Redditor throwawaymumwmum is a husband and father whose parents were adamantly opposed to his gay marriage.
Taking the hint from his parents who wanted nothing to do with his LGBTQ “lifestyle,” he decided to keep the next exciting development in his marriage a secret.
But when he got backlash, he consulted the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit and asked:
“AITA for hiding my daughter’s existence from my mother and ‘crushing her dreams of being a grandmother?'”
The Original Poster (OP) began by explaining how his parents reacted to him coming out of the closet.
“When I was in my 20s, I came out to my parents by saying ‘I am dating [current husband].’ They were not actively hateful, but they didn’t take it seriously, saying he was a bad influence & trying to suggest girls for me to date.”
“I put up with it until they invited a young woman to a ‘family only’ Christmas dinner intending to set me up with her. Big fight ensued.”
“It was easy to go ‘no contact’ with my parents. I still see my sisters & they still see my parents. Every Christmas I got several emails from my mother admonishing me for tearing the family apart, begging me to come to the family dinner but I refused unless my boyfriend was invited.”
“Fast forward, boyfriend & I get married. I invited my parents, cue several emails from mother begging me not to ruin my life etc. They didn’t come.”
“Early last year husband & I adopted a (wonderful beautiful amazing (exhausting)) baby girl. Before we even started the process, I sat both my sisters down & told them that our parents were NOT to be informed about any of it.”
“Our mother always impressed upon us the importance of giving her grandchildren. I didn’t want her to try to ‘make nice’ with my husband & I just to get to our daughter.”
“December of last year, I receive an email from my mother inviting me & my husband (!!!) to a ‘Christmas brunch’ a few days before Christmas. I immediately call my eldest sister, suspecting one of them let slip about my daughter. Nope. Husband & I go to the brunch.”
“My father is notably absent, absolutely no mention of my daughter, & it goes surprisingly well. Super awkward but my mother seems like she’s actually trying.”
“Since then I have been in tentative contact with my mother. I don’t tell her about my daughter. I was planning to, but I wanted to be absolutely sure she had changed her opinions about my husband.”
“Monday this week I get a phone call from my father. I pick up because I thought it was an emergency.”
“Apparently one of my sisters had told him about my daughter (she probably let it slip accidentally). He was furious. Said many awful things & eventually got stuck on how I deeply offended my mother & ruined her dreams of being a grandmother.”
“I eventually hung up on him, but I couldn’t stop thinking about what he said. I know how desperate my mother has always been to be a grandmother, & looking back, I was ‘testing her’ a lot longer than necessary.”
“Withholding my daughter’s existence was just as much due to my own spite & pettiness rather than anything else. And I knew if my mother found out it would really hurt her that I didn’t trust her.”
“Now she knows & clearly it did really hurt her for my father to call me in such a rage.”
“I feel like I’m the A here but my husband is insistent that I am not. He suggested posting here to get a more neutral third party opinion on the matter.”
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked if and where guilt belongs by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors sided with the OP and took more issue with the father’s handling of the situation.
“NTA. She was willing to cut you completely out of her life for a very long period of time, and she was willing to try all kinds of manipulation to get you under her control. You were right to be cautious.”
“If you’ve got any doubt, look at their reaction. Is it sorrow? Remorse? A humble ‘My God, I hurt my own child so badly that he’s not even sure he wants his daughter to know me?’ No. It’s angry abuse and ‘How dare you deny your mother something she wants!'”
“I’m sorry. It does sound like she was trying to make some progress. But this has brought out a side of your father that I think looks familiar. Maybe see where she’s at on this.” – Terpsichorean_Wombat
“I wouldn’t say the mom’s not sorry. Clearly she is. She’s just hurt. OP is in no way the AH and he definitely had every right to hide his child.”
“But even OP said his mom seems like she’s really trying. Most older folks want to be grandparents because it’s all the fun of parenting with none of the drawbacks. Can’t fault her for that.”
“So yeah, she’s hurt. But SHE didn’t lash out at OP. The father on the other hand … yikes.” – EldritchQueen75
“I agree, if Mom was trying (Dad was obviously not and seemed to use it as an excuse to go off on one at you) I’d maybe suggest letting the dust settle and approaching your mum (expressly without your dad) and ask to talk on neutral ground, If you WANT a relationship that is.”
“It may be worth finding a way to sit your mum down and acknowledge she was trying and you were comfortable with rebuilding that relationship, but that you needed to be satisfied that was positive progress before you felt comfortable bringing your daughter into this.”
“If she doesn’t accept the hurt she’s caused in the past and how it’s influenced your behaviour then that’s on her.”
“I think it’s worth noting that if you and your mum continue to heal your relationships that a. It includes your husband, you come as a package deal, and that b. your daughter is not exposed to your father if you do not want.”
“I think your feeling that your mother might have played nice to get at your daughter is justifiable and its also justifiable to assume that could have had a negative impact on your daughter is she was say out for the day with them and they were being negative about your husband and your relationship.”
“You were protecting your husband and daughter, they are your priority and your family need to understand that.”
“NTA. Good luck and congratulations on your family!” – _Yalan
This Redditor—who implied that the OP’s parents could have a strained relationship—insisted he should not make any definitive decisions without having all the information.
“What you’ve had to endure gives you every right to be protective of your daughter, just as any loving father would.”
“Being verbally assaulted over the phone by your father like that would make anyone hold said daughter even tighter. Why would you ever expose her to someone so vile, right? I think it’s worth considering just how far this man’s hate spreads and poisons.”
“It sounds as though he hasn’t been involved in any way with the relationship between you and your mom. Have all of your interactions been with her as an individual only? To the point she would come across as unwed to someone who doesn’t know otherwise, because she makes sure to never reference your father?”
“If so, this could indicate more is going on behind the scenes.”
“She may be as genuine in her effort to mend what’s broken as you have believed her to be. It’s obvious your father would never support her decision though. I would expect their relationship to be strained at a minimum, especially behind closed doors.”
“Do either feel they must remain married (appearances, religion, etc.)? It could add to an already troubling dynamic.”
“It’s important to remember it wasn’t your mother that called you. I’m sure she is a sobbing wreck.”
“You need to find out WHY.”
“Your father likely took this knowledge and weaponized it. Your parents have used manipulation tactics in the past.”
“This would be his chance to ‘prove’ how he’s always been right about what a despicable person you are. He’d do his best to sever what’s been built and expect her to revert to her old views.”
“Did he succeed? Or is she a wreck from realizing just how much damage and pain she inflicted on her son? Is she heartbroken over how much she’s already missed of her granddaughter growing up, knowing she is to blame?”
“Is she angry at you, or herself? The answer will help you know how to proceed. Give her time to absorb this information and process her emotions. If not for your father’s call, you wouldn’t know her current state.”
“She didn’t try to burden you with her grief. Let her know that when she’s able, you’re willing to hear her actual thoughts, not what your father claims them to be.”
“No matter your choice, consider if therapy might help you heal. All the best to you, your wonderful husband, and your precious daughter.” – DragonCelica
The OP later clarified any confusion as to the timeline of when his parents discovered he had a baby daughter.
“My mother definitely didn’t know until recently, you’re right to say my parents wouldn’t be able to keep something like that under their hat if they thought I was being disrespectful.”
“I actually only facetimed both my sisters this morning and though they have been over to my parents’ house, neither has mentioned my daughter. (And I trust my sisters, they’re not lying.) They also got virulent calls from my father this week for keeping secrets (and not having kids of their own etc). We’re pretty baffled how he found out since he told all of us different stories about how he found out.”
Hopefully, the OP and his parents could come to an understanding and repair their relationship before finally introducing them to his daughter.