The relationship between stepparents and stepchildren can be a delicate line.
Such was certainly the case for Redditor Username-34654, who’s daughter and wife never bonded like he hoped they would.
But a recent incident may have caused irreparable damage not only to the relationship of the Original Poster (OP)’s wife and daughter, but possibly to his marriage.
Concerned he may not have handled the situation as best he could have, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA), asking fellow Redditors:
“AITA for telling my wife she should be thankful my daughter only called the cops and didn’t press charges on her?”
The OP began by giving a brief history of his wife and daughter’s relationship.
“I’ve been with my wife for 4 years.”
“I have a 20 year old daughter and she and my wife were never able to form a strong bond and one of the reasons for that is distance.”
“My wife did try to get close to my daughter in the past but my daughter claimed she was just attempting to control her rather than have a respectful relationship with her.”
“They had past issues but now get along a bit.”
But any improvements in the OP’s wife and daughter’s relationship seemed to go out the window following a recent visit by the daughter.
“My daughter was visiting for thanksgiving and brought her Honda car with her.”
“I was out of the house when my wife who’s car been sitting in the garage for a month now took my daughter’s car keys without her permission while she was showering and left in it for nearly 2 hours.”
“My daughter called me as soon as she got out of the bathroom and was freaking out saying neither her car or my wife were there.”
“I tried to calm her down as I tried to get ahold of my wife but she did not respond.”
“We at this point figured my wife took the car but did not know where she was or when she was coming back.”
“My daughter searched my wife’s closet then called the cops and reported her car taken.”
“She called back to tell me my wife’s closet was half empty and cops were called.”
“I got off work and went home immediately and on the way home my wife called crying she just got picked up by the cops at Walmart and was brought into the station.”
“I went over there and met my daughter there.”
While the OP’s wife provided an explanation as to what happened, the daughter didn’t appear to have any of it.
“We discussed what happened and it turned out my wife took the car to go do some shopping and left my daughter a note in the kitchen to let her know since she doesn’t have her number and took clothes from her closet she packed earlier in the morning for church donations but my daughter thought she ran away and told the cops that this woman (my wife) ran away with her car.”
“My daughter got her car back and my wife was let go after filling out a form.”
“I took her home that is where she had a fight with my daughter calling her crazy for calling the cops on her and few other things I can’t remember but I told my wife what she did was unacceptable and she should be grateful my daughter only callee the cops in a moment of panic and did not press charges after what she did.”
“My wife was shocked and started crying saying she couldn’t believe I sided with my daughter after she humiliated her and caused her panic and to be involved with the cops like that.”
“I stated that she should have not touched that key in the first place and she defended herself saying she was getting things done and buying stuff we needed for the house but we made her out to be the bad guy.”
“She left to her sister’s place saying she had enough of my daughter’s disgraceful and vindictive attitude towards her and said she’ll stay there indefinitely or until I get my priorities straight because after what happened she’s no longer sure if she is my wife or wether she was treated as such.”
“My wife’s car isn’t working and has been in the garage for a while now that is why she took my daughter’s car.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation.
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
There was firm agreement the OP was not the a**hole, and handled the situation just as he should have.
Most Redditors were confused by the behavior of the OP’s wife, particularly why she didn’t simply wait till her stepdaughter got out of the shower and ask her if she could borrow her car.
“Your wife took your daughter’s car.”
“Why on earth did she do that?”
“I mean, she could have waited the 15 minutes for your daughter to finish showering to ask her directly.” – DrPhysicsGirl
“Sounds like your wife found out there are repercussions to taking other people’s property without their permission.” – iMESSupCOMMONphrases
“NTA, what made her think she had any right to take someone’s car without their knowledge or permission?” –The_Bookish_One
Everyone seemed to agree with the OP his wife should have considered herself lucky his daughter didn’t press charges, as her actions could have easily been viewed as theft.
“She stole a car.”
“I mean, there are consequences to grand theft auto.”
“They even made a video game about it.”
“If she wanted to borrow the car, she needed to ask permission.”
“Skipping that step puts you right in the felony theft category.” – NUT-me-SHELL.
There were also those who wondered if this was a calculated move by the OP’s wife.
“Gotta be honest – my first thought is your wife might have tried to arrange a situation for you to get mad at your daughter and make her stay away even more.”
“Now she’s just upset it backfired.”
“Did you actually find the note in the kitchen?” – trilliumsummer
“For some reason your wife specifically waited until your daughter was in the shower to take her car. She had plenty of opportunity to ask earlier or the day before—she’s not entitled to use another person’s vehicle despite being ‘family’ (but she’s sure acting entitled).”
“I can only base it off this one incident but she does sound manipulative and controlling—waiting until daughter was in the shower and leaving a note knowing she wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.”
“Your wife is TA and she expects you to make a choice. Frankly, all of you are grown adults, this was between her and your daughter, if she’s telling you to choose between the two of them then she’s not a good person.”
“Good luck.” – Agitated_Swim_5990
“I wouldn’t borrow my wife’s car without my wife’s permission, and technically we both own it since we are married. This is just plain theft of an automobile.
“Being her step-mother doesn’t make her immune to the law. NTA.” – daneelthesane
“NTA. What I’m curious about is if you ever actually found this ‘note’ that wife said she put in the kitchen. Because I’m assuming your daughter checked the whole house to see where her keys and the wife were, and unless she stuck the note inside of a cupboard I don’t see why your daughter would not have found the note.”
“Honestly though it doesn’t matter whether or not the note was found or if it actually exists, if you plan to use someone’s personal belongings, especially something as major as a car, you need to bring it up with the owner before even so much as glancing in the direction of that object.”
“Why couldn’t the wife have waited until she got out of the shower to ask? Or heck even ask her to drive to Walmart with her?”
“If I had a relationship as tense as this one with someone, where I don’t even have this person’s contact information, I wouldn’t want that person driving my car without me in it.”
“Even best friends who spend a bunch of time together and trust each other would ask before doing something like this, why would it be different for wife and daughter who have practically no bond at all? OP your wife seems to have some entitlement issues because there is no way any humble and respectful person would go and do something like this.”
“She is lucky daughter didn’t press charges.” – Charming_Payment1806
“NTA. Your wife could have very well waited for your daughter to get out of the shower so she could ask permission.”
“Instead, she snuck out and took your daughter’s car thinking it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission.”
“Sheesh. Wife owes you both a heartfelt apology.” – lis_amazing25
“NTA. She had no right to take your daughter’s car without permission, especially since they don’t have the best relationship.”
“Plus, your daughter genuinely thought calling the police was the right move with the information she had available to her. She didn’t involve them to be petty.”
“Your wife is playing victim and is clearly competing with your daughter for some reason.. You defending your daughter one time does not automatically equate to her no longer being your wife 🙄” – gaiasganja
“NTA. Your wife is rude, boundary stomping and you are absolutely right that she’s lucky that your daughter didn’t press charges. I would have.”
“Is she like this in all parts of life? This episode seems to indicate that she’s manipulative, dishonest and kind of mean to your daughter.”
“Do you accept that behavior from her? Has she apologized or is she trying to throw a fit so you come crawling back to her as a distraction to her own behavior?”
“Do you want to still have a relationship with your daughter? What does that mean for your marriage?”
“You don’t have to answer an internet stranger but these are things to think about as you move forward.”
“Your wife could have asked permission. She didn’t. She stole the car and if she got into an accident it could mean devastating things for your daughter.” – ObjectiveLocksmith4
There were a few Redditors, however, who didn’t think it was fair for the OP’s daughter to call the police.
They were also confused as to why she felt the need to search his wife’s closet.
“Was there actually a note? “
“Also, she could have asked your daughter before or after the shower.”
“How long would should really have had to wait?”
“Even if she thought your daughter would say no, she could have asked her to take her.”
“Your wife’s story just doesn’t add up.”
“It is kind of weird that your daughter went through your wife’s closet though.”
“Did she just go in the room looking for her and the closet was open or did she go in your room and start rummaging?”
“That’s kind of strange. The whole thing is a bit odd.” – muskiesfan1
“ESH this is dramatic as all hell.”
“She should’ve never touched her keys that’s a violation.”
“But common sense would’ve told your daughter your wife was probably coming back later in the day.”
“Calling the cops is a lot.”
“She don’t like the wife that’s why she went to worse case, if she liked her she wouldn’t have drawn the same conclusion.”
“Again wife shouldn’t have driven her car without asking that is messed up but it should’ve been handled when she got back”- SoloBurger13
“Okay, first off NTA.”
“Your daughter was right to call the cops and you were right to defend your daughter. The only dramatic one in this story is your wife.”
“POV : Daughter”
“Car is gone = panic”
“Stepmother is gone = panic”
“Clothes closet half empty = panic”
“Dad calls wife , wife does not answer = panic”
“Rational thing to do is call the cops!”
“I have no clue why anyone is saying you’re the a**hole, makes no sense.”
“Also why the heck couldn’t your wife literally knock on the door to the washroom and literally ask straight up if she could use her car??? Makes no sense to me.” – smalltownvvitch
Not the best way to begin the Thanksgiving holiday, that’s for sure.
Here’s hoping the divide between this family comes back together, or at the very least doesn’t get any wider.