trying to prevent my wife from going on a tropical Christmas vacation without me?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“My (31 M[ale]) wife’s (29 F[emale]) father unexpectedly and tragically died back in 2020.”
“He was deeply loved by his family and friends and hundreds of people mourned his loss.”
“His absolute favorite holiday was Christmas.”
“He was responsible for bringing the ‘Christmas Spirit’ to the family each year.”
“Because of this, his absence has been painfully noticeable during the past 3 Christmases and this has caused my wife’s family extreme mental anguish.”
“Therefore, my in-laws recently decided they would leave their cold home during Christmas of 2023 and spend a week in the Caribbean to forget their troubles.”
“My in-laws really like my company and I have spent the past 7 Christmases with them.”
“I have been invited to join them on this trip but I am a Firefighter/EMT and it is impossible for me to leave my job for 8 days during Christmas.”
“It will likely always be impossible for me to do such a big trip during the holidays until I retire.”
“My in-laws understand and are saddened that I can’t get off work but have decided to still go on vacation without me.”
“I believe the vacation is a bad idea.”
“It seems as though they’re running away from their grief instead of dealing with it in a healthy way (such as therapy, which so far all have refused to participate in).”
“I fear they’ll still all be miserable and sad on Christmas, but with a change of scenery.”
“I originally tried to be understanding of this trip but a very close friend (31 F) of mine said that her leaving me behind was ‘f**ked up’ which caused me to think a lot more about it.”
“After a few weeks, I finally told my wife that although I knew she was trying to help her mother escape her sorrows. I felt somewhat abandoned and angry since she knew I would never be able to join her on this trip in the first place.”
“I also told her that I felt that this trip was completely in vain and would not achieve any desired results.”
“I asked if there could be a compromise or if the Caribbean really was the only way to cure this sadness.”
“I was told that I should be more supportive, that this trip is just a ‘one-time thing,’ and that there was no alternative solution to the problem.”
“I said that I didn’t like that answer but was told that this was ‘just the way things are’ and there’s nothing more that can be done.”
“I should point out that I can (and likely will) spend Christmas with a very close friend and my father’s family who all live nearby, so it’s not like I’ll be left entirely alone for the holidays.”
“However, it’s still a bummer to be left behind by my wife on Christmas for a non-urgent reason.”
“I also worry that this could turn into a tradition and that my wife might choose to leave the country each year, leaving me behind every Christmas for the next 25 years until I retire.”
“I don’t feel like I have any way to fix this problem and I have no way to fight it except to say ‘Please don’t.'”
“I also feel like a real a**hole for trying to stop my wife from trying to take care of her family’s 3+ years of emotional trauma.”
Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Many Redditors declared OP WAS the A**hole.
“YTA. Your ‘friend’ needs to butt out.”
“You should be happy your wife can celebrate her father with the trip this year.”
“If it starts to become a yearly thing, you can cross that bridge when you come to it.” ~ Few-School-3869
“To be fair, it’s not as though OP’s actions are out of concern for the family either.”
“Every instance of ‘I’m afraid they’re just running from their grief’ is proceeded by a freaking paragraph about how unfair it is he doesn’t get to go to the Caribbean.”
“If they suddenly offered to change the date of the trip so he could go his ‘concerns’ would instantly dry up.”
“What a leech.” ~ thistleandpeony
“And he’s concerned that this will become a yearly thing where he misses out on a holiday every year, despite the fact that there’s not yet been any indication that that would happen.”
“If she goes this year, and then next year wants to go again, sure, that’s the time to think it’s going to be a yearly thing.”
“But you can’t stop somebody from doing something the first time they’re going to do it because you’re afraid it will become a tradition.” ~ haleorshine
“Also, I got kind of stuck on him claiming he would never be able to get time off at Christmas.”
“Like my mom was an ER nurse and my dad was a cop, and there were several years that we traveled at Christmas time.”
“Maybe being a firefighter/EMT requires vastly different scheduling, but I highly doubt it.”
“Generally for both my parents, there were certain holidays that were major and certain that were minor each year.”
“They had to work a certain number of each.”
“Generally my mom would either work Thanksgiving or Christmas every year.”
“And yes getting Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off wasn’t super common, there were lots of years that she worked one or the other.”
“But it was possible to switch shifts and get the Christmas holidays off.”
“So I really really wonder why OP is so certain that he will never ever have Christmas off because he should be able to have them off sometimes.”
“And it kind of feels like he isn’t willing to even try to shift his schedule this year.” ~ Runkysaurus
“EXACTLY! This entire post I was thinking in my head, ‘This dude would not be saying this if he could go on the trip.'”
“But I will give him the benefit of the doubt tho and say: If OP is upset he is going to be alone for Christmas, he should just say that!”
“Yeah it sucks that they won’t go to grief counseling, It is very helpful for many people.”
“But a change of scenery IS a good way to make new memories instead of dwelling in the past!”
“This was her dad’s holiday.”
“HE was the one who made the season special to them.”
“They aren’t going to just ‘get over it’ after 3 years. Jeez.”
“This fake concern is so lame.”
“He is a firefighter, not a therapist.”
“There are a bunch of reasons why what they are doing is actually a fairly proactive way to move on.”
“Many people change their habits after a death or traumatic event to stay out of the grief without it meaning that they are “running away.'”
“And let’s not pretend that grief just magically goes away after a certain amount of time. YTA.” ~ Street_Passage_1151
“I might also add that their doing this now makes a lot of sense considering what has been happening for the last 3+ years… I mean, come on, the dad died during lockdown.”
“This is likely the first actual social Christmas they’ve had since he passed.”
“No wonder they are having the weight of that loss catch up to them now.”
“Quite frankly, not sure about anyone else, but my sense of time was distorted by that sh*t, I can’t imagine how much that would affect the grieving process. YTA.” ~ EarlGreyTea-Hawt
“YTA. This isn’t about OP.”
“This isn’t something wife and family are doing TO OP as a way of punishing or disrespecting them.”
“They’re trying out a fun vacation and change of scenery to attempt to lighten up what has become a dark time of year.”
“OP, don’t be a Grinch because your work situation doesn’t allow you to join in the fun on this particular trip.”
“It is a HUGE leap to assume at this point it will become a yearly tradition.”
“In the event, it does continue and the wife continues to leave knowing how you feel and without taking a similar time to vacation with you this becomes a different story.”
“If (big IF) that comes to pass, the ruling changes.”
“Additional AH points to the friend-making comments to set off OP.”
“I’m probably jaded from reading this sub too much, but I kind of wonder about ulterior motives.” ~ ABeerAndABook
“YTA. You’ve given a handful of excuses for your position (Why not therapy? What if this becomes a pattern?) but their flimsy fig leaves over very obvious jealousy.”
“You can’t go, and so you don’t want your wife to go.”
“If you have to miss out on one of the great pleasures of life, then your wife must also miss out.”
“Super shi**y attitude.” ~ Deliquate
OP came back with a few more deets…
“I should point out that my wife regularly goes on vacations with her family without me about two or three times a year.”
“I’m accustomed to that and am not jealous of her trips.”
“This is not a jealousy issue, it’s more about wanting to be with my wife on Christmas and feeling frustrated at her family for not addressing their grief for a death that occurred 3+ years ago and instead leaving the country on holiday.”
Well, OP, Reddit is not really with you on this one.
This sounds like it could be a therapy situation for you and your wife.
Not you and your friend.
Grief is a struggle.
You can be upset.
But hopefully, there is a way to talk it all out.
Good luck and Merry Early Christmas!!