Have you ever planned a special dinner for someone, only to have them do something before the event that made you want to cancel it all? That’s the dilemma one Reddit user is grabbling with.
A little bit of background
In this scenario, the Original Poster (OP) remarried after his late wife passed away; he shared a son with his late wife, who is now 15. OP and his current wife have been together for two years, and she “generally has a good relationship” with OP’s son. However, OP had recently planned a special dinner for his wife’s birthday at a prestigious restaurant. The lead-up to this celebration didn’t quite go to plan because while OP was busy booking the table and tackling the logistical nightmares that come with getting a group of people together, OP’s son was hard at work creating the perfect gift for his stepmom – a wooden tree with OP’s name, his stepmother’s name and his name on it.
The Wooden Gift That Ruined It All
How kind! Well, not entirely, according to OP’s wife, who quickly told OP’s son that while she did think it was a sweet gift, she didn’t want him to bring it to the restaurant and give it to her in front of everyone. OP’S wife later confessed that she asked him to give it to her in front of everyone because she thought it looked ridiculous and didn’t want to be seen with it in a prestigious restaurant.
Once OP heard his wife’s confession, he canceled everything. Birthday, who’s Birthday? While OP felt his reaction was in proportion to the situation at the time, he has since confided in Redditors that the reason he did what he did was that he saw that his Son was hurt by his wife’s requests. OP’s mother-in-law has also made her feelings known about the situation and called him directly to tell him how let down she felt by him. It could be that he felt duty-bound to defend his child in some way, redditors think so…
“Wow. Not the a**hole at all. Your wife doesn’t sound like a very kind person at all but incredibly shallow and cruel. This calls for a “What on earth is wrong with her?”
“Seriously, Mother-in-law is chewing someone out for their treatment of her child. I assume your wife didn’t tell her the whole story because the Mother in law might notice OP was similarly just taking action for his child!”
Others added how they would have reacted in this situation.
“If I had a step for two years and this was the gift I got, I would be BAWLING. It would be the best present I ever got. Do you want me to be a part of your family tree? After you lost your mum???
The only way that gifting me that present would ruin my birthday dinner is because I’d cry the makeup off my face into the filet mignon.”
“Even though he’s a teenager, I thought that if the stepson had made me a macaroni necklace, I would have proudly put it on at the restaurant and wore it the rest of the night. It’s so much about the thought, especially with the delicacy of being a stepmom to a boy who lost his mom. The gift didn’t have to be fancy or elaborate, but the young man put his heart into it. This is so sad.
Not the a**hole for canceling the party! I don’t see how the OP and his son can move forward, especially since the stepmom had such a vast tantrum, left for several days, and sicced her mother on OP. Wow.”
Are OP’s actions justified?
While some comments agree with OP, others insist he is the a**hole in this situation for various reasons.
“You’re the a**hole, and she’s a snob for not wanting to be seen with such a lovely gift, but you’re the asshole for taking away something she was looking forward to in an attempt to control her behavior. YOU were wrong, and if you have any shame, you’ll apologize.”
“YTA: rescinding a present is a last move. It immediately takes any argument into “let’s get shitty with each other” territory. Suppose she was game to negotiate, change her stance, or relate to others. In that case, that is now swallowed up in the shame, disbelief, and hurt instigated by the knowledge that you’d be willing to plan a gift, organize and arrange it, get her excited about it, and then simply pull it off the table, and there were other ways. Rescinding a gift sends a statement that will forever sit sour. Especially one that such a big hullabaloo.”
Have you ever rescinded a gift before?