*The following article contains a discussion of sexual harassment.
Wedding planning is meant to be a wonderful, if stressful, time.
It is to organize an event with a lovely message, after all.
But sometimes during the wedding planning, people forget what is really important, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
A Redditor who has since deleted her account found herself in a difficult position when her stepsister’s fiancé propositioned her after someone else’s wedding.
When she tried to tell her stepsister about what happened, the Original Poster (OP) was shocked that her stepsister demanded her to keep this quiet, so her wedding could go on.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my parents the truth about my stepsister’s fiancé since they now won’t pay for her wedding?”
The OP wasn’t particularly close to her stepsister.
“I (28 Female) have a stepsister, Jen (29 Female). Our parents got together when we were teenagers, and Jen and I never clicked. I have nothing against her. We just aren’t close.”
“From the ages of 22 to 26, I worked at my stepdad’s company, and Jen worked there too and still does.”
“While working there, I became friendly with a colleague, Pete. Everyone in the office would joke about Pete having a crush on me, but I never saw him like that, and he never said anything, so I didn’t pay much attention to the possibility.”
“However, when I started dating my now-husband, things got a bit awkward with Pete.”
“When I quit my job, Pete and I didn’t really stay in contact, but we followed each other on social media.”
“It was a few months later that I saw on Pete’s social media that he had started seeing Jen.”
The OP recently found herself in a difficult situation.
“Pete and Jen got engaged last year, and since then, my stepdad has agreed to pay for the wedding.”
“A few weeks ago, an old colleague got married, so Jen, Pete, my parents, and I were all at the wedding.”
“Pete was a little over-friendly at the reception, which I wrote off as too much alcohol.”
“Later in the evening, though, I was outside getting some air, and Pete came out and basically propositioned me.”
“I made it clear I was extremely uncomfortable and went back inside.”
“The next day, I called Jen and told her everything.”
“She accused me of trying to ruin her relationship and said that I shouldn’t make the whole situation worse by telling her dad since I’d already done enough to sabotage her relationships.”
“I agreed because I didn’t feel I had any right to continue being a spanner (someone prone to making mistakes) in the works.”
But the secret didn’t stay quiet for long.
“A week ago, I was Skyping my parents, and they were talking about Jen’s wedding.”
“They were talking about Pete, and my face must have changed because they immediately asked if something was wrong.”
“I insisted it was nothing, but it turned out they’d seen Pete follow me out at the wedding and had their own theories about what he’d done to upset me, all of which were worse than what actually happened.”
“After 20 minutes of them thinking the worst, I told them the truth.”
“I begged them not to do anything about it since Jen and Pete worked it out, but my stepdad was livid.”
“He called Jen, and they had a huge fight, and he refused to pay for the wedding or even attend.”
The OP and Jen’s relationship was worse than ever.
“Jen has been calling and texting me and posting on social media about what a horrible person I am for ruining her wedding.”
“I’ve had messages from her friends telling me how awful it was for me to tell our parents after she asked me not to, and saying how I’ve basically ruined Pete’s career, etc.”
“I’ve tried explaining that letting them continue assuming would have led to worse consequences, but apparently, I should have just been able to hide the whole thing somehow.”
“My friends say I did nothing wrong, but my stepdad is now not speaking to Jen, and her whole wedding has been canceled because of me, so I do feel guilty.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some reassured the OP that she had not been wrong by being honest with her parents.
“NTA, the wedding has not been canceled because of you. It’s been canceled because of Pete. I doubt this is the first time Pete did this to a woman, and that’s why your parents thought the worst of what happened. This was probably the last straw.” – One-Awareness3671
“NTA, but I honestly feel bad for Jen. It sounds like she is in the sunken place and Pete is a horrible man. That said, I think the parents could have handled this situation with far more empathy and tact.”
“Their conversation with Jen warranted a face-to-face conversation, not an emotionally charged call. Jen may be in denial, but the reality is, it must be emotionally devastating to realize that the person you planned to spend the rest of your life with is a horrible human being and your relationship is crumbling.” – Electrical-Date-3951
“Propositioned = sexually harassed. Pete chose to do that with full knowledge that he lives in a world that frowns on it (and rightly so). So the damage to his career is his fault.”
“The parents saw some of the incident and made up even worse scenarios than what happened. The cat was out of the bag without OP doing anything. When being reminded of an upsetting incident, it’s hard to control facial expressions.”
“OP did Jen a favor in the long term. She clearly would have never been able to trust Pete around OP, and who knows? He may have behaved like this with other women as well. NTA in the slightest.” – AffectionateGolf6032
“Jen is like, ‘How dare you reveal my fiancé’s s**ttiness! You should just let him be s**tty and not say anything!'” – fefellama
“NTA. It was never your intention to reveal it until your parents somehow got it out of you. And it is better that they cancel the wedding because your sister deserves better even though she can’t see it now.” – Normal-Bluejay9388
Others wished the OP’s stepsister had seen this for the red flag that it was.
“So the messy divorce is still on the calendar in … whaddya think, three to seven years?”
“After she gets pregnant, finds out he’s cheating on her, tries to ignore it because they’re having a baby, the bundle of joy is born, he gets worse because there are no consequences and complains to his mistress(es) that his wife isn’t putting out anymore.”
“That is until he finally does something too egregious for her to ignore (not sure where her red line is), or she finally just snaps because this isn’t what her life was supposed to be like.”
“Then the divorce is on! Woo-hoo! Except now she’s blaming her stepsister and parents for her own choice to marry the d**kwad. It’s everyone else’s fault, ya see?” – FreeFortuna
“I would not be surprised if he keeps harassing OP every time he has any chance during family functions like weddings, funerals, etc., and Jen will have a meltdown every time they see OP during these events.”
“And then she’ll have a meltdown every time he tries to talk to OP in front of her and/or when at home he talks about OP to her after seeing OP at an event, and she will blame OP again and again and s**t-talk her to anyone willing to listen and probably on social media too.”
“And after her divorce, she will be a single mom with primary custody or full custody, complaining that his ex doesn’t want to do anything with the kid(s), doesn’t see the kid(s), never spends time with them, and barely pays child support because he never really has been interested in the kid(s), or in having kids with Jen. And she’ll probably try to pin that on the OP, too.” – Cute-Shine-1701
“Pete having an impregnated mistress is probably a safe bet, but I can’t completely dismiss the scenario where he gets fired for sexually harassing a coworker, and Jen finally gets burnt out from supporting the deadbeat and leaves him.”
“It’s an ugly future indeed.” – Accomplished-Art8681
“I’m going to say that he’ll leave her if she goes through with marrying him. From the little that OP wrote about her, she gives me the feeling that she’ll turn her head to whatever he does and will blame others to keep him and save face.”
“He’s going to have to leave for her to free herself from him unless she somehow sees the light on her own. OP’s NTA.” – DearOP_
“Am I the only one who thinks Pete only started dating Jen because he couldn’t get OP, so he decided to date her sister to get her attention? So when that didn’t work, he decided to try it on with her again?”
“Unfortunately, I have had personal experience with guys doing that to relatives of mine.”
“OP’s sister needs to get some therapy to build up her self-esteem because fighting your family to stay with a guy who tried to cheat on you with your sister tells me she has issues she needs to deal with.” – Apart_Foundation1702
“I think Pete wanted to stay in OP’s orbit after she left her job.”
“OP, it sounds like your parents were on a fact-finding mission with the phone call they had with you. They already had significant doubts.”
“I, unfortunately, feel for Jen. This is what happens if you continue a relationship with someone who isn’t faithful to you. People find out, they react, they tell you, they tell other people, etc., etc.”
“This is just what Jen’s life is going to be like if she continues this relationship.” – Classroom_Visual
One Redditor gave a thoughtful take on how the OP could use this to improve her relationship.
“NTA, I understand that your step-sis didn’t want you to say anything. And if that were it and she wanted to continue her life with a man who had drunkenly or not propositioned her step-sister, it would be more of a tiebreaker kinda thing.”
“I would assume most people in that would vote that you are the AH because it’s her life and her crappy choice to make, whereas I personally would struggle to do that but ultimately agree it’s not a reason to tattle.”
“HOWEVER, you TRIED not to say anything. You didn’t just blab it to your parents. They SAW this slimy man follow you out, and you return upset. The only reason you told them was to set the record straight, so to speak, because their assumptions were worse than what happened. You were trying to make it better.”
“It’s all about intent versus impact. Sometimes we have good intentions but don’t think about what the actual impact will be for the other affected parties. In this scenario, the impact would’ve been worse if you kept your mouth shut and let your parents believe that Pete had assaulted you or something worse like that. You actually lessened the impact on your sister by begrudgingly telling them what happened.”
“Honestly, it sucks right now, but I’m a big ‘everything happens for a reason’ type of person, and your stepsister doesn’t see it now and may never see it, but you probably just inadvertently saved her from marrying that guy.”
“And again, she might not see it that way ever, especially if she feels you’ve meddled in past relationships… because it sounds like her guy wanted you all along, and especially because you are married and she isn’t but wants to be.”
“So for that reason, I think it’s important not to minimize her pain or anything like that, but in the long run, nobody deserves treatment like that from the person they’re going to marry. And breakups are AWFUL. Especially when she wants to go ahead and marry this man. And maybe she will on their own dime. Which is not super healthy, but sometimes in love, we just can’t see that.”
“So even though you say you’re not close, maybe this is an opportunity to offer support, WHATEVER her choices may be, just being there for her. Might be worth having a convo with her as to why she feels like you’ve affected her past relationships.”
“But also, if she continues on with this guy, PLEASE do not let her think that she’s lost EVERYONE’s support, even if it’s just you because if she feels judged continuing on with him, it will be very easy for Pete to isolate her, and harder for her to leave if she finally realizes she should.” – GirlyIntheGreenScarf
While the OP was in a difficult position, having shared a secret she didn’t mean to share that potentially ended her stepsister’s wedding, the subReddit could not blame her. The secret was not one that should have been kept, for the OP’s, for Jen’s, and for other women’s safety.
If you or someone you know experienced sexual assault, help is out there. You can reach the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline by calling 1-800-656-4673, use their Live Chat tool: https://www.rainn.org/get-help, or visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.
In Canada, help is available through the Ending Violence Association of Canada website.
International resources can be found through the Rape Crisis Network Europe website.