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Dad Threatens To Cut Off Teen Son’s College Fund Because He Refuses To Visit After Divorce

Talen De St Croix/Unsplash

Many of us go around living our lives believing we know everything about who and what is in our lives.

But when something proves to be untrue, like a cheating partner, our lives can feel like they’ve started to unravel, admitted the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor Worried_papa_1762 discovered that one of his children was not his and proceeded to separate himself from his family to give himself time to heal.

But when his non-biological son started pulling away, the Original Poster (OP) began to reconsider how he’d handled the situation.

He asked the sub:

“AITA for cutting my son’s college fund off because he refuses to visit me?”

The OP recently made a discovery about his family.

I (38 Male) have three kids (18 Male, 16 Male, and 13 Female), but one of them isn’t biologically mine (16 Male).”

“I found out about this 3 years ago. It was a messy situation, so I ended up divorcing my wife and leaving.”

“I moved to another city because I needed time to heal.”

“I wasn’t physically involved in my kids’ lives for two years, but I called them every day and talked to them. I also paid child support for the three of them.”

The OP primarily distanced himself from his middle child.

“Here is where I know I did a terrible thing and maybe that’s why Alexander is mad at me and doesn’t want to see me.”

“When I called my kids, I only called Sophia and Raphael (13 Female and 18 Male), because I felt uncomfortable talking to Alexander.”

“One day he was angry and grabbed the phone, crying and said, ‘Don’t you love me, Dad? Why are they more important to you?'”

“I politely replied and said, ‘Honey, look, I love you, but I need some time to heal. I’m still your father and I’ll be back soon.’ (He knows I’m not his biological father).”

“I talked to him through messages, because I didn’t feel completely comfortable doing FaceTime (video call).”

When the OP moved back to town, he was surprised by his children’s behavior.

“I moved back to my city last year with my new partner to settle down, and my kids (13 Female and 18 Male) came to visit me immediately, but Alexander didn’t come.”

“So I went to his mom to see what was going on, and I talked to him and also apologized for treating him that way.”

“But he refused to come to my house and said that he only wanted to hang out with me and we did that.”

“When he found out my wife (he refused to come to my wedding) was pregnant, he told me not to visit him again.”

“Then I found out that his mom was seeing Alexander’s biological father, so I thought that my son wanted a relationship with his biological dad instead, so even if it hurts, I respected his wishes.”

“But then I found out that he rejected this guy. Raphael said that one day this guy was trying to spend time with him, but Alexander said, ‘Look dude, no hard feelings, but don’t try to force a fatherly role on me, because you are not my dad and I already have one.'”

The OP decided to try tough love instead.

“So I decided to invite him again to live with me because my other two kids live with me 80% of the time, and he is the only one who refuses.”

“My daughter was born 6 days ago, and he hasn’t come to see his half-sister.”

“So I called him and said that if he doesn’t come to see me, I’ll be cutting his college fund.”

“He told me to f**k off and then hung up.”

“My mom says I’m being an AH for threatening him that way.”

“But seriously, I don’t see the point of paying a college fund for a child that doesn’t even want to see me.”

“AITA?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some were infuriated with the OP.

“Raging AH. That’s the word I was looking for. I was thinking massive AH but raging is much more descriptive.”

“It’s hard to even imagine this story is true because I can’t imagine a more selfish, childish, and manipulative parent than OP but unfortunately we all know that there is no qualification test to be a father.”

“OP, YTA. Beg forgiveness and start being a father to your son.” – PomeroyWatson

“Your kids (blood or not) should be more important than your ‘healing.'” – cooradical

“I know it’s so faaaaar from the top 5 or 6 issues in this post but the new wife saw him not see 3 kids for 2 years, only talk to 2 of the 3 and she still chooses to marry him and have his child?”

“Not blaming the new wife for OP’s truly awful behavior in any way, but very confused why she stuck around.”

“How much healing can you do when you’re meeting, dating, moving in together with, getting engaged to, planning a wedding, getting married to someone new? Save time by ignoring your children! But also make a new one.”

“Solid case of YTA.” – stereo_selkie

“I hate cheaters and I think there’s no excuse aside from abuse in some cases. But frankly, if this is the level of empathy OP has toward a 16-year-old boy who happens to be his son.”

“I’m not super surprised a situation arose where OP’s ex cheated. I can’t imagine he’s a peach to live with.”

“It’s hard not to assume the lack of empathy and care he probably had in his relationship if he’s able to be so selfish towards his son. He actually expects a 16-year-old to carry his emotional burden.

“YTA.” – gaymooncow

Others took issue with the OP’s demonstration of conditional love.

“The biological kids now know that their father’s love is conditional and can be arbitrarily rescinded for something that they had no part in.”

“YTA, OP. I can’t imagine throwing away a loving relationship with my child over a sh*tty thing that my partner did.”

“You made your son, a completely innocent party, pay for somebody else’s decision to do something reprehensible, and now you don’t want to pay (emotionally and literally) for your own horrible actions.”

“I hope your son can find peace.”

“Since you’re sending him out into the world with the psychological damage of being abandoned by a parent, sending him the money you already earmarked for him is the least you can do at this point.” – CaptainBasketQueso

“Calling only two kids makes me wonder how the other two kids have been treating the 16-year-old.”

“Did they see daddy ignoring him and think it was somehow his fault that their family split? Are they excluding him since he’s a half-brother, not a full-brother? Were they rubbing it in his face that dad talked to them and not him?”

“Teenagers can be a**holes and I can easily see a couple of kids in a tumultuous situation using the ‘well, dad doesn’t talk to him’ justification to treat the kid as less than.” – nyorifamiliarspirit

“The kids need time to heal and the emotional support and unconditional love of his parents.”

“Kids don’t have the internal tools developed to cope with this sh*t (most adults don’t either but that’s neither here nor there).”

“He just learned that his father’s love is entirely conditional. Horrifying.” – producerofconfusion

“Being a parent is about love. Not blood!”

“OP got cheated on, sad. Doesn’t mean he can take off for 2 years leaving his son, yes his son, to deal with the fallout.”

“And now he expects the son to come to him? Using tuition as leverage. YTA super YTA.” – Super-Investment

Some were simply so sad for the son.

“OP understandably needs time to heal, but his son also had something extremely traumatic and confusing happen in their life as well! Wouldn’t the son also need time to heal!?” – Street_Elephant8430

“The kid is the biggest victim in this. OP cut contact for 2 years, his mom lied for years, and only now his bio dad is trying contact.”

“There is zero excuses for cheating despite OP being an AH, wife should have set things clear.” – AngelicalGirl

“It’s like OP thinks his world was the only one that was turned upside down by the revelation that his son wasn’t biologically his.”

“Imagine being a teenager, learning that you lived a lie for your whole life, then your parent abandon you and you have to live with the other parent who lied to you all that time, and then your dad gets himself a new child instead of you.”

“YTA OP, I don know if you can ever fix this but you need to try hard as hell for your son. Cutting him off financially as a punishment for not doing your bidding is not the way.” – Yellowmellowbelly

“I’ll never understand parents (read: fathers) who abandon a child they raised from birth just because they find out the kid’s not ‘biologically’ theirs. Um, so the 16 or so years you spent thinking you were their parent have been wasted? Gross.”

“My stepdad stayed in my life even when he and my mom broke up briefly when I was a kid, and he’d only been my ‘dad’ for about 10 years (They got together when I was 2). Hell, he’s the one I talk to on an almost daily basis, even more than my mom… and I’m now 38. He’s been my dad for 36 years.”

“OP, you are not a good man. You are not a good father. You are not even a good person.”

“Know this: you have completely destroyed your relationship with your “not-son” and even if he does forgive you, the relationship will NEVER be the same.”

“And wanna know why? Because every time he does something ‘wrong’ or something you don’t ‘like’ he’s going to wonder if this is the time you kick him to the curb.”

“Do your ‘not-son’ a favor and give him his college fund, apologize as deeply as you can, then f**k right off and out of his life. Or at the very least, acknowledge you royally f**ked up and hope he shows you more compassion than you’ve shown him these last few years.”

“YTA. So much the AH.” – I_cant_remember_u

While the subReddit could understand needing time to process what the OP discovered about his marriage, the subReddit was furious with the OP for how he treated his son.

Not only did the teenager have just as much to process, if not more, as the OP, but the OP was inevitably ruining his relationship with his son in the process.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.