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Dad Clashes With His Wife By Supporting Their Daughter Dropping Out Of College After She Got Engaged

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We all want our loved ones to be happy, but we also want what’s best for them.

When a daughter called home and announced she would not continue with her college education after becoming engaged, one couple discovered they wanted different things for their daughter on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor daughterdropoutthr expressed how he wanted his daughter to be happy and to follow the path that most interested her.

But after hearing his wife’s concerns, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he was wrong: 

“AITA for supporting my daughter’s decision to drop out of college after she got engaged?”

The OP and his wife recently received two surprises from their daughter.

“My daughter (22[Female]) recently announced her engagement to her boyfriend (26[Male]) of 3 years. Not long after that she called my wife and I to tell us she’s dropping out of college.”

“She basically told us that she wasn’t too happy with her major, which to be honest, I can believe. She never came across as very enthusiastic about her studies like my other daughter (25[Female]) was.”

“Her new fiancee comes from quite a well-to-do family. His dad basically owns a semi-regional chain of DIY stores, and he’s worked in various management positions since he graduated and is in line to inherit the company.”

“My daughter and him have decided that since he basically has 100% job security and she wasn’t too happy doing what she was doing that it would be better for her to drop out and either get a position at the company or just stay at home, they haven’t decided yet.”

The OP and his wife disagreed about their daughter’s plan.

“I’m fine with this, my wife not so much. She always wanted both our daughters to be career-minded in life like she’s been.”

“She also doesn’t like the fact that we have financially supported our daughter through her time in college and she’s not getting a degree now.”

“My daughter basically told my wife that she’s an adult woman now and has made her decision whether my wife likes it or not. I backed my daughter up.”

“I told my wife she can’t expect her to just be a ‘mini-me’ and that the whole point of us helping her out financially was so she could be happy in life, which she’s decided means taking a more traditional path.”

“My wife is still p*ssed off a few days later, but I’m still standing up for her.”

Fellow Redditors wrote in, judging the OP’s support of his daughter on the following scale: 

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

Some Redditors said NAH and that both parents could have an opinion.

“NAH This is tough. Both sides are right.”

“No future is ever safe. Companies go under all the time. Divorce happens. Your daughter is 22.”

“How far away is she from finishing? If she doesn’t have to work maybe she could just slow down and finish at her own pace? I think she’s likely come so far that it would be silly to stop so close but…….”

“You can’t make her and she is an adult. You aren’t wrong either to not let this be a blow up because ultimately you can’t undo her decision.”AshesB77

“NAH”

“You’re right that it’s your daughters decision. Neither you or your wife are a**holes based on your opinions.”

“However I think that your way of looking at things is shortsighted because marriages end and even great businesses can go belly up. Then what? She’ll be unemployed and without a degree.”

“Granted she can always get some job but probably not a job where she can support a lifestyle she’ll become accustomed to. Just something for you guys to consider.”alongstrangesomethin

“I agree with the NAH judgment. The daughter isn’t an AH for being in love and trusting her fiancé. The mom isn’t an AH for having more life experience and realizing that this decision could come back to bite her daughter later.”

“The daughter will have less financial power in the relationship because she will have less ability to financially support herself.”

“If they later have a situation where the fiancé becomes abusive, or has an affair, or the daughter just becomes really unhappy, the daughter could end up stuck in an unhappy marriage because she lacks the education/skills to be self supporting.”

“Or the fiancé could initiate a divorce in fifteen years and leave the daughter with no real means of support. I’d be worried about my daughter in that situation, too.”catsinstrollers5

Others disagreed and said YTA to the OP for disillusioning his daughter.

“YTA for dismissing your wife’s valid concerns as her just wanting your daughter to be her ‘mini-me’. Finishing college doesn’t prevent your daughter from being a SAHM, but it will be better to have a degree than none in the event that she gets divorced, or the company goes bust, or her husband falls out with his dad, or becomes unable to work, etc…”darkflaneuse

“That might be why she thinks that nothing can go wrong in her marriage ever. You might have spoiled her too much and she’s not aware of the consequences of her actions.”

“OP, im not insulting your daughter cause she is an adult…but I just can’t understand why you sound like nothing will ever go wrong with no backup.”PolicySouthern

“YTA. You should teach your daughters to not rely on a man. She should be able to support herself and be independent. What if they divorce in the future and she has nothing? No job history, no degree?”dani_girlxo

A few warned the OP about preparing to support his daughter, should her marriage go south.

“Uh maybe she should stay in school or have a side gig. Unless OP is ready to support her if her plan fails.”taco-tako

“That’s fine if you’re ok fully supporting her in the case of a divorce, death or other event that causes her to be away from her fiancés family.”BURN447

After receiving feedback from the subReddit, the OP shared an update

The OP was quick to admit he’d needed to clear his head. 

“Just wanted to give a quick update. I had a think about what some of you commented about her not having a backup plan.”

“I decided maybe it would be best to let my wife have a sit down with my daughter and her fiancee to explain her concerns ( don’t worry, it was over Zoom ).”

The family laid out some ground rules. 

“After discussing it the day after I made my original post the following agreements were made.”

“Her fiancé has some shares in the company his dad gifted him after he graduated. He will give 30% of these shares to her.”

“He will get life insurance and my daughter will obviously be the beneficiary along with any kids they have.”

“He will give my daughter a job in the company so that she can at least have some work experience and transferable skills.”

“She has promised to work for at least five years or until the birth of her first kid, whatever comes sooner. After that it’s her call.”

“Like many of you suspected in the comments, his dad does want him to get a prenup. He’s agreed that my daughter will get the savings account and be allowed to keep her aforementioned shares from point 1.”

There was an overall sense of relief in the family.

“This young man was surprisingly cool and understanding of my wife’s worries and I’m even more confident in him than I was before.”

“My wife is still disappointed she’s not pursuing a career, but she has some peace of mind now and gives my daughter her support.”

“I admit that I was guilty of making this worse by not communicating with my wife enough and being overly dismissive of her concerns. I’m glad I posted it here.”

Redditors offered suggestions about the prenuptial plans. 

“Glad you had some sober second thought on this one. Make sure your daughter has her own independent lawyer to represent her in the prenup discussions.”Obiterdicta

“And you and your wife might want to read the prenup or go to the attorneys visit with her. She may be blinded by love and the promising future and agree to things that aren’t in her best interests.”

“The attorney can explain it all but can’t force her to not agree to something against her interests.”rainyhawk

“This young man’s parents are clearly very involved, as it’s them insisting on the prenup in the first place. He’s got a whole bunch of people looking out for his interests, and she should have the same.”

“Now if she chooses that her parents shouldn’t be those people that’s up to her, but she should have people who are also listening, focused on the big picture, and in her corner. It’d be ridiculous to insist her parents keep out when his are right up in the middle of it.”des1gnbot

“This is exactly what I was going to say. His parents are the ones insisting on prenup, they will be there for negotiations.”

“Her parents should be there, too, though I’d recommend OP frame it as ‘we support this marriage and want to be involved with the new family’ rather than ‘we want to make sure you’re doing the right thing in your marriage.'”AdPuzzleheaded3823

And others were still really concerned about the daughter’s self-sufficiency. 

“TBH (to be honest), it is still not enough. If the company goes bankrupt, she will have nothing. Neither of them will have anything.”

“Just because she has work experience won’t mean she will be able to get a job. Many places of employment have strict rules when it comes to hiring: if you don’t have a degree, they can’t hire you.”

“So a job gotten through nepotism won’t help her much in the case of divorce, bankruptcy, and death. She will only be able to provide for her children through a minimum wage job in those cases.”

“My mom was in a similar situation. She worked for the family business until she had a kid. My dad had his own business that supported us.”

“Then business got bad after 9/11. My parents got divorced. Her mom died and her dad refused to support us.”

“I am determined now to never make those same mistakes. It pains me to see you misguidedly support your daughter’s idiotic life plans.”

“If your daughter didn’t like her degree, she can try another or go to college [trade school]. College can actually lead to well-paying careers.”

“Even university graduates go back and do college diplomas to enhance their career.”

“If she was a son would you say this was a good idea?”Throwawayzzz13456

“Nobody should ever rely solely on a partner to provide. And I understand that sometimes things go sideways and one partner will need to stay home but even then… a part-time gig, remote work, stocks or some way to have passive income.”

“Putting your family’s entire financial burden on one person is too big a risk in my opinion.”tsh87

“Multiple. Streams. Of. Income.”

“This can never be overstated. If something should happen to one stream, you have the other streams to back you up.”

“Invest judiciously; invest prudently; just invest. Dividend stocks are good. Passive income is your friend.”

“So, OP, besides the whole “5-year or preggo bust” work bit aside, she could also do blogging/vlogging, hobby-to-business (like etsy), stocks, roth ira, 401k, roth 401k (just found out that’s a thing), part-time, etc.”

“That said, if your daughter is close to finishing, maybe take whatever last necessary classes are required to get the degree part-time (or maybe even get tested out if possible, like CLEP?) but just so she has something to fall back on.”

“She could talk with a counselor to see what the absolute minimum is that is required to get the degree – if it’s just a few classes, yeah, sure, encourage her to go for it.”

“If it’s several years worth because she kept changing majors and skipping around on the [general education] requirements (like me – pretty sure I have ADHD) then, oh well, she at least checked it out.”noschistscirloc

It was fantastic to see a father want to support his daughter no matter what, but sometimes to take the best care of ourselves, and our relationships, we have to do the nitty-gritty logical work, too.

As the OP said, it’s great to see the subReddit able to help him clear his head and make an informed decision, without letting too much love get in the way.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.