Sharing custody and responsibility for children with an ex and anyone new in their lives can be complicated.
It can be even more difficult when all parties don’t get along.
A father second-guessed a confrontation with his ex-wife’s new husband, so he turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
Redditor Equal-Feed8208 asked:
“AITA for correcting school papers in front of my ex-wife’s husband?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“She remarried a few years ago and made it clear that she wanted no more kids. That really upset him.”
“He awkwardly tries to bond with our kids and a few times he’s crossed boundaries. I really have no relationship with him but there is tension between us.”
“My oldest started middle school which required updating his registration information. My ex said she used the same information as before, but I wanted to change my email address.”
“I went to his school and my ex’s husband was there (he was dropping off some stuff for my ex).”
“I didn’t acknowledge him until I saw the paperwork for my son.”
“The information was written out not by her but by her husband. He had listed himself as the ‘parent’ and me as an ‘other’ contact.”
“I looked at him and said ‘Really Brent?'”
“He looked at me and asked ‘What is it now?'”
“‘You put yourself as Tyler’s dad?'”
“‘It was a mistake if I did’.”
“‘Yeah, okay. Well it’s a mistake I’m correcting right now’.”
“It was embarrassing for him and I clearly put him on the defensive without warning. Like I said, I don’t talk to him.”
“He told my ex I made him feel like a criminal in front of everyone. My ex understood correcting the information but said there was no need to call him out like that.”
“All I said is that he won’t do it again based on how I handled it.”
After some responses, the OP added more information.
“My ex and her husband asked me to apologize for ‘causing a scene’ in the office. Not to them but to the office staff.”
“Their logic is that my ex (and I) did a lot of volunteering at the school when our other son attended and the plan was for her and her husband to volunteer again.”
“He feels like he’s been pegged as a ‘weirdo’ after I called him out over an honest mistake.”
“I asked her what exactly was he going to be volunteering for. She said he wanted to work in the classrooms or special events.”
“I told her that isn’t going to fly with Tyler having Brent at his school like that.”
Redditors weighed in on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole.
“NTA. I find that really creepy. Nobody ‘accidentally’ lists himself as the parent and the child’s parent as ‘other’.”
“If he did not want to be publicly embarrassed, he should not have deliberately lied.”
“It’s good you corrected him publicly, because it will make it more difficult to be sneaky in the future, and the school will keep an eye on him.” ~ Ragingredblue
” Exactly. My oldest is my stepson. His mom passed away a couple years before his dad and I got together.”
“I STILL made sure to note that I was STEPmom on every form even though we live in a tiny town and everyone knows everyone. If she were still with us, she absolutely would have gotten that block and I’d have been an alternate contact.”
“I might buy it if he had another kid in the school and was just mindlessly filling out form after form, but that’s not the case (even then he should have made a note to clarify).”
“He did this on purpose, got caught, and is now trying to deflect.” ~ eveban
“NTA. It was NOT a mistake. He did it on purpose.”
“Why? Because he literally put himself as the parent AND you as the other contact.” ~ v2den
“NTA. His issues with not having bio children are not your problem.”
“He’s the stepfather, and you’re an active and involved father. He needs to respect that line of demarcation and never again cross it.” ~ ClothDiaperAddicts
“And if he doesn’t learn to step back, then one day OP’s kids may not want to be around their mom and step-dad. I felt this way as a kid.”
“My dad made it clear to my stepmom before they married that he loved his girls and was happy with two kids and didn’t want anymore. At the time she was okay with that.”
“A year after the wedding (so 2.5 since the post-engagement discussion about kids) her younger sister had a baby and my stepmom started wanting a son or daughter of her own. Since my dad kept saying no, she tried to take more of a mom role to my sister and I.”
“Eventually my paternal aunt helped to put a stop to it and stepmom learned her lesson, but that was after three years of her trying to be mom. During that time my sister and I started to fight spending time with dad and stepmom, it made us uncomfortable!”
“Once she learned her lesson things got a lot better and now we get along great. We are now 13 years post-learning her lesson and the role she plays in my life is a cross between an aunt and a little bit parental.” ~ PracticalLady18
“NTA. Doesn’t sound like calling out to me, you just noticed, clarified, and corrected a “mistake” that he made.”
“It only becomes a problem if it was intentional and there is cause for people to get emotional.” ~ foibleShmoible
“It was intentional. No stepparent puts themselves as the parent unless the other parent isn’t in the picture at all.”
“OP is Tyler’s Dad and is in his life. Sounds like Brent wants to take OP’s place since he married a woman who doesn’t want more kids.”
“If kids are so important to Brent, divorce the ex and marry a woman who wants kids.” ~ WeeklyConversation8
While the interaction may have been embarrassing for stepdad, OP didn’t create the situation. He only reacted to it.
And Redditors agreed his reaction didn’t make him the a**hole.