Wedding etiquette says if the wedding is canceled, gifts have to be returned to the giver. But what if the gift was never given before the wedding was called off?
Doesn’t it belong to the person who purchased the gift?
A man whose wedding was called off by his fiancée would agree with that, but his ex disagrees. So he turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
“AITA for not telling my former fiancée I bought her dream house?”
The original poster (OP) explained:
“10 years ago, my fiancée left me (38, male) a few weeks before our wedding.”
“We grew up in a small town.”
“We were friendly, went to the same school, but we never were in the same clique. She was one of the popular kids and I wasn’t.”
“A few years after college, I moved back home when my dad got sick. I found a job in my field about 45 minutes away from home.”
“I would help take my dad to his chemo appointments. It was during one of those appointments I ran into my now EX.”
“She was a worker at the hospital. One day, while waiting, I asked her out.”
“It turned out we shared a lot of the same interests. It seemed like our relationship was going great.”
“About a year or so into dating, EX and I moved into a rented house together. The following year, I proposed.”
“We began looking for a house.”
“EX always wanted to live in her grandparents’ house on the lake near our town. Her family was forced to sell the house when her grandparents died because of an inheritance dispute.”
“6 months before our wedding, a chance event happened. The couple who bought her grandparents’ lake house had grown tired of our snowy winters.”
“It took some work and nearly all of my savings, but I was able to buy her dream house. It was going to be my surprise wedding present to her, so I didn’t dare tell her or anyone in her family my plans.”
“A month before our wedding, EX and her friends went to Miami for her bachelorette party. I am not sure all of what happened there; part of me doesn’t really want to know, but I do know her high school boyfriend (HS BF) was there.”
“When she got back from the trip, she broke down and confessed she was afraid to get married and wanted to call it off.
“It was a mess.”
“She later moved to Florida and eventually married HS BF. I ended up moving back to the city for an amazing job.”
“In the meantime, I still had the lake house. With the help of my mom and dad, we started to fix up the lake house.”
“It took a few years. My mom and dad would look after the contractors while I was in the city. Having the house was perfect when everything locked down.”
“I was able to escape the city and work remotely from the lake house. I now live here full time and work remotely.”
“This summer we had 4th of July at the Lake House. My SIL used photos from the lake this summer in her Christmas card.”
“One of those cards made it to EX’s cousin. The cousin recognized the house.”
“The Saturday before New Year’s EX’s mother and sister were at my front door. After pleasantries and answering their initial questions, they made an offer to buy it.”
“I refused. They were not happy.”
“A few days later I got a long text from EX. This was the first time in about nine years she had talked with me.”
“She called me an a** for keeping this from her. Her family is blaming her for losing the house again.”
“She then asked me to sell. I still have no intention to sell.
“Now her and her family are complaining on social media that this is some sort of revenge.”
The OP summed up their predicament.
“I never told my EX that I bought her grandparents’ old house. It was her dream house.
“I kept it a secret from her and her family. It was supposed to be a surprise wedding gift, but when she called off our wedding, I never told her.”
Why that action might make me the a**hole? Because it was her dream house.”
“She and her family had years of memories there, and they were devastated when they had to sell because her parents, aunts, and uncles couldn’t agree on ownership when her grandparents passed.”
“Now I have the house, and I have no intention of selling it.”
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors unanimously declared the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).
“NTA. Your intention was to surprise your ex with the house at the wedding. If you had called off the wedding, I’d reconsider my judgment.”
“But she is the reason why she doesn’t have access to that house. On top of that, you’ve made the house your own. Enjoy it!” ~ Noturaveragrchemist
“They also could have bought the other family members out of their shares of the house, which would have avoided it being sold in the first place. NTA.” ~ eaglecatie
“Oh come on my guy! You know you’re NTA. Enjoy your sweet lake house that now belongs to your family.”
“The ex (and her family) are just salty because they realized what they missed out on.”
“Personally, I wouldn’t even reply. Just block and never think of her again.” ~ speakmoreltome
“NTA. Why would you tell the woman who dumped you before the wedding anything? Your purchases are none of her business and her family has some f*cking audacity to show up on your doorstep.” ~ C_Majuscula
“NTA. So…after more than ten years and a presumably expensive renovation, your ex and her family want the lake house back. What a lot of gall they have!”
“Anytime in the last ten years, any of them could have tracked down the owner—you—from the county tax records and made an offer. They can eat their sour grapes and get lost.” ~ NanaLeonie
“This exactly. They had accepted the fact that the house had been sold and wasn’t theirs until they found out that OP bought it from the previous owners, who presumably bought it from them.”
“Did they go and harass any owners after it was sold that the house should be returned to their family? No, because they knew they didn’t have a leg to stand on.”
“The audacity of them thinking that it’s okay to go and harass OP over this just because they know him personally shows how bugged out their mindset is.”
“Get a cease and desist from your lawyer and let them know you will sue them if their slanderous gossip is making your life in this small town hard.” ~ MapHazard5738
“NTA. Her dream house is in Florida now.”
“If the family insists, I’d sell at an exorbitant amount, which they can’t (possibly) afford. If it gets sold, you are set for life.” ~ mpgd
“I would be petty and post on social media the date on the contract when you purchased the house and explain that if it wasn’t for Ex cheating on you and leaving you for her now husband this would have been her house as a wedding gift.”
“But instead of having it be a painful memory of the hurt she caused you, with the help of your family, you were able to bond with your family even more working on the house together, and this house will now always stay in YOUR family for generations to come.”
“The audacity of your ex and her family is crazy. After you and your family spent a decade fixing it up, they are trying to force you out of the house and when that didn’t work they took to social media to complain.”
“NTA, I would post the entire story on social media and then block everyone in that family.” ~ Specialist_Point1980
“NTA. But let me get this straight: for nine years, they have never reached out to the ‘owners’ (not knowing that it was you) of the lake house to buy back the property once they financially could.”
“They lost it because of an inheritance dispute, so they clearly didn’t care about the property but wanted whatever inheritance they were fighting over. I am assuming they have never reached back out to you after your ex cheated and cut ties with you.”
“So now that they know it’s you, they show up and have some ‘pleasantry’ and ask with the expectation that you sell them back the house.”
“And not the ex who ‘was afraid to get married and called it off’ and who then proceeded to move to Florida to be with and eventually marry the guy she cheated on you with calling you (9 YEARS LATER) upset that you didn’t tell her about your purchase/gift for her, for when you got married.”
“As if you owe it to her (explain that mental gymnastics…) because her family is pissed. Did I get that right?”
“Yeah….NTA. Enjoy your life and that house, and if they keep harassing you, tell her husband that she won’t stop calling you and get a restraining order on her family if you can.” ~ ravenlyran
“NTA. But I’d put on social media exactly what you put here—that you bought the house as a surprise wedding present, your ex ended the relationship to go back to the HS boyfriend after spending time with him on her bachelorette trip, and you and your parents have spent time and effort together fixing it up, and it has meaning to your family now.”
“She made her choices, you’re under no obligation to sell.” ~ GoldenGoof19
The OP may be the villain in his ex’s story, but Reddit had his back.
It’s his house now, where his family is making memories.