The loss of a parent can be especially devastating for a young teenager, and their grief can be further complicated with the introduction of a step-parent.
Redditor No-Preference-4384 is a 15-year-old girl who admitted she hated her stepmother.
When she discovered something objectionable about her father’s new wife, the teen responded in a way that later made her think twice about her actions.
She visited the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit and asked:
“AITA for telling stepmother’s secret to her parents?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“On a throwaway and mobile so all of the disclaimers.”
“My mom passed away in October 2019 after a long battle with lung cancer. I was really close to her and I miss her all of the time.”
“In January 2020, my dad brought home his new girlfriend to meet us and she moved in with us when our state went into lockdown in March. They got married in November.”
“I hate her. I know it’s a cliche, but for the past year I’ve felt like my dad shoved aside my and my siblings’ grief so that he could have fun with a new wife.”
“She’s not evil or anything, I think she doesn’t know what to do with us so she mostly ignores us.”
“A few months ago, I overheard her talking on the phone with a friend and basically it turns out that she met and started dating my dad before my mom died. I have no idea if my mom knew or not but to me it feels incredibly disrespectful.”
“Stepmom’s parents came to our house for Christmas and while they were mostly nice people, they kept telling their daughter how proud they were of her for ‘stepping up and being a mother to these children’.”
“I got so mad because she clearly was trying to make it seem like we have a better relationship than what actually exists. So I told her parents that she wasn’t much of a stepmother and that dating my dad before my mom had even died wasn’t something a good person would do.”
“The fallout hasn’t been pretty and even though it felt righteous in the moment, I’ve been thinking I went too far.”
“AITA for tattling on my stepmother?”
Redditors were asked to declare one of the following:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors weighed in with their thoughts while offering their sympathies for the OP.
“NTA. Your dad should have handled his relationships with his wife and his kids much better. This likely wouldn’t have happened if he had acted like an actual adult. I’m so sorry about your mom.”
“Also, just rereading it, it looks like the woman moved in at the start of quarantine. I can’t even imagine, like ‘here’s this new woman in my life kids, no I won’t explain her presence, it’s not your business and now by government mandate you get to share your house 24/7 with this complete stranger! I’m such a good father.” – bertiefrog
“But on this note – please be careful not to take things out on your stepmom that you’re really upset with your dad for. I’m sure it’s hard to have your relationship with your dad impacted right now, but you’re obviously and rightfully angry with him.”
“It’s obviously much easier to blame your stepmom, and she’s not innocent, but your dad is the only one that can actually fix this for you and your siblings and make things right.”
“Nothing your stepmom does or doesn’t do will make the hurt of what your dad has done (and probably still is doing) go away – he has to own this and make that effort. I’m very sorry for your loss.” – mmmegna
“I would say both are equally culpable. It takes 2 to tango (she would have known she was the AP) and she agreed to get married and put herself in this situation.”
“I would also suggest she was a complete moron for speaking so openly about the affair where it could have been possible that OP could overhear the conversation. She was either too stupid to realise or just doesn’t care about what she did.” – jagsingh85
Some people were less forgiving of the stepmother.
“The stepmom was just fine with f’king a married man and moved into the home with his kids less than 6 months after his wife passed away. She’s not innocent in this.” – cara180455
“NTA. She did what she did. You only said what she did. If she can’t live with the consequences, maybe she (and your dad) shouldn’t have done it?” – the-incredible-ape
“Not only did stepmom do it, she clearly wasn’t ashamed as she was openly talking on the phone.” – bloseja
“It feels disrespectful because it’s a person viewing you as an obstacle or a hardship to be endured instead of, you know, a person or even family.”
“NTA OP, I think anyone would have thought about doing what you did!” – Dr_who_fan94
The OP clarified a few things in an update after an overwhelming number of responses.
“Wow! Thank you all for your responses! I saw a few people asking for more info, so I thought I’d add it here.”
“After I found out they’d been dating since before my mom died, I told my siblings. We tried to talk to our dad about it.”
“He told us that his romantic life was his business and has shut it down any time one of us tries to talk about it.”
“So basically, I don’t know if my mom knew or approved of them dating before she died.”
“As for how things are now, it got pretty tense. Neither my dad nor stepmom has talked to me since Christmas Day unless I say something first.”
“Her parents were really upset.”
“I don’t know everything she told them, but they were upset enough to cut their visit short. Instead of leaving on the 29th, they left after lunch on the 25th.”
“I really am grateful to everyone who shared a personal story about losing a parent. A lot of the time I don’t really know how things are supposed to happen now without her.”
“Reading about how you’ve dealt with losing your parents made me feel kind of more steady, so thank you.”
Overall, many Redditors remained compassionate and supportive of the OP for her loss.
Hopefully, her father will eventually be willing to engage in a heart to heart discussion to build a better relationship with his grieving daughter.