Your relation to family is more unique than you might think. Family has become more and more who we choose to be with over who we’re born to.
But there are still instances where people are forced into the same family, despite their wishes. Redditor MoonYeu has been living that for over a decade.
The original poster (OP) has an issue with not calling her adoptive father “dad” and it’s causing problems with her parents.
She took to “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) to find out if she was wrong.
“AITA for not introducing my stepdad as my dad even though it hurts his feelings?”
This is what’s going on:
“My stepdad adopted me when I was 8 years old, a year after he and my mom got married. I lost my dad when I was 5.”
“My parents were divorced long before he died so this wasn’t a thing of my mom marrying too fast or anything remotely like that.”
“But it was awkward for me. Especially when they brought up adoption.”
“I hadn’t wanted my stepdad to adopt me. My mom asked me why and I told her at the time he wasn’t daddy and I didn’t love him and you’re supposed to love your parents.”
“She told me it was mostly for practical reasons and that it was okay not to be fully on board but she really wanted me to say yes and there was never going to be any pressure to call him dad. I said yes.”
“She told me I made the right decision. He told me I made the right decision and thanked me for letting him be my dad.”
“That basically set the tone after where he would say I was his daughter and refer to himself as my dad, while I would keep saying stepdad.”
But this led to a situation that OP now regrets.
“I’m now 20 and I don’t live with them anymore. And I still call him stepdad.”
“It has been clear for close to six years now that it pains him that I still don’t introduce him to people as my dad.”
“It came up most recently, which is the reason for my post, because we got a new roommate recently and my mom and stepdad stopped by to see me.”
“I introduced them to the new roommate and I could see the change in him. He was quiet, reserved, my mom was a little more prickly.”
“After they went home they called me on Zoom and that’s when they brought up my introducing him as stepdad.”
“He told me that he knows I know it hurts him and that he doesn’t understand why I can’t just introduce him as my dad and after all these years he is my dad.”
“My mom told me I used her words against them for too long and by now I should have different feelings on the adoption.”
“I didn’t tell them this but the truth is I regret saying yes to being adopted.”
“I regret not standing by what I wanted. I did admit to knowing it hurt him but I said I did not feel comfortable introducing him as my dad.”
“I told them I was sorry it was hurting him and it wasn’t done to hurt him, but to stay within my comfort zone.”
“They told me I was wrong and I should really consider what my actions are doing to him.”
OP’s story is judged on the AITA subReddit. On that board, comments determine if she was right or wrong with one of the following acronyms.
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
This is a really sensitive subject, but it was judged that OP was NTA. It’s her sense of family and comfort that’s under attack here.
And some comments think stepdad is putting too much emphasis on that word.
“NTA he’s putting too much emphasis on this word. Just because you call him stepdad doesn’t mean you think he’s an awful person.” – WritPositWrit
“Exactly I love my stepmom but she is still my stepmom. Forcing yourself on a child in that way is just sad and the mom should seriously reevaluate her priorities” – Agreeable_Hippo_7970
“1000% agreed with this. My step dad has been around for most of my life and I love him to death, but he isn’t my dad and I don’t refer to him as that.”
“I do refer to him and my mom as ‘my parents’ in conversation sometimes since they’re local and most people know who I’m talking about, but it’s never a ‘this is my dad’ situation. My step dad is 100% okay with that and would never expect me to call him dad.
“Forcing someone to refer to their step parents as their mom or dad is a terrible thing for a parental figure to do.” – cmw625
“NTA but your mother is one. She manipulated a kid 8 years old kid to get what she wanted.”
“Stick to your guns now, OP, and tell your mother off for trying to dictate your own feelings. Your feelings are your own and not hers.”
“He’s allowed to feel hurt but you are allowed to not call him your dad when you don’t feel this way.”
“I love my stepmom to death and I will annihilate anyone with fishy intentions towards her but my dad married her when I was already 30+ and she makes him happy. She would have been a better mom to me and my brother than my egg donor of mother.”
“Still, I call her by her name because anything else feels awkward.” – Silvalirum
Despite this, there were questions that some commenters had about the situation so the OP, MoonYeu, answered.
“NTA. Is he aware of what your mom told you about the adoption, that there would be no pressure to call him dad? Because it sounds like there was pressure from the start.”
“I wouldn’t fault him for being hurt if he had no idea you were always uncomfortable with the label. However, your mother handled this wrong from the beginning.”
“My guess is you would feel differently if you were truly given the space you were promised. If he knew, then he’s always been wrong as well.” – EmpressJainaSolo
“He knew. He was part of the bigger conversation about the adoption and was there when we had the sit down after my talk with my mom.” – MoonYeu (OP)
“INFO – Why do you regret making the deal to be adopted? Seems like there’s something there…” – scrappy8350
“Mostly because I don’t feel like I have gained anything from it. And my feelings never really changed about my stepdad and I still miss my dad.”
“So it seems like it has caused more headaches than anything else (especially when you look at how things have turned out now).” – MoonYeu (OP)
OP’s history with her family and the actions she takes from here are going to ripple out.
On one hand, she can keep her comfort but it’s going to continue making her parents upset. On the other, she can give in and call him ‘dad’ but that shifts the suffering from stepdad to her.
It seems like there needs to be a deeper conversation here, the two coming to some kind of understanding.