Honesty is always the best policy.
This isn’t just true from a moral standpoint, it’s true from a logistical one too.
We cannot make good decisions if we do not have all of the information necessary to make those decisions.
So, what happens when someone you’re familiar with is about to make a life-altering decision without all the necessary facts?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) miabee_02 when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for some outside opinions.
“AITA for bringing up my brother’s four kids to his fiance and potentially ruining an engagement?”
OP began with the background.
“Okay so I (22 Female) have an older brother (28) that we’ll call Jamie.”
“We’ve been roommates since I was about 17.”
“In that time, I’ve seen a lot of girls come and go, even when he was in a relationship with different girls.”
“I’m not a huge fan of his actions or how he treats women in general, but it’s his life and he’s free to mess it up as much as he wants so I turn a blind eye to it.”
She explained that the situation was complicated.
“He has four kids.”
“His oldest daughter is 10 and is the only one that he actually pays any child support on, but he rarely sees her.”
“The other two are twin boys (4) that he has with one of my close friends. She didn’t take him to court, so I do my best to provide for them if she needs help.”
“His son I don’t really know much about. I think he’s around 8? He doesn’t want kids and doesn’t see them but maybe a handful of times around the year and doesn’t see his 8 year old son at all.”
“He calls the ones he has “accidents” and has said before that he wishes he hadn’t had them because he gets irritated when their mothers call him.”
“So essentially what happened was 3 years ago, Jamie met a girl named Natalie and they immediately hit it off.”
“She’s moved into our apartment and I like her well enough. With his habits, I didn’t expect her to last very long, but she surprised us both.”
“Since I planned on moving out in a few months, she’d been talking about renovating my room and all sorts of stuff they could do with the space. She even laughingly said that ‘maybe it could be a nursery’.”
“I thought it was a joke and brushed it off.”
“Well, a couple weeks ago, while I was out at dinner with my friends, he had decorated the apartment and proposed to her.”
“I congratulated them and didn’t have any problems with this until a few nights ago when we were all drinking and talking.”
Everything was fine, until…
“Natalie was gushing about her plans for the wedding and her bridesmaids and her new ring. Here’s what went wrong.”
“She mentioned how she wanted kids as soon as she could and how she could see my brother being the best dad.”
“I started laughing. Basically what I said was: ‘He hasn’t been the best dad to the four he has now’.”
“She asked what I meant and my brother started to freak out.”
“I realized she didn’t know and explained how he wasn’t raising his kids and how he didn’t even want to see them and didn’t want kids at all.”
“Apparently he hadn’t told her about any of this.”
“My brother was drunk and started yelling so I called a friend and left. I stayed away a day or two and he blew up my phone.”
“I guess he and Natalie are fighting horribly and he blamed me for it.”
“I ruined his engagement and I’m an AH for telling her as it ‘should’ve been his choice to tell her about the kids’. Our parents agree with him and haven’t been talking to me.”
“Honestly I feel like I warned her before things got too serious, even if it wasn’t deliberate.”
“He should’ve told her before about them.”
OP was left to wonder.
“So AITA here?”
Having laid out the situation, she turned to Reddit for some outside thoughts.
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: NTA
Some pointed out that this isn’t just about Jamie.
“NTA – she should have known about your brother’s kids before they even got engaged let alone married as it has the potential to negatively affect her in the long run if any of his baby mama’s decide to take his ass to court for child support.”
“Plus you know, her putting her trust into a liar and a cheat and a shitty parent.”
“Your parents agreeing with him is deplorable.”
“What kind of sick people think it’s okay to hide their children from potential significant others, one which has their heart set on starting a family and having children no less.” ~ Geekrock84
“I find it funny how he claims it’s his choice to tell her if he has children, but he sees nothing wrong with taking away Natalie’s choice of deciding whether or not she wants to be in relationship/marry a man who has chosen not to take care of his four children.”
“Why does he get to have a choice, but she doesn’t get the choice to make an informed decision?” ~ Fickle-Willow4836
Others were confused at Jamie’s intentions.
“It’s especially bad because he clearly doesn’t want kids?”
“What was he going to do when she started trying to get pregnant?”
“She very clearly told him that’s where she wanted this relationship to go.”
“Was he going to secretly get a vasectomy and then convince her that she is sterile?”
“Was he going to have kids with her and then tell her that since she was the one who wanted them she has to do 100% of the childcare?”
“If he wants to be child-free, then that’s perfectly fine, but he needs a vasectomy and to not be in a relationship with someone that wants children.” ~ RedoftheEvilDead
There were even shared stories.
“NTA at all.”
“I had a family member be in a long term relationship with a guy, live with him and later find out he had an older child that he kept secret from her.”
“It was pretty traumatic for her.”
“You saved her from making a huge mistake. Your brother on the other hand, should probably get a vasectomy.” ~ wh4teversclever
“I dated a guy who told me he had a 14yo who lived w/him & 2 girls 12 & 10 who lived w/their Mom in a different state 6hrs away.”
“All 3 kids had the same Mom.”
“I was fine w/it bc we were both 37 & I had a 17yo & 14yo.”
“2 months later I go to a 4th of July party at his Moms & find out he has a 2yo he had told me was his nephew.”
“His Mom even expected me to be motherly to the 2yo & got pretty upset when I was not interested.”
“While I obviously have my own kids, I don’t like kids & have no interest in dating anyone with a child under 12.”
“And definitely not a man who has full custody of a baby with Mom out of the picture. I have no desire to pick up that role or responsibility.”
“Needless to say, I ended things rhe next day.” ~ Herbie_Poppins
The comments did not spare Jamie’s feelings.
“After 3 years, it is hardly unreasonable for you to assume the soon-to-be SIL knew about your brother’s history.”
“You’re not obliged to deflect from this matter just to satisfy your brother’s deception (and after 3 years and a marriage proposal, it could hardly be called anything but deception)”
“If he was so serious about this relationship and yet wanted to hide, then it is his responsibility to keep Natalie away from you and this subject.”
“It is not your responsibility to aid him.” ~phiwong
There was even a helpful list.
“He ruined it by not telling his fiance. OP saved her.”
“You absolutely did the right thing.”
“Regardless of how he is as a dad, he f*cked up by not telling her.”
“He lied to her about the nature of their relationship for 3 years, even though they had a commitment.”
“If they’re serious, she MUST know. He didn’t let her, so you did.”
“He’s a dad, and a sh*tty one.”
“If Natalie plans on having children with him, she should know that, because he’s gonna be no different to their children”
“Jamie has been horrible to his children.”
“He’s irresponsible (4 accidents? Really?), refuses to take accountability both legally and emotionally, and has neglected the kids for most of their life.”
“That’s not exactly someone Natalie wants to have children with, right?”
“He probably knew she’d back out if he told her.”
“This is a situation where ‘you didn’t ruin it, he did by not doing XYZ himself’ means literally.”
“If he was just a dad and not a horrible one, she could’ve stayed with him even after she knew.”
“There’re plenty of people who chose to stay with their partner knowing said partner has children elsewhere.”
“It’s not the knowledge itself, it’s the fact that he lied.” ~ GoodGirlsGrace
Information is a powerful tool.
It can destabilize governments and rock relationships to their core.
So, how do you avoid the destructive force of a truth bomb?
Easy, you catch it by being honest from the start.