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College Student Won’t Move In With Dad Who Is Entangled In Messy Divorce From Fourth Wife

young woman packing moving boxes
Catherine Delahaye/Getty Images

Some people aren’t the marrying kind and end up never saying “I do.”

Others, well, they say “I do” repeatedly. If there are children involved, the revolving door of stepparents can get emotionally messy and confusing.

A daughter drawn into her father’s fourth divorce decided living with him wasn’t a good idea, but her father disagreed.

So she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Quadruplewhammy asked:

“AITA for not moving in with my dad because he won’t respect my one boundary?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“My dad (56, male) is currently divorcing his fourth wife, my step-mum (57, female). They were together for a decade and I (21, female) saw her as a parental figure, but never called her mum.”

“They separated around 8 months ago and now have their own flats.”

“For these 8 months, I have been most of my dad’s emotional support. He’d call me and cry on the phone, in person, and over text.”

“I’ve helped as much as I could, talked him through it, gave him advice, suggested finding new hobbies to expand his circle, all while trying to keep on top of my uni work and working part-time. Needless to say, my plate is full.”

“Two months ago, he told me he wanted to try and get back together with her. I told him that it probably wasn’t a good idea as at this time she had a new boyfriend, but they met up anyway.”

“Apparently it was a very emotional talk and she still wanted to go through with the divorce, but there was a chance of reconciliation. She told him she wanted to keep it a secret for 6 months to a year if they got back together—telling none of their respective kids.”

“My dad told me anyway and I said that sounded suspicious. She then wanted him to sign papers without taking them to a solicitor, but I convinced him to have a solicitor look at them anyway.

“I’m not 100% sure of the exact documents, but she lied about what the document was. Basically, if he had signed this she would have had access to his state pension.”

“He said he would ‘take her to the cleaners’ for that.”

“Well, 2 months later and they’ve blocked each other and ‘reunited’ multiple times. They recently went on a weekend away togehter, he gave her his ring, she then blocked him again.”

“They’re now seeing each other again and she will apparently be coming round to his flat often. Throughout all of this he’s been confiding in me, including stuff I—as his daughter—really shouldn’t know.”

“I feel very overwhelmed by all of this, and at this point, I’m so tired of all the drama. He says he ‘can’t give up’ on her—at this point it’s cringe-inducing.”

“He’s always going on about ‘having to take the chance’ because he ‘still loves her’. Apparently he tried it with my mum after they divorced too, but she completely rejected him.”

“I confronted him a few weeks ago that he sounded like an addict always looking for that dopamine hit from her and not caring who else his actions affect.”

“I asked him a few months ago if I could live with him for my third year of uni since rent is increasing. We talked about me paying him rent, came up with what we both thought was a fair sum, and agreed I could move in by July.”

“All I asked was that he let me know when she would be coming round so I could make myself scarce. I have no interest in having any sort of relationship with her after our family was separated.”

“He agreed and guaranteed he would text me if she was coming. From what I can tell, she only comes to his flat.”

“Come to today, where not only does he inform me that she will be coming round without warning, but she will also be getting keys!”

“I said I had one condition. One measly condition that I would have warning of her presence.”

“He told me to ‘just chill’ and ‘we will come and go as we please’.”

“So AITA for no longer wanting to move in with him?”

The OP summed up their situation.

“I changed my mind about moving in with my dad.”

“He says I should be more chill about it, we had already agreed I’d move in, and that I should just deal with it.”

“So I want to know if I’m being irrational.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

“NTA and don’t move in with him, if you do then you’ll be his live-in therapist.” ~ author124

“NTA. He’s already breaking the one, extremely reasonable, boundary you’re setting. It will only get worse once you’ve moved in and it won’t be easy for you to leave.”

“Don’t do this. You aren’t your dad’s emotional support animal.” ~ Vandreeson

“NTA. You need some time away from your dad, and therapy to establish healthy boundaries. You are not responsible for your father’s feelings or emotions, he is a grown man.”

“You are his child, not his emotional crutch. I’d suspect you’ve been managing his emotions or being his therapist in some way or another since you were a child, considering how quickly you both fell into the current dynamic.”

“If that’s the case, that’s all on him, he used you, maybe not consciously….but your child should not be your emotional support to that level. Best of luck OP.” ~ superrm81

“OP, please also stop carrying his emotional baggage. He’s old enough and married enough to know the likely results of his choices and he’s choosing to set his face on fire, over and over.”

“He can be ridiculous and impetuous all on his own. Don’t know if the pension/$ decisions affect you long term.”

“Either way, ‘Dad, you’ve shown what choices you are going to make. I WILL NOT BE THERE to live with you, take care of you or provide for you financially in any way especially if you CHOOSE to let her take advantage of you. Your choices and their consequences ARE ENTIRELY YOUR OWN. I’m not available to be your emotional support animal. Make sure you have an alternate back up plan because I am not it’.”

“We are so often convinced we OWE our elders. No, no you don’t. You owe YOU to make good decisions for your life and nothing else.”

“Love, honor, respect and support are EARNED. He has tapped that metaphorical bank and drained it dry. NTA.” ~ No_Appointment_7232

“Definitely NTA. You said it yourself—you had one condition. And that condition wasn’t for her to never come by. It was merely to give you a warning when she would.”

“You’re clearly in the right. Also, not to sound like I’m being judgmental, but if your dad has had four marriages fall apart, it sounds like he needs a reality check on his relationship skills.”

“Regardless, you’ve been more than generous supporting him.” ~ ironchef8000

“Find somewhere else to live. Get a flatmate. Don’t live with your father.”

It’s straightforward—you don’t want her coming and going and your dad does want her coming and going.”

“It’s your Dad’s place, so she will be coming and going. If you don’t want that, you need to live elsewhere. NTA.” ~ peonyhen

“NTA. You don’t want to interact with her and he’s planning on giving her keys‽‽ Yea, don’t move in with him. Find a houseshare.” ~ TossingPasta

“NTA. Your dad is for the bait and switch. He agreed to what you asked, but then when he went to inform her it became negotiable.”

“It’s up to him whether to reconcile with his wife and what their boundaries will be, but he should not have made a deal with you and then changed the terms. He should have asked her first if there was any question.”

“It sounds like you are already exhausted by their relationship. I think staying away from it is the best for you.” ~ 1962Michael

“NTA. You can live or not live with whoever you want and it was unkind of your dad not to at least give you a heads up after agreeing to it.”

“But you knew what you were getting yourself into—drama with an emotionally immature dad and whatever your stepmom is. This is the cost of living there for lower rent unfortunately.”

“And in an ideal situation, you’d move out with roommates and tell your dad that you can’t be his emotional support anymore. Then reinforce the boundary.” ~ friendlily

“You shouldn’t move in with him at all. He keeps dumping all his problems on you.”

“And you’d be dragged into the middle of their arguments all the time; you’ll never have any peace. He shouldn’t be involving you in his personal life like this anyway.”

“He sounds exhausting and self-centered. NTA.” ~ No_Confidence5235

“NTA. You can’t be best friends with your parents when they are using you as a crutch and then throwing you away when they no longer need you. Until they do again…” ~ Potential-Power7485

“NTA. Don’t do it. And PLEASE tell your dad that you are no longer comfortable being his therapist and that he needs to see a professional.”

“And repeat that every time he starts emotionally dumping on you. Learn to hang up on him, delete his texts, and block him if you need to.” ~ Adventurous-Fig2226

It sounds like the OP needs to set some boundaries with her father which include not living under his roof.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.