Relationships involving kids who have been hurt before are hard. How do you protect their feelings and build a connection with them at the same time?
It is normal to protect a child’s feelings when entering a new relationship as a single parent, but the responsibility also falls on your partner and the way they behave around your child.
28-year-old Redditor throwaway341197 just encountered a similar problem with his girlfriend and her daughter. So he turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit to pose a hypothetical question for moral judgment.
He asked “Would I Be The A**hole” (WIBTA).
“WIBTA if a tell my girlfriend’s daughter to not call me dad?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained
“Ok guys, I don’t know if am I the a**hole but I do feel very bad for the situation, English not first language…”
“I have been with my girlfriend (32) for 4 years, living together 1 year.”
“When I met my girlfriend I basically fell in love instantly, and after we started talking, she told me that she had a daughter (5 at the time). To be honest, I thought parenthood would never happen for me, I never wanted to have children and still don’t.
“I was not a fan of kids in general. And I told my girlfriend that I wasn’t interested at all in becoming her daughter’s father, and she told me that is fine because she isn’t looking for a father to her daughter.”
“My gf and her ex had a very bad relationship and immediately after they found out that she was pregnant he split, and as far as we know he’s been homeless for the last 2 years, as he fell down pretty hard in drugs.”
“Anyway, so we decided to take things slow and I only met her daughter (will call her M) 6 months after dating, and even then I wasn’t excited at all for meeting M.”
But, they started to build a relationship.
“But to my surprise me and M clicked immediately, she was very sweet and very nice, and she was very much in to video games, which I am a big fan of, and after only a few months we became very close.”
“I love to hangout with her going to Disney (pre pandemic) going out to eat playing video games etc…”
“So everything was fine, then the pandemic hit and we decided that it would be better for my gf and M to move in with me which really helped with the quarantine. For me, having a kid in the house has been wonderful because you always have something to do and the day goes by very quick.”
“The real problem began 3 days ago.”
“I was helping M with her homework, she had to do a paper on how her family got through quarantine. In that paper she referred to me as her dad, which while reading I thought that she maybe was embarrassed to talk to her teacher about how she doesn’t know her father.”
“So, I ignored it, but since then she had been calling me dad which in all honesty makes me very uncomfortable, because despite loving her very much, that ‘title’ in my eyes comes with a responsibility that I don’t think I am ready for, and for sure don’t want right now and don’t know if I ever will want.”
He wanted to have an honest conversation about it with his girlfriend.
“So, I went to talk to my gf about it and she just took it as me not loving M. She argued that I am the only male figure that M has, and it is natural for her to see me as her dad.”
“But, in the end she agreed that it’s my decision if I will accept being called M’s dad.”
“So WIBTA If I told M that although I love her, I am not her father and would prefer that she didn’t call me that?”
OP assured Redditors he had this conversation before.
“For what it matters, 1 year after I met her me and my gf sat her down and explained that I was her mother’s boyfriend and that her father lived in another city.”
“Probably unconsciously the biggest reason that I feel so uncomfortable being called that, is that if M is calling me dad my relationship is ‘closed’ in the sense that if she calls me that my relationship has to work, and that even if I am not making a commitment for the rest of my life with my gf I am making one with her.”
“My relationship right now is great but I can’t be sure that in ten years it still will be, and I’m pretty sure that makes me the AH but to be honest I still don’t know what to.”
Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors believed OP was the a**hole.
“YTA. You are living with this girl and her daughter. If you don’t want the daddy responsibilities, then you need to quit wasting your girlfriend’s time and dip. I get the title is heavy, but you knew she had a daughter 🤷🏻♀️ You could let her call you Mr. X.” ~ Ok_Yellow8056
“YWBA, you’ve known this little girl basically her whole life, so you basically are her father in her eyes. You can’t just pop into her life one day, and stay in it for four years, and be there for her for that time period, and then tell her you’re not her parent – you only want her mother and, and that she’s not part of the equation. That’s not how it works.”
“You knew you didn’t want kids, and your girlfriend also knew, and you both went ahead anyway. And you both carried this relationship to a point where you now live together like a family. You can’t choose to let them both move in, and not think M would develop a parental attachment to you.”
“You don’t think you’re ready for the responsibility of a child? You should have thought of that 4 years ago.” ~ FreakishNightmare
“Yes! OP chose to take on a fatherly role and is now upset that the kid sees him as a father.” ~ SquatsAndIceCream
“YTA I get it, you don’t want to be a dad figure. You shouldn’t have dated someone with a kid then, cause it was gonna happen. You need to figure out if you want them in your life that way or if it’s time to cut the tie and let her find someone that will love her kid as his kid.” ~ lolie973
“Personally, I feel like the girlfriend should also be held accountable. Since she knew that OP didn’t want kids when they first started dating, and she put her daughter in this position too, and set her up for this.” ~ FreakishNightmare
The OP included an update.
“As the comments I got helped me to get to a decision, I will let you guys know.”
“Well I thought a lot about it and talked to my girlfriend about it and we decided that the best thing to do right now is for me to distance a little bit from M.”
“At the moment I realized that being a father is a very big step and one that I am still not ready to make.”
“So, we will look for a new apartment for them.”
“My gf and I will continue our relationship, but we realized that we moved too fast in regards to my behavior around M. Of course I will still spend time with M, but less.”
“And, doing other things like going on vacation going out to dinner etc… more casual things.”
“We talked to her about it, and explained to her that I love her very much but I am still not ready to be her dad.”
“I know that I do seem like an AH for doing all this, just because a little girl called me dad, but she already got disappointed in her first father, and until I am sure and will not disappoint her it’s a title that I can’t accept.”
“I know it’s going to be rough for everybody, I really loved and got used to her being here, but both me and my gf think that is the best thing to do for M.”
“Anyway thanks for the comments they really helped me to understand better the situation.”
Taking on the role of a father figure is a big decision, and it should not be taken lightly, but you also can’t control the way a child feels.
Hopefully everything works out for the best.