Navigating new relationships when you have kids is usually not an easy task. For one woman on Reddit, the issue led to conflict when her boyfriend asked that her kids be “seen and not heard” during a Christmas football game.
She wasn’t sure about having taken offense to his comment and how she’d handled it, so she went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for perspective.
The Original Poster (OP), who goes by Otherwise-Proof1910 on the site, asked:
“AITA for uninviting my bf to Christmas?”
“I (39f[emale]) have been dating my bf (51m[ale]) for about 2 years now. We live separately but see each other almost every day.”
“I have kids (girls ages 18 and 13), my bf does not. He had a marriage and a long term relationship before me, both with women who had kids, and he helped raise them.”
“Okay, so with that said, he has been lightly pushing for the relationship to progress so I bought him a stocking and an ornament to hang at my house. We’ve also discussed cohabitation.”
“Last night we were together and he said something about wanting to watch the football game on Christmas. Fine, not a problem. Then he added something in about how children are to be seen, not heard during this time. Um…not funny.”
“I asked when my kids have ever been disruptive and he admitted that they never have, he was ‘just saying.’ We left it awkward like that for the rest of the day. Evening came, we had a few drinks, and the football game came up again. This time he added that the kids can play in my 13 year old’s room and there will be no SpongeBob on the tv this year, just the game.”
“So now I’m done at this point and I ask him if he realizes whose home he’s going to be a guest in. He responded by saying that he could always go to his place and watch football. I told him that I thought that sounded like a good idea and he added in that he’d be keeping the groceries he bought for us to make Christmas dinner with too.”
“My girls and I could eat ravioli from a can and still have a lovely holiday. I let him know this and expressed regret in trying to progress things. At this point I almost don’t want him around my kids at all. I suggested he stay home this year for Christmas and offered to exchange the gifts we bought each other some other day.”
“I’m standing firm, he isn’t happy. We haven’t had time to sit down and discuss exactly why he’s upset but I’m getting the feeling that he thinks I’m TA in this situation. I don’t think I should budge, if anything I’m extra pissed for laying awake all night having anxiety over this nonsense. 2 years in and he has to dump a bucket of red flags on my Christmas spirit? Not okay!!”
“ETA: This is NOT normal behavior for this man, he has NEVER been like this before. Usually he is mellow and kind. He cooks, he cleans, he treats me like an equal. This Archie Bunker crap is new.”
Redditors were then asked to judge who was in the wrong in this conflict based on the following categories:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
And they were pretty firmly on OP’s side.
“The behaviour might seem ‘new’ but it’s demonstrating he is not a suitable partner for someone with kids. You guys were progressing and he got comfortable and showed you who he really is. Believe him. NTA.”
“P.S. also don’t ignore how he attempted to use food as leverage to manipulate and bully you. Gross.” –Cat_Got_Ya_Tongue
“Absolutely agree that it’s true colors. They put up a front to look good, but it’s how they handle the moments when they slip up that say the most.”
“My dad and brother love football, but on Christmas, they record the game on DVR (and on VCR before that) and we listen to Christmas music and watch Christmas movies together.”
“And if I were a guest at someone else’s house on Christmas day, I’d be dressed up and asking what I can do to help and letting the hosting family continue their traditions while being extremely appreciative that they included me.” –ADHDLifer
“He’s comfortable now and attempting to exert himself as the “man of the house.” NTA Celebrate Christmas with your kids the way you want to, and celebrate that you learned this before the AH moved in.” –Complex-Lemon-371
“I would not be surprised if his last 2 relationships ended as a result of his lack of interest in kids being heard and not just seen.”
“I think OP needs to look at the relationship, or lack there of, he maintains with those other two sets of kids he step-parented before considering cohabitation. This guy seems to not be a good addition to houses with kids. Likely he isn’t involved with them now.”
“Imagine the entitlement if he does eventually live there. He’s already entitled as a guest acting all man of the house with his plan for a perfect patriarchy holiday. Kids silent in the bedroom, OP barefoot in the kitchen cooking the food he provided, him in a lazy boy in front of the TV beer in hand watching the big ball sport game.”
“OP send him and his food packing and have a wonderful time with your kiddos!”
“This guy is a taker not a keeper! If you stay together, do not, I repeat, do not let him move in or co-mingle finances. He’s clearly just mummy’s boyfriend, not a father figure. Mummy’s boyfriend doesn’t get to live in the house.” –longpas
“NTA. Sounds like you dodged a bullet. It seems like he thought in getting you to agree to progress in the relationship, that he could suddenly tell you what was what. What kids could do. What shows you could watch. Where everyone could be.” –lychigo
Hopefully OP can figure out how best to navigate this situation with her boyfriend.