Sometimes love can make us do strange, morally questionable things.
On the popular subReddit "Am I The A**hole?" Reddit user skalelomsms wanted to know whether he was in the wrong for grounding his daughter for bailing on his wedding.
He was marrying the woman he cheated on his cancer-stricken wife—his daughter's mother—with.
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He titled his story "AITA for punishing my daughter for not coming to my wedding?"
"I got married last weekend in my parent's house which has been in the family for generations. For health reasons, only immediate family was there. My daughter [16 years old] had been calling her new stepmom [21 years old] names like home wrecker and prostitute and I have been patient with her."
"She assumes I left her late mother because she had breast cancer. However, I did not leave her mother for having cancer. Nobody decides to have cancer."
"However, her late mother kept using her illness to devalue me and my sense of identity. She'd criticize the way I was taking care of her and even stuff like my hygiene or the cologne I was wearing. She made me feel worthless and I felt like she was projecting her own insecurities by saying the smell of my cologne was disgusting because she never made an effort to keep herself up and despite the fact that I objectively found her disgusting sometimes, I stuck by her until my self esteem was destroyed."
"I would work hard closing deals all day and be acknowledged for my efforts at work, yet I'd go home and she'd criticize and nag about every ounce of my being. I met her stepmom when I was in a dark place. She made me feel like I could be myself again. My wife made me feel unattractive and sexless and with my new wife, I felt alive. Just the fact that she appreciated me and felt physical chemistry with me made me want to do anything for her, to want to provide for her."
"That's when I decided not to bullshit my wife anymore and file for divorce. Since then my daughter's relatives from her mom's side had been poisoning her against me."
"Last weekend, when I and her stepmom went to the site of the wedding early we expected to see her drive to the wedding later. But instead she ended up going to stay with her aunt. Everybody asked where she was and there was chaos from my side of the family locating her."
"As punishment, I took her car and allowance away and have taken her phone away until I feel that she can learn to be respectful towards someone I very much love. And that it will be impossible for her to do that if she keeps having to hear from her late mom's side of the family. My parents have called and said that I was being too harsh. However, even when things are tough, I feel I cannot let a child of mine believe they can just do whatever they want. AITA?"
Reddit was pretty quick to come to the daughter's defense.
"[You're The A**hole] (YTA). You cheated on her mother. Regardless of the situation, that's all she sees. She doesn't know your marriage problems. All she knows is that you left her mother for another woman."
"On top of that, you're marrying said woman, when your 16 year old daughter is still trying to deal with her mother's passing. Of f*cking course she didn't want to go. YTA for not trying to be more understanding of your daughter, for trying to force her and then for punishing her."
"EDIT: Also, hold the f*cking phone. Somehow I completely missed that your new wife is 21???! That makes it worse! She's only five years older than your daughter. They're close in age, and you're STILL confused about her behavior? Holy cow. I can't even." -aldestry_
This Dad clearly wasn't thinking of things from his daughter's perspective.
"And OP kept saying 'her stepmom' over and over. At first I found it weird because daughter is 16. His new wife won't help raising her, she is pretty much already raised and new wife trying to parent all of the sudden would feel... Weird."
"When you consider that the new wife is 5 years older, then the term 'stepmom' feels even more out of place. Or am I too worried about the term when it's just a word? I feel weird about it but don't know if it's justified." -Evaguess
The internet generally doesn't look kindly on 50-year-old men who cheat on their wife with young women 30 years their junior.
"As a 22 year old girl myself, I cannot believe that a grown adult man, 50 YEARS OLD, would EVER want to date a 21 year old. It is, simply put, f'ing stupid. IDC how 'mature for her age' she seems, a 21 year old has completely different experiences, priorities, and interests than someone 30 years her senior."
"Its glaringly obvious that OP fell into the adulterer's trap of putting their affair partner on a pedestal, failing to realize that they only have an outsider's perspective of what a relationship with that person would actually be like. Cause, after all, if you're having an affair, you aren't exposed to any of the undesirable traits your SO may have that become apparent by living together/meeting families/raising children together. I gotta say, though, I'm excited for OP to be 65 Y/O with a 35 Y/O wife that he knows is open to adultery, that should be fun for him." -hellnospyro
For many, the husband's complaints about his wife didn't sound very substantial.
"Oh wow, poor guy, working like everyone else without the appreciation of his jerky cancer-stricken wife. Your hygiene directly impacts the health of someone with a compromised immune system, but who cares about a compromised immune system when you closed deals all day."
"It must really suck for you that the chemicals killing the cancer in her body changed her sense of smell and ability to tolerate your cologne. That must have been, like, super hard for you. YTA, give your daughter back her stuff and go get some counseling." -MildlyAnnoyedMother
Some hoped the entire story was made-up.
"It's very common for people's sense of smell and taste to change while going through chemo. If this self centered AH took the time to care for and support his wife, he would have learned that. There would probably be nothing he could do to change how he smelled (seriously, I know a cancer patient that went nuts 'smelling' her nurse's body odor and no one could smell a darn thing) but he could have been sympathetic. An unbelievable AH. I really hope this is fake." -Birchie07
This husband shouldn't be pointing fingers.
"YTA big time. First of all leaving your wife while she was battling cancer is a pretty sh*tty thing to do. It sounds like you were just as bad to her as she may have been to you, saying things like 'I objectively found her disgusting sometimes.' It also sounds like you have no empathy for what she may have been going through."
"You also left her after you met this new interest which implies that you cheated on her. That is never justified even if she was treating you badly. Now you are trying to force your daughter to just be ok with everything and accept this new person. Even if you were right in everything up until this point that is still wrong to expect her to adjust so quickly."
"By punishing her you are just going to further drive a wedge between her relationship with you and her step-mom. If you don't change course soon I wouldn't be surprised if she wanted nothing to do with you once she's old enough to move out." -ky13r
Even those that accepted the daughter might have gone too far agreed that the father was ultimately in the wrong.
"YTA. Your daughter calling her a prostitute and a whore is not okay. Your daughter not going to your wedding is fine. Your daughter not liking your new wife is fine. You're daughter thinking you are gross and having her own opinions about the nature of your relationship with her mother is fine."
"You are a grown man who left a woman with breast cancer while raising a teenager daughter who was in the process of losing her mother. For a woman 5 years older than your teenage daughter. You then punished your daughter for having feeling about that when you fully admit some of worst of it is coming from other sources influencing her. You are the AH and you may have irrevocably damaged your relationship with your kid because you didn't feel "alive" enough while your ex was dying." -UrHumbleNarr8or
"YTA - this reads like you cheated on your wife while she was dying of cancer, and now you're punishing your daughter for having a problem with it." -Wikidess
Sorry, OP, you might have come to Reddit for some understanding, but it seems like you were the jerk this time.
The book Parents Who Cheat: How Children and Adults Are Affected When Their Parents Are Unfaithful is available here for parents or their children who want to heal after a betrayal.