As much as we might all like to imagine everyone being able to get alone and all families coming together beautifully and smoothly, there are times when it’s hard for various family members to coexist.
It can be especially hard to work through when someone vital to the family has passed away, empathized the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Icy_Leopard_7769’s adult daughter had passed away, and she was still grieving her loss when her son-in-law married another woman, who then began to build a relationship with his children.
But when the second woman demanded that she be accepted into the family as the children’s mother, the Original Poster (OP) didn’t feel ready to do that.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my son-in-law’s wife she will never take my daughter’s place?”
The OP’s son-in-law recently got remarried.
“I lost my daughter, Abby, seven years ago. She was married to Scott and had three children with him who are now 11, 12, and 14.”
“Scott and my grandkids stayed part of the family and last year Scott remarried. His current wife is Beth. We all knew Beth for a few years prior to the wedding, and she was always very friendly, though at times she could be a little pushy.”
“Scott would always handle that, though. After they got married, Beth’s pushiness got worse and Scott appears to have lost control.”
Scott’s new partner, Beth, wanted to be integrated into the family.
“Beth was upset when she dropped my grandkids off one day that we had not added photos of her to our house and commented as such.”
“In our living room, we have a display with photos of our kids and their weddings. She felt her and Scott’s wedding should be there.”
“She was upset when my grandkids spent Mother’s Day with us and our extended family and we did not include her. Scott wasn’t invited either. Mother’s Day is a difficult day for him due to a bad relationship with his own mother.”
“But Beth said we should invite her too because she’s part of the family and then she said she’s one of our kids too.”
“I asked her what she meant and she told me she is obviously going to be one of our kids now that she’s the mother figure for our grandkids.”
“I told Scott what she said and he was embarrassed and told me he would speak to her.”
“Beth was also upset when my husband posted on Facebook to say something about our kids and she didn’t get mentioned as one of our kids, but as Scott’s wife (we mentioned Scott and how wonderful he was to Abby and how wonderful he is as a father).”
Beth continued to push for her place in the family.
“For my grandson’s 14th birthday, we were all together and he wanted a ‘mom’s side’ photo.”
“Beth attempted to get into the photo, and when Scott tried to remind her, she said she’s part of the family now.”
“He pulled her aside and the photo was taken without her.”
“But she told one of my sons after that she felt like we weren’t treating her as a daughter and then said Scott never treated her as a lesser wife.”
The situation continued to escalate at Christmastime.
“We saw them a little over Christmas and Beth was upset that we got them a joint gift (for her and Scott) instead of getting her one alone. She told me she’s tired of feeling like she’s not really family and she said she feels like we always put Abby first when she’s here now.”
“I saw red after this and I told her she can never take my daughter’s place and the fact she ever thought she could is outrageous.”
“She told me the kids call her mom and they think the world of her so why wouldn’t we?”
“I told her the kids have always called her Beth when I hear them, and she turned around and said that’s our fault because the kids should be calling her mom and they don’t.”
“She lost it from there. Beth stormed out and I explained what happened to Scott. He apologized and left the kids with us so he could speak to her.”
“I think they worked it out but Beth said I was needlessly cruel to imply she’s not as good as Abby and doesn’t deserve to be our daughter.”
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 agreed with the OP that Beth was pushing boundaries and disrespecting Abby.
“NTA. You are Abby’s parents and not Scott’s; you have a good relationship with him and your grandchildren and that is wonderful, but she is not your family. She is Scott’s, and a step-mother to your grandchildren.”
“She seems to be pushing boundaries and misunderstands that your relationship with Scott is based on the relationship he had with your daughter. You have included Beth in what you are comfortable with, but you are not obligated to treat her like your daughter, and her comments about being the children’s mother, and that your daughter is put first, despite having passed, is alarming.” – Jaylloyd24
“It’s bad enough that Beth is trying to erase Abby as the kids’ mother, but to try and replace Abby as OP’s daughter is disgusting and disrespectful.”
“Are we sure Scott or Abby didn’t cross paths with Beth before Abby died? Not saying Scott cheated, but Beth sounds obsessed with ‘becoming Abby’ or taking Abby’s life for herself.” – Environmental_Art591
“This is insane behavior. Imagine being a stepparent the common way, i.e., marrying a divorced parent and wanting to be close to the parents of the other divorced spouse. That’s just f**king nuts. Why would they want anything to do with you, you’re not their child and you aren’t married to their child.” – Ser_Dunk_the_tall
“For the 100th time Beth, you can’t force a relationship. Most of the time the kids are with you, for a couple of days that they are with the grandparents, why do you need to butt in?” – abstracengineer2000
“I am wondering what is going on in the house. Are Abby’s pictures still up? Are the kids allowed to talk about their mother at home? I mean, this can’t be a compartmentalized thing, right?”
“If she is this obsessed with ‘becoming Abby’ to Abby’s parents… lordy, what is she saying to teachers and everyone else in the kids’ lives?” – Hushes
“I know of a man who lost his wife. He had three children with her. He remarried and the new wife cut up all the pictures of his deceased wife. They eventually divorced, big surprise.”
“Beth sounds like she would do something similar. I always feel so bad for those kids because their stepmother tried to destroy everything they had left of their mom.” – FeelingDepth2594
Others agreed but cautioned the OP to be careful in her relationship with Beth.
“How Scott proceeds with Beth as to his children is one thing, but Beth trying to replace Abby as ‘her kid’ is gross, disgusting, and delusional. While I understand that Beth feels there is a second woman (Abby) in her marriage, the memory of Abby should always feel alive to the kids.”
“That being said, I hope OP sees this. Beth is the gateway to the fullest access to her Grandkids. Calling her the ‘current wife’ is not the term to use here. Second wife maybe, but current presumes a third wife.” – PotentialDig7527
“NTA, but just a thought. Does she have a family of her own? It’s apparently not clicking in her head that this is an issue. I would never want to replace a child of my own with another. Maybe I just don’t get it, but this one sounds like she’s trying to feel like she fits in.” – Limp-Boat-6730
“I honestly think Scott is the biggest a**hole here.”
“Beth seems to be delusional or potentially affected by some kind of personality disorder or mental health issues. Yes, she is a major a**hole but she seems to honestly not be able to self-reflect enough to realize what an a**hole she is.”
“Scott, on the other hand, seems to actively understand how much of an a**hole Beth is and ENABLES HER ANYWAY.”
“He’s hurting his kids. Beth seems to be clinging to this delusional fantasy that they don’t love their deceased mom and that Beth is superior, which I 100% guarantee you is harming them emotionally in some way.”
“He’s hurting his parents’ kids’ extended family. Beth acts unhinged around his family, actively pretending to be their daughter and reminding them every second that their daughter died, but that Beth thinks she’s superior.”
“The sex cannot be that good to put up with this. It’s not enough to say, ‘he talked to Beth,’ because it isn’t working. If Beth was being physically abusive, or more overtly emotionally abusive, ‘just talking to her’ after the fact would not be sufficient.”
“Scott needs to stop this or move on if he can’t, but he won’t.” – ErikLovemonger
“Buuuuut… this is a difficult situation for all concerned here and to an extent I do sympathize with the position Beth (through no fault of her own) finds herself in. She fell in love with, and married, a widower and is now raising and parenting his children. She is part of Scott’s family now, which includes his children, so if you are going to treat him like a son you could extend some of the same courtesy to her.”
“As someone else said, she’s not some random new girlfriend who unreasonably wants a seat at the big table. She is a big part of your grandchildren’s lives and is putting in the hard work of helping to raise them. It wouldn’t hurt to show a little bit of kindness, regardless of the understandable grief you are obviously still feeling.”
“I think looking at it like Beth is trying to ‘replace’ your daughter is perhaps a bit uncharitable… she maybe just feels a bit like she’s being deliberately excluded.”
“So you’re NTA for grieving the loss of your daughter, but Beth is also NTA for wanting a little more than tolerance from you considering she is now part of your lives. Would it absolutely kill you, for example, to acknowledge her in a Facebook post?”
“It’s just a sad situation all around. But I would encourage you to at least try to think about how awkward and insecure she must feel about all of this and see it from her perspective.” – massivebumwizard
“YTA. Beth has taken on your grandkids and is doing all the work of a mother figure with none of the benefits. No photo of their wedding is fair enough but cutting her out of the photo was cruel. Telling her she’s not your daughter is fair enough but having your husband make an announcement about your children on Facebook is just petty baiting. She obviously has different expectations. Someone should tell her there are few rewards for trying to be a good stepmom.”
“Your daughter is gone but if you want to keep seeing your grandkids when she DRIVES THEM TO YOUR PLACE you could try to be kind instead of resenting her, excluding her, and running her down as you are doing at the moment. Be glad she wants you to like her and cares about the children. Some stepmoms don’t.”
“Causal cruelty will be the death of us.” – CuriouserCat12
“You’re kinda the AH. Scott didn’t have to work so hard to keep you part of his kids’ lives. Many kids have little to do with their grandparents. You are making his life harder and alienating his wife in your daughrer’s honor.”
“At some point, you’re going to create a problem he will get fed up dealing with. There’s no way on Earth she floats through a single day without doing Everything a mother does, learn to respect her being good to your grandkids before you get pushed away.” – Hunter-665
“Of course, Abby’s family does not owe the same sort of welcome and relationship to Beth as if they were actually Scott’s own family, but if Scott treats and sees them as his family I can see how it could be a bit of an odd position to be in as the new partner trying to make connections to the people your spouse cares about.”
“OP, you’re definitely NTA. You’ve said Scott has talked to her a number of times about this but maybe he’s not approaching it right. Maybe suggest to him that he zeroes in on the fact that while he still has a strong relationship with you all, you’re his in-laws, not his own direct family. Your connection to him was always through your daughter and so of course she will always come first to you with respect to your relationship with either of them.”
“You might suggest he actually asks her to consider what sort of relationship she would expect to have with you and your side of the family if Abby hadn’t passed and they had just split up and he remarried. This may be the only way to get her to put the relationships and family dynamics into the proper perspective here.” – Live-Eye
The subReddit completely understood, both, how the OP and Beth were feeling in trying to bring these family members together, but it was clear, in order to make the family work, the OP needed to do something that made her feel like she was honoring Abby’s memory while also making Beth feel more comfortable and more accepted.