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Mom Balks After Her Boyfriend Demands She Stop Calling Her 9-Year-Old Son ‘Honey’

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No relationship is totally perfect, but there are dealbreakers that no relationship should continue through.

That sometimes includes how a significant other tries to parent their partner’s child, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor AlainaWilson747 was furious when her boyfriend demanded that she change how she addresses her son because he thought it was inappropriate.

When he gave her the silent treatment for not listening to him, the Original Poster (OP) began to question the relationship.

She asked the sub: 

“AITA for refusing to stop calling my 9-year-old son ‘honey’?”

I f36 have been dating my boyfriend Joe m38 for few months, he has met my 9 yo son and they both get along pretty well.

Joe started staying longer during the weekends and days ago while he was visiting, he heard me call my son “honey”. He stayed quite during the entire breakfast then brought it up with me. I asked what was wrong and he said that I shouldn’t call my son honey espcially because I call him that and he just thinks this term is used for romantic partners. I laughed it off because I thought it was a small and silly thing to comment on but he got offended by my lack of care for his “concerns” and asked me to stop using this word with my son since he feels it’s misplaced. I told him no, this was not a valid argument by him and in my opinion, does not deserve “consideration”. we argued for few minutes then he decided to go out saying we’ll talk about this again later but I firmly told him there’s nothing to talk about, and I will not stop calling my son honey. end of story, He got upset and went out.

He then sent a long text about how I keep disregarding his thoughts, opinions and input and brush them off not caring about how it makes him feel. he said it’d only be reasonable to use my son’s nicknames when referring to him and we can be done with this issue but I refused to stop. He’s gone silent now save for a text here and there. AITA for not compromising and flatout refusing to stop calling my son this word?

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some were concerned by the OP’s boyfriend’s behavior.

“He’s testing her.”

“He’ll start with something as small and inconsequential as a nickname. See if he can get her to bend to his will by stomping his feet.”

“Then he’ll move up to something like how often she hugs him, how much time she spends with him, how she should be siding with him during fights instead of her son and up and up until he’s completely in charge of her life and relationships.”

“End this relationship OP. Nip it in the bud.” – tsh87

“He also gives her a silent treatment because she didn’t do what he demands, she should overthink if this man is such a great catch. He is jealous of a 9 y/o and punishes her when he doesn’t get her will.”

“NTA.” – Sheeps_n_Birds

“I had a partner request that I take it easy with calling him ‘hun’ because it made him think of his grandma. Easy request to abide by, even after we figured out that prefacing it with ‘Attila the’ didn’t make it any better.”

“OP’s dude is on some weird s**t and it’s only gonna get weirder. He’s not talking about a nickname for him, but for her kid. And then being a passive-aggressive little s**t about it. Ironic that the 9-year.old he’s so threatened by is probably more mature than he is.” – Neurotic_Bakeder

“Ex-step-dad did that shit to my mom. It started with him complaining that I didn’t talk to him enough (HE came home tired and not wanting to talk but I had to engage anyway). Shifted to saying I spoke too much and didn’t ask the right questions about his day.”

“Any time I spoke to my mom in Spanish (he only knew English and I was still learning) he would accuse me of lying to her to make her dislike him.”

“He would throw away food he didn’t like me eating (came home screaming about ‘WHY ARE YOU EATING CEREAL AT NIGHT?! IT’S ONLY FOR MORNINGS!!’).”

“Turned off the electricity in my room and took away the door because I was ‘sneaking behind his back’ by watching TV in my room with the volume off (which I did because he always complained about how tired he was and I didn’t want to wake him up).”

“He outright banned my mom from hugging me.”

“S**t escalated slowly over the years. He threatened to put me in the hospital several times and actually choked me at one point, but by that point, he had mom half-convinced that I was a menace who was ruining his life and needed to be kicked out as soon as possible.”

“OP, do yourself and your child a favor and get Joe out of your life. He will change, but only for the worse.”


“I feel I should add that he very quickly figured out that he couldn’t pull his bulls**t if mom was there to witness it, so he made sure to do it when she wasn’t around. I know he also did stuff to her when I wasn’t around, but she has always avoided telling me what exactly.” – Shorteist

“NTA. I tell my daughter the best way to test if someone is worth keeping around, be that a relationship or friendship, is to give them a small boundary. And if they push and cross that boundary, then they certainly aren’t going to care when you create a larger boundary.” – OnslaughtattheGates

Others agreed and recommended ending the relationship.

“The fact that he’s gone silent means now is the perfect time to break up with him.”

“My mother was dating a guy for a few months, and he handed me (at the time, age 12) a broom and TOLD me to clean the kitchen. My mother threw him out on the spot and ended the relationship.”

“He had absolutely no right, or authority, to tell me to do anything. My mother and I already had agreements about chores.”

“This dude gets NO SAY in anything regarding your son. It’s only been a few months, and the only interactions with your son should be as a new buddy.”

“NTA, but allowing this man any further access to your relationship with your son would change the nature of the question and my vote.” – whatsasimba

“Run far and fast. Also, I EXCLUSIVELY call children and platonic friends hon or honey. I never use it with romantic partners. I’m a Babe lesbian.” – Rope_8115

“On the plus side, they’re only a few months in and he’s already showing his controlling and insecure side; should be fairly easy to get out now.” – FeuerroteZora

“As always with ‘the silent treatment,’ that’s OP’s cue to dump him and date an adult instead.”

“It is unacceptable for anyone over the age of thirteen to behave like that.” – Otherwise_Window

“NTA. But I would be VERY concerned about a grown adult feeling threatened by a child. There’s a reason so many investigations end with it being the boyfriend. NOT SAYING this guy is some kind of psycho, just that I feel uncomfortable reading this.”

“The smallest step would be to stop calling the BF this.”

“The largest step would be to break up with this guy and block him on everything because his reaction is concerning.”

“OP knows their whole relationship, so can make the decision according to what she knows.” – crystallz2000

Some simply said there was nothing wrong with using pet names.

“I call my son ‘baby’ all the time, and I blame my mom for that habit because she still calls me baby. He’s 18 months so I think it’s excusable, I’m 34… haha!”

“If anybody ever said something about it being exclusively a romantic pet name I would think they were crazy. I also call him handsome, sweet boy, my man, handsome man… the pet names a parent can use with their kid are endless. I’ll probably stop when he’s a teenager if his reactions aren’t too hilarious.” – foolishpheasant

“There’s a secretary at the school I work at. For her, everybody is either sugar, honey, or sweetie. She’s old enough to have a great-grandson the same age as my son, so I’m pretty sure there’s nothing romantic about her calling several hundred people honey.” – IntroductionKindly33

“NTA. In my experience, ‘honey’ is not reserved for romantic partners. He’s being very silly. You listened to his argument and didn’t agree with it. That’s allowed. If he’s so bent out of shape over this, you’re better off without him.” – stroppo

With her boyfriend giving her the silent treatment, the subReddit took this as an opportunity to end the relationship rather than mourn it. Questioning how the OP addressed her son was not his responsibility, and trying to bully her into changing was a bad look for any boyfriend.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit