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Dad Balks After Ex-Wife’s New Husband Asks Him To Skip Kids’ Events So He Can Be ‘Parental Figure’

Dad and kids reading a book
Oliver Rossi / Getty Images

Co-parenting is difficult even under the best of circumstances.

So, what happens when the best situation suddenly takes a turn for the difficult?

That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Dapper-Release-3661 when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.

He asked:

“AITA for refusing to miss some of my kids events when my ex-wife’s husband asked?”

OP began with some history.

“I share two kids Indie (10m) and Colbie (8f) with my ex-wife Thora.”

“We have remained very close and she and I don’t follow a strict parenting plan.”

“We do our best to have the kids see us both as much as possible.”

“We celebrate every birthday, every Christmas together, and we show up to support our kids together as much as we can make work with our jobs.”

“Our families are also still very tight.”

Communication and cooperation pay off.

“The kids love it. Sometimes it will be my parenting time, but they want Thora, and so they spend that day with her, or vice versa.”

“Works so well for the kids.”

“Thora married Michael in November 2021.”

“He and I got along in the beginning.”

“He clearly loved Thora and was great with the kids, which is what Thora and I cared most about.”

OP noticed things beginning to change.

“But then, this past summer some things changed with Michael.”

“An example is Indie was singing and playing an instrument at this little talent show his summer camp set up. Thora and I both went, and so did Michael, who took the day off work.”

“Michael did not look happy to see me, and once Thora was not within earshot or sightline, he was visibly tense, and I swear he groaned at some point near me.”

“Then Thora had to go out of state to see a friend of hers who was very sick.”

“The kids chose to stay with me, and I don’t believe Michael was happy about that. I tried to ask him about it, but he swore things were fine.”

“In November, Indie and Colbie had a busy month with different stand-out things within extracurricular’s and school.”

“I was lucky enough to attend 9/10 of them, with Thora attending 8/10. Michael got to attend 3/10.”

“All three were ones I could attend, and it felt very much like he didn’t want me there.”

Then came the problem.

“Late last month, when Michael and I were the ones attending a school function for the kids, he asked me to show up to fewer of the kids’ events and let him and Thora do some of that stuff with the kids as a family.”

“I told him they already do.”

“He said not when I’m around. That I am getting in the way of him being a parental figure for the kids.”

“I told him he was a parental figure, and the kids love him.”

“He said they will never consider us equal until they see him instead of me at some of these events.”

“He said it’s important for the more ‘stable family unit of four.’ I told him I was not willing to miss the kids’ events.”

“He did not take it well and accused me of interfering and alienating their chances of a family unit.”

“He texted me after the event with things he wanted me to miss (including Indie’s Elementary school graduation in May).”

“I told him it was not happening. He told me Thora wanted this too.”

“Thora knew nothing of this and told me the kids would be so upset if we did what Michael wanted, which I knew also.”

“She was angry at Michael. Michael is angry at me still.”

“He called me an a**hole.”

“I don’t want to believe I’m an a**hole, but I know this is not the norm for every divorced parent’s situation, and it makes me ask if I am TA for not letting them have some of those events just them.”

OP was left to wonder,


Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.

Some pointed out the obvious.

“Definitely NTA.”

“They will never consider him equal to you because he is not. You are their father, and he is their stepfather.”

“He should not have married Thora if he could not handle that role.” ~ TheRealImagined

“NTA, you’re not equal.”

“You’re their actual blood father.”

“He’s wrong for trying to guilt trip you.”

“I don’t understand how he got it in his head that this is a normal request. The more I read the AITA forum, the sadder I get about humanity.” ~ Sly_Coop8

Others thought there might be ulterior motives.


“He is trying to edge you out as dad, and he can’t do that when you are so involved. Good job, op. You are a good dad!” ~ NotTheJury

“You need to be very alert of parental alienation on his end.”

“He sounds very unhinged.”

“Probably have a talk with your kids because who knows what lengths he’s willing to go through to achieve his stable family of four. He clearly wants to replace you” ~ Holiday-Somewhere-96

“He wants to replace you.”

“Stop interacting with him as much as possible and forward any communication to Thora so that she can deal with it.”

“Don’t second guess yourself, you are doing great by your children, and that’s what matters.” ~ Cyead

Commenters applauded OP for his parenting skills.


“You and your ex are doing everything you can to put your kids first, don’t let this guy’s insecurities get in the way of that.”

“You are even in agreement that he shouldn’t get to decide how the two of you are co-parenting.” ~ Medical-Cat-821

“Yes, exactly.”

“Don’t interact with Michael anymore.”

“I think you and Thora are an example of good co-parenting.”

“And your children are lucky to have you invested in their lives and all the efforts you undertake to be at their events. At their age, EVERY event is a milestone, and you are there for them.”

“NTA” ~ DoIwantToKnow6417

Michael took a lot of judgment.

“NTA Not only this guy want to solve his insecurities and become a ‘parental figure’ at OP’s expense, but also blatantly lies about his ex-wife’s opinion on this.”

“He clearly wants to sabotage OP’s position in children’s life, and that’s honestly not what a good step-parent (and partner to Thora) would do.”

“Also it’s obvious that he doesn’t care about kid’s feelings in this at all — just about his position.”

“Personally, I wouldn’t be comfortable with such a person taking care of my kids while I’m not there.”

“Thora sounds like a reasonable woman and a good mother — maybe leave her husband’s issues to her and limit your interactions with him while being such a good dad you already are.” ~ lyramel


“They aren’t a stable family unit of four.”

“You are their father, and it sounds like you and Thora are working hard to make sure your kids know how much their parents love them. You’re doing a great thing.”

“Michael wants a nuclear family, mum, dad, 2 kids.”

“You don’t fit in his family.”

“You aren’t undermining his position as their stepfather. You’re stopping him from attempting to replace you as ‘dad.’ He wants your children to turn to him instead of you.”

“He feels as though he’s entitled to a stronger bond because he’s married to their mother. He’s projecting, and he’s attempting to undermine you.”

“You need to talk to Thora.”

“Just tell her that you’ve thought that Michael was upset with you for a while and you weren’t sure what you’d done, but he finally spoke to you.”

“That he wants you to spend less time with the kids so he can ‘bond’ with them.”

“So she should try and figure out some way for them to spend time together during her time because you aren’t giving up time with your children for him.” ~ Natural_Garbage7674

The marriage itself was called into question.

“NTA op, do NOT allow Michael to alienate you from your kids; it’s what he’s trying to do .”

“He’d probably tell them he’s their dad and that you don’t love them as much, which is why you are not there for them.”

“Nip it in the bud ASAP.”

“Tell Thora every single time so she can handle it.”

“I don’t see the marriage lasting if he keeps this crap up, considering the type of great mum you describe your éx to be.” ~ Organic_Start_420

“Honestly, if I was Thora, I would be rethinking the whole marriage.”

“Michael was willing to torpedo his stepkids’ happiness and a great co-parenting relationship for extremely selfish reasons.”

“That’s not someone I would want to be married to…” ~ Cheddarbaybiskits

Parenting is hard.

Co-parenting is hard.

Co-parenting when someone in the group doesn’t necessarily want you there? That’s a whole other set of problems.

The above is a great example of communication and cooperation winning the day and preventing the escalation of an otherwise hostile situation.

OP reached out, talked to his ex, and found out that she wasn’t on board with what her new hubby was saying.

Talking is typically better than arguing.

We wish the adults well as they sort through this bump in the road.

Written by Frank Geier

Frank Geier (pronouns he/him) is a nerd and father of three who recently moved to Alabama. He is an avid roleplayer and storyteller occasionally masquerading as a rational human.