Dad asks internet for advice about changing his son’s name 5 months after his birth

Naming a child after a family member is an honor, and can be a deep display of love and respect. But a post on Reddit’s “Am I the A-hole” forum shows why naming a child after a family member with whom you have a contentious relationship just to fulfill a family tradition might be best avoided.

“My wife grew up hating her father for cheating on her mother and abandoning the family. In the past decade, he worked tirelessly to improve their relationship. In her family, it’s typically tradition for the first grandson and granddaughter to be named after their grandparents and my wife was proud to name our son after her father,” a new dad wrote in his post on the site. “However, a few weeks ago, my wife and her father had a MASSIVE argument. Turns out, he is convinced that for some reason, I am going to cheat on my wife. He thinks we got married too young and I’ll get bored of her now that she’s devoting all her time to our son.”

The dad continued, “He told my wife this after she opened up to him about how worried she was about being pregnant so soon after giving birth. We didn’t plan the second pregnancy and a few days after the argument my wife miscarried and it was a painful moment for the both of us. Essentially, he kicked her while she was already down for no reason. I had a friendly relationship with him but I know he wanted my wife to marry someone from her own background.”

Now, the dad said, his wife refuses to use the baby’s name, instead, “using nicknames, calling him ‘the baby’ etc.”

“She said that she needs time to get over the argument with her dad, but she also blames him for the miscarriage which is something I don’t think she’ll get over. FIL has made no attempts to apologise or reconcile,” he wrote. “A month into my wife refusing to use our baby’s name, I said that we needed to change it because it’ll be better for my wife’s mental health and our son’s development. If this argument continues or is ever brought up again, she can’t be too upset to use his name when he’s old enough to actually know it.”

At the end of his Reddit post, the dad concluded, “We’ve started the process now to change the name and somehow it got back to FIL AND he knows that I suggested it. He is infuriated. He said that I was supposed to be the levelheaded one since my wife is postpartum and recovering from a miscarriage and that I’ve just made their rift a million times worse since I’ve denied him the family tradition. My in laws think I’m an a**hole for insisting on the name change since now it’ll be even harder for them to reconcile.”

He’s now seeking an “unbiased” opinion from the internet. And wow, is this a doozy of a situation.

The top-rated comment says this new dad is not the a-hole, but that his father-in-law is a “massively entitle one.”

“FIL is projecting HIS actions onto you,” the commenter wrote, referring to the father-in-law’s belief that this new dad plans to cheat on his wife. “Your FIL is making everything about him and not taking any responsibility for his part in the new estrangement.”

Another commenter added, “So are you suppose to be the levelheaded one or the future cheater?”

That’s a pretty good question.

And another comment makes this extremely valid point: “It is not fair to your son in the long term to be given a name that reminds your wife of past hurt to the point she finds it hard to say. He needs a different name that can be used easily and lovingly no matter the state of the relationship between your wife and her father.”

Overall, this is a painful and difficult situation, but naming a baby after a family member out of obligation or tradition, rather than as a loving tribute, may not be a situation most likely to succeed.

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