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Mom Balks After Stepdaughter Demands She Pay College Tuition Despite Not Having Relationship

College student holding supplies and a piggy bank
Deepak Sethi/Getty Images

We’ve all known some people who only reach out to us or make an appearance when they want or need something from us.

Sometimes, unfortunately, they’re people we are also related to, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

A Redditor, who has since deleted her account, was shocked when her stepdaughter, who had previously made it clear that she wanted no relationship with her of any kind, approached her and demanded that she provide her with a full college tuition.

Knowing that she didn’t have the financial means, and acknowledging their lack of common history, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure what to do.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for refusing to pay for my stepdaughter’s tuition because she never liked me?”

The OP had a terrible relationship with her stepdaughter.

“I (39 Female) married my husband (54 Male) six years ago, and we were together for eight.”

“He had two children (20 Male) and (19 Female) from a previous marriage, and I have a daughter (9 Female).”

“I was a widow when I met my husband. My husband and his ex-wife divorced shortly after his daughter, Emma’s, birth.”

My husband’s daughter, Emma, had severe issues with her father getting married again while her brother got along very well with me and my daughter. He is the best older brother out there.”

“Emma did not like me and she treated my daughter very badly, to the point that she almost never left my arms when her sister was home.”

The OP later paid for her stepson’s college tuition.

“When Emma was 15, she permanently moved to live with her mother.”

“After she moved back with her mother, my husband spent Sundays with them because she refused to visit our place. From what I experienced with my husband, he is a good father and both of his children are well-adjusted people (including Emma; she just doesn’t like me or my daughter). He is a great father to my daughter, too.”

“My deceased husband left me a small fortune when he passed that I never touched since I had a good job and never wanted anything more, so last year I helped pay my stepson’s tuition.”

“I plan to do that with my daughter too.”

The OP’s stepdaughter lashed out at her for her decisions.

“My stepdaughter is very angry now, calling me an a**hole for not paying for her college tuition, as well. She stated this was ample proof that I always treated her badly.”

“But am I? I never had a good relationship with her. She always hated me and I don’t think she’s becoming a good person and honestly, I would rather leave more to my daughter than pay for her ungrateful a**.”

“My husband is sad because he thinks I am being unjust. I am very sad about it but I still don’t feel I am the AH.”


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 argued that someone who didn’t want to be family could get the family treatment.

“NTA, your stepdaughter made her choice in being against her father remarrying and choosing to take that out on you and your daughter.”

“Your stepson clearly could look past that and accepted being part of a blended family. When your stepdaughter was old enough, she made a choice to leave. All her choices. Kids need to learn that behaviors have consequences, both good and bad depending on the behavior. She chose wrong and that is not on you. Your husband needs to understand that too.”

“So definitely NTA. I was in a relationship with someone who had three children, and they all took different actions against me because they did not want their mother in another relationship.”

“The mother disagreed with me on any discipline at all. The kids’ actions were significant. The oldest stole my car and caused thousands in damage joyriding. The daughter stole cash and items, youngest was not as bad, but would bump into me, fall, and claim I shoved him.”

“None believed actions had consequences. I left. They begged me to come back because their mother couldn’t afford to pay the bills without help.”

“It sounds like this girl isn’t going to learn a lesson from this, but stick to your guns, and make it clear this is a consequence of how she treated you and your daughter.” – Immediate_Loss_4370

“Ask your stepdaughter if she thinks your late husband would appreciate his money being spent on someone who terrorizes his daughter.” – TheDamon8r_92

“Her saying that you were unkind to her was just her trying to guilt you.”

“Ask her if she feels like you are her family. Because you never felt that she did and you only pay for the people you are around and live with.”

“Tell her it doesn’t even matter whose fault it is because this is the reality of the situation. You two never connected and it’s ok as she has two loving parents. She doesn’t need you.”

“By covering your stepson’s tuition, you eliminated expenses her parents might otherwise have to help with, so you still helped.” – hummingelephant

“She chose to live with her mother, who would then be responsible for her. Under those circumstances, financial support would be from her mother or your husband’s private funds.”

“It might have been tough for her to accept a stepmother. I can understand that. But she has been using her grief at the breakdown of her parents’ marriage to alienate herself from you, and she can’t suddenly changed teams when it suits her. You are NTA.” – anemoschaos

“The OP should say, ‘Since you didn’t want to have a relationship with me, that caused me to be under the impression that you wanted nothing else from me either. Please correct me if I’ve assumed wrongly, and explain to me how you think this should work?'”

“Ask her to say the words and speak them out loud.”

“NTA.” – La-Gioconda

Others pointed out that the OP had indirectly helped with her stepdaughter’s college tuition.

“I would like to point out that, by paying their son’s expenses, you have allowed them to allocate all of their savings and resources toward their daughter. So, in a sense, you have helped her with her tuition.” – ProgrammerLevel2829

“NTA. Your husband and his ex-wife can use the money they saved by not having to support their son’s college expenses to help cover Emma’s expenses.”

“Your husband doesn’t get to tell you how to spend your premarital assets. And it’s unfair of him to use emotions to guilt you.” – teresajs

“I took out loans. I paid them off. It sucks, but a ton of people have to do college that way. She will survive if she puts in the work.”

“She is NOT entitled to your money, and she traumatized your daughter. DO NOT feel guilty. Instead, focus on how extremely cool it is of you to pay for your stepson’s education. I hope your husband understands. There’s nothing stopping him from helping his daughter now that he doesn’t have to pay for his son’s, right?”

“You are NTA.” – ruthtrick

“NTA. Your stepson treated you and your daughter with kindness. You weren’t obligated to pay his tuition. You did it out of the kindness of your heart.”

“You stated Emma is very angry now, but that isn’t correct. She has been very angry the entire time. Probably called you an a**hole many other times, too, for no reason at all.” – Fragrant-Hyena9522

“NTA. Emma has two parents who can fund her. She’s not your child; she’s not even your friend. Tell hubby if he wants everyone to be equal, then you will withdraw from helping his son.”

“They’re all ungrateful. Instead of being appreciative of what you are giving, they look at what else they can demand from you. Emma’s parents are getting a break by your paying brother’s tuition, so they can put more of their assets towards Emma to make it ‘fair’ if they want.”

“Step-parent does not mean they are entitled to your assets.” – CrankyWife

“Emma still has her dad and mom to pay for her college tuition, and these are people she undeniably likes BETTER than the OP, and yet these ADULTS expect OP to fund her. SMH (Shaking My Head).” – half-princessperlett

After receiving feedback, the OP shared a quick update.

“Hi! Thanks for the feedback. This is my update, what I said to her and her reply.”

“I texted, ‘Hi Emma! Unfortunately, I have no means to pay for your education, nor do I understand why you would expect me to. However, I can help with finding you student jobs on evenings and weekends. I know many children doing that, including myself. Wish you good luck.'”

“She said, ‘Ok, ok, whatever, b*tch.'”

Though it might be nice for the OP to extend the same offer to her stepdaughter as she had extended to her stepson and would extend to her biological daughter in the future, the subReddit understood why she felt inclined to favor the people who had made her feel like family.

Because it was clear from their history together that Emma did not want to be family with her and perhaps shouldn’t be treated to those same familial benefits as her siblings.

Her final text message was simply the cherry on top to confirm the OP had done right by herself.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.