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Interesting AITA thread on a step issue

2Tired4Drama's picture

I've edited this a bit for brevity but here's the post:

The woman wrote in her post that she was soon getting married to her fiance and that she has a 16-year-old daughter from a previous partner. 

"The bride mentioned that her daughter has recently developed a new hobby of paper origami and came up with the idea of making something for the table favors at the wedding. As a mother, she wanted to let her daughter express her creativity and even bought her the necessary paper for the decorations.

One day, when they were visiting the wedding venue, the bride’s daughter mentioned how she was looking forward to including her decorations at the wedding. The woman and her friends thought it was a great idea, however, the fiance disliked it.

The woman wrote, “When we came back home, he expressed his concerns about what my daughter said, and said that it seemed ‘childish’ and that he wouldn't have it [at] his wedding.”

… When the woman wasn’t home, the man went to talk to her daughter about her paper origami ideas, and things didn’t go well.

The woman wrote, “When I came home today my daughter came crying to me, telling me she's sorry that she's ruining my wedding with her ideas and said she'll pay me back for the paper.” …

Her daughter then explained that her fiance had told her that her ideas were ruining the wedding and that her mother agreed with him. After hearing about everything, the woman was quite angry at her fiance.

She couldn't stay silent when she saw her daughter being hurt and decided that her daughter was more important than her relationship — so she called off her wedding.

She wrote, "I confronted him about everything and told him that he will not shame my daughter and dishonor her amazing work and that we need a break." …

She wrote, “[Daughter] told me that while I was away there were many [instances] where he would tell her that her art was horrible, and said that if I wasn't her mother I'd agree.”

The woman reassured her that it wasn’t true and that she would always support her art. After finding out about everything, the woman felt relieved that she didn’t marry her fiance."


Of course, all the responders defended the mom was for calling off the wedding.  Now, as seasoned stepparents, how about we take a stab at the "other side of the story" from the man's perspective?  Naturally he is not painted in the best light in this description and I'd hazard a guess that his story is very different from what SD and BM relayed.  

I'd be willing to bet the 16 year old daughter's newfound "amazing" origami art probably looked like crap and would be an embarassment to both the girl herself AND the couple. Not to stereotype but most men could care less about table decorations - unless they are absolutely horrid. 

Of course mom's friends aren't going to say anything to her about decorations but he could. While I think the guy was wrong to confront teen directly (and allegedly say her mother agreed) he was certainly within his rights to have a vote on whether they should be included on tables or not.  

Also, if mom is so adamant about "always supporting [daughter's] art" I can see that turning out to be a let's financially support the starving artist mentality when daughter becomes an adult, which could eventually impact his finances.



2Tired4Drama's picture

If the man allegedly OFTEN told SD that her art was horrible then why did SD decide it would be a good idea to make her art for their wedding?  Passive aggressive hostility, perhaps?  Driving a wedge between couple, perhaps? Manipulation, perhaps?

I think that's a big "tell" in this story. 

ESMOD's picture

what kind of ahole is picking apart a kid's artwork?  he doesn't have to like it.. I don't like every piece of art that hangs in a museum or someone's home.  If she gets joy from doing the work.. the process? being creative.. even if all her attempts aren't gallery worthy.. why is it such a big deal to him to tear her down.. it seems petty and mean for him to do that. and having some crappy art on a table isn't going to ruin a wedding... even considering the source of the story.. I can't see much in his favor.

Now.. mom may be indulgent with her daughter's art.. that doesn't mean she is going to support her or expect her new spouse to support her daughter financially.. none of that was part of this at all.

ESMOD's picture

I do think it's a red flag that he went behind his stb wife's back and basically tells her kid that her art sucked and would "ruin" the wedding. (which is an odd dynamic in itself that he cares about those appearances so much.. most guys I know are happy to just be "out" of the wedding planning and just show up in their suit.. lol).

While mom may be "blindly" supportive of her daughter's art.. and that could have some issues.. I think the underhandedness of how he handled it to be worse.

And... honestly.. it isn't going to RUIN a wedding to have some "poorly executed paper cranes" (if they were indeed bad) on the tables..  I mean really.. if you are THAT concerned about appearances.. you are probably too shallow for me.

how hard would it be to just say.. "yeah.. mary's daughter has been trying out origami.. and wanted to do something nice for her mom and I".. if someone was rude enough to comment on their poor execution.. "Well.. she is just starting out I guess.. it's the thought that counts right?"

I mean.. how hard its it to be a decent human being.

ImperfectlyPerfect's picture

I believe wholeheartedly that you believe the daughter is being honest and I wholeheartedly believe that she is NOT. I have a very strong feeling the truth is being stretched and quickly a "story" is being told that soon becomes reality. Been in these shoes, done that. It got so bad with one adult SS that they believed their own lies would say it to my face and I'd be so blindsided and confused that I couldn't even defend the lie and that would lead to the lie becoming a truth. Only recently when they lie do I state "That is a lie." It took me YEARs to do this. This guy is going to find greener pastures !

2Tired4Drama's picture

Because the whole way the issue is presented makes me wonder to its validity. As you say, some people can quickly make fiction into fact and use it to justify their righteousness, and gaslight anyone who disagrees. 

ImperfectlyPerfect's picture

Yeah @2tired4drama. I read the entire article and it becomes "reality." The mom believes the reality and to make the guy look extra cruel the reality gets warped. He probably said something like, "Do we really have to have the orgami on the table?" And from that mom and daughter built this statement into a gnormious sand castle and he was likely goated into further conversation which led to building a much "bigger story" to be victims. 

Also please note that woman who wrote article spends a lot of TIME justifying why she called the marriage off. There's way more to this story. 

2Tired4Drama's picture

If this guy was an ahole and requently was critical of the SD then why didn't mom pick up on this long ago?  I am sure he would have been critical about a lot of things not just SD's art. 


ESMOD's picture

while the girl may have exagerated the BF's critique of her art.  There seems to be no mistake that he had told her mom he didn't want the origami.. and mom told him she DID ... and so  he went behind mom's back to tell her daughter directly.  for that behavior.. I'm inclined to believe that there is enough honesty in what the daughter said that she was right to call off the wedding.

and.. perhaps the BF should have had the balls to do it when mommy refused to say no to her daughter about the origami... but she did the right thing.. even if he benefited too.

2Tired4Drama's picture

and she admits she was repeatedly told that he didn't like her art, why did she decide she was going to provide art for HIS (not just her mom's) wedding and tell her mom she was doing so without including him in the decision?  SD just unilaterally decides that's what she wants to do KNOWING he doesn't like her art, then gets her mom's buy-in and when guy objects he's the A-hole?  She's 16 not 6.

ESMOD's picture

that may have happened in concert with this instance.. and maybe her mom encouraged it?  who knows... again. an origami project sitting on a table isn't liable to ruin a wedding... that's a complete exageration and overreaction on his part.  and if he has such a strong aversion to her kid's artwork? it seems that it is best they aren't

It could have also been that a few times he made comments.. but that it didn't really "hit home" to her until he had the big blow up with her about her contribution to the tables.. and it's then that he may have really been driving it home with the "I never liked any of your art.. your mom doesn't either.. she is just being nice cause she is your mom".  again.. the prior instances could have been fairly minor.. but in light of what he said now.. it was different.

again.. I don't care if she is 16 or 6.. wanting to be part of her mother's big day isn't horrible.. even if her crafts aren't expert level.. who would care.. I don't know one person who would be judgemental in a situation like that.. that he was so "embarassed" at the prospects says more about him imho.


2Tired4Drama's picture

My basic premise is there is more to this story.  And unfortunately, when there is a "step"parent involved it usually skews against them. Their side isn't often told or that perspective isn't even tolerated on most forums, and thus the anti-step stereotype persists. 

caninelover's picture

Two wrongs don't make a right either.  He should not have spoken to SD without BM involved and present.  And shouldn't be calling her arts/crafts 'crap'.

If he didn't want the decorations he and BM should have discussed it with SD and maybe given her an alternate (less obvious) way to participate.

ESMOD's picture

I do agree that it was a red flag that if he felt strongly about something that his wife to be wouldn't entertain any compromise either.. 

ImperfectlyPerfect's picture

YEP. Well said @2Tired4drama, it's a trap and the only person who doesn't know the game is stepparent.

caninelover's picture

Overall he sounds like a D-bag and a bully.

But BM should have asked him his feelings about SD doing origami for the tables before buying the paper, etc.  And she should have respected if his answer was no, and told the daughter she could do something for the bridal shower or bridal party instead.

Both seem pretty inconsiderate of each other so best they didn't get married.  They would have been miserable.

2Tired4Drama's picture

The guy was honest and said he didn't want the origami. Mom went out, bought paper and told SD to go ahead anyway.  

Aniki-Moderator's picture

Both seem pretty inconsiderate of each other...

Yep. That's why I figured one (or both) dodged a bullet. 

ImperfectlyPerfect's picture

Yeah...I incorporated SKIDs into wedding - one kid wanted to play guitar. Fine...he decided he wanted to play a song that revolves around death, destruction, and despair. I made DH change the song choice. Both SKIDs did fine but you know what? It's actually not the SKID's day it's YOUR day. I bet 1000% that there is much much more to this story and I have a very good feeling that the SKID may have stretched the truth about the interaction to her mommmmmmie. But alas @aniki-moderator is correct a bullet was dodged, this was a great little tip off of the kind of behavior and stuff to come. Sounds like this guy had a little angel on his side. <3 

ESMOD's picture

I think there is a bit of a difference between a musical performance and a passive display of some artwork (though if the swans were black or portraying death.. I could be  We hosted a wedding on our cruise boat once where the bride's daughter gave them an interpretitive dance as a gift.. that was awkward and painful... but again.. it's kind of the difference between being the center of attention performing .. vs having some part of things by helping with the table decorations.

ImperfectlyPerfect's picture

@ESMOD totally respect the difference in perspective but frankly I really only had them performing at the wedding for their sakes. It wasn't for myself whatsoever. I agree hide the orgami in some flower arrangement but what I think is this is a microcosm of a larger issue at hand...this is just a small tipping point of manipulation and behavior where stepparent will never have a say in anything. By ignoring the stepparents request at an event that is suppose to be all about the couple it's just a reveal of what's to come. It will always be "But...what about the child??" And then when the child is now 40, it'll be "but...what about the grandchildren??" His fate is slated to play a side role not only in decision making in his own wedding, but for the rest of his life. RUN AWAY !

ndc's picture

If the story as related is what happened - the fiance told the daughter her ideas were ruining the wedding and that her mother agreed with that - then I think the fiance is an AH and handled the situation very poorly.  I wouldn't marry him in that circumstance either, at least until the daughter was launched.  In reality, I'm sure there was more going on.  I can't imagine my husband would have cared about origami art at our wedding - he didn't care about much of anything and left it all up to me.  Maybe there are men who are very into the details to the point they'd insult a kid over her wedding ideas/artwork, but most guys I know were not nearly as interested in wedding details as their wives were.  I've got to think there were some underlying issues between the fiance and the daughter, maybe caused by the mother's actions, maybe not.  If that was the case, cancelling the wedding before everyone descended into step hell was probably for the best.

AgedOut's picture

I think we see these AITA situations with our own eyes, meaning we see it from our point of view and if we despise our skiddos, we see the SD from our view points. 

hereiam's picture

I agree with AgedOut and ESMOD.

There are MANY asshole step parents, who truly do treat their step kids like trash, and there are bio parents who allow it and I don't agree with that. The partner does not always come first.

If the woman called off the wedding, I'm sure there were other things besides this instance over HIS wedding (as he referred to it).


Harry's picture

Gave that guy a break.  He did not know what life in front of him was going to go.  That 16 yo SD had more power then him

That relationship wasn't going to work. Good it ended before everything got messy 

sandye21's picture

We will never know the true story.  The guy could be an ahole, or he could have endured possibly years of interferance from SD in his relationship, and a piece of irigami was the final straw.  BM might have dodged the bullet but it could have been the guy who dodged it.

Before exDH and I got married, exSD was pleasant to my face, but the night before the wedding she started to show her colors.  It was a very minor incident, but DH came to me and told me exSD did not 'feel comfortable' in my home.  She wanted to be the 'photographer' for the wedding.  I said, "Sure."  At the wedding she wore black, was withdrawn, and acted as if she were at a funeral.  I suppose our marriage meant the death of any hope that her parents would reunite.   Luckily, the photos weren't too bad, but her actions were a precurser to the hell I would live with for 30 years, and DH always took her side against me.  After a while, all the 'little' things add up so they are part of a bigger problem.

2Tired4Drama's picture

Plus it's all in how the teller tells the tale. There could be an awful lot of background here we will never know, because the poster is only posting from her perspective and from what her daughter told her.  I think reading between the lines and critical thinking can go a long way in trying to get to ground truth.  

Just like in your case, Sandy, the little things can add up. If your DH were to write a letter, he'd probably pose it as "My wife criticized my darling daughter for being shy at our wedding."  Based on this, many people would say, "What a horrible witch!" and say you are the ahole.   

In reality, others present might have agreed with your perspective, that SD's sullen, withdrawn behavior was obvious to all that she was not happy about your union. But their side, and your side, is not presented.  

It's interesting that if this were a criminal trial, the man in this case would be on his way to the gallows without most people batting an eye.  When it comes to SParents, it is much easier to justify guilty before even considering the plausibility of innocence. 

IMO, this is why the stereotype and bias of stepparents continues to exist.  Sure, there are bad ones out there just like any group of people.  Simply use the prefix "step" before parent and the majority of people have a negative, visceral reaction. 

I will continue to say that stepparents, as a group, are the only category of people who can still be vilified en masse and most of society has no problem with it. 

strugglingSM's picture

I'm still laughing at the thought of some beginner origami decorating the tables at someone's wedding. All I can think of are the origami frogs that are usually made by elementary students. 

As we all know in stepland, nothing is what is seems, but it does seem as though these two should not have gotten married. Mom agreeing to something with her daughter about the wedding seems like a weird power dynamic (since it's not the daughter's wedding) and future stepdad going to the daughter instead of talking to future wife seems like a weird power dynamic. 

advice.only2's picture

I think these AITA stories tend to lean very heavily one way in the posters favor.  Personally I would have thought the poster was a$$hole if she had married the guy.  I guess you just need to keep a lookout for the story “AITA, my ex fiancé believed her kids over me.”   

AlmostGone834's picture

I maintain anyone who, for whatever reason, does not become a stepparent dodged a bullet.

2Tired4Drama's picture

Most (not all) posters on here would agree.  But then, most of us on here (with a few exceptions) have not had an easy time of it. Sometimes for decades. 

ESMOD's picture

I have had what most would call a outcome positive situation with my now adult SD's.. BM is now a non issue for us really.  

And.. I would still counsel anyone who is thinking about going into steplife to think long and hard.. to look for the red flags in their partners.. the potential skids and also be honest with themselves about their ability to weather the trials and tribulations that are sure to come to pass in steplife.  it will never be perfect.. but it can end up working out.. even if there are some rough spots in the road.  but we have to be suited to it too.  there certainly are some people here that I would see as not well suited for steplife.. where they have baggage of their own.. insecurities... or unrealistice or self centered ideas.. but I also see many more situations where the disney parents.. and toxic Exes make it near impossible for there to be any kind of normal peace in the house too.  I would not wish most of these situations on anyone I cared about.. some are just aggravating.. and some of these situations are heartbreaking.. but going into steplife.. you WILL experience something along that spectrum at some point.. so again.. I definitely give a buyer beware advice.. lol.. and I have 2 skids that like/love me.. (one of each.. haha).  and even with that.. I have plenty of room to give words to the wiser.

2Tired4Drama's picture

where the dysfunction was deeply carved in stone long before the stepparent entered. Oftentimes that is not evident for years or doesn't manifest itself immediately. Most people do not have the education or resources to understand the ramifications of steplife. Even those who marry much later in life, with skids who are already in their 40s and 50s, have problems. 

I guess you're fortunate ESMOD.  You have the fortitude to be well-suited to it so it all worked out well for you and you have skids that love/like you.  I think you provide a very valuable service on steptalk by providing all of the rest of us with wake-up calls when we are being self-centered and unrealistic.  Keep up the good work!

ESMOD's picture

I think a lot of time.. the dysfunction was there and isn't always immediate.. but that's where we usually see the problems with people who rush in and next thing they know are living in a complete cesspool of a situation.. where if they had progressed more slowly.. they might have had time to back  but when the first post is someone who met their SO.. often when they were still legally married to the EX.. and end up cohabitating and pregnant within months.. or the first year or so of even knowing the person..     So.. while it's not too cool to tell a hormonal pregnant woman she messed up.. it's really the truth when they didn't give the relationship any time to mature and develop before they are literally shackled to this dude and his offspring and all the drama that ensues.. at that point.. it's hope that the guy is decent enough to want to change the dynamic for his SO.. but if he isn't? it's going to be an uphill battle for sure.

And.. while I may have been somewhat suited to steplife.. it was hard at times.. and we had that HCBM and the kids were not always angels... as kids can be.. lol.  And.. whether it was "luck" or good picking that my DH was supportive of me, my role in the home etc.. I see a lot of partners on here don't get that kind of support.. and it has to be exponentially difficult in those situations.   And.. even in the end.. if I were to cease to be with my DH.. would his kids still have a relationship with me? maybe his younger daughter.. but the relationships are still somewhat conditional on my relationship with HIM.. and I knwo they have a living mother.. they love etc.. so I have no illusions of who would be tossed off the cliff if a choice had to be made.. haha.

2Tired4Drama's picture

There have been people who rushed in, ignored all the warnings and were facing huge consequences that will affect them for the rest of their lives.  Some of these people simply may not have had the resources or experience to understand what the danger signs were. 

I try to remember that posters here come from all walks of life, all parts of the country/world, all levels of education, all socioeconomic levels, and all different cultures. The fact they are here on STalk means they need a place to feel safe and talk about their fears, anger, and heartbreaks.  There is always time for correction once people gain greater insight.  I don't like to kick them while they are down. 


sandye21's picture

This was the case in my marriage.  I was living with exDH but didn't really want to marry him, I wanted to take my time to get to know him.  But my dysfunctional family insisted that I didn't live in sin and exDH was working my father over, lying by omission, etc.  If I had the courage to tell my father that I wanted to take my time, I probably wouldn't have married exDH.  There are all sorts of dynamics we aren't aware of, even in ourselves, that we need to address before making such a major step in our lives.

But for those who see the red flags AFTER marriage like I did, it's still not too late.  Please seek help, possibly therapy, to find out why you are selling yourself short and remaining in a disasterous relationship.

Renewed's picture

I think the BIG take-away from this story and your post is the very important reminder that we must ALWAYS remember that what we're being told may not be the full story. That goes for everything we read and hear, whether it's in our personal lives, or about celebrities, in politics, whatever. Stories are usually slanted to get the desired response from the reader and it's just a good life skill to think carefully about what the other side of the story might be.

I had not heard this story until now, but you bring up valid points about whether the fiance is really the monster he's being portrayed as.

Notthedoormat's picture

I think there's a lot we don't know and can't know about this whole situation.  My first thought is why is origami by potential SD his hill to die on? My second thought is why would he talk to his fiance's daughter so coldly and harshly? 

I suspect mom assumed he wouldn't mind origami table decorations by her daughter...its just folded paper, no big deal, but if he expressed strong feelings opposing it, ok...maybe she could make one piece to just appease her and be done with it to avoid drama.

But I do wonder if the daughter exaggerated when telling her mom what he said to parents and step parents most of us have been on the receiving end of exaggerations and it literally can make a mountain out of a mole hill. 

I think they both probably dodged bullets here.  It helps if we as step parents can be flexible,  but we HAVE to have boundaries too, or we get walked all over. SKids can often manipulate and do without a second thought, so it's definitely a rough life sometimes,  even when the skids are older. And as step parents,  it sometimes feels like we don't have as much of a voice in situations. Its not for the faint of heart.

lieutenant_dad's picture

They both suck if everything in the post is accurate. I went and read the post and update on Reddit. Seems like the BM made a decision without having talked to her FH first (or at all until he got blindsided by his FW, FSD, and the friend making the decorations). Any SP would be upset by that, even if the actual incident wasn't a hill to die on. The BM says they argued about it and that's when he called it "childish", so my guess is that he said it in the heat of the argument. The BM then ended the conversation abruptly because she had to go help her sister move.

So, major points against the BM for 1) not communicating with her FH, 2) not being willing to compromise or apologize that she screwed up, and 3) abruptly ending a conversation that was clearly important to her FH because, likely similar to her BD, someone/something else was more important.

IF what the FH did after that is to be believed, he is a major AH. IF he really had told FSD in the past that her artwork is trash and her mom would agree if she wasn't her mom, then he's a major AH. Is it possible the situation was embellished? Sure, because the BM took her BD out to her favorite restaurant alone and gave her an open forum to trash talk her FH - and reward her for it.

The BM seems to also have a flare for the dramatic. She called off her wedding on a family call and broke it off with her FH publicly. She doesn't mention if he admitted to saying anything to her BD, which I find interesting. He did pack his bags and leave. That could either mean that he knew he was had or that he was just tired of the BS. Hard to say. The BM does go on to say that she told his family what happened, which caused some to side with the FH and saying her BD was being sensitive, but FMIL apologized on her son's behalf for what he did. So that's not really any help, either.

The BM throws up some red flags in her behavior as a partner. That wouldn't justify the FH saying what he said if he actually said it. But we don't know that side of the story, so I'm not going to say he's a victim of a Disney Mom and manipulative SK. But, I'm also not going to say that he wouldn't have had anything to complain about either because his FW clearly has communication and priority problems.

Rags's picture

The bride dodged a big bullet IMHO.  That he went to the SD behind his bride's back, says it all and makes him a write off.

My perspective... is good riddance to that immature juvenile POS.

Sure, the groom can certainly have an opinion on wedding stuff.  However, the manipulation is unacceptable.