A military veteran elicited hundreds of divided opinions after his question about his wife and her former lover went viral on Reddit. The anonymous question was posted to the now-ubiquitous Am I The A—hole (AITA) subReddit, where u/Fukthatdeadguy (username checks out) asked fellow the community if he was in the wrong for “forbidding” his wife to go to her ex-lover’s (more specifically, affair partner’s) funeral.
Here’s how the story starts: “Married 15 years and almost didn’t make it this far.” Buckle in.
The veteran explains how when he was deployed, his wife had an affair with SD.
In our second year of marriage my wife went home when I was deployed and slept with Some Dickhead (who I’ll refer to as SD from here out) who she was loose acquaintances with growing up. She hadn’t seen him in years but he just happened to show up during my daughter’s birthday party because he was the son of one of my mother-in-law’s old friends. SD and my wife hooked up later that week after reconnecting.
He goes on to say that he would’ve immediately broken up with his wife had she not immediately confessed, taken full responsibility for the hookup, and cut off all contact with SD.
The reason I didn’t kick my wife’s ass to the curb and eventually forgave her is because she told me herself soon after I got home. And she didn’t try to justify it with the “oh well you were gone, i felt lonely blah blah blah”. No she actually said straight up that she was a f—king dumbass (her words not mine, though I agree) and she felt so sick and disgusting for doing it.
She immediately cut off all contact with SD and it took a lot of counseling and healing but here we are today; feels like non-stop since that time that my wife has gone above and beyond proving that I was right to keep her.
At least a decade has passed and SD has died in a workplace accident. Our veteran’s wife wants to go to the funeral to pay her respects—something that he feels incredibly hurt by.
Well my mother-in-law called yesterday and she heard from SD’s mother that SD died in some workplace accident and they’re having a funeral service this weekend.
My wife told me this and that she wanted to go and it was like I got kicked right in the dick. I instantly felt nauseous and had f—king horrible flashbacks of when she told me about her affair. All those horrible feelings resurfaced along with the shitty memories of me crying my f—king eyes out and my image of her shattering. The pain felt as fresh as when she dropped that bomb on me.
I asked her why seeing as she hadn’t talked to the guy in over a decade not to mention…you know….she f—ked him while we were married. She keeps saying shit like “it’s the right thing to do” and “she just wants to pay respects”.
He reveals that he finally put his foot down and categorically forbade his wife from going to SD’s funeral. Is he the a-hole?
I can’t stop repeating that I’m so hurt with that decision as he’s had no part of her life in so long and I’m re-living all those shitty nights I was sure our family would be shattered and I would only see my daughter 50% of the time.
After some back and forth I put my f—king foot down and told her NO, she cannot go. I said it’s so disrespectful to me and our marriage and we’ve been on the silent treatment since then. AITA?
It’s not as black and white as some of the other questions that appear on the AITA sub, but many felt quite strongly that OP was NTA (not the a-hole).
NTA. You are obviously distressed and she should consider this. Also, excuse my atheism, this person is dead. His non-conscious decaying body will not care who shows up.—Chihuahuamangoes
NTA- thank you for your service. This would be an absolute no go for me. You’re a good man for putting your family first, and not kicking her to the curb when you first found out. No need for her to open up old wounds. If she wants to pay respect, send some flowers…—TDIsideHustle
Always remember “forgiveness is right, but forgetting is just stupid.” You having this reaction is not weird. There is zero valid reason for her to want to go there unless she cared more about this guy than she let on. You’re not wrong at all for feeling the way you do.—Justwantetizbro
NTA – she had an affair with the guy, cut him out for years and wanted to prove to you that she’s committed to you. She has no relationship with him any longer, dead or alive unfortunately. If she was still friends, I would say she should visit but that is not the case here—theduchessofpizza
Dozens offered advice, suggesting the wife send flowers or a card to the funeral rather than just showing up—which could potentially cause the family more grief than comfort.
She can send a card or some other condolences. Her presence is not required to “do the right thing.”—DeeDee_Zee
You should ask her if the roles were reversed, how it would make her feel. NTA.—J_G_B
I’d suggest just a card to the family, letting them know she’s sorry for their loss. That’s it.—tomatoflavored
If they are at the funeral, your wife will cause them pain during an already unbearable time for them. They were/are innocent, too. I very much doubt they would want her there.—GennyX
I understand you feel what you feel, but it’s been thirteen years of work on her part, and it’s a bit strange that this is affecting you so viscerally if you’ve done work together to move past the hurt. Honestly, an extra session with your couple’s counselor might be all it takes to put this back into perspective for you.—stink3rbelle
While others argued altogether that OP’s wife has a right to attend the funeral and to deal with her grief how she sees fit, particularly since she has, in his words, “non-stop…gone above and beyond proving” he was right to forgive her.
Fellow atheist. Funeral traditions are for the living, not the dead. Paying respects to the family for their loss is still acceptable, even if she has no feelings for the deceased.—Anonymousecruz
I think it’s reasonable for OP to be upset, but also understandable that the wife wants closure and to pay respects to someone she once knew without some underlying motive or still having feelings for said person.—waste_away_
You shouldn’t forbid another adult from doing anything. Candidly, that alone makes you sound like an a-hole, in general. Btw, SD is dead… not like you have anything to worry about.—last1ususpect
You have a right to your feelings but so does your wife. She made a mistake but showed you ever since how she regretted it. Might it be she just wants closure here? He – once – was a friend and a bit more. Don’t let him pose a threat now, after all this time. Let her go to the funeral.—CitrineAndGoldstone
Just wondering if you think that she, as a person, has any agency in this matter. Should he consider the fact that she wants to go get closure for herself (she’s still alive), or is that not important? Honest question: do you think it would be easy for her to ask to go this funeral?—factorialite
I can only imagine that she actually had meaningful connection to him in the childhood years long before the divorce. And even if she didn’t, I think grieving for her might be something more than you’re anticipating: she’s lived the last decade of her life agonized with guilt over what she did to you. She’s put in the work to prove she’s loyal to you still, but in the back of her mind his mere existence as a person reminds her of her crime against you. Maybe grief is the way she can finally let go of what she did, that he can’t haunt her anymore and her bad choices with it. Either way, since he was never just a one night stand, there’s reason to believe she’s got emotion tied up in this guy’s life that she wants to let go of. You should remember that funerals are for letting go.—spongekitty
It seems as though OP might need to attend a few more counseling sessions with his wife to determine why his response to SD is still so visceral (despite SD being dead), and why attending SD’s funeral might be a healing experience for her.