A man who coped with addiction after suffering a tragic loss was able to clean himself up and move on to a new chapter in his life.
But he struggles with his traumatic past internally on a daily basis. But one thing he has kept secret just resurfaced and is taking a toll on his new marriage.
Redditor GoneNotForgotten2003 took to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit and asked:
“AITA for finally mentioning my deceased child to my pregnant wife?”
For context, the Original Poster (OP) relived the tragedy with readers.
“I’m 36. 15 years ago my girlfriend and I at the time had our son.”
“At 8 he developed a lot of health issues and died a month after his tenth birthday. it changed me.”
“Her and I broke up, I moved out of state, got addicted, cleaned myself up and went to school. On the way I met my now wife whose 29.”
Despite having a new lease on life, the OP’s grief still runs deep.
“I’m happy with life again but never does a day go by I don’t think about my son and wish he was still with me.”
“My wife is due in October and both of us are a bag of nerves mixed with a bunch of other emotions. I’d be lying if I said I’m not nervous and extra emotional because this has made me think a lot more about my son.”
“I’ve never told my wife about him. she knows I was an addict oncee. she knows about my ex. but never once have I mentioned my son.”
“I’ve tried to tell her, so many times, but I just can’t. at one point it was so far into our relationship I thought it would risk it if I admitted it. I thought she would be angry because I kept it for so long.”
“I gotta a lot of friends on Facebook from back home who knew about my son. After my wife posted something about our future child and tagged me, one of these friends brought up my deceased child in the comments. I finally admitted the truth and she had a breakdown. She left for a hotel.”
“I’ve talked to family and friends about it, most agree I did nothing wrong, it’s just her emotions, but some have been honest and can see why she’s hurt.”
“They think I broke her trust. I don’t know I need some unbiased opinions here.”
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 who were sympathetic to his traumatic history still shared their candid assessment.
“YTA. But I understand how hard this must have been for you.”
“But this is something that will affect your relationship with this child and she needed to know. Additionally depending on what your first child died from there could be a genetic factor that she needed to know about.”
“This is the worst possible way for her to have found out. Not only is this publicly humiliating for her but she feels betrayed by you keeping this from her (lie by omission) and is probably scared for her baby and their future.”
“Let her know you’ll be there when she’s ready and then give her space. Be ready and willing to go to therapy.”
“Also find out why your friends and family told you this wasn’t your fault. It clearly was and either they are enabling your bad behaviour to avoid setting you off or they’re idiots whose opinions shouldn’t be counted when you are making big life decisions.” – blueconlan
In response to why his friends and family sided with him, the OP explained:
“It’s hard to say if they’re just saying this to make me feel better or are legit.”
“Most use the reasoning that it was years ago and I have figured out how to cope with it, so it’s impacting our lives. Some say we all have pasts, we don’t have to share them in details even with our spouses. They also use the excuse she’s hormonal.
“Thank you for your judgment. You made a lot of good points I didn’t even consider.”
“Thankfully, the doctors believed his illness wasn’t genetic, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still worried sometimes.”
This Redditor mentioned the crucial element in his relationship that was sorely lacking.
“Relationships are built on trust. If you cannot trust your partner enough to tell them about your past and such, then the relationship was doomed to fail from the start.”
“It’s natural to not tell them about parts of your life early in the relationship, but once you are in a serious relationship (aka married, having a baby, stuff like that) it’s a pretty dick move to keep your past from your partner.”
“What you did is shattered her trust, as she no longer feels that she can trust you to tell her the full story to anything. Heck, if you can hide the fact that you had a kid for a decade, you could be hiding unfaithfulness and other serious things from her.”
“For that reason, massively YTA.” – LittleVixenAxis
However, this Redditor disagreed and said the situation was indicative of something other than trust.
“I understand where you’re coming from, but I think this is less a matter of trust and more a matter of trauma.”
“I doubt OP didn’t tell her because he didn’t trust her, more that talking about some things is so immensely painful.”
“There are some things in my history that I’ve only been able to mention to my partner because years of therapy have made me practice saying them out loud.”
“OP’s wife still absolutely deserves space, her emotions are still valid, I still think both couples and individual therapy would probably be good for everyone involved, but I don’t think OP is an a**hole for having trouble reliving such an obviously painful and traumatic experience, even with his SO.”
“That said, handled with sensitivity and understanding on both sides, I feel like this could be a very healing experience.” – lilirose13
LittleVixenAxix—who made the comment about trust—countered:
“I understand the matter of trauma. I myself have gone through trauma that I also have struggled bringing up to partners (sexual assault for those wondering), since it is difficult to talk about, which therapy has also helped with after an ex of mine completely going ballistic once I told him about it.”
“The thing that leat me more to OP being TA judgement is specifically blaming his wife’s reaction on hormones and then also justifying not telling her because ‘it was years ago.'”
“As well as him disagreeing with the notion of having a child for 10 years (a decade) is rather just a detail than his life. Thats why I said massive YTA, because of how he disregarded her feelings initially.”
“Soft YTA for the entire situation as it handles over trauma that is very difficult to bring up. Things could have been handled better. I also should have been more specific in my comment regarding this.”
“He has a chance to fix what he did. I can see that from what he has opened up about and came to realize in his commentary.”
“It’s a good healing and bonding experience if they go to therapy (couples and individual) because knowing that someone loves you so much to work through your trauma with you is an amazing feeling in it’s own.”
This Redditor maintained the OP still owed his wife “a massive apology.”
“This sub doesn’t leave a lot of room for middle ground, but fwiw I would say you’re not necessarily an a**hole but that this was a huge mistake and you owe her a massive apology.”
“Sometimes pain causes people to behave in ways they shouldn’t, and avoid thinking about and discussing things they should, but this is a huge secret to hold back in a marriage and your wife has a right to feel like she doesn’t know who you are all of a sudden.”
“When you see her I hope you’re very abjectly sorry and can suggest going to a couples therapist together to work on your ability to communicate.”
“You probably also want some therapy for yourself, since the experience of being a parent again is likely to bring a lot up for you, and if you’re still in the grieving process to the point where you didn’t mention your first child to your wife then you probably are going to need some support.” – stephowl
While it may be difficult to criticize someone who experienced a traumatic past, it seems many Redditors had a lot of empathy for the wife who was feeling betrayed.