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Dad Demands Heartbroken Daughter Go To Sister’s Birthday Dinner Despite Recent Breakup

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We’ve all had moments where we find ourselves so heartbroken, that even getting out of bed seems an impossible ordeal.

Eventually leading to friends and family pressuring us to get up, and move on.

While their hearts are certainly in the right place, and while they are, in most respects, correct in pressuring us to make an effort, it doesn’t make doing so any easier.

As we still haven’t forgotten what got us to this sad situation in the first place.

The teenage daughter of Redditor throwaway6324987 found herself in that all too common right of passage of being dumped for the first time.

As a result, she had little interest in doing anything other than staying in bed.

But the original poster (OP) felt that it was important for her to move on, even insisting that she join the family at an upcoming celebration.

And wasn’t taking no for an answer.

Wondering if he was wrong for doing so, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for not letting my daughter skip her sister’s birthday dinner due to her breakup with her boyfriend?”

The OP explained how he thought it was important for his daughter to put her sadness aside and join in a family celebration, which his daughter made clear she wasn’t ready to do.

“A few days ago, my daughter Sheila (18 F[emale]) was dumped by her boyfriend of two years.”

“She’s been taking is really hard, crying and staying in her bed all day for the past few days.”

“My wife Carly (52 F) and I (50 M[ale]) have been doing our best to support her, but Sheila’s been devastated.”

“She hasn’t told us why they broke up.”

“Anyway, my other daughter Tory (23 F) is coming home for the weekend from her college city, as it’s her birthday.”

“We were all planning on having a birthday dinner at Tory’s favorite restaurant.”

“Tory spent the entire summer in Seattle for an internship, so we haven’t gotten to see her much this year.”

“Thus, we cherish it whenever the family gets together.”

“However, Shiela said that she wasn’t feeling up for the birthday dinner due to her being depressed over the breakup.”

“She also said she’s gonna need a long time to recover, and that Tory already said she was fine with Shiela skipping the dinner to recover.”

“I told Shiela I’m doing my best to be empathetic, but we all don’t get to see Tory often.”

“I said I understood the breakup was painful, but she wasn’t ever gonna feel better until she eventually got out of bed.”

“If anything, I said seeing her sister again could probably put her in a better mood.”

“Shiela said again that Tory was fine with it, and Carly mentioned that she could’ve been lying to avoid hurting Shiela.”

“Shiela lashed out and accused us both of being selfish.”

“I said that we could talk about this in a civil manner, but Shiela told me the breakup was still fresh and needed to mourn the last two years of love.”

“I said I understood that, but it would just be really nice to get the family all together to have some fun.”

“Shiela lashed out and told me to stop changing her mind.”

“I said again that she WAS going to the dinner, and Shiela stormed up to her room.

“It’s been an hour, and Shiela hasn’t come out of her room.”

“I’ve been downstairs thinking about all this.”

“Carly said both Shiela and I were being a bit close-minded, but I’m starting to wonder if I f*cked up.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

While many members of the Reddit community did feel that his heart was in the right place, it was otherwise agreed that the OP was indeed the a**hole for forcing his daughter to go to her sister’s birthday party.

Everyone agreed that not only should the OP not force his daughter to go out when she wasn’t ready, but also pointed out that his older daughter probably wouldn’t enjoy her birthday to see her sister so sad following her break-up.


“Why would you ruin Tory’s birthday with Sheila’s moping?”

“Why would you force Sheila, who is an adult and fully entitled to make her own decisions around socializing, to attend an event she doesn’t want to attend?”

“Why would you try to dictate what will or will not make Sheila feel better?”

“What do you have to gain in any of this except a weird feeling of control?”

“Fun fact: you can’t just decide when its time for someone else to stop feeling sad.”

“You’re being completely bull headed, and for no good reason.”- SuzieQbert


“Congrats on raising Tory to show more empathy than you.”- embopbopbopdoowop


“I am sure your daughter Tori will enjoy her birthday dinner with someone who doesn’t want to be there and is on the verge of tears all because you think your daughter Sheila needs to put on a happy face and play happy families.”- penguin_squeak


“Your daughter is effectively an adult and can make her own social decisions.”

“Stop trying to parent away her emotions and let her grieve her relationship, it hasn’t even been a week.”

“Would a crying teen at the table make your time with your other daughter/her sister better somehow?”

“Would you also tell her to stop moping and pretend to be having a good time?”- Shitsuri

“YTA and you should listen to your daughters because it sounds like they’re on the same page.”

“My (46 F) older sister (51 F) would have been absolutely livid at our dad had he tried to force a heartbroken me to attend a dinner for her when I was hurting and didn’t want to go.”

“A young woman’s first heartbreak seriously feels like the world is ending, it’s absolutely devastating.”

“I truly believe I mourned the end of my highschool relationship with my HS bf more than I mourned the end of my first marriage.”

“Of course my HS bf turned out to be a really nice man who I still keep in touch with, while my ex-husband is a giant a**hole.”

“But still, you get the point, your little girl is really hurting.”

“Please don’t force her to do this.”

“Chances are her sister coming home will be good, but in THEIR own way, not because you forced a family night, but bc her sister likely knows better than you what little sister needs.”

“I know my sister always has and is my best friend to this day.”- Dewhickey76


“It’s not your birthday celebration, it’s Tory’s and she’s cool with it.”

“If Tory is lying to make Shelia feel better, that’s still her choice to deal with the consequences of that lie.”- 0biterdicta


“You can’t force an 18 year old to dismiss their feelings and ‘have fun’ because it makes you feel better.”

“Let her recover in her own time, make sure she has the support she needs and stop being judgmental.”

“Glad her sister at least understands and will support her through this.”- Julescuk78

“This just reminds me of the year my husband’s cousin had her BF break up with her post surgery and a few days before her birthday dinner.”

“She tried to keep a brave face but the whole experience was miserable for all involved.”-Robossassin


“Why is this event a question?”

“The birthday girl said she’s fine with it.”

“It really doesn’t matter if she just wants to protect her sister, she said it’s ok.”

“You and your wife are wrong, and your daughter is old enough to be alone in the house, so let her be alone for a few hours.”- OffKira


“To both of your daughters.”

“How is Tori going to feel if her sister shows up, eye red from crying, not even able to look at other happy couples in the restaurant?”

“Will that make it a great birthday for her?”

“Is she going to look back and say ‘Gee I am so glad you forced her to come out and have the rest of us see her miserable’.”

“‘That is exactly what I wanted for my birthday’.”

“And Shiela, is she going to think ‘I am so glad you made me go out while I was miserable so other people could look at me and pity me?'”- janess84

It’s clear that the OP isn’t trying to be malicious to either of his daughters.

After all, going to a birthday party is hardly the worst punishment anyone could endure.

However, the OP should seriously consider if their daughter’s birthday celebration will be a happy one if their younger daughter is so miserable, and unhappy to be there.

Leaving one to agree with the many people who took time to post that it’s probably best to let his younger daughter stay home,  and not force her to go out until she’s ready to.

And continue to love and support her till then.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.