It’s understandable for single parents to be protective of their children when entering new relationships.
First, there’s just the hope that the children will like their parent’s new romantic partner and vice versa, and there won’t be any tension, or animosity going forward.
However, there is also the risk of children becoming too attached, should the relationship not work out.
While the boyfriend of Redditor throwsrag546799 was initially hesitant about introducing his children to her, they eventually hit it off, and she became a very important part of their lives.
Unfortunately, the original poster (OP)’s boyfriend felt that she had become so important that he all but refused to let her spend any time away from them, putting a significant strain on their relationship.
Wondering if she was in the wrong for refusing his demands, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
AITA for insisting on attending my sister’s wedding?
The OP explained how she hit it off well with her boyfriend’s children, maybe too well.
“I’ve (32 F[emale]) been dating John (37 M[ale]) for 2 years.”
“He’s a single dad to 3 kids (4 M (jr) ,6 M,9 M).”
“I moved in with him and his kids a little while ago.”
“I have to say that he’s super protective of his kids, I haven’t been able to meet them til later because he said they might not like me and so he started easing them into accepting me by encouraging me and pushing me to be ‘extra friendly’ to them by buying them stuff and cooking for them daily.”
“He’s very busy often times, and the boys have now clinged on to me because they see me more than they see him.”
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for this outcome but the issue is that I can’t be away from them for a long time.”
“More than hours.”
“Now that I’d moved in I can’t go anywhere without taking them with me.”
“I can barely have time for myself but what’s worse is that my work got interrupted by that.”
“John suggested I work less hours but it didn’t happen.”
The OP then revealed that her boyfriend would only allow her to attend her sister’s wedding on one condition.
“Now my sister is getting married soon.”
“It’ll be held hours away so I’ll have to travel.”
“The invitation stated ‘child-free’ so I can’t take the kids.”
“When John heard about this he told me to immediately call and apologize cause I won’t be attending.”
“I was stunned I asked why and he went on about how much the kids adore me and how they’ll go crazy when I’m hours away from them.”
“Besides, that he’s too busy to look after them.”
“I said it’s not my fault and he should either take time off work and stay with them or get a babysitter.”
“He threw a fit about how selfish and unfeeling I was and that he will only let me attend the wedding when I tell my sister to let the kids come but I can’t ask such thing of her!”
“I INSISTED on going after he kept saying I shouldn’t go.”
“He went and told the boys that I was looking for an excuse to get some time away from then and now they won’t even speak to me.”
“I confronted him about what he did and he said it’s the result of me ‘insisting’ on going to the wedding and choosing my sister over my step-kids.”
‘He even said I should be thankful the kids ‘accept’ me for who I am and are giving me this much attention.”
“I was speechless and felt offended.’
“AITA for standing my ground and wanting to go?”
“She’s my only sister and we have a great relationship so not attending her wedding can cause issues.”
“His eldest is from his late wife.”
‘He then dated his ex girlfriend and had his middle and youngest child with her.”
“Now she’s out of the picture.”
“The eldest user to be kind of distant from his half brothers and had issues with them for years.”
“I was left to navigate through that and help him re-bond with them.”
‘Like I said all of them like to spend time with me so as a result they are bonding together, which is a great thing.”
“John was clearly too busy to try to fix this problem a long time ago.”
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 agreed that the OP was not at all the a**hole to stand her ground, and go to her sister’s wedding without her boyfriend’s children.
Everyone found the behavior of the OP’s boyfriend alarming and controlling, with many wondering if it was really wise for the OP to stay in this relationship, as many felt the OP was little more than a glorified nanny in this relationship.
“NTA, but you need to look in the mirror, point at your reflection and say ‘this person is nothing but a Mom II to that man’s children’.”
“‘She is supposed to give up her life to them and obey him’.”
“Then, ask the woman in the mirror if she wants this to be her entire life.”- ChinSpin_1986
“‘LET you attend the wedding?'”
“‘HUUUUUUUUUUUUGE red flag there’.”- kr0mb0pulos_michael
“You do realize that this man is keeping you as a free babysitter and housekeeper to escape his parental duty, yes?”- 000-Hotaru_Tomoe
“Omg, run run run run, fast.”
“You are entitled to attend an event without his kids.”
“The real BIG RED FLAG is how he handled it with his kids.”
“He threw you under the bus and didn’t have your back.”
“Get out, he will manipulate every situation to his advantage and convenience.”
“You will always be treated badly unless you fit in with his plan.”- gottahavemysay
“Go to the wedding and lose John.”
“He’s trying to manipulate you by using his kids and you’re not worried that he’s now resorting to anger when he doesn’t get his way?”
“Please choose your family and LEAVE this guy, from this guys perspective I’m worried for you.”-ColdstreamCapple
“This man is taking advantage of you.”
“The fact that he asked you to work less hours is a major red flag IMO.”- Redittor72529
“Girl you’re his captive bangnanny.”
“Don’t walk, run.”- BirdEyrir
“Girl, you’re the nanny not his partner.”
“You need to get the hell out of this relationship ASAP.”
“Your boyfriend is extremely controlling and manipulative, not to mention a shitty father to his kids.”-ImStealingTheTowels
“Hate to say it, but I think you’ve been groomed to be the Nanny.”
“NTA and please go to your sister’s wedding.”- Clover-Blue3
“Sweetheart, wake up and see the red flags.”
“You are just the free childcare.”
“If he really thought of you as a partner he wouldn’t ask you to cut your hours to watch his kids, he wouldn’t be leaving them for long stretches, he wouldn’t be involving them in adult conversations and most importantly he wouldn’t be isolating you from your family.”
“Yes, go to your sister’s wedding, but seriously think about returning to this living situation where you are just the unpaid help.”
“My goodness, you need to leave y.e.s.t.e.r.d.a.y.”
“He sucked you in to be his nanny and subordinate by convincing you that rearing his children was the only way to bond with them.”
“Yay free childcare who is also sexually available to him!”
“You weren’t winning them over, you were losing your autonomy and independence.”
“You were taking on all the responsibilities so he could get you into a mindset that you have to get his and his children’s permission to do anything.”
“He won’t LET you attend a family event?”
“He isn’t your ruler, leave before you lose your entire identity.”
“I hope you reexamine the ways he treats you as the help rather than a partner because I am certain there have been so many red flags where you have been treated as his employee not a partner.”
“It won’t change.”
“You were brought in to care for children and be a bedmate, he doesn’t see you as a person he owes respect to.”- wildferalfun
It’s not so much that the OP’s boyfriend is insisting she bring her children to her sister’s wedding that is disturbing, as much as that he actually thinks he can tell her what she can and cannot do.
And that he would lie to his children the way he did.
Making it hard not to wonder what kind of a partner and father he really is.
Maybe spending time away from her boyfriend at her sister’s wedding will help give her the perspective she needs on what she wants to do with her future.
A sad outcome for the children, regardless.