Almost a quarter of children under age 18 years old (23%) in the United States of America live in single-parent homes, according to the 2019 study by Pew Research Center. This is the highest rate in the world, followed by Canada (15%), India (5%), Nigeria (4%), and China (3%).
The effects of a broken family on a child is immeasurable. The impact may depend on the child’s age at the time of the divorce or separation, the child’s personality, and the quality of the family relationship.
Younger children may suffer from depression, while older children may show little emotional reaction. But the latter is not a sign that they are coping well with the separation; they may simply be bottling their loneliness, anger, and other negative emotions inside. Also, the impact of parents’ separation can be observed in their educational performance, interaction with other people, and family dynamics.
The fiancee of this Original Poster, who published his story on Reddit’s popular r/AmItheA–hole forum, is a product of a broken family. It took her years to heal, but she has now become a confident woman who looks forward to her wedding and having her own family.
OP, with the username u/Independent_Foot8485, wrote, “My fiancee (29f) and me (34m) are getting married in two weeks after 13 years of friendship and four years of dating. She’s fantastic, and our relationship has been so good for the both of us. Planning the wedding has been uncomplicated and fun. We included my mother a lot – for example, my fiancee took her dress shopping.”
He continued his post with, “The reason is that my fiancee has always had a good relationship with my parents, and it grew much closer over the past year, after her mother died. They kind of see her as another child, and I know that my fiancee appreciates that immensely. As for my fiancee’s father, she went NC when she was 15, but even before, he hadn’t played an important role in her life. His behavior was one cause of her depression and low self-esteem. It took her years to heal. She’s happy with the way things are now. I never met the man, so neither of us considered inviting him to the wedding.”
Everything seemed perfect until one evening when they were all having dinner. OP’s mother, who’s a retired child psychologist, announced that she had invited the father of OP’s fiancee to the wedding. Everyone was shocked. But OP’s fiancee remained calm and explained that she wished she had been respected on this one boundary that she has set. She told OP’s mom how her action has hurt so terribly and how she has lost her trust in her. With that, OP had to take his fiancee home, while telling his mom that she was no longer invited to the wedding.
Arriving home, OP’s fiancee finally broke down. Over the years, OP’s mom had been trying to convince them that OP’s fiancee should make up with her father, who she thought she needed more after her mom’s passing away. They had tried their best to explain that she was happier now and didn’t need her estranged father back in her life. The couple didn’t expect that OP’s mom would disrespect their decision by crossing the line.
OP continued to write, “My mother’s also been inconsolable since and called me dozens of times, but I haven’t picked up yet. My fiancee feels unsafe about having the wedding if there is a chance that her father might show up. We might just cancel the whole thing. My father, who’s not condoning any of my mother’s actions, thinks I should talk to mum, hear her out. My siblings agree that uninviting her was too drastic. I just see the distress my mother has caused my fiancee and get angry all over again. So AITA/AWTA for sticking to our decision?”
The AITA community was quick to respond and sympathize.
One Reddit user wrote, “I was shocked when OP revealed that his mother was a retired phycologist specializing in family reunification. Even I know that an emotional day like a wedding isn’t the time to start getting reacquainted.”
Another Redditor commented, “My cousin’s ex is like that. He’s a therapist himself but with a masters, while she has the doctorate. She’s batshit crazy and lost custody of their kid as a result. She tried using her position in the custody battle, but that didn’t work out so well for her. My cousin on the other hand avoids even speaking of his job or education among friends and family.”
Meanwhile, this person further explained, “It’s also not ethical for her to treat family members, which is basically what she was attempting to do. She crossed so many ethical barriers here that, if she was still practicing, she could face professional censure and possible restrictions on her license over it.”
Likewise, this person made the following remark, “I had a friend in college whose parents used to run a halfway house for people just released from prison. He once mentioned an observation that his dad had made. It was that, in his experience, most social workers, mental health counselors, etc, had dedicated their lives to helping others as a way of avoiding working on their own personal issues.”Whizzco