A man has recently posted on the Reddit forum Am I The A**hole to ask for advice after not being sympathetic enough about his fiance’s cousin’s unexpected death and remarking that at least it meant they no longer had to invite him to their wedding.
“My fiance’s cousin died unexpectedly yesterday,” OP begins, “tragic, yes, to his family,” OP explains that he and his fiance are not actively in touch with the cousin’s part of the family. The fiance had never even been before they met.
The late cousin’s immediate family has always been the “Karen” of the family tree, OP states, with a hostile mother fighting over inheritance, and—most importantly—the cousin had made racist comments about OP’s relationship and mocked his ancestry on multiple occasions. He doesn’t feel the need to mourn.
OP goes on further to tell us that they had never intended to invite the late cousin or his part of the family to their wedding, given their history of drama and the small venue not having room for many guests. However, the fiance’s father was offended by them being left out.
Due to the friction that caused them, the couple invited the estranged family anyway, which seems neither was happy about. (OP comments that he doesn’t know how interested in coming to this family branch will be but that they will probably turn up for the food and the alcohol. His disdain couldn’t be more apparent.)
Now, the cousin has unexpectedly died. A day previous to OP making the post, even! When OP’s fiance asked how OP felt about this privately, OP expressed his indifference and commented that at least “the problem had resolved itself.” His fiance found this lack of sympathy upsetting.
OP doesn’t understand what he did wrong. “How am I supposed to feel about it?” he types in the post. He wasn’t close to the late cousin, and to say they didn’t get on would be an understatement with those racial remarks in mind. He feels sorry for the family the late cousin left behind to mourn and struggle financially. Still, OP feels nothing for the dead man himself.
With such a polarizing topic as the death of a family member, even an estranged one, it’s hardly surprising what the responses were, “YTA. Some thoughts are supposed to stay inside your head,” says one comment with many upvotes.
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“The fiancé is upset, and you’re totally unconcerned about that, dismissive and callous. You may not care about the cousin, but surely you care about your fiancé, right?” says another.
These two comments represent the first response camp: OP is an a**hole for dismissing his fiance’s mourning. To be making jokes about wedding invites literally a single day after the death does come off as insensitive, regardless of OP’s relationship with the deceased.
Then again, his fiance did ask.
“I think if you have a racist cousin who dies, and your fiancé is a POC, and you ask the fiancé how they feel about it, you have no room to complain if they are unsympathetic. OP was asked in private and was honest. He’s not shouting it from the rooftops,” another comment counters.
“Like you said, just because someone dies, it doesn’t suddenly make them a saint. Maybe you misjudged the impact it had on your fiancée, but honest communication in a relationship does not make you an AH,” adds another.
The wedding invite remark seems to have been the actual trigger of the conflict here—but given that they had never intended to invite the late cousin. The drama attempt had caused, we can’t blame him for getting a little dark humor out of it, no doubt to try and alleviate the tension.
It didn’t go down as expected—one comment on the post speculates that, given how little detail is given about how the fiance herself feels, perhaps she isn’t as mournful as she feels she ought to be and feels guilty because of it: “I dunno, I would kind of wonder if it was me if she was feeling guilty about not being too upset herself, and that’s why she was specifically asking how he felt. I mean, who asks ‘how do you feel about this person we don’t like, and who was racist to you dying?”