As we grow older, we begin to appreciate just how hard it is to make and keep friends, let alone to make long-lasting and meaningful friendships later in life.
But some of those friendships wind up being so deep, they impact other relationships, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
After his friend’s husband passed away, Redditor Former-Conference-90 committed himself to helping her and her two children with the tasks her husband would have done.
But when his wife accused him of performing “husband duties” for his friend, the Original Poster (OP) began to question if his values were really in alignment with his wife’s.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for doing ‘husband duties’ for my friend?”
The OP had been friends with a woman and her husband for years.
“I (36 Male) have a long-time friend (34 Female) who I live about four blocks from. We have always been very close.”
“I met this friend and her husband in college while they were dating and I was in an LTR (long-term relationship).”
“I was a groomsman at their wedding, and I am the godfather of both of their boys, and I was asked to be before both were born.”
When her husband passed away, the OP stepped up to help her.
“Her husband passed away three years ago after a nine-month battle with brain cancer, during which she was his full-time caretaker.”
“I was also very close with her husband, and since I lived close by, I would go over and help as much as I could, be it cooking, cleaning, taking the kids out to do things, yard work, and maintenance around the house, especially as he declined and required round the clock care.”
“After he passed, I continued to help my friend and her kids, and I spend a lot of time with her kids (now 11 and 9 Male). They are basically my nephews, so I do make a point to spend time with them, as their dad died in a pretty bad way and they need the support of family.”
The OP’s wife was not comfortable with the OP’s assistance.
“Last year I married my wife, who I started dating after my friend’s husband had passed, so this isn’t new.”
“Since then, there have been consistent arguments about my performing ‘husband duties’ for my friend.”
“Some examples of the things she was upset about:”
“My friend called because when she woke up a pipe had burst in the ceiling and she couldn’t find a plumber who could come out that day (I’m a contractor so I was able to call a friend and he went over as soon as possible), and then I headed over and helped her clean up the mess and helped her with talking to her insurance and hiring a remediation company.”
“After that was done I helped her demo and replace the drywall.”
“Another time, her car broke down, so I picked her kids up from school and went and played basketball with them while she got it to the shop and grabbed a rental, and then the boys wanted to have a pizza party, so we grabbed some pizzas and had dinner at the park.”
“Another time, she was relandscaping her backyard and putting in some raised planter beds and I went over on my day off to help her.”
The OP wasn’t sure what to do.
“My wife is always welcome, but she doesn’t usually want to go and instead thinks I should let her figure it out because ‘she’s a big girl and she needs to stop acting like I’m her husband.'”
“She has even gone as far as to suggest that my friend wants to steal me away from my wife because she needs someone to take care of her.”
“The boys also come by sometimes, and my friend does as well, but my wife usually shoots it down because she doesn’t want the house to be a mess, or doesn’t feel like cooking, but doesn’t want to order out or the boys are too rambunctious or loud.”
“To me, it feels like she is just finding reasons to put a wedge there, so it’s easier for me to just go to them, especially since all their gaming stuff is there and the house is a little more relaxed and fun for them than it is at our place.”
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 thought the OP was doing something incredible for his friend.
“NAH. I have a friend who does similar things for me since my husband died and I know that he’s trying to look out for me because he was my husband’s best friend.”
“I really appreciate his help but I would draw the line at inviting him to stay for pizza or hang out with my kids in case his wife (who is a really cool person) thought it was too much.”
“If your wife is starting to feel uncomfortable then you need to dial it back a bit. Save your help for the big things like major DIY and keep up with your friend socially by inviting her over to your place to hang out with you and your wife together.” – Yikes44
“It sounds like your wife may be a bit insecure about the situation and is uncomfortable like the commenter above pointed out.”
“To add to the questions and suggestions: Can your godchildren come over to your house instead of you going to them all the time?”
“Can you invite your friend and the kids over to hang out with your wife too for dinner/movie night? It doesn’t sound like she sees them as a family like you do. I consider my godchildren my family, and I too would help out where I could and bond with them.”
“Can you provide your friend a list of contacts for certain jobs/emergency situations besides you?”
“It sounds like you and your wife need a chat about the future and why she is feeling insecure regarding this situation. She should see them as your nephews/godchildren. Why doesn’t she acknowledge the familial aspect of things? Is she feeling neglected or is she worried about the future with you balancing both your own kids and your godchildren?”
“Good luck, OP!” – Mandaloriana_2022
“I have a brother. He regularly likes to do stuff for my girls. If he’s playing with them, it stops there. After two hours or so, he drops them off. He doesn’t make further plans with them while his wife is waiting for him.”
“How many hours a week are you engaged with your friend and her boys?”
“Cater to your wife’s insecurities. You can’t spend the entire day with your nephews while ignoring your wife.”
“After the game buy them takeaway and drop them home. Tell them you made plans with their aunt just like you made plans with them. They’re old enough to understand.”
“Are you having date nights with your wife or not?”
“Don’t bring them home if she doesn’t like mess, take them all out for pizza.”
“There are so many ways to deal with this. Yet, you’re choosing the most brain-dead way.”
“She fell in love assuming you’d be there for her (and her kids too). Have you two discussed about having kids? If not, you should.”
“I’m just being honest here. I hope the best for both of you.” – littlegreenballoon
“It sounds to me like he’d raise any kids of his own almost like siblings to the two he already cares for. I think that’s a good thing. Just because these first two kids aren’t his bio kids doesn’t make them not his kids on some level.”
“He’s their godfather, and I guarantee they think of him like a second dad. God forbid something happens to their mom, you know he’d take them in, because in a lot of ways they are his kids.”
“Nothing wrong with found family, and his wife needs to realize that these kids and their mom are a part of the package. They were there first, and if she can’t handle that that’s on her, not them or him.” – Dominant_Peanut
Others thought it was obvious that the OP’s marriage was already over.
“Clearly going off just a few posts isn’t a full picture but right now, I don’t like your wife. At all. I don’t think you’re the a-hole here but I do think you need to get to the bottom of what’s going on with your own relationship. Couples therapy. Good luck.” – OhioPolitiTHIC
“I don’t like his wife. He hasn’t hidden any of this from her, and it was a situation he was in before they met. At the end of the day, Op considers these people to be his family, and his family is important to him. He needs a partner who is on board with that.”
“It’s so creepy to me when people do an about-turn on issues once married, this should not happen and it’s a bit of a betrayal, to be honest.” – Ok-Pomelo-2419
“There’s nuance here. OP’s partner likely assumed a natural progression where his friend would ‘need’ him less; it isn’t sustainable for OP to be this involved and also ‘balance’ that with marriage and possibly future kids.”
“If he isn’t managing that time proactively, she worries. That’s valid. It’s not valid to then try to manage it for him, but let’s not assume she wants or expects him to drop this family like a hot potato.”
“The fact is, if he’s got an emotional intimacy that rivals that of his marriage, if he’s involved to the point of seeming like a nuclear family on days he picks up the kids, and they all get dinner or whatever, it starts to look and feel a certain way. It’s not entirely fair for OP to put that on his partner.” – Ladyughsalot1
“Your comments and attitude about your wife are kinda gross. Why did you even marry in the first place?”
“You don’t extend the same empathy and loyalty to your wife as you do to your friend’s family, which is a huge red flag.”
“Being there as a friend and godparent aren’t wrong, but where is the room for YOUR family that you have now created by marrying? There is plenty of room for balance between these relationships, but you are so fiercely defensive towards your friend’s family that you’re completely dismissing your wife and her concerns/needs.”
“So pretty much your wife either gets on board or she can go eff herself according to you.” – dogsand_Coffee8900
“You’re having an emotional affair, both of you. Your wife is an innocent victim, upset to see her husband building a family with another woman and playing husband and father to someone else.”
“The length of your friendship isn’t what matters. What matters is your behavior and your comments. Your wife isn’t your priority. This friend is. But in reality, you got married, so your wife should come before everyone else in your life.”
“You’re choosing a friend over your wife when she is fully capable of handling her house and kids without you. You shouldn’t have gotten married if you could distance and separate yourself from your friend.”
“She’s not going to or even want to date because she has you there already as her husband. You might not like her, but she certainly likes you and has no problem calling you since she knows you’ll drop everything to come to help her.”
“She is more than capable of handling a garden bed on her own. She plays the victim so you’ll leave your wife and be with her.”
“You’re having an affair, and you just refuse to accept it. You shouldn’t have married your wife if you couldn’t drop the second family and make your wife a priority.”
“You don’t say it, but your wife is upset because you keep dropping plans with her and avoiding her and choosing to spend all your free time with the other woman. You don’t say it, but it doesn’t sound like you actually see your wife or spend any time with her because you’re too busy with the other woman.”
“Your wife should leave you.”
“Plain and simple, you’re having an affair. You shouldn’t have gotten married, and I hope your wife wakes up and realizes you won’t make her a priority and she will leave you.” – intrepid-database-15
After receiving ample feedback, the OP shared an update.
“Ya know, this post has shown me that there are two kinds of people, those who support what I’m doing and those who think I’m having an emotional affair.”
“Honestly, the more they share their logic behind Y T A, it makes me realize I married someone like that. I think it may be time to reconsider. I wouldn’t want to have kids with someone like that.”
“So, this actually was helpful.”
While the subReddit could concede that the OP was doing a nice thing in his friend’s memory by helping out his other friend and two godsons, they otherwise saw some concerns with his behavior.
They had concerns about the OP’s wife’s insecurities but also about the health of their marriage in general. Based on the posts, at least, it didn’t seem like their relationship was long for this world, while the OP was willing to do all he needed to for a friend and her two children.