A woman has told her children she is not okay with them calling their stepmom “mom,” given their heartbreaking history with one another.
Writing in a post shared on Reddit’s “Am I The A**hole” forum, where it has been upvoted over 10,000 times, the woman explained how just two years ago, her husband left her for her best friend, with the pair going on to remarry. The thread can be viewed here.
Despite being married to her husband for 20 years, she said: “His affair wasn’t a surprise” and that her mother-in-law even warned her on their wedding day that men like him “don’t stay loyal.”
“What hurt the most was the betrayal from my best friend,” she wrote. “I loved this woman and considered her a sister.”
Since then the woman has had no contact with either her ex-husband or her former best friend, with all communication done through a third party, while she skips any events they attend and all family birthdays are celebrated separately.
Her kids, who are all in their late teens or early 20s, “respect this boundary” and “know not to mention them” around her.
However, the situation flared up recently when her 16-year-old daughter asked if she would be okay with her “calling her stepmom ‘mom.'”
“I told her that no, I am not okay with that woman being called ‘mom,’ but she could call her that if she wanted to,” she wrote. “Just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean she doesn’t have to do it. I won’t be mad at her if she calls her ‘mom.'”
According to the Reddit post, her other kids then “started getting mad” at her daughter for suggesting it, but she shut them down.
“I have an honest policy with my kids, I am always open and honest with them,” she said. “Just because I do not personally like something they do, doesn’t mean I don’t let them do it.”
Despite this, the woman said she was later called up by her mother-in-law “screaming” and accusing her of “alienating the stepmom” by saying she wasn’t okay with her being called “mom.”
Adding further context to the situation, she explained that the stepmom was her “best friend for 15 years” and that the kids “considered her an aunt.”
“When the affair happened the oldest kids stopped talking to her but the youngest was still very attached to her,” she wrote. “Maybe that’s why she feels comfortable with calling her ‘mom.’ Either way, it’s her choice.”
While the woman appeared conflicted over whether she had responded correctly, for most people commenting on her post, she was unequivocally right to react as she did.
“At 16, the kid should be able to understand why you would not be okay with that,” Primary-Criticism929 commented. “Sounds like someone whispered in your kid’s ear about the calling the mistress mum thing because I don’t think a 16 year old would think about it on their own.”
Alarmed-Hamster-4047 praised the woman for handling the situation “maturely and reasonably.”
“I think that you are being graceful in the face of great pain and sacrifice,” they wrote. “You sound like an excellent mother. I’m sorry you’re going through this.”
MaybeAWalrus argued that ultimately her daughter should respect her feelings: “She is asking you about a feeling. You can’t control a feeling. She can’t be mad because you feel things.”
Veronica-Summers agreed that the woman was being a “good mom” with her response. “It’s empowering her to make her own decisions while also giving her the reality that her decisions affect others,” they wrote.
Involvement of Mother-in-Law
In a further twist, the woman returned to Reddit to reveal that she later discovered her former mother-in-law had put her daughter up to asking if she could call her stepmom “mom.”
Newsweek has contacted the original poster for comment.
Research has previously shown infidelity to be the most common motivator behind divorce in the U.S. According to research published by the University of Washington in 2014, 42 percent of all divorcees reported “more than one extramarital sexual contact during the course of their marriages.”
Children can further complicate matters when it comes to extra-marital affairs.
In one recent incident, a young man ended up being thrown out of his father’s funeral by the deceased’s wife because he was the product of an affair between her late husband and another woman.
While infidelity can prove the catalyst for divorce, it’s far from the only reason – one man recently revealed to the internet he was considering splitting from his wife after she broke a mug over his head.