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Dad Forced To Sleep On Couch After Being Accused Of ‘Upstaging’ Wife On Son’s Birthday

Teen boy blowing out birthday candles.

Some people go out of their way to make sure they are not the center of attention.

While others do just the opposite and make every effort to make sure they are everyone’s main focus at every waking moment.

Always complicating matters, these same people do not take kindly when they notice everyone’s attention is no longer on them.

Redditor WonderfulRip8593 wanted to make sure that his son had a happy birthday, even going so far as to coordinate with his son’s best friend.

Thankfully, with her help, the original poster (OP) was able to give his son just the birthday he was hoping for.

Less happy with the party, however, was the OP’s wife, feeling she had been “left out.”

Wondering if he could have handled things better, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for ‘upstaging’ my wife on our son’s birthday?”

The OP explained why ensuring his son had a happy birthday ended up putting him at odds with his wife.

“So my (46 M[ale]) son’s (19 M) birthday was yesterday.”

“A few weeks before his birthday he and my wife (48 F[emale], also his mother) got into an argument over something really petty if I’m being honest.”

“This happens a lot. She will find the smallest things to complain to him about.”

“But due to this argument, she refused to plan anything for his birthday.”

“So I started to plan it.”

“Now, before anyone thinks I went and planned a massive party, by plan, I mean to get him some presents, a cake and make sure we have money for take out that night (this is what we’ve done for a while as he stopped wanting parties after 15 and even before then his birthday parties were really just small gatherings with a handful of friends).”

“Now I’m going to be honest here; I don’t know much about my son’s interests.”

“I know what he’s into but not enough information about specifics to get him anything.”

“But I do know the person that knows him better than anyone is his best friend, who I will call ‘Alice’ (18F).

“So I called Alice and asked her about what kind of things my son would like as a present.”

“She was immediately able to help me.”

“I know my son loves K-pop but she was able to show me what albums he would like and ended up getting him one that was released very recently (I actually had to preorder it after we had the phone call) from his favorite group.”

“As Well as these small picture cards of his favorite member.”

“The conversation somehow also ended up at cakes, and she was also able to help me with what kind of cake is his favorite.”

“And what things to avoid (like buttercream as it makes him feel ill) and I got everything sorted.”

“His birthday came, and I made him and everyone breakfast before work.”

“And when I got back, we opened presents ordered food and did the cake.”

“When I say we I mean me, my son, my daughters, and my MIL who lives with us.”

“My wife seemed upset and did not join us.”

“She came down to get some food and some cake and take it to our room to eat.”

“When I went to bed, I asked her what was up, and she said she felt like I was trying to upstage her and that our son favors me anyway, and I’m not helping.”

“She knows that neither of us knows enough about K-pop to have gotten him stuff to do with his favorite group without help and told her I asked Alice for help with the gift and cake. She got upset again and said I was proving her point.”

“She then just went off complaining how she was excluded, and she didn’t like the cake and that no one had paid any attention to her and had left her out of everything.”

“She kept interrupting me as I tried to apologize. I just gave up and slept on the sofa.”

“I know my wife and know she can be unreasonable at times but I am wondering if I’m TA.”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

The Reddit community unanimously agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for planning his son’s birthday party with Alice.

Everyone agreed that the OP in no way “upstaged” his wife, with many believing that his wife’s severe jealousy of being ignored on their son’s birthday and her tendency to argue were signs of much bigger issues that should probably be addressed.


“Your wife seems very insecure.. and also a hypocrite.”

“She fought with your son, you made sure your son had a nice birthday, and she’s… feeling bad because you made sure your son had a nice birthday?”

“Also, making the day of your SON’s birthday about her?”


“You’re not the one who needs to apologize.”- Booky_Cat

“Your wife wanted to cancel any celebration of your son’s birthday because they had an argument?”

“Either it was a very, very very big deal of an argument, or she’s very vindictive.”

“You on the other hand did what was needed to make your son feel special on his birthday, and I think asking his best friend for advice was very thoughtful.”

“Your wife is more concerned about being upstaged by you than the fact that had you not organized all this, your son would have had no birthday celebration and gifts.”

“Can’t imagine being that self-centered and vindictive, to be honest.”

“NTA.”- YouSayWotNow

“OP, you are fine.”

“Your wife’s behavior is odd, and she seems extremely angry and upset by something deeper than this.”

“If you wanna figure it out, you should try having a conversation about why.”

“Possibly consider therapy (not a cure-all, but it’s the best option).”

“Her reasoning as to why is not a justification, and what she did was wrong.”

“You did everything you could for your son’s birthday, and I hope your son had a great time.”

“As for the not knowing what he likes makes sense.”

“I was the same as a teenage boy.”

“Loved my father and did a lot with him, but I didn’t really ever talk about personal preferences or my own sh*t.”

“Just life and whatever else.”

“Anyone saying he’s an AH for not knowing the type of cake his son likes isn’t exactly realizing the amount of autonomy teens can have after 13/14.”

“Kids change a lot in a few short years.”


“You seem to be doing great as a father, and please keep it up by treating your kids to what they want.”- Leather-Toe-2449


“I do wonder what the argument was about and if it really had no influence on this situation.”

“But your wife being angry at you for, in short, planning a better birthday for your son than she would have is just petty.”

“And in general, I‘m always a bit disappointed in parents who are unhappy if something good happens to their kids.”

“Sure your wife and your son are in a stroop atm, but he had a great birthday and you did a good job as a dad. How can this be something bad?”

“Frankly, her son’s birthday is not about her.”- emadelosa

“What country are you in that allows you to be married to a toddler?”

“Let her finish her tantrum alone, until she recognizes that she was equally capable of doing any of the things you did — if she cared enough for her own son to try.”- XtineMC


“Consequences for behaviour is one thing, intentionally canceling everything to do with your child’s birthday and refusing to even spend time with them on the day is incredibly toxic parenting.”

“Your wife is being an AH here.”- ElaMeadows

“NTA at all!”

“Just because she got into an argument with your son and is not able to communicate with him like grown a** people do, it doesn’t mean that you need to neglect your child on his birthday emotionally.”- IllustratorDouble699


“You did a great job making his day special.”

“Your wife is responding in quite an immature fashion and totally disregarding that her son’s birthday is not about her, it’s about him.”

“Perhaps if she wasn’t so busy pouting, she could have simply enjoyed the day and bonded with her son.”

“She clearly thinks her son prefers you over her, but that doesn’t mean you should step back.”

“She should step up and stop with the petty fights.”- vegetable-trainer23

A birthday is the one day a year when someone can rightfully be the center of attention, as long as that person is the one who was born on that day.

The fact that the OP’s wife made no effort to celebrate her son’s special day over a petty argument is worrisome, to say the least.

Hopefully, she and the OP can find a way to dig into the root of the problem that might be causing this.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.