Cultivating healthy relationships is essential to cultivating a happy life.
Of course, neglecting relationships we’ve already formed can be just as damaging as over-nourishing the new.
What happens when you try to restore a withering relationship and it doesn’t quite work the way you wanted?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Incredible-Panda7161 when they came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for some outside opinions.
“AITA for telling my husband he needs to cut back on FaceTiming his daughter and spend more time with our kids?”
OP began with the background.
“My husband has a 19-year-old daughter that’s in college.”
“She tested positive on Wednesday afternoon and has been by herself in the dorm since.”
“She is mildly sick.”
They moved quickly to the problem at hand.
“She’s been FaceTiming my husband for hours every day. We also have two small children (7 and 2 years old).”
OP outlined the challenges that they feel the husband’s distraction has caused.
“Our 7-year-old is a daddy’s boy. His daughter was not in his life prior to last year when she wanted contact with him, he never mentioned having a daughter to me.”
“On Thursday, my husband was at work and I guess his daughter kept trying to FaceTime him throughout the day, which he said annoyed him.”
“That night, he was FaceTiming her from around 7pm til midnight.”
“He put his phone facing the TV so they could watch movies/tv together, he ate his dinner on the couch separate from the rest of us, he ignored bedtime routines and told me I can handle it, while our 7-year-old was crying for him.”
“He was sitting on the couch with his phone chatting away to his daughter for hours.”
“On Friday night, our 7-year-old had a hockey game and he wished him good luck and gave him a hug, but didn’t bother to get dressed and go to the game.”
“He stayed home on FaceTime with his daughter.”
“I took our kids and my mother out to the game. I came back home to find my husband on the couch sleeping and his daughter sleeping on FaceTime.”
“Yesterday she FaceTimed him in the morning for a little bit and then again around 4pm.”
“He ate dinner in the living room while watching football and FaceTiming her.”
“He got off FaceTime around 2 am last night after making something in the kitchen and being loud on his way upstairs.”
“He again didn’t help out with bedtime routines and ignored our oldest when he wanted to play legos or video games with his dad.”
Everything came to a head.
“Today, my husband’s phone kept ringing while he was sleeping and it was his daughter.”
“I told my husband when he woke up that he’s been ignoring our kids lately and he needs to limit how long he talks on the phone with his daughter.”
“I get that she’s sick and lonely but he’s putting our kids on the back burner.”
“My husband said he feels bad for his daughter and he wants to build a relationship with her.”
“He said our kids see him every day and all his daughter has is FaceTime calls, she has no friends and nobody else to talk to and she’s going through a lot.”
“I said with you working during the week and the few hours you have during the evening being spent FaceTiming your daughter, you really don’t spend time with our kids that much, and yesterday you blew our oldest off for hours to talk to her.”
“He got up and said he was done talking about this, his daughter is going through a lot, she is sick and stuck in her dorm, with nobody to talk too.”
“He said I’m being ridiculous, our oldest can entertain himself and if not, then I should go do something with him.”
“He then said why do I always have to do things with our oldest, why can’t you (I have and he prefers his dad over me).”
“He got dressed and left. He has been gone for hours and isn’t returning my texts or calls.”
OP was left to wonder if they had done the right thing and turned to Reddit for some outside thoughts.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some pointed out that there might be some deeper problems.
“Wait wait wait… he had a child he NEVER TOLD YOU ABOUT??”
“Not once in the (I’m assuming) at least 7 years you’ve been together?!”
“This isn’t about the Iranian yogurt, honey. There are bigger issues here.” ~johnlocklives
“Sounds like he’s going overboard because of his guilt.”
“He needs to find a balance instead of ignoring his own family and catering to her.”
“I highly recommend family counseling for everyone. If he refuses, go by yourself. Your family is suffering and it’s not going to get better on its own.” ~ LoveBeach8
Others started at one judgment but found themselves changing positions.
“I thought Y T A at the start but no, you’re NTA.”
“He can’t ignore his other kids completely.”
“Your son was literally crying for his dad and he ignored that? That’s, horrific.”
“His daughter is 19, I’m sure she has other friends to speak to regardless of his claim she doesnt. She doesn’t need to fall asleep on the phone to her dad. Where’s her mom in this situation?” ~ Ermithecow
Commenters had very specific advice for OP.
“OP, I am usually quick to call out the hysterical extremist’s comments but…”
“You’re husband cheated on the daughter’s mother so yes, your suspicion about him cheating on you is probably true. Because cheaters cheat..”
“These Father’s Day photo shoots are weird AF”
“You’ve known your husband since 2008 and the daughter never came up?!? That is troubling on several levels.”
“It’s worth finding out why he didn’t get visitation or partial custody.”
“Sounds like he was prevented from contact with the daughter until she was a legal adult.”
“There’s probably a reason for that! She didn’t just find him on FB magically at 18.”
“She has his last name and they are linked in search results you’ve done.”
“The fact that he won’t allow you to have any contact with the daughter, even a simple introduction, is also a red flag.”
“Log off Reddit. Take another pass at talking to your husband.”
“And then talk to a lawyer to get your ducks in a row because you are at 5 seconds to midnight on the divorce doomsday clock!” ~ jsodano
The husband was definitely under scrutiny.
“I haven’t read through all of the comments yet but did anyone else get a really creepy vibe from reading this?”
“Regardless if she doesn’t have many friends, I don’t know any 19-year-olds that want to spend literal hours a day talking to their dad.”
“Something else is going on here and OP needs to figure it out.”
“Sounds like this girl has major daddy issues.”
“Have you heard the tone of the conversations or what she talks to him about?”
“The mere fact that he hid her from you and he won’t let you at least introduce yourself to her?”
“These are major red flags. I’d go so far as to contact the birth mother on the DL and get the real story.”
“He’s definitely lying about SOMETHING.” ~ Sea-Standard-8882
Cultivating health relationships is crucial.
We cannot lose sight of the relationships we already have in the scramble for something new, and we must never build any relationship by tearing someone else down.