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Parents should always do right by their children and guide them into becoming responsible adults. As they grow up, they start to discover who they are as people and what their priorities are. Once they are at an age where they are making decisions for themselves and are completely independent of you except for visiting, hopefully, there’s only so much you can do to support them or change their minds.
Unfortunate Events Unfold
The original poster (OP) begins his story by saying that after graduating high school, his son moved 3 states away for college. When his son was 19, he married a girl he met while attending college. His father felt like he was too immature to get married at 19 and tried convincing him to wait a few more years.
However, his father’s efforts ultimately failed, and his son and the son’s fiancée dropped out of school, got married, and moved back to his hometown. When his son turned 20, they had their first child; a year and a half later, they had a second child.
He says that after the first baby, he and his wife noticed that their daughter-in-law wasn’t happy. They both thought it was postpartum depression related, but right after his son and his wife had their second baby, they separated.
His Relationship with His Daughter-In-Law
His daughter-in-law would bring the kids over for a visit, and on one particular visit, she began unloading on them. He says he’s aware there are two sides to every story, but considering how well he knows his son, he said he believed her. He said he had many sit-down conversations with his son about his marriage and what was happening, but his son refused to take any responsibility and blamed his wife for everything.
Even when his father pointed out that it seemed that he was the problem, he denied it and continued with the narrative that she was the issue.
They Filed for Divorce
His son and his wife eventually agreed to go to counseling for their marriage, and for about a year, things, he said, were “ok” on the surface. After that first year of them trying to work things out with their marriage, his daughter-in-law filed for divorce.
His Son Moves On
Three days later, his son shared a post on social media that he had a new girlfriend.
They got engaged a month after his son and his new girlfriend were dating. He says his son had forced his first wife to become a permanent stay-at-home mom after the birth of their first child. She, of course, had no other family or friends in his son’s hometown and really only knew her father and mother-in-law.
They Offer a Helping Hand
The man and his wife felt horrible about what their son had done in this situation, and unbeknownst to their son, his wife and helped her financially and got her an apartment.
The Wedding Invitation
The OP goes on to say that before his son’s divorce was even finalized, he and his wife received a wedding invitation. His father immediately called his son to clarify that he would not be attending, and they did not have his blessing.
However, his mother told him she would see to it that his father attends his wedding. His father then says he stayed consistent in his decision and asked his son not to bring his new fiancée around his house out of respect for the mother of his children.
The Father Does Not Attend the Wedding
The wedding happened this past February, and he said that the night before the wedding, his wife gave him her final push to attend the wedding, but ultimately, he did not attend.
Their daughter also refused to go due to the situation her brother created and also did not attend the wedding. His wife picked up their grandkids, got them dressed, and attended the wedding.
Father and Daughter Spend the Evening with His Son’s Ex-Wife
OP and his daughter instead decided to spend the evening of the wedding with his son’s ex. He said he couldn’t imagine her sitting alone while her kids attended their father’s wedding.
He and his daughter took her out to distract her. He says he just wanted her to know she’ll always be considered family to them. His daughter ended up telling her they could drop the in-law status and just be sisters now. The OP said she was very tearful and grateful. It was during that time that he realized just how badly she needed their support and specifically on that night.
The next morning, his son called him and told him he was a horrible father for not attending his wedding. A few days later, his son found out that he and his sister spent the evening of the wedding with his ex. He said that was the ultimate form of betrayal, and if he and his sister ever wanted a relationship with him again, it would only be on his terms.
The Internet Weighs In
Redditors gave their opinion on whether or not this father made the right decision by staying with his ex daughter-in-law on his son’s wedding day.
One Redditor had this to say, “NTA. The best children are the ones you choose.”
A second Redditor said, “As OP said, there are two sides to every story, and more info can sometimes change the vote. This is not one of those times.”
A third Redditor said, “I admire you for knowing who your son is and not condoning it and being there for your Ex DIL.”
His Kindness Shows
Another user said, “OP definitely NTA. Spending the wedding night with DIL is so thoughtful. She’ll always be the mother of your grandchildren.”
One user said, “NTA – this is funny. You have to “earn” a relationship on his terms. I think he needs to check his offering. He’s way overvaluing what he brings to the table.”
Another user said, “I think it’s good that he’s seeing boundaries from OP and his sister because he sounds like he needs more experience being told no or that he’s wrong.”
What Do You Think?
Redditors agreed the father-in-law made the right decision and spending time with his ex daughter-in-law showed compassion and kindness. What do you think of this messy situation? Would you have made the same decision as the OP? Is the son to blame for this mess?
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