Dad Ditching Son's Wedding to Spend Time With Ex-Daughter-in-Law Applauded

A man who refused to attend his son's wedding, choosing instead to hang out with his former daughter-in-law, is being praised by Reddit users.

The dad shared his story on the Am I the A******? (AITA) thread, explaining that his son married for the first time at the age of 19, to a girl he had met in college.

"I tried convincing him to wait because I personally felt he was too immature," he wrote.

"They both dropped out and moved back here to his hometown. At 20 they had their first child, a beautiful little girl. 16 months later, my [daughter-in-law] gave birth to their second child, a little boy."

Husband and wife arguing
Stock photo of a husband and wife arguing while the woman holds a baby in her arms. The Reddit poster tried to talk his son out of getting married at 19, as he didn't think he was "mature enough." PeopleImages/iStock/Getty Images Plus

The new mom of two seemed unhappy in the period after the birth, the man wrote. At first, the dad and his wife thought it was postpartum depression, but then discovered that their son was to blame.

"Just after the second arrived, my son and his wife separated," he wrote. She would bring the kids over for a visit. It was then she began unloading on us.

"I know there's two sides to every story, but considering I know my son, I believed her. I sat my son down numerous times to speak with him regarding his marriage.

"He refused to take responsibility, blamed her for everything even when I directly pointed out where he was the sole problem."

The young couple tried counseling, but couldn't resolve their issues. A year later, the daughter-in-law filed for divorce.

Three days later, the son announced his new relationship on Facebook and, within a month, he was engaged.

Father and adult son ignoring each other
Stock photo of a father and adult son with their backs turned, ignoring each other. The poster told his son that his new relationship did not "have his blessing." fizkes/iStock/Getty Images Plus

"My son had forced his then-wife to become a permanent [stay-at-home mother] at the birth of their first child," the dad wrote.

"She of course had no other family or friends here, she knew no one aside from us. She had nowhere to go with two small children."

The dad and his wife secretly got their former daughter-in-law and their grandchildren an apartment, as well as helping her out financially.

"Before the divorce was even finalized, we received a wedding invitation," he wrote. "I made it clear to my son, I would not be attending and they would not have my blessing.

"His mother told him she would see to it that I would attend. I stayed consistent in my decision, I also asked him not to bring his fiancée around our house out of respect for the mother of his children."

The wedding took place on February 11, but the dad did not attend. His daughter also declined the invitation for the same reasons.

"My wife picked up our grandkids, got them dressed and attended the wedding," he said.

"My daughter and I decided to spend the evening with his ex. I couldn't imagine her sitting alone, while her kids attended their father's wedding."

"We took her out to distract her mind. I just wanted her to know, she'll always be considered family to us.

Older man comforting a crying young woman
Stock photo of an older man comforting a crying young woman. The poster said his former daughter-in-law needed support and was "tearfully grateful." Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images Plus

"My daughter also made a joke they can drop the in-law status and just be sisters now. She was very tearfully grateful, I realized just how badly she needed our support and specifically on that night."

The next morning, his son phoned and called him a "horrible father" for not attending the wedding.

"Few days later he caught wind that I spent the wedding evening with his ex," the dad continued. "He said that was the ultimate form of betrayal, and further myself and his sister would have to earn a relationship with him on his terms only."

The man's Reddit post has received almost 35,000 upvotes and over 4,000 comments, with most users supporting his decision to avoid his son's wedding and support his former daughter-in-law.

Is It OK to Stay Friends With Your Child's Ex?

Breakups aren't only tricky for the couple. Other family members can find themselves getting involved, particularly if the couple had children, the separation was acrimonious, or the whole relationship was toxic.

If your adult child has split from their partner and you were particularly close to their ex, that doesn't necessarily have to change.

What is acceptable depends on the individual situation, according to Elizabeth Fedrick, a counselor and owner of Evolve Counseling and Behavioral Services in Arizona.

Older couple talking to a young woman
Stock photo of an older couple talking to a young woman in their kitchen. Counselor Elizabeth Fedrick said your child might not like your decision, but you have the right to stay friends with their ex. Drazen Zigic/iStock/Getty Images Plus

"If they were the one to cause harm to your daughter/son, then it would likely not be sensitive or appropriate to maintain a relationship," Fedrick told Newsweek.

"However, if they were not in the wrong, and you have developed a close relationship with them, it would make sense to maintain this relationship."

Still, it is likely that your child will be unhappy with your decision.

"It is important to note that they have a right to their feelings about this but, at the end of the day, who you choose to have a relationship with is your prerogative," she said.

If the ex is the mother or father of your grandchildren, Fedrick recommends staying civil whatever your relationship was like in the past.

"It would not be in the child's best interest to see conflict or tension between their parents and grandparents," she said.

"When a child is aware that the adults they care most about do not get along, it can create feelings of uneasiness, fear and anxiety."

'Your Kid Is Being an Idiot'

Reddit commenters were firmly on the side of the original poster, or OP.

Born_Ad8420 wrote: "I'm glad OP is in ex-wife's corner. Sometimes, despite all the best efforts, people end up being s***** and it seems OP's son is s***** at this point in his life."

Angry young man on a mobile phone
Stock photo of an angry young man on a cellphone. The man's son called the next day and said he was a "horrible father." fizkes/iStock/Getty Images Plus

DragonCelica posted: "Seriously, a girlfriend 3 days later, which turns into a fiancee after a month?!"

TooOldForThis added: "I'm guessing she was his girlfriend long before that, hence the divorce."

Seliphra pointed out "the very clear abusive patterns of OP's son forcing her to give up her career, leave behind all family and friends, and have no contact with anyone."

Duckalono wrote: "I always say just because you're blood doesn't mean you're family."

The_ShadyLady had one question: "Why would anyone care to 'earn a relationship' with someone who clearly puts no value on the relationships he already had?"

Nurse-ratchet- said: "It sounds like you're a reasonable parent who acknowledges when your kid is being an idiot. I don't see anything wrong with you choosing to support the mother of your grandchildren, who he seems to have left in a bad spot."

Newsweek has contacted the original poster for comment. We could not verify the details of the case.

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