We define boundaries as limits on our personal comfort.
We set and enforce a boundary for our personal safety and happiness.
This is important.
However, we also need to respect the boundaries of others.
So, what happens when you’re not really sure where your boundaries and someone else’s boundaries meet?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) helpfubdthispkeas when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“WIBTA if I told my BF I’m not comfortable going to his friend’s funeral?”
OP began with the background.
“I (20 female) and my BF Jamie (21 male) have been dating since we were 17.”
“Jamie has known Emma since he was a little kid. (Family friends)”
“I don’t want to speak ill of the recently passed away but Emma and I have never really gotten along.”
She explained her difficult relationship with Emma.
“She was the kind of person who ‘speaks it how it is’ and was very blunt.”
“Emma had a massive crush on my boyfriend who had told her he saw her as a sister and wasn’t interested in a relationship with her.”
“When Jamie and I began dating, Emma was constantly saying really horrible things about me, screenshotting my social media posts, and making fun of them on her story.”
“Saying horrible things to my face, and constantly pressing herself up against and flirting with my BF even after he had asked her to stop multiple times.”
“This behavior continued for years and my BF couldn’t cut her off since he saw her at family reunions or big family events.”
“Emma and I never had a good relationship. I tried very hard to be friendly to her whenever I saw her but she was always very rude towards me. When my BF realized she wasn’t letting up with the flirting and rude behavior he distanced himself from her.”
Everything was okay, until…
“Tuesday morning my boyfriend found Emma had passed away in the early hours of the morning.”
“Jamie is super upset about this.”
“Since he’s known her basically his entire life and towards the end of her life he barely spoke to her.”
“My BF asked me if I can attend Emma’s funeral with him.”
“I want to be there for my BF and support him through this.”
“But I’m not comfortable going to Emma’s funeral since we never really got along. I also know that Emma wouldn’t want me to be anyway.”
“I’ve talked with my sisters about this who think I should offer support in an alternative way instead of attending.”
“But my Mom and aunt think I would be a major a**hole if I didn’t go with Jamie to the funeral and that I should suck it up and go.”
“Honestly I really don’t know if I’m potentially being an a**hole by not going or if I should just suck it up and go despite the fact I’m not comfortable doing that.”
OP did add some clarity.
“Does Emma’s family know she doesn’t like me? Yes, they do know.”
“Emma’s mom used to post about how I stole her daughter’s future husband (they were never together).”
“Is the funeral far away? Kinda it’s a 6-hour drive from our apartment.”
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: NAH
Open communication and compromise were encouraged.
“I’m going to say NAH because of the bit about her family also not liking you and believing you stole her ‘future husband’ away.”
“If her family was cordial with you, I would say go and support your BF at the funeral itself.”
“However, it’s 6 hours away.”
“I would offer a compromise with your BF.”
“Go with him to where the funeral is being held and make a trip out of it.”
“Let him go to the funeral on his own, and then offer your support outside of it by just being there for him.”
Talk to him about your feelings regarding Emma and her family and how it wouldn’t be in good taste to attend the service, but you’re happy to make the trip with him and spend some time with him before or after the funeral.”
“Despite how you may feel about her, your BF just lost someone that he saw as a sister and needs your support” ~ temtemrem
“I think this is the best option.”
“Boyfriend is going to presumably have his family along with hers at the actual funeral, and her family’s emotions are going to be all over the place and there’s no telling what reaction seeing OP show up there might cause for them.”
“Even rational, stable people can behave in extremes in these sorts of situations.”
“I think OP should travel with him and support before and after, but the boyfriend needs to understand why it wouldn’t be ideal for her to attend the actual funeral.”
“It’s a reasonable compromise and takes everyone’s feelings into account.” ~ Youcannotbeforreal2
“Yeah, funerals are for the living and those closest to the deceased take priority.”
“BF is close, but not as close as Emma’s mom and family.”
“Out of respect for those closest, OP should not attend the funeral or viewings.”
“I could see Emma’s mom freaking out and blaming OP (irrationally) because if Emma had only been with BF, she’d still be alive or something like that. Grief is awful and makes us awful.”
“Like you suggested, OP should be close enough to offer support to BF without adding more pain to Emma’s family.” ~ eresh22
Some pointed out that OP’s presence would have negative effects on Emma’s family.
“Funerals are for the living.”
“If the living there do not like you, going will cause unnecessary drama.”
“Grief can be a nasty ordeal and they would likely turn their grief into anger and frustration and take it out on you.”
“Grief is a monster that can make people attack the people they love most, so imagine if they hate you already.”
“You should absolutely support your boyfriend and if the family wasn’t hostile with you, attend for his sake… but with their comments…”
“I think driving with him is a good idea, while not attending.”
“Definitely express to him that you do not want to cause drama and make it about you being there instead of a celebration of her life.”
“I would send an arrangement of flowers or another gift signed by you and your boyfriend though because in this situation I feel you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”
“I think not going but offering condolences through a gesture, is the classiest and most respectful way to keep your distance but not be rude, because I would expect them to comment on you not attending with the boyfriend even if they don’t want you there.” ~ voiceofmyownsanity
“This is basically what I came to write.”
“Because the family wouldn’t want her there I think OP is correct and not attending the funeral itself.”
“But if she is at all able she absolutely should go to the area with her boyfriend to act as a proper partner to him.” ~ shesellsdeathknells
“Agree with this 100%.”
“OP needs to tell BF that because of the hostility of the mom she need not attend and have more vulgarity from Emma’s family thrown at her for being there.”
“But OP absolutely can go on the drive and be there before and after.”
“I’m sure BF’s family will be there too so that he can have support during the services.” ~ GardenSafe8519
Others were concerned about OP’s boyfriend even going.
“Unless they explicitly invited the boyfriend I would even be concerned about how he will be received.”
“They seem to think Emma was entitled to the boyfriend because she wanted him, even if he never felt that way about her.”
“Distancing himself probably didn’t go down too well.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if they have spun some narrative about how he abandoned their dying daughter and broke her heart, especially since Emma herself seemed kind of deluded about the nature of their relationship so who knows what she told them.”
“OP should definitely not go, they obviously have an issue with her and it’s just asking for people to get upset and cause a scene.”
“Travelling with boyfriend to be there privately if he needs support is a good compromise.” ~ MediumSympathy
“If they are close family friends of Jamie I recommend he asks Emma’s parents how they would feel about it.”
“If Emma AND her mom have both posted hateful things about you online it’s possible her parents won’t want you there–as they are mourning the loss of their daughter, their feelings take precedence here and they need the appropriate space and people around to grieve.”
“If they say they’d rather you don’t go–perfect, it would be rude of Jamie to push any further and he can go alone/with his family.”
“If they say they’d appreciate your support, then just go.”
“Funerals are more to support the living than the dead, so if her parents are okay with it and your BF wants you there then go.” ~ ImportantLocal6008
Boundaries are an important part of the ongoing conversation about mental health.
Where are your comfort zones, what are your boundaries?
What are the differences between those two places?
These are questions with messy answers that aren’t going to fit everyone in the same way, but it’s important that we recognize those questions and try to figure out those answers.
Not just in ourselves, but with those around us.