Redditor November_Rain87 is a single father of five kids who recently got an unwelcome phone call from his ex-wife.
Their conversation escalated into a fiery exchange that led him to belligerently dismiss her.
Which led him to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit, where he asked:
“AITA for telling my ex-wife to F-off and not allowing her to talk to our kids?”
The Original Poster (OP) told Redditors:
“PLEASE READ BEFORE MAKING A DECISION.”
The OP then explained:
“I have five kids with my now ex-wife, (7 F[emale]), (5 F[emale]), (2 M[ale] and 2 M[ale]), and a seven month old baby boy.”
“When my ex was pregnant with the baby, she decided that she didn’t want to be involved with me or the kids anymore, so she divorced me and signed all her rights away. The only reason that I know she’s still alive is the child support checks that I get.”
“My kids are obviously still upset over their mum just getting up and leaving without even giving them a heartfelt goodbye. My oldest has expressed being cross towards me regarding the situation, since she’s the only one that truly understands that her mom probably won’t come back.”
“She feels abandoned and has come to me crying, because she believes that her mum doesn’t love her anymore. My other daughter still believes that her mum’s gonna come back, and it really hurts to hear her ask when she’ll be back.”
“My other kids, obviously, don’t understand where their mum has gone. All I can truly get from them is tears, and asking where their mum has went.
“Just to be clear, I don’t badmouth their mother, or say bad things in general about her to them.”
“Yesterday, my ex called. I only picked up because I didn’t recognize the number. She said hello, and asked if she could speak to the kids. I said no, mostly because I didn’t know how they would react.”
“She said that she missed them terribly, and because of [the virus], couldn’t see them, and she really wanted to hear their voices.”
“I said that I wasn’t comfortable with that. I told her that I would talk to my oldest two later on, and ask if they wanted to speak to her, but for now, I wouldn’t allow it.”
“She said that she was still their mum, and that she had the right to speak to them. I said that she lost any right to them when she signed those rights away.”
“At this point, my wife raised her voice, and said that I was keeping her away from the people she loved most. I said that I didn’t give care about her feelings, that she abandoned the kids, and to F-off like she did months ago before hanging up. My kids weren’t in ear shot, just to be clear.”
“I’m not proud of losing my temper, because I’m not that kind of guy. But I was at my wit’s end, and couldn’t take it anymore.”
“I still have my mother-in-law as one of my contacts because I don’t have anybody else to care for the kids if something happens to me. All night, she’s been blowing up my phone, saying that my ex-wife is still a mother, and has a right to talk to her kids.”
“I don’t know. I’m tired. Honest opinions?”
Strangers on the internet were asked to declare one of the following:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Someone who related to the OP’s oldest daughter weighed in with their thoughts and a recommendation.
“NTA – my mother literally abandoned me at 14 and all 4 of my siblings in a similar way and I should have never gotten back in touch with her after I turned 18.”
“You’re protecting your kids from her doing the same thing again, it’s not fair to your children to have a part time parent, someone who might decide one day she doesn’t want to be a mom again and leaves all over again.”
“Your ex wife doesn’t get to act like a child with a doll, decide she’s done playing with it and throwing it away, your daughters and sons deserve a mom that will be there for them. If your ex wanted to still be in their lives, she shouldn’t have just signed away her rights.”
“I’m sure you need the child support you do get from her for other things but I would strongly suggest getting your 2 oldest in therapy, especially your oldest as she will need it.” – FrancyCat92
“NTA I just want to emphasize that this is a totally justified decision from a parenting perspective. She has a history of abandonment and that can be incredibly detrimental to young childrens’ mental health, as OP describes in the post.”
“OP is protecting them from being abandoned again by keeping the mother from contacting her children- it would absolutely be my decision as well in that situation, at least until I was sure beyond a reasonable doubt that my kids wouldn’t get hurt again.”
“Good luck OP I hope everything works out, it sounds like your kids have a really thoughtful dad!” – Gri69in
“She signed her rights away. It is your absolute duty to keep your kids safe mentally, physically and emotionally. You decide if it’s ok for her to see or speak to them.”
“If you don’t feel it’s good for them right now, then your answer is final.”
“You absolutely need to get the kids into therapy though and should probably talk to someone yourself. This is a hell of a lot to deal with. While right now might be the wrong time for them to speak to her, at some point it might be the best thing for them. NTA.” – queenoreo
“Completely agree! The children are the most important people in this scenario. If the two oldests do want to talk to their mom, please consider it being on speaker phone with you in the room as a condition of the first few conversations.” – moa1347
“Yep my mum left when I was around two and even though I don’t even remember it it caused me to have a lot of abandonment issues that took a lot to figure out and come to terms with, and she did come back into my life when she chose.”
“OP you do right, until she does it properly and says she wants proper contract so many days a week or whatever and you get it done through court don’t let her mess with their heads because she’s bored or lonely because unless there’s something in place making her commit there’s nothing to stop her vanishing again and it will just cause more problems.” – nomadzebra
Some gave the ex-wife the benefit of the doubt.
“Jumping on this and if it’s already been mentioned I apologise but the HUGEST red flag was that she did this while pregnant.”
“Has it crossed your mind OP that she may have been suffering from some sort of Pre Natal Depression? There are so many hormones pumping around your body that it is quite possible that she wasn’t in her right mind when she went through with the divorce?”
“There’s a small age gap between your twins and youngest so there’s a chance she may have even had post partum depression and then getting pregnant escalated her feelings and she has spiralled from there.”
“I would honestly say you need to meet your wife in person, hear her out and talk about going to therapy together as a couple to get to the bottom of what actually happened.”
“No one signs away their parental rights on a whim like that.” – Dee747
“I do hope OP sees this comment because it’s exactly what I was thinking while reading through. Something seems really off about the mom up and leaving after the 5th and OP doesn’t mention what kind of mother she was before she left or if he had any signs she was unhappy.”
“All of that seems to be vital info in determining if some mental health issues may have been going on. Therapy definitely for all, including OP, to process this trauma, but please OP consider if your ex may have been suffering a pre and post partum depression.” – ssstonebraker
“She always was a very ‘wild’ person. She could never handle long term commitment, and while she wanted kids, didn’t spend time with them because I was the stay at home parent. She just didn’t like the responsibilities.”
And in regards to whether she may have suffered from postpartum depression, the OP said:
“I don’t believe so. I have read up on the symptoms, because that thought has crossed my mind before, and she doesn’t match up on anything.”
“Plus, she’s up and left before, back when we were dating and didn’t have children.”
And when the OP was asked why they had five children together when she exhibited many red flags towards motherhood, he said:
“I believed she was on birth control. She was not.”
Despite the harsh manner in which he dealt with his ex-wife over the phone, a majority of Redditors said the OP was NTA.
After reading through the comments, he said he plans to seek therapy for his kids and regretted not having done so earlier.