This was found via Reddit; you just have to read it for yourself. Good luck trying not to rip your hair out.
Throw away account, I’m not usually on this subreddit, but I don’t want this connected to my main account.
I (45M) and my ex split eight years ago. I met my current wife during our divorce and married her pretty quickly after it was finalized. I now live with my wife (41F) and stepson (16M) and while my ex offered 50/50 custody of our daughter (15F), I felt it better she stay with her mother so I could adjust to life with my new wife and stepson. So she came every other weekend before the pandemic. She’s been with her mom since March. Here‘s where the issue comes it. My stepson feels threatened by my daughter when she’s here. I’m the only father figure he’s ever had and he doesn’t like sharing my attention, so he’s often quite rude/mean to her. We normally just assure her it’s because he’s insecure.
My stepson came home yesterday cheerfully saying that my daughter said shed never come here again. I called my daughter to ask why she’d say that. According to her, my stepson has been saying since school resumed that I picked him over her and that I hated her coming to visit and how everyone was so happy these months she didn’t visit. No one wanted her there and she needed to just stay away from us. He denied it of course, but my daughter’s friend filmed him at some point (got to love the age of smartphones) and sent it to me. When confronted, he got watery eyed and said he was just afraid of losing me.
I told my daughter that I obviously didn’t feel that way and he just felt threatened by her presence. She asked if I was going to actually do something about his behavior this time or if I was just going to brush it under the rug like I always did. I told her I didn’t brush anything under the rug, but I wasn’t going to punish him for being insecure about losing his father figure. She told me she was tired of his daddy issues being an excuse to treat her like shit and since I wouldn’t stand up for her, she wouldn’t be visiting again.
I tried to talk to my ex about it, but she said I picked him over her repeatedly and never stood up for her when he treated her poorly so I don’t get to play the victim now that she’s fed up with it. I think they’re both being over sensitive here, and my daughter needs to get over it and visit again, but my brother said I let my stepson boost my ego and failed my daughter by not standing up for her. My nephew suggested I post here. AITA?
Key: YTA – you’re the asshole
NTA – not the asshole
ESH – everybody sucks here
NAH – no assholes here
INFO – more information needed
On Reddit this is a resounding “YTA”. For reasons.
I will never not post this.
Okay, where do we start here? There’s a shitload to unpack, but we might want to burn the entire suitcase. (-_-)
So, when your daughter was around eight years old, you divorced her mother and raced off to play “best daddy ever” with your brand new family. Your ex-wife offered joint custody, but you fucking refused, saying that you needed to “adjust” to life with your shiny new wife and her son, your stepson. You basically only saw your daughter four days out of the month, and whenever she visits, her stepbrother abuses her. But you give the abuse a pass because poor widdle stepsonny-boy is “insecure” and has “daddy issues”. Then, when stepsonny-boy comes home in a great mood because your daughter has said she never wants to visit again because he’s been disgustingly abusive to her, you downplayed that, only believing it when your daughter’s friend sent you a recording of the incident. So when you confronted stepsonny-boy, he caught the feels because he didn’t want to lose you.
So when your daughter finally called you out on your lack of discipline towards stepsonny-boy, you got pissy and sided with your stepson. When your daughter–who has one helluva spine, props to her!–said she wasn’t visiting anymore, you went whining to your ex-wife, then claimed that they were being overly sensitive. You didn’t even consider that they might be right until your brother said they were on to something. Now you’re wondering if you’re an asshole?
Jesus Fucking Christ, you’ve been an asshole since day fucking one!
You’re concerned that your stepson has daddy issues but what about your daughter? You were her only father, but you just shrugged and said, “Daddy has a new family now, so he’s got no time for you.” Way to go. Father of the year over here. Also, no, you didn’t have to punish your stepson, but you did need to discipline him. You should have put your foot down long ago and told him, “You do not treat your stepsister like that. I will not tolerate abuse, period. Act like this again and there will be consequences.” Then follow through by taking away a privilege and tell him he could earn it back by not behaving so terribly.
You don’t need to slap the child around. But you should have set boundaries and followed through if he overstepped them. I don’t have kids and even I could figure that out.
It’s also extremely telling how you reacted to being called out. You shrugged it off when it was your ex-wife and daughter. You actually considered that you might be wrong when your brother pointed out that you get an ego boost from your stepson but let your daughter down repeatedly. Apparently, you value the opinions of males over females, which leads me to another point.
The moment you got a “son”, you stopped caring about your daughter. She became surplus to requirements and you were more than happy to let her know that. You wanted to play the hero with your poor, neglected stepson, but didn’t give a damn about your daughter.
No, you’re not Captain America. You’re the Homelander. And no, that’s not a good thing.
Your daughter has been dealing with years worth of abuse from her stepbrother and years worth of neglect from you. So when she finally breaks down, you downplay it. You literally don’t care about how she feels. It’s all about your “son”.
Yes, you’re the asshole. It’s obvious to everyone except you.
So, what can you do now? First off, you can apologize to your daughter and tell her that she’ll never have to deal with abuse from her stepbrother again. Secondly, you can tell your stepson that he can not, under any circumstances, act abusively to his stepsister ever again. If he does, he can kiss his Xbox, and a shitload of his other privileges, goodbye. Let him know that you’re not going anywhere, but he may not necessarily like that. Again, you don’t have to punish him, but there needs to be consequences. Third of all, you need to step up and do 50/50 custody. No, it will not make up for lost time, but it may help your relationship with your daughter. You’ve stepped up and played daddy for stepsonny-boy, you are well past doing the same for your daughter. In other words, get off your stupid ass and be a father to your child, the one you tried to abandon.
But you won’t do any of this. It’s easier for you to play “Daddy Hero” with stepsonny-boy. So yeah, take the L here. Your daughter will never speak to you again, which is pretty much what you wanted in the first place. By the time you realize how badly you screwed up, you’ll be on your death bed, wondering why your daughter isn’t there to hold your hand because your stepson never stepped up to take care of you in the first place.