Any parent who has reentered the dating scene after a breakup with their child’s other parent will likely admit that it’s not always easy.
Especially when there’s an element of co-parenting involved, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor winniieee was reluctant to share their child support information with their fiancé, as they found it difficult to budget the amount.
When they caused an argument, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if they just should have shared the information with their fiancé.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for not telling my fiancé how much money my ex gives me for my son?”
The OP was planning to move with their fiancé and children.
“Currently, my fiancé and I split all of our household expenses 50/50.”
“However, we’re looking to move into a bigger place so that all of our kids have their own space. We’ve been talking about our incomes and budget a lot to try to figure out how to make it work.”
“During this conversation, he asked me how much money my ex gives me for my son.”
The OP was reluctant to answer that question.
“I didn’t want to tell him for two reasons:”
“1. Everything is always a competition between my ex and fiancé, and I knew telling him the amount would just set off another p**sing contest.”
“2. My ex can be… unreliable… so what he gives me today might not be what he gives me in 2 months. So when I budget, I try to use the minimum he would have to give me as he never gives me less than that.”
“I could tell he was upset at my refusal to tell him but he initially dropped it.”
But then an argument broke out.
“Then my ex came to pick up my son, and my fiancé decided to take jabs at him about how he didn’t support our son, and it was pointless buying him toys and taking him on trips when we had to take care of his day-to-day expenses.”
“This led to a fight between them where my ex told him how much he gave me.”
“Now my fiancé is angry at me for not telling him the amount, and my ex is angry at me for making him seem like he doesn’t financially help with our son.”
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 thought the OP should have been honest with their current partner.
“Don’t get married. You’re simply not ready. Neither is he.”
“Partners in a marriage should not be keeping secrets from each other. That you want to keep a secret from your fiancé because he will react badly sets a precedent that keeping secrets from each other is okay. That’s not a partnership. That’s not how a marriage works.”
“And if his reaction to things your ex does is like this, he’s not ready to be with you. You have a child with your ex. That person will always be a part of your life.”
“Your fiancé can either adapt to the fact or not be with you. He cannot change it. That he has these outbursts is inappropriate at best and a sign that he could probably use some counseling.”
“To be honest, I think you both could.” – virtualchoirboy
“She should have just told the fiancé what the minimum was since they were trying to form the budget. Anything over that could be kept separate for the son. But seriously, they’re not ready for marriage if they’re acting like this.” – Agraywitch11
“I think it would be a good idea for OP to think about why she didn’t want to tell her fiance the amount.”
“Because it kind of seems like her brain is telling her that she can’t really trust him to not make a big deal about whatever the amount is.” – looc64
“Whether child support is taxable in the US is irrelevant in terms of two people forming a partnership – i.e. marriage.”
“Child support is of course intended to support the child but it also is technically used to provide housing, utilities, some amount of car expenses as applicable, food obviously, clothing.”
“All of this would be figured in by two people who are getting married in terms of figuring out exactly what their household income is. OP can of course determine whether a certain amount of child support is used to fund a college fund or whether it might be used to supplement expenses like after-school activities, lessons, and the like.”
“However, all of this needs to be discussed and agreed upon. By agreed upon I don’t mean that the stepparent has veto rights over every economic decision but they need to be both in agreement as to how their finances are actually going to work.”
“If the amount OP gets is not the same each month and she doesn’t count on that but only a certain floor then that should be discussed and that amount should be the amount used to budget certain non-discretionary stuff like rent. I mention rent again because a portion of child support is intended to pay for the costs of housing.”
“While fiancé and ex aren’t paragons of good behavior I don’t think either was an AH. The ex was rightfully upset that he was being portrayed as a deadbeat father and the fiancé was rightfully upset that an important factor in most partners’ life – i.e. finances – was intentionally withheld.”
“If someone lies or doesn’t reveal one thing, most people would assume they might not be upfront about other things. And also it indicates that the person has a *sneaky* streak which might come up in the future.” – Jujulabee
Others took issue with how the ex and fiancé behaved.
“He knew the ex was paying and got pissed OP wouldn’t tell him how much. It’s bonkers to go yell at the ex that he’s not paying when he knows he is.”
“Really sounds like OP can’t win and shouldn’t marry a man who constantly starts s**t with the ex and likes to count her child’s pockets when OP is already paying half of everything.” – kairi14
“OP didn’t do anything wrong. She knew that he was going to make it into a pissing contest – and when she denied him of that he needled the ex anyway. Not sure why you’re dumping all the blame on OP when you even say that he’s acting immaturely.” – codeverity
“Hang on, the boyfriend and ex are the ones that are wrong.”
“1. Sod all to do with arrangements between yourself and ex regarding your child. It pays for Stuff for your kid.”
“2. Bf had no right to confront ex asking then making out ex doesn’t pay anything.”
“3. Ex should have asked op what the bf means instead of just jumping down their throat.”
“Ex shouldn’t have divulged the amount because I’m my mind, the boyfriend will include the amount as money brought in by op and it won’t be considered money for the child any longer, why else would boyfriend ask, he is obviously h**l-bent on getting the amount.” – General-Buy-8191
“I’m guessing that ex is tired of the constant hostility since OP said her fiance is competitive with him.”
“Honestly, long before this, OP needed to sit her fiance down and explain that her ex is the father of her child and will always be in their child’s life so he needs to either figure out how to be cordial with her ex or the relationship is over.”
“If OP set a hard boundary and stuck to it instead of trying to avoid issues because her fiance can’t handle ex and her co-parenting.” – Born_Ad8420
“OP, who is NTA in my opinion, must have known it could potentially also be factored into what she can pay toward the new home and it should not ever be factored in because it is meant solely for the child.”
“If she has money left over from any of the payments then hopefully she is putting it into a college fund for her son, but either way, that money is for the child’s needs and while housing is a shelter for him, it shouldn’t be counted toward her shared expenses with her fiance.”
“I’d probably have done the same as OP. It sounds like her fiance is the one not ready for marriage if he’s still competing with her ex, which puts her in a terrible position.” – FleeshaLoo
The subReddit could understand why the OP was conflicted about what dollar amount to share for budgeting purchases, they shied away from the idea of not disclosing any information at all.
This was especially true as it was causing issues with their co-parenting arrangement.
If they were serious about moving into a new place, they needed to have all of the numbers in front of them, but if they wanted to live the rest of their lives together, they also needed to move past the idea of keeping secrets or lying by omission.