Our lives are full of responsibilities, and sometimes it feels like too much to take on even one more.
But for one guy who discovered through a DNA test that he was not the biological father of a past partner’s teenage son, there are some differences of opinion on what he should do.
The OP (Original Poster) “Somerandomthrowaways” asked the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit:
“AITA for not being part of ‘my’ kid’s life?”
The OP explained his background first.
“From 18-25, I was an absolute wild child. Lots of beer and lots of hook ups where we didnt even know each other’s names.”
“I was dealing with lots of damage, to the point where I dont even remember most of those years.”
“Now at almost 40, I”m much better now, with therapy and AA and my saint of a wife, but thats the important background.”
The OP was always honest with his wife about who may be waiting in the world for him.
“I was clear with my wife that its quite possible I have some kids out there somewhere, though a lot of the women I slept with I have no way of contacting to be sure.”
“My wife budgeted in some savings for if we ever have to pay child support for a couple of kids, but just asked that I get a paternity test before we welcome them in. We have no kids of our own, dont really want any.”
The day someone came forward, the OP’s and his wife’s plan went into effect.
“Last year, a 16 year old boy contacted me, saying that I was his father. We’ll call him K.”
“K claimed to be the son of one of my old classmates, and that his mom had raised him by herself because she didnt want to cause any trouble. But she had told him about me, all the time, and he had spent a lot of his life googling me. He’d finally worked up the courage to contact me, and asked if we could me.”
“Since I can neither confirm nor deny sleeping with his mother, I agreed to meet between our two towns, me driving about 5 hours and him driving about 45 mins, though I did tell him about my wife’s request. He was fine with it.”
“We met after the kit got here, he did the spit thing, gave it back, and we sat, talked, had lunch, and drove back home.”
Unfortunately for the teenager, the OP was not his biological father.
“We were not a match. I had my profile done a while ago, just so it was out there in case any kids found me that way. But K and I are not related. I contacted him, gave him all his data, and let him down gently.”
The teen was clearly hoping for very different news.
“He was devastated. Crying, claiming it wasnt real, that he had spent his entire life idolizing me, that I had to be his dad.”
“He begged to have a relationship, but I’m not entirely interested in building one with a random child. I apologized again, but left it at that.”
The teen’s mother apparently hoped for different news, too.
“His mom reached out, begging me as well, saying that she was so sure I was the father, that its destroying him not knowing who his dad is.”
“I said it was a real shame, but that father isnt me. I’m not dad material, especially not for someone else’s kid.”
Now the OP wonders if he was wrong for how he handled the news.
“This just came up in a convo recently, and sparked an argument. Some say its fine, others say it was cruel to abandon a kid who spent his entire life believing he was mine.”
“Am I the a**hole here?”
Fellow Redditors wrote in anonymously, scoring the situation on the following scale:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
A few Redditors wasted no time in pointing out the teenager’s upbringing is not the OP’s responsibility.
“It is so sad for this kid, but you don’t have any connection to him. Maybe he should seek therapy, I bet he is so devastated. But is not your responsibility, hope his mom can figure out who the real father is.” – BarracudaReady
“Nope not your kid not your problem” – serpico115
“NTA. i’m trying to figure out in what world you would be in wrong for not being the ‘father’ to a child that is not yours. it makes zero sense. you’re not being rude at all.”
“he idolized you because his mother decided to tell him stories that were possibly fabricated; he may have even idolized someone who wouldn’t have been a great role model, just becuase he was ‘cool’ back in the day (no offense, just going off the wild child comment).”
“you have your whole life going in & youve stated don’t want children but have funds if ever necessary. he isn’t your child. end of story.” – traumatizediotus
Some sided with the OP and the teenager but argued the mother was TA for putting the dream in her son’s head in the first place.
“NTA. I do feel bad for the kid, but the mom is definitely at fault here for feeding into this; if she was so sure why hadn’t she reached out sooner, instead of filling her son’s head with false promises.” – spyker54
“NTA, but the mother is. She spent too much time building up a character who doesn’t exist.” – Stinkerma
“NTA. His mother is for creating this situation. That poor kid.” – panic_bread
“It’s a cruel situation, but YOU didn’t put him in it. NTA.” – EstrogenAmerican
“While I feel very badly for the young man, you aren’t his father. YOu were kind and let him down gently. His mother needs to figure out who his bio father actually could be and stop pinning all her hopes on you. Yikes, NTA.” – elizabethjanet
One Redditor said this was a NAH situation, describing it as difficult for everyone.
“NAH – She must have genuinely believed you were the father, and clung to that ‘truth’ thru a pregnancy and 16 years of raising a child. Odd to me how she handled it, but certainly not AH actions.”
“The poor kid spent his life believing in that truth as well, and to have that pulled out suddenly from under him probably sent his whole world into upheaval. I feel very badly for him, but again, this is not your doing.”
“And you are certainly not an AH for not wanting to randomly be a dad to a 16 year old that is not yours. I’m sure he is crushed, but that upbringing and resulting disappointment is in no way your fault or responsibility, legally or morally.”
“I hope his mom gets him some therapy or someone to talk to, this is for sure roughest on him.” – DoctorMyEyes_
It’s definitely one of those situations that could leave some people feeling responsible, whether or not they were the father.
Though the OP is not in the wrong for not wanting to get involved, it’s heartening that he at least wanted to get some advice on the situation before moving on.