If we’re being honest with ourselves, more than likely at some point we have wanted something that was beyond our means financially.
If someone in our immediate circle was able to acquire it, it may have been difficult for us to accept, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit, but that wouldn’t mean we were suddenly entitled to what that person had, no matter how badly we wanted it.
Redditor angelicwholesome_22 recently started paying for her children’s private school experience because her ex-husband was unable to afford it.
But when her husband’s ex-wife demanded that she pay the same expenses for her stepchildren, the Original Poster (OP) found herself balking at the thought.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my husband I won’t pay for his kids’ tuition?”
The OP was remarried, both with children from previous relationships.
“I’m a (32 Female) who is married to a (36 Male), Dylan. We’ve been together seven years and married for the last three.”
“We both have previous kids from prior relationships. My children are (12 Male) and (9 Female). His kids are (16 Male), (14 Male), and (9 Female, Twins), along with (18 and 19 Females who are not his biological children but he continues to help raise.”
“Up until [the pandemic], Dylan was making twice my salary. His job made cuts and unfortunately, his was one of them.”
“He still makes pretty decent but now I’m making three times more than him thanks to a promotion a couple of years ago.”
The OP’s husband’s ex-wife seemed to be competing with them.
“His ex-wife, I wouldn’t say she’s bitter or a gold digger, but that she thinks we’re in competition.”
“For example, we moved to a bigger house, so she moved to a bigger house within the same year. We got another vehicle and she got another vehicle. I thought maybe I was imagining that, and that’s not what she was doing, but that’s exactly what’s going on.”
“Anyhow, my kids’ father just remarried and has a new baby on the way and they just moved into a new home. His wife was put on bed rest so that’s only one income coming into their household.”
“Our agreement was that when we relocated closer that he would pay for their tuition for private school. Life happened, so I ended up paying for their tuition.”
“Somehow or another it got back to my husband’s ex-wife and now she’s demanding that my husband does the same for their kids.”
But the OP didn’t feel comfortable doing that.
“The way our finances are set up is we have a joint account for our expenses together and then we each have our own personal accounts.”
“He can’t afford the tuition, but he asked me would I pay for their tuition and he would pay me back. He doesn’t care if they go to a public or private school. He’s trying to please the ex-wife.”
“I told him no after he refused to sign a repayment plan and he called me selfish! I told him if he wants to kiss his ex-wife’s a**, then that’s where he needs to be!”
“He’s already in debt from loans he’s taken out for college for her older two children who are not biologically his.”
“Given what I already contribute to our household and our kids as a whole, no, this is something he and his ex-wife need to figure out or leave it alone.”
“Hubby has mismanaged money one too many times trying to please his ex-wife.”
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 said the husband and ex-wife needed to pay if they wanted private school.
“He and his ex-wife want to send their kids to fancy schools, they pay for it.”
“Or you pay for it and he pays you back (honestly though, based on your post, not sure how likely that would be…).”
“Congrats on the fancy promotion!” – Ok_City_7177
“NTA. Assuming the division of your combined expenses is equitable, this is not your concern. Your husband and his ex need to figure this out.”
“He decided to have four children and that decision usually results in some compromises.” – IllDivide3316
“It is simple math. OP has 2 children; hubby has 6. That means OP’s children will probably have more money to use than hubby’s will.”
“Hubby would have to be making significant money to provide cars and tuition for SIX children. That is when you look at your finances and see what makes sense.” – One_Ad_704
“Personally, I live in a state where private school is leagues ahead of the public school so I see the benefit.”
“But to me, there’s no point in going into debt for private school just so you can go into more debt for college. That’s insane. If you’re sending your kid to private school then you need to be able to pay for that out of pocket and without trouble.”
“I’d rather send them to public and pay for a tutor here and there while hoarding anything extra for college.” – tsh87
“Absolutely not. Then they’d expect you to be on the hook for college and everything else in the future. Usually, with blended families like this, each spouse covers what their respective children need, with help from their ex if possible. You are in no way responsible for his failure to prepare.” – agarrabrant
Others were worried about the husband’s order of priorities.
“He is choosing his ex. It’s easy to try to look good to people who are prone to judging you when you are a people pleaser. He knows you love him so he doesn’t feel the same need to bend over backward for you.”
“Tell him you have a need to feel like the most important adult in his life. That’s reasonable you are his wife.” – annie222222
“It sounds like he won’t be able to afford college for the kids that ATE his, at this rate, and yes, her husband’s indebtedness is a concern. He sounds like he doesn’t quite understand how debt works- it is a lien against future income.” – haf_ded_zebra
“Hold your ground. It sounds like he is still in the mode of appeasing his ex-wife. Now, he wants to do it with your money. Without an agreement.”
“Tell her to sell her extra car, and concentrate their finances on what they need, not what they want. As you are.”
“NTA, just to say that…” – thonman
“Why does he want to do everything that his ex demands? Does he have no spine? Or still feelings for her? Or just doesn’t know that he can say “no” to other people than you?”
“I wouldn’t lend him money, even with a contract. Or would you sue him if he doesn’t pay? And if he is already in debt now, he will use his money everywhere else because you are “just” his wife and will never sue him.” – EvilFinch
“I was in a manipulative, emotionally abusive relationship for 13 years making me a huge stickler for words and probably more fanatic about deciphering and understanding underlying meanings more than most. Nothing is wrong or bad to me, just being clear about things and knowing what is what.”
“Now, to my point, which is a different perspective that may be helpful.”
“When you wrote that your husband has a big heart, the thought that crossed my mind is how he isn’t using that thoughtfulness on you.”
“Having a big heart is absolutely beautiful. I also know that you can’t be kind to everyone. I’m not saying that he has to be mean to the ex and/or older children in college but, by being nice to them and his ex, he has accumulated debt which is being unkind and thoughtless towards his other children, you, and your children.”
“He probably doesn’t think this really impacts anyone but himself, but it truly does. Case in point, if he didn’t have this college debt, he probably could afford his other children’s tuition. He then tossed the pot at you, expecting you to carry his debt pot by paying for things that are not your responsibility which is causing friction in your relationship.”
“So, by being kind to ex and 2 people whose life he is no longer a part of, he is being unkind to those who are an active part of his life.”
“He certainly seems like a sincere and genuine person. He has his reasons for doing so and those reasons are probably that he feels this will make him happy.”
“I hope you two enjoy many many years of love and happiness together.” – Ok-Gap-8831
While the subReddit might love to see all the children in this family receive a similar education, the financial structure of this family may not be able to make that happen.
They were especially hesitant around the idea of the OP paying for all of the kids to go to private school, no matter their relationship to her, and the OP having to depend on her husband to pay her back, given his allegedly questionable spending history.