Relationships can be hard, especially when you decide to have kids. A recent “Am I The A—hole” (AITA) post on Reddit shows that’s even more true when “long-lost children” enter the picture. Over the past six months, Redditor u/TraditionalWar1849 found themselves in a complicated situation and wanted to know “AITA for not wanting my husband's daughter at our home and causing a big family fight with his mother”?
“My husband (m35) and I (27) are married and we have a 5 year old girl and I am pregnant (first trimester),” u/TraditionalWar1849 begins. “Like six months ago my husband found out that he has a daughter (13) from a previous relationship. He knew nothing about this, he was dating a girl who was toxic and lied about BC to baby trap him, when he said that he didn't want anything with her, she said she was going to get an abortion.”
Well, she explains, apparently the aforementioned ex did not get an abortion, but had the child, who now resides with her maternal grandparents. (Which, sidebar: that’s a pretty bad babytrap if he didn’t even know said baby existed for more than a decade...)
But recently, the teen brought up the idea of living with her newfound dad and his wife and other children. The prospect did not sound appealing to the poster. “At the moment I didn't say anything,” they write. “But when we were alone I told my husband that I'm not okay with that. We have our own plans and suddenly adding a 13 year old teen is going to complicate things.”
The husband did not initially agree, but was ultimately convinced by his wife. The situation was further complicated, however, by the poster’s mother-in-law, who felt her granddaughter should be living with her son.
“She told me that I need to accept his daughter,” u/TraditionalWar1849 continued. “But I said that I didn't marry a man with a child, I married a man with no children, we have our plans and logically we don't even know this girl enough to allow her at our home full time.”
The poster said that while she wasn’t completely shutting down the idea of the teen living with the rest of the family, she said the conversation would commence “in a year when we know her and her family better and we have settled with our new baby.”
When the mother-in-law told other family members about the situation, alleging that the poster had “forbidden” her husband from seeing his daughter, u/TraditionalWar1849 “called her up and told her she's a noisy bitch.” Unsurprisingly, this did not help matters and only made the fight between her, her husband, and her mother-in-law worse.
It’s a delicate situation for sure, and Redditor response to the query was more mixed than is often the case with AITA.
“NTA (Not The A—hole),” reads the (current) top comment, which as of press time has been “upvoted” (essentially other commenters agreeing with the sentiment) more than 1,600 times. “Of course you're not going to bring any unknown factor into your home with small children, much less an older child you really don't know.”
But while this sentiment has garnered a lot of agreement, it has not been unanimous.
“YTA. Thats his daughter,” writes u/Beautiful-Way-2259. “One he didn't know about and now does. He has a moral, more importantly parental, obligation to be her father and take over raising her. You're incredibly selfish to prevent that because...you have plans. And clearly think your own children are more important. All 3 of his kids deserve his attention, his dedication and his love. ... Of course insulting your MIL made it worse. She's right, you're wrong.”
“NAH (No A—holes Here) as yet,” offers a third redditor. “I see a lot of people are raking you over the coals here, but you both need time to actually think about what is best for everyone here, especially the two children involved. The 13 year old is not really thinking about what is going to happen if her entire life as she currently knows it, is uprooted. Perhaps you can start with some weekends and holidays and see where it goes.”
Redditor u/lml424 was one of many to take a nuanced approach to this admittedly complicated situation (and earned nearly 1,500 upvotes in the process).
“I agree she should not move in with you now, but not for the reasons you gave. It would not be in HER interest to live with people who she barely knows and who barely know her,” they write. “Now, where I disagree with you and think you’re being an AH is ‘I didn’t marry a man with a kid.’ You also didn’t marry a man with cancer, a man with depression, a man who has suddenly lost his job, etc. Sh-t happens. This happened to both of you and you need to rise to the occasion and be there for him and your step daughter. There can be a lot of joy in this, if you choose for there to be.”