Moving in with someone is a huge step, and multiple conversations need to be had before that move-in date, including how responsibilities and bills will be split up, pet peeves, and more.
But if there are children involved, parenting roles also must be clarified, urged the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor houseofwolves12 thought he was doing the right thing for his stepdaughter when she came to him, crying and sick, before school.
But when his girlfriend accused him of parenting without her consent, the Original Poster (OP) if he had crossed a boundary.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for ‘parenting’ my stepdaughter and letting her skip
The OP lived with his girlfriend and her teenage daughter.
“Me (32 male) and my girlfriend (32 female) have been dating for a year. My girlfriend has a daughter, Emika (16 female), and recently they moved to my place.”
“My girlfriend works every day at her office while I still work from home.”
“My stepdaughter doesn’t spend much time at home, she is usually out with her friends, so we don’t have a really close relationship.”
The daughter recently asked the OP for help.
“Last Friday, my girlfriend went to work as always, and I stayed home.”
“My stepdaughter came to me in the morning and told me her stomach was hurting, she was literally crying in pain, so I called my girlfriend to see what I should do.”
“I called a few times, but she wouldn’t pick up.”
“My stepdaughter was crying and she never skips school, so I thought that her staying home one day wouldn’t be a big deal.”
His girlfriend did not agree.
“Huge mistake. When my girlfriend came home, she went crazy!”
“She started screaming at me about how I’m not allowed to make parenting choices for her, how her daughter is not allowed to skip school, how I should have asked her first because she is the parent here, it was a whole mess.”
“As of today, she is still extremely mad and accusing me of parenting her child and making her look like ‘a bad mom’ (which was never my intention at all).”
“My stepdaughter is still sick, so I know she wasn’t faking it, but I feel like I might have overstepped.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some appreciated how the OP handled the situation.
“OP, You know what I LOVE about your post… you recognized her distress, you tried to call he mom several times, and you used deductive reasoning. She rarely misses school, so use YOUR best judgment and allow her to stay home.”
“So many stepparent relationships are so messed up and yet here you are, doing what everyone thinks you should and your GF is STILL throwing you under the bus. My question for her is… WHAT THE F**K ELSE WAS I SUPPOSED TO DO??? She is clearly overreacting.”
“And the fact that her daughter came to you, upset, looking for parental guidance SPEAKS volumes in your favor. You 100% did the right thing. If this is something your GF won’t let up on, I would suggest family therapy.”
“Clearly, her daughter trusts you when she’s in distress. This should be what your GF wants.”
“And for the future, when presenting with severe stomach pain, important questions, any particular side or is this period related. Both are important. Period cramps landed me in the ER. Just for an idea. And right side lower pain could be the appendix.”
“I really hope you and your GF can work this all out. You seem like a really good person. NTA.” – AlbatrossSenior7107
“NTA. As someone who lives with their father and his girlfriend, I would hope she would show concern for me if I came up to her crying in pain.”
“You even called her and tried to reach out. It wasn’t like she just ‘wasn’t feeling’ like going to school. The way she seemed to you was sick or hurt, you were taking care of someone in your home. It’s not parenting, it’s caring about someone.”
“I’m all in support of not parenting your stepkids because it’s a messy area, but this was a genuine concern. You didn’t make any big decisions. It was one day of school. Definitely NTA.” – Sadfloof1
“NTA. What does she expect you to do? You tried to call her several times and she didn’t answer.”
“What if she needed the hospital or something? You did the right thing since it seems like she was really sick.”
“A discussion needs to occur for when situations like this arise in the future, because they will.” – funkyblackshoes
“NTA. My husband thought I was ‘coddling’ our 12-year-old (at the time) son when he would wake up in the morning clutching his stomach and I would let him stay home.”
“After doctor’s appointments, referrals to specialists, and a few tests, it turned out my son needed his gallbladder and appendix out… he wasn’t faking. You can tell the difference between true debilitating pain and faking when you know a child.”
“I even received an apology from the surgeon who thought I was overreacting to a stomachache. My son had apparently had an infection that caused adhesions to his gallbladder and appendix. Once it was removed, he never missed school due to a stomachache.”
“DISCLAIMER: my husband never saw our son in pain, he left by 5:30 am, and our son got up at 7:30 for school. He wasn’t being dismissive or abusive, but our son did miss almost 2 total weeks on non-consecutive days until his surgery. Please don’t slam my husband, he apologized as well.” – Computerlady77
Others understood that it was a complicated family dynamic.
“NTA. You acted like a decent adult. Direct Parent or not.”
“You tried reaching your girlfriend and she wasn’t available.”
“I have a feeling that she herself feels like she should have made that decision and is hurting because of it. So the outburst is possibly her projecting.” – JConRed
“I struggle to comprehend a relationship where you’re willing to move yourself and your daughter in with a guy, but you don’t trust the said guy to execute even the most basic parental duties in your absence.”
“Seems like a prerequisite for moving in with some dude is that everyone is ready to have that dude take on more responsibilities than just banging mom.”
“Maybe they were hoping to just endure two years of this incredibly awkward living/relationship arrangement until the kid is 18 and they could go back to just being boyfriend and girlfriend again?” – Git_Off_Me_Lawn
“NTA, the girlfriend should have had an active dialog with you and both of you come to terms on boundaries.”
“I suggest saying you had to make a decision and from this point forward, you need to sit down and come to an agreement on boundaries. If not, she needs to ensure she is home during all parenting hours because you will not be held responsible.” – Justtakeit1776
“NTA, you already knew your position in regards to her daughter. You tried calling her multiple times and ended up letting the daughter stay home as the adult present, not as a parent. You obviously couldn’t have known what to do.”
“I suggest you guys talk it out and set up ground rules for when your girlfriend can’t be contacted what if her daughter is sick, injured, or in other situations.”
“Apologize for not sending her to school but ultimately you had to make a decision regarding a child who was in pain and frankly at 16 missing a day of school is not going to be the end of the world.” – youwanthappyending
Some were concerned by the mother’s lack of concern.
“Honestly, from what you’re saying your GF is being a bad mother. You tried to get in touch with her and couldn’t, the kid is clearly sick and in pain.”
“Her ignoring it and refusing to acknowledge is neglect, there are so many serious things that could be wrong, or even not serious but still need treating.”
“Please look after that kid, she needs you.” – zealous-grasschoice
“You did the right thing in the situation – the school would have just called her and when she didn’t answer who knows who they would have called.”
“Has your girlfriend bothered to call a doctor/take her daughter to the doctor? Or is she just too busy yelling at you to think about it?” – Thriftyverse
“Dude, she sounds incredibly toxic. She’s trying to gaslight you and her daughter, trying to make you believe you’re the ones in the wrong, when it’s totally fine to miss school because of illness as long as it doesn’t happen often.”
“The shouting and yelling at you with a constant almost petty hatred makes me think that she’s quite verbally abusive. Stand up for yourself and leave! She doesn’t deserve you. She’s the AH.” – ytGemini
“NTA. You did what you thought was right, and it was good that you did because she’s still sick.”
“Her mom had no right to get mad at you for worrying about her daughter’s wellbeing, especially since she was not answering her phone.” – lilykopf
“NTA. You and GF need to have a long talk about roles in your household (this should have been done before they moved in).”
“If you’re not allowed to make parenting choices, then you should not be left with SD (Stepdaughter). GF didn’t answer her phone (multiple times), so you made the best choice based on the information you had.”
“And SD isn’t allowed to skip school when she’s sick? GF does realize the plague is still going on, yes?”
“OP, you were in a no-win situation. GF needs to back down and apologize to you and SD.” – RevKyriel
While the OP was worried he may have overstepped, the subReddit didn’t think so, as they were more concerned about the stepdaughter’s health.
Also, it’s a big step for a stepchild to reach out to their stepparent for help, so even if the girlfriend didn’t agree with how he handled the situation that day, he must be doing something right.