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Widowed Dad Of Three Called Out For Dishonoring Late Wife By Refusing To Let In-Laws Move In

Male and female seniors sit with arms crossed

Cultural differences are an extremely valid point of contention between spouses.

One widower, brokenpromisesaita, thought back to a particular difference he and his late wife had in regards to her parents.

While they had come to an agreement on this issue, she passed away and he found himself grappling with what to do.

The Original Poster (OP) took to subReddit “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) for advice.

He asked,

“AITA For not keeping my wife’s promise to take care of her parents”

The OP went on to share the full story.

My wife passed away 3 years ago in a car accident. I am now a single father to our 3 kids (11, 8, & 5).”

“It has been incredibly difficult providing for them by myself, but they’ve never wanted for anything a day in their life.”

“Thanks to therapy and a good support system, they are happy, healthy, and thriving.”

He went on to explain some cultural differences between his and his late wife’s families.

“In my wife’s culture, it is customary for children to take care of their parents in their old age. Her parents very much expected this of her.”

“This was something my wife talked to me extensively about before and during our marriage.”

“Actually, it was something we fought about a lot because I felt that our focus should be on our kids and doing everything we could to give them a good life.”

“My wife wanted to house her parents in our home, but I disagreed for multiple reasons such as cost and lack of living space.”

“We eventually agreed to help them pay for a condo or other living arrangements but not house them. Sadly, we never got a chance to figure out exactly how that would work.”

Things changed after his wife’s death.

“Her parents, her mom specifically, took my wife’s death hard and fell into depression.”

“She pretty much became a recluse, and neither her nor my FIL [father-in-law] has been very involved in our lives since my wife’s death.”

“However, my FIL recently retired and reached out to me about honoring my wife’s promise to help take care of them in their old age.”

“I flat out told him that I cannot honor that promise.”

“He got upset and told me that this was something that his daughter had promised him and his wife, and as her husband, it is now my responsibility to keep that promise.”

“I told him that I have three kids to provide for, and I do not have the time, energy, or money to provide for two more people.”

“He told me I was disgracing my wife’s honor and memory and that he knew it was a mistake for her to marry outside of her culture.”

“He called me again a few days later and tried to apologize for what he said. He told me that he acted irrationally and that he’s sure we can work something out that will be beneficial for everyone.”

“I asked him what he meant by that, and he said that he and his wife could come live with us so that I have help with the kids and I can still honor my wife’s promise to her parents.”

“I again flat out told him no. I told him that I’ve managed fine the past three years without their help, and I’ll continue to do fine.”

“I told him his proposal is only beneficial to them, not to me in any way.”

“He again tried to tell me that I need to do this to honor his daughter’s memory as this was something that she promised to him and his wife.”

“I told him that, sadly, that promise died with his daughter. He said something to me in his native language that I’m assuming from his tone was not a compliment and hung up on me.”

“They have been minimally involved in our lives since my wife passed away. Their needs are so far down my priority list.”

“But I’m torn because I hate feeling like I’m letting my wife down in any way, even if she’s not here anymore.”


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:

Widow here. My late husband’s mother is a single older woman with two living daughters.”

“However, she believed my husband and I would build a tiny home on our land for her and care for her and support her in her old age.”

“We have an elementary-aged child.”

“I was never on board with this plan, and neither was my husband, but he did ask me to look out for his mom after he died (he got sick, so we had time to talk through all this).”

“By look out for, he meant to stay in her life, check on her, and be there in the event of an emergency.”

“After my husband died, his mother went absolutely feral on me, making heinous accusations, blaming me for “stealing” her son from her, and promising me that she would never forgive me for being the one her son loved more than her.”

“It’s been almost four months since he died, and I have cut her from my life. I feel guilty sometimes, but I am a widow in my early 30s with a child to provide for.”

“I cannot sacrifice my peace or my time with my child to care for a fully grown adult who failed to plan for her own future and who has been an absolute monster to me (far beyond the pale of grief).”

“All this to say, as someone in a similar situation, your priorities are your child and yourself.”

“You matter. Your needs matter. You are categorically NTA.”

“They abandoned their daughter’s children for three years. They’ve only resurfaced because they want something from you.”

“Truly, you’re NTA. Don’t feel bad for one more second. Care for yourself and your family. I wish you all the best. I’m so sorry for your loss.”

“Edited to add: I’m so blown away and just incredibly moved by all the support being shown here. Thank you for all the awards and lovely comments.”

“It’s an isolating journey, and I’m so thankful to this little corner of Reddit for reminding me how much goodness is in the world and how important it is to show that kindness.”

“OP, thank you for posting this question. I’m so glad to see so many telling you the truth: you are NTA. 💙” – Majestic-Web-3570

“NTA. Odd that he didn’t take this up with you until after he made the choice to retire and stop supporting himself.”

“Apparently, it also didn’t occur to him that you had only one income rather than the two you might have had to try to take care of more than just your immediate family.” – ParsimoniousSalad

NTA. Your obligations are to your children. This includes planning for your future, a future that won’t include you using your kids as a retirement fund.”

“Your wife could have met her obligations directly by purchasing life insurance.”

“Since she had a spouse, three young kids, and two parents who would be leaving the workforce shortly, she needed that coverage as much as anyone.”

“People in this situation often take out a policy that is equal to 10-15x the insured’s annual income. These policies pay a lump sum and income tax-free.”

“Now that you’re a single parent, I urge you to get a policy that would provide coverage at least until the youngest is old enough to be done with college. So, a 20-25 year policy.” – Kolob619


“You could have used their help with your kids and household the last three years, and they were only “minimally” involved.”

“They haven’t given enough to your family to have any expectation that they deserve for you to support them for the rest of their lives.”

“Retirement isn’t an age. You don’t just hit a certain age and quit your job and get to spend the next 30 or 40 years having someone else pay the bills. That’s not the way it works…” – teresajs

Oh, come on. They just retired and want to come to mooch off you for how long?”

“If your wife was around, you would have another person for your kids, another person to contribute financially, etc…you don’t have that now.”

“If they move in, you’re basically never going to be allowed to date again, and you will have them there for 20+ years. If you buy them a condo, where’s that money coming from?”

“‘They have been minimally involved in our lives since my wife passed away.’”

“No. You’re not letting your wife down. Your wife passed away three years ago, and you have three young kids.”

“I’m sure you could have used their help at some point during those three years but not now when your kids are all school age.”

“If you were of her culture, would you be taking care of them, or would you have already married again?”

“It doesn’t really matter because it’s not your culture, but it’s just as likely that person would have moved on. NTA.” – slendermanismydad

“NTA. They weren’t there for you and their grandchildren when you needed help, but they expect you to take on the burden of caring for them when they need help. Absolutely not.” – hellolittlebears

This is definitely not the dynamic someone wants with their deceased spouse’s parents.

Written by B. Miller

B. is a creative multihyphenate who enjoys the power and versatility of the written word. She enjoys hiking, great food and drinks, traveling, and vulnerable conversation. Raised below the Mason Dixon, thriving above it. (she/her)