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Bride Threatens To Cancel Wedding If Fiancé Won’t Pay For Her Daughter’s $25k Jaw Surgery

upset couple seated on bed
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Who’s responsibility is the health and welfare of children? Is it all on their biological parents or legal guardians?

What about stepparents?

A man who thinks his soon-to-be stepdaughter is solely his future wife’s responsibility turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Dentalplanaita asked:

“AITA For refusing to pay for my soon-to-be stepdaughter’s jaw surgery?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“I (38, male) got engaged to my fiancée (36, female) about 5 months ago after dating for 2 years. We don’t have any kids together yet, but she does have 2 kids from a previous relationship (16, female & 12, male).”

“Their father is alive, but completely MIA for the last 5 years.”

“I get along great with her kids, especially her son. Her daughter, Jane, is definitely in the middle of the angsty, moody teenager stage where she wants nothing to do with her parents.”

“But we’ve never had any major issues.”

“However, Jane does suffer from Micrognathia. It severely impacts her self-esteem and confidence.”

“She’s been bullied quite a bit and it breaks my heart to see her upset. My fiancée has dental insurance through her job, but it wouldn’t cover the entire corrective surgery—not even half.”

“They’ve done consultations and gotten the go-ahead to proceed with the surgery, but the cost is incredibly high. Even after insurance, when everything is said and done, the bill will likely be over $25K.”

“My fiancée has looked into financing for it, but money is tight these days and we’ve both been saving for the wedding and honeymoon.”

“A couple weeks ago, Jane came home from school in tears again after being teased. My fiancée and I calmed her down and during the conversation Jane expressed how much she wants the surgery because, in her eyes, everything in her life would be so much easier if she did.”

“That night, my fiancée and I were talking about Jane and she asked me if I would be willing to help pay for Jane’s surgery. I have a good job and make a decent living, but I don’t have that kind of money saved.”

“I asked her how much she has saved to put towards it and she said about $5K. I told her that I feel terrible for Jane and what she’s going through, but I don’t have that kind of money.”

“And the money I do have saved is earmarked for the wedding and honeymoon. My fiancée said she would be fine with a courthouse wedding and no honeymoon if it means that Jane can get the surgery.”

“I reminded her that I want a real wedding, not a huge one, but a real one. And that we’ve already been brainstorming honeymoon ideas.”

“She got upset at this point and told me I was being selfish for putting my own wants over Jane’s needs. She told me that if Jane was my own daughter, then she bet I would pay for it in a heartbeat.”

“That comment pissed me off because it was a low blow and I told her that was a BS thing to say. We kept fighting for a bit after that without resolving anything and I ended up leaving to calm down.”

“The next time we talked she did apologize for what she said. But she also said that she still believes that’s true.”

“She said if I’m going to be a stepdad that I need to treat the kids as if they were my own, which means sacrificing things I want for them. I told her that while I love Jane, I can’t help but feel like I’m being treated like an ATM here.”

“My fiancée said this is the first time she’s ever asked me for financial help and that this will be life-changing for Jane.”

The OP summed up their situation.

“My soon-to-be stepdaughter suffers from a jaw deformity. The corrective surgery is incredibly expensive and not covered by insurance.”

“My fiancée asked me to help pay for it, but I don’t have that kind of money. It turned into a fight and it still hasn’t been resolved.”

“I think I might be an a**hole for not paying for my soon-to-be stepdaughter’s jaw surgery.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors were divided in their judgment with some seeing no a**holes here (NAH).

“NAH. To be honest, there is no way in Hell I’d agree to an expensive wedding & honeymoon if my child needed surgery I couldn’t afford, so I totally get where your partner is coming from.”

“I don’t think you should feel pressured to pay for the surgery, but I think you have to compromise on the big wedding & honeymoon regardless.”

“Your fiancée has to prioritise her kids, and a wedding and a honeymoon won’t be number 1 for her when she has a bullied, miserable daughter. Think of the optics; she’s away having a lovely honeymoon while her daughter is sobbing into her cheerios.” ~ happybanana134

“I don’t think the ATM thing is a valid concern—the daughter doesn’t want new shoes every week, she has a major medical issue that’s impacting her life.

“Sounds like the new couple need to take out a loan for this. But NAH.” ~ Weak-Case-5226

“NAH. On one hand, I see your perspective—you’re not married, this isn’t your legal or biological child, and if it’s been this long, I can see how you’d view this as an elective surgery.”

“However, your fiancée is right—once you marry into this family, those children become your responsibility, too. If you’re making the commitment to get married, you’re making the commitment to take care of those children, even when their needs contradict your own.”

“I think it’s just a matter of deciding what you want in life.”

“If you want to move forward with marrying this woman, the RIGHT thing to do is to pay for her daughter’s surgery with the wedding funds, and figure out your own celebration later. That would show that your commitment is real, and that getting married isn’t only about the wedding for you.”

“However, if you’re not feeling right about giving up the wedding, and you’re feeling more of those ATM vibes…. this might not be the relationship for you and I think going your separate ways is more fair for everyone.” ~ KBD_in_PDX

Others thought everyone sucked (ESH).

“ESH. I can’t imagine prioritizing money for a wedding/honeymoon when my child desperately needed life changing surgery.”

“The request for money is super sus though.” ~ sterlingstactleneck

Some said the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

“NTA. Your wife’s feelings are understandable—it must be so painful to see her daughter suffer this way. But the way she’s placing this in your relationship is wrong and very damaging.”

“It sounds like you’ve relatively quickly taken to treating her kids as your own—she should be so grateful for that! It can really take time but you have embraced her kids quickly.”

“Pitting Jane’s surgery against your wedding is totally unfair. Making it a ‘test’ about how you see her kids is a total BS move and it will be toxic if she insists on playing that game. It’s manipulative.”

“If this is how she deals with her emotions, it does not bode well for your future peace and well-being. She’s reacting to her feelings of sadness and possibly guilt regarding Jane by turning it into doubt and anger toward you, which is unwarranted.”

“This will be a bad pattern. This is big enough to warrant couples therapy or some other form of intervention if you’re going to get married.” ~ Justsaying0000

“Ugh, NTA. I hate this idea that stepparents automatically assume the financial responsibility for kids. Jane has a father and mother who bear sole responsibility for her medical care and treatment.”

“Would it be nice to help, sure. But why are your desires being sacrificed because her parents can’t afford to pay for a child they created?” ~ bluepvtstorm

While others felt the OP was the a**hole (YTA).

“Soft YTA. I cannot imagine a world where I deny my child life changing surgery, and then spend any amount of money on a wedding, party, or honeymoon/vacation for myself.”

“The kids are yours too, now that you’ve decided to marry their mother.”

“I would have a backyard REAL wedding, put kiddo on my insurance, double insurance reduces the out of pocket costs, have the surgery, and save up again for a honeymoon.”

“We just had the most beautiful wedding for my brother for under $500. Lovely ceremony, cupcakes and food—all the family was there, and it was a very ‘real’ wedding.”

“You’re going to have to learn to compromise for the good of the children—as it’s a responsibility you signed up for.” ~ IWasBorn2DoGoBe

“YTA. Sorry to say buddy, but if you’re marrying their mum, you inherit the full package and the kids become your responsibility.”

“I do feel for you, it’s a rough situation but in my opinion you could very easily do a courtroom/small celebration with close family and friends and then maybe renew your vows at some point down the line and have the big celebatory day you wanted.”

“You’re talking about a flashy day and maybe a nice 1 week holiday vs changing your stepdaughter-to-be’s life.”

“Personally if your fiancée is ‘the one’, I would be inclined to help with the medical costs. Wedding’s are overated anyway—having a partner to share life with is the best—don’t need no flashy do or honeymoon to do that.” ~ FabulousGeorge29

“Dates a woman with children. Refuses to help future wife with children.”

“Did you not think the kids would be somewhat your financial responsibility too? That’s what you get when you marry a woman with children.”

“And she’s 100% right that you don’t treat her children as your own. That sentiment would be enough for me to not marry you.”

“Marriage isn’t going to change anything for you two. Your wife is telling you she doesn’t want the wedding.”

“If you want it that bad, marry someone who feels the same way you do. Maybe someone without kids?”

“YTA for claiming you’re an ATM. ESPECIALLY when this is the first time she’s ever asked you for help. Calm down, Bill Gates.” ~ lovelylittlebirdie

The OP provided an update.

“Well, the wedding is off and I took the ring back. We fought about this again last night and she gave me an ultimatum.”

“Either I pay for Jane’s surgery, or we break up. Not just help pay for it, the whole thing.”

“I told her I felt like she was using me to pay for Jane’s surgery.”

“She told me she wanted to be with me because she thought I would be a good provider for her kids and if I wasn’t wiling to fork out $25K to improve Jane’s life, then they were better off without me.”

“So, good luck paying for Jane’s surgery on your own, Mary.”

It doesn’t sound like this couple was on the same page, even after two years of dating.

Perhaps it’s best that they parted ways.

We hope Jane finds a way to get her surgery that does sound like it’ll improve her quality of life.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.