When a step-parent enters your life, it can be strange as to what’s expected both of the new parent and the child.
Some may see the parent as a replacement, wanted or unwanted, and others may see them as a separate role entirely.
Redditor Noorile is in tension with her stepfather over her choice of last name after getting married.
The original poster (OP) is adamant in her choice but isn’t sure if she should have been nicer to her stepdad.
To figure that out, OP took their question to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.
“AITA for arguing with my stepdad over my name?”
This is OP’s relationship with her stepdad:
“I wanted to get honest answers on this fight I had with my stepdad.”
“I got married recently and I kept my last name. My husband ultimately decided to change his to mine so we could have the same last name and we could both share a name with future kids.”
“When my stepdad realized I had kept my name he went through a bit of a weird phase where for a few days he was acting like I had done something to him. It was 11 days later he confronted me about why I didn’t change my last name, why I had such a strong attachment to the name of a dead man, etc.”
“So the story is my dad died before I was born. He never got to meet me. But he did name me and I actually have his middle name (a gift from my mom as I like to think of it).”
“My mom remarried when I was 9. My stepdad came into my life the same year they got married. I never felt like I was missing out on a dad.”
“I heard so much about mine, had so many photos and videos of him, it felt like I knew him. And I’ve always loved him.”
“My stepdad asked to adopt me a few times. He also mentioned changing my name to his. My mom always respected my no. He was a little tougher to get to let go but eventually he had to.”
“The fact I am now a married woman and still have the last name I clung so hard to as a kid has deeply upset him. And he is taking it as me saying f*** you to him.”
“I asked him why he was so upset by it and he told me it feels like I keep my name to spite him, to tell him I don’t love him and he’s not good enough.”
“I told him it’s not true. That keeping my name was never about him, it was about me and the connection I want to keep to my dad. I also told him my name was none of his business.”
“He told me he was more my dad than my dad was and I said while others may see that as true, while he may want that to be true, for me that isn’t true. That yes he was actually there for a part of my life while my dad was there for the pregnancy, his love for me still exists, and it doesn’t not count just because he never got to meet me.”
“I also told him my mom would say the same damn thing which he said he knows, and that he wishes she hadn’t made him such a big part of my life. That she did me a disservice by giving me a dad who couldn’t be there and making him impossible to live up to.”
“I told him it was a horrible thing to stay and he married her knowing all this.”
“He told me I was an a**hole to him. That I don’t care about the work he’s put into raising me or the fact his feelings matter too. He told me to grow the f*** up and accept the fact he’s my real dad, not my ‘sperm donor’. I told him to get the fuck out of my house.”
“My mom is pissed with him. He told her exactly how he felt, not just about how I see him, but about it being her fault.”
“He’s still pissed and I wonder if I went too far.”
On the AITA board people explain their situation and their reaction and are judged based on what they decided to do.
This is done by fellow users who include one of the following in their comment:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
Commenters agreed that the stepdad was putting too much on his daughter, and treating her relationship with her deceased father with jealousy.
OP isn’t wrong to want to maintain that connection and to call out her stepdad for trying to make it seem unreasonable.
“NTA. Your Stepdad though is a MASSIVE AH. He just proved that your better off with your name than being adopted by him.” – Vasya_Royal
“NTA. And I am so glad your mom has always respected your feelings and is mad at him as well.”
“He more than crossed the line. Under no circumstances is what he said about your father acceptable.”
“This is absolutely his problem. He’s the one that decided he needed to live up to the memory of your father.”
“Your mother was awesome by making sure you knew you were loved and wanted. The fact that your step dad thinks otherwise tells us a lot about the kind of person he is.” – Disastrous-Nail-640
“Jesus how insecure is the stepdad that he is this jealous of someone who is deceased. Literally wants to erase OPs main connection to her father. Bloody selfish.” – Tanooki07
“I had a stepdad who was my dad. I never had his name, it was never an issue and never a discussion. Our relationship had nothing to do with what my name was.” – bluep3001
“You had a real person who cared about you and not his own narcissistic desires.” – KitTayTay2021
“NTA. It’s not just “the name of a dead man”. It’s also YOUR name. It’s the name you were given at birth, and has been your name for as long as you’ve been alive.”
“That it also happens to have a connection to your bio-dad should be irrelevant.”
“Women get the short end of the stick traditionally when it comes to names, because so many people have this insane mindset that, when we marry, we shouldn’t opt to keep a name that’s important to us simply because it’s ours.” – DeshaMustFly
It can be understandable why OP’s dad feels how he does, but it comes down to trying to force something that just ended up not being there.
It’s great that he tried to be involved and supportive, but if it was done with some kind of expectation of reciprocity, then it goes from a kindness to a transaction. And parenting shouldn’t be a transaction.