When we’re hurt, many of us default to lashing out at the one who hurt us.
This is a natural response and, while not the healthiest reaction to pain, certainly an understandable one.
However, what happens when someone rises above this primal instinct and treats their pain as a passing condition – only to be mocked for it anyway?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) StockOne1667 when they came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for calling my mom’s treatment of my dad’s mistress ‘gracious’ and upsetting my fiancee?”
OP laid out the background.
“A few years ago my dad had a pretty public affair (they thought they were being discreet but everyone knew) with a woman about 15 years younger than him.”
“My father was up until this point a very stoic unemotional person and this was totally out of character, and everyone was talking about it. He ended up leaving my mom for her.”
“My mom was totally ice cold during all of this and even as her son I can’t gauge if it hurt her or not.”
“She had zero reaction.”
“She’s never said anything bad about him.”
“Even when I tried getting her to open up she just wouldn’t (but this is around the time I began dating my fiancee and she doesn’t like her and began to ice me out as well)”
“My dad married his affair partner recently, and I proposed to my fiancee.”
“We had an engagement party and it was probably the first time we were all together.”
“MIL and her friends hate my dad and his fiancee, because I think they worry about their husbands getting ideas.”
OP then got to the issue at hand.
“MIL made a snarky comment about how when men leave for a younger woman isn’t she supposed to be prettier, and my dad might have done it wrong because my mom is much more attractive.”
“All of her friends laughed and my dad’s wife looked like she was dying inside.”
“My mom told my MIL to stop and she doesn’t like women who pit women against each other, and said his wife is beautiful.”
“When we walked away, I told my mom that was very gracious and I was proud of her.”
“I wasn’t even talking to my fiancee but she lost it.”
“She said I was gross for praising my mom for being gracious when she should be being a ‘petty b*tch’.
“She said I was an affair apologist and it made her nervous, and that I should have been laughing at her mom’s comment.”
“My mom called my fiancee an idiot and walked away.”
OP was left confused,
“my fiancee is still upset I used that words and keeps saying it was sexist and 1950s but can’t really explain.”
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
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 decided: NTA
Some pointed out that this really wasn’t fiance’s business.
“Your mom handled it in the way she felt was appropriate for her own character and morals to handle it.”
“She chose to keep it classy and not make a scene.”
“She’s the one who gets to choose for herself.”
“Even if she’s internalizing, that’s something she can talk through with people she trusts or a therapist, she does not have any obligation to display her pain to those people.”
“Not everyone has to turn themselves into an ugly person because something ugly happened to them.”
“Your mom is a class act and you were right for telling her so.” ~eroverton
“Your mom is the wronged party so everyone should take her lead.”
“The fact that your fiancée thinks public humiliation when it is someone else’s event is ok is a red flag.”
“You should be worried she’ll pull petty bs on you. Nta” ~beito14159
Agreed. OP’s mom is acting like a mature adult despite what went down with her ex.
MIL, her friends, and OP’s fiance are acting like immature school-yard mean girls. Bullying is still wrong even if said bully feels they have a reason to do so ~ Electrical-Date-3951
For others, this was about self-worth.
“OP your mum has class and knows her worth.”
“It wasn’t worth her time to wallow over her cheating ex and it isn’t worth her time to engage in petty bs.”
“As others are saying perhaps she doesn’t like your partner for some valid reasons (highlighted by her petty, cruel, insecure actions you’ve described which seem to be a family trait that she’s proud of).”
“Your partner (and her mother) should be apologizing to your mother for making a difficult part of her life into their own ammunition for drama.”
“Your mother steps above it but do they seriously not think it doesn’t upset her everytime someone throws in her face that her husband cheated and left her?”
“And then your partner is mad at your mother for not being a harpy about it?”
“No wonder she dislikes her.” ~ StickyAction
“OP’s fiancee may not be mature enough to understand the POWER in (OP’s) Mom’s response, not just graciousness.”
“It makes her almost untouchable now as an object of pity/disgrace. She is her own woman who can see the truth without it diminishing her.”
“OP, who values the dignity of his mother, would do well to seek that in a life partner.”
“The fiancee does not seem to value what OP values.”
“The fiancee values drama that can be sustained by bad feeling for years, decades even. OP beware!” ~ CymraegAmerican
Though the motivations were unclear, OP’s mom was definitely victorious.
“Not only power, but now the affair partner KNOWS what everyone else thinks about her (instead of just whisper).”
“And having the woman she wronged defend her publicly is going to hurt soooo much worse than any petty mean girl stuff.”
“Might even make AP start to wonder why hubby would cheat on and leave such a powerful, successful, gracious woman.” ~ PollyAnnaLikeABird
“Mom has three possible motivations:”
“She’s publicly taken the moral high ground as a tactical choice, she wants to avoid any further drama and upheaval, or she’s a genuine saint.”
“And no matter which it is, she’s unquestionably in the right.”
“She has Won At Divorce.” ~ Mammoth-Corner
Responses also pointed out the larger disparity between Mom and Fiance.
“I guess we now know why the Mom started dropping contact with OP, when their fiancé came into the picture.”
“It seems Mom saw the marinara flags well ahead of time. Honestly OP, maybe reconsider your choice of fiancé. NTA and your Mom seems like an extremely stand-up person.” ~ Liveandletlive_
“OP’s partner probably also didn’t like the fact that his mom’s classy answer contrasted so much with her own mother’s mean mom gang comment and made OP’s mom a much bigger person than her own mom.”
“I would say she is more upset about OP’s mom making her mom look bad than any of the ‘sexist/1950s’ reason she is giving. ~ nutwit9211
“u/StockOne1667 op, please read this.”
“Consider what this situation is telling you about the kind of person your fiancée is.”
“You and your mother deserve better.”
“All women do (than the treatment your fiancée and her family are willing to do at the cost of others).” ~ FairyOfTheNight
There was also fear that this was only a taste of things to come.
“OP, 100% this.”
“Your fiance just took her mask off. She is petty and vindictive.”
“Your Mom handled a difficult situation with grace where your fiancee and her mother behaved like classless buffoons and bullies.”
“Think long and hard about who you want raising your children.”
“Your wife and her mother will directly influence who your children become and quite honestly, dealing with their BS every family gathering is going to get exhausting really fast.”
“I have no doubt that your Dad’s behavior hurt your Mom tremendously, but for your sake and because she has class, she rose above it and put her feelings aside so she could raise you in a way that didn’t pit you and your Dad against each other.”
“THAT is class and that is a type of grace that I don’t think I have.”
“Your fiancee and her Mom didn’t have to take the low road.”
“There was nothing in it for them to attack your Dad’s wife.”
“They just did it to be petty and mean because they wanted to.”
“Think really hard about that because that is the type of crap you will deal with when you displease your fiancee.” ~ thingsarelookingup2
“I completely agree.”
“OP’s mom handled herself with class and restraint.”
“Everyone should be taking their lead from how she wishes to handle it, not piling on because they enjoy tearing others down.”
“OP’s fiance just showed her ugly character, and she’s pissed because it made her look cruel and trashy in the face of OP’s mother’s grace and diplomacy.”
“OP, you have just had a clear view of who your wife truly is inside.”
“I’d personally not want to spend my life with someone like that.”
“I guarantee that cruelty will be turned on to you in the future when your wife doesn’t get her way.”
“Or when you don’t fall in line with her behavior.”
“Think about if that’s what you want your future to look like. If that’s what you want your future children ( if you wish to have them) to experience.”
We all hurt sometimes.
Whether that pain is intentionally inflicted or an accident of circumstance, it is up to us how we deal with it.
Whatever way we choose to deal with our hurt, that choice can’t belong to anyone but us – and no one has the right to judge us for it.