Redditor throwaway1197651 is a father who recently re-married and whose daughter from the previous marriage was not getting along with his new wife, “Nora.”
Tensions peaked when Nora committed a major violation of the preadolescent daughter’s privacy.
When he sided with his daughter over the recent conflict, he consequently angered his wife.
Unsure of how he handled the situation, he visited the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit and asked:
“AITA For not siding with wife after she took my daughter’s diary?”
The Original Poster (OP) wrote:
“Me, M[ale] 38, got married to my wife (Nora) F[emale] 31 five months ago, My daughter (Madison) F[emale] 12 from my previous marriage is currently living with me and my wife.”
“My daughter is not on good terms with my wife, there is constant tension between the two even though my daughter has been very respectful and keeps to herself.”
“My daughter Madison has a diary where she expresses her thoughts and feelings and write about what bothers her without having to bother anyone with listening.it’s her choice to do that and I respect her wanting her own space.”
“Last week, while I was at work, Madison called me and she was crying, she told me that her stepmom took her diary and read through it, and refused to give it back,she said she wanted me to come home immediately.”
“I got home to find Nora and Madison having a screaming match, I asked what was going on and Madison told me that her stepmom snooped around in her room, took her diary and refused to give it back, Nora denied and said she had no idea what my daughter was talking about.”
“I asked my daughter to confirm it but she didn’t she just kept saying her stepmom took it, and must’ve hid it cause it was gone that morning.
“Nora said she didn’t do it, I got stuck I didn’t know what to do, my daughter told me to look for it, I started looking thinking she might’ve forgotten where it was, And I was surprised to find it in our bedroom”
“I gave Madison her diary back and lied about where I found it, I secretly confronted Nora about it, but she broke down and said that I was supposed to comfert and support her becuse she read the awful stuff Madison said about her in her diary.”
“I told her she was in the wrong for taking madison’s diary in the first place and cause an issue.”
“She got mad at me and went on about how she was treated and how I was supposed to defend her from this much hate and resentment.”
“I walked out the bedroom, Nora stayed there all day and refused to eat dinner, I brought her dinner upstairs but she refused to take it.”
“I bought Madison a small box to keep her important stuff in so she won’t lose them.”
“Madison and Nora don’t even talk to each other I don’t know if I handled this situation properly my wife is so pissed at me and disappointed that she’s hurting and I didn’t do anything to make it right.”
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked if and where guilt belongs by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors spared Madison from any judgment but had strong opinions about both the OP and Nora over the situation.
“ESH except Madison.”
“Your wife sucks big time for basically throwing a flaming grenade on any hope of a healthy relationship with your daughter. She purposely shattered your daughter’s privacy — one of the few private, intimate outlets a child has. And then she lied to you and your daughter and tried to gaslight her to get out of it.”
“It’s very concerning about your wife’s maturity levels that she even wanted to snoop into a 12-year-old’s thoughts about her — and then thought she’s the one who needs comforting. That’s not the relationship an adult has to a child, it’s the relationship a teen has to a fellow teen.”
“You suck for not addressing the ‘constant tension between the two.’ Twelve is an incredibly sensitive and formative age, you just got married 5 months ago, and I’m assuming something went south with your daughter and her biological mother? Clearly your daughter needs someone to confide in.”
“Private and family therapy is in order — to help your daughter with this transition, to help your wife get to the bottom of her own insecurities and invasive behavior, and to help you both be stronger parents.”
“I don’t know how your wife will ever build trust with your daughter. She’s gone out of her way to prove that she doesn’t deserve it.” – Sport_Ancient
“He needs to go back and do something that he should have done from the start.”
“The step mom should be explicitly removed from the role of co-parent.”
“They were both wrong for trying to force a relationship with a teen.” – Scientision
“This exactly. This is such a good way to get demoted as a favorite parent, and can really make children feel alienated, especially at Madison’s age.”
“Dad isn’t playing both sides well, and needs to have a conversation with his adult wife, because this behavior is not normal. His daughter isn’t doing anything wrong.” – iiciing
Some Redditors ultimately declared the OP as YTA for what they thought was his biggest mistake.
“YTA. Not for not siding with your wife; she was 100% in the wrong, but for this: ‘I was surprised to find it in our bedroom, I gave Madison her diary back and lied about where I found it, I secretly confronted Nora about it.'”
“You lied to Madison, thus making out that she was in the wrong for accusing Nora, and so Nora will not apologise to her for what she did, and Madison will never know for certain that your wife completely broke her trust and now knows her inner thoughts.”
“You let your daughter down so f’king much. She deserves the truth, an apology from each of you, and you need to make very clear to Nora that this kind of sh*t will not stand. That she needs to respect your daughter, and that you will put your daughter’s wellbeing first.” – foibleShmoible
“I think it’s even worse than hurting her trust in Nora. Kids are smart, and Madison will always suspect or potentially assume that Nora did steal the diary (which she did).”
“This will damage OP’s relationship with her daughter, since her daughter will at least suspect (rightly) that her dad is lying to her. She doesn’t know why, and she may assume that you’re taking Nora’s side and putting Nora over her.”
“Living with 2 parents, neither of whom you can trust, is unbelievably terrible for a kid.”
“OP needs to come clean ASAP, explain to Madison WHY he lied but also explain WHY it was wrong and why he’ll never do it again.” – ErikLovemonger
“YTA. You lied to Madison. You LIED. You should’ve validated her, not protect your wife.” – thepinkprioress
“This. Madison isn’t stupid. She knows she didn’t leave her diary wherever you told her you (OP) found it. She knows you lied to her.”
“Not only does she have a good reason to distrust her stepmom, now she knows she can’t trust you either. She will view this as you covering for stepmom.” – TitaniaT-Rex
But this person believed Nora committed the bigger offense.
“NTA. Your daughter needs a safe place to express her feelings whether it’s to a person or in a diary.”
“What your wife did caused more damage to an already fragile relationship. Your daughter will never trust her again.”
“Your wife needs to apologize for what she did and promise to never do it again to at least make a start on healing the relationship, and I would suggest family therapy to try and find out what is causing all the problems in the first place.” – Rambo4169
The OP replied:
“That is what I thought, I gotta be honest though, it doesn’t look like my wife is going to apologize for what she did unless she realize her mistake and work on fixing their relationship together.”
The general consensus was that both the OP and Nora owe Madison an apology for gaslighting her.