Reddit user u/boomerangkidaita knows this fact all too well. He's struggling with how to best raise his troubled teenage daughter while navigating a strained relationship with his ex and recently moving in with his new girlfriend.
My ex-wife (45F) and I (46M) divorced 3 years ago and have 3 kids together (24M, 22F, & 17F). Since our two older kids were already moved out and were in college when we divorced, the only custody and child support issue we had was our youngest daughter, Mary, who was 14 when we split.
My ex wanted full custody while I was pushing for shared custody. I had moved into an apartment at this time and Mary would stay with her mom during the week because it was easier for school. She would come to stay with me on weekends though.
I answered any questions Mary had about our divorce, but I made it a point to never say anything negative. I didn't want Mary to think that anything she had done was the cause of our divorce. I cherished the weekends we spent together and from everything I saw, Mary enjoyed our time together too.
So it came as a huge surprise when Mary read a statement during a custody hearing stating that she felt I was unfit as a parent and that she wanted to live with my ex full-time. The pain I felt listening to her say those things cut me to my very core. I tried to talk with Mary after the hearing, but my ex stepped between us and told me to leave them both alone. I was heartbroken.
Since then, I've only had rare visitations with Mary because she has consistently said that she wants nothing to do with me. No matter how bad it hurts, I never pushed her to spend any more time with me than she wanted to. I have paid every cent of child support and also continued contributing to her college fund.
I have had many conversations with my other kids about Mary because I was so surprised by this change of behavior. They have both told me that Mary hasn't said anything specific to them about why she made the choice she did. Communication between my ex and I is not good and she pretty much refuses to discuss anything related to Mary, who is going into her senior year of high school.
I have recently moved in with my GF of 1 year and her 3 kids, all under 15. Things have been good and I'm happier than I've been since the divorce. But a few weeks ago I got a surprise call from Mary. She said that my ex had kicked her out of the house and she had nowhere else to go. I immediately told her that I would help anyway I can.
After talking with my GF, we agreed to let Mary stay with us for a few days while we get things figured out. I talked with my ex and it turns out Mary has been struggling with drugs and threw a huge party at my ex's house and trashed the place.
After another talk with my GF, we decided that we do not have the space to house Mary permanently. And with her current issues, my GF does not feel comfortable having Mary around her kids, who have zero relationship with Mary.
It broke my heart again, but I had to tell Mary that she can't stay with us. She yelled and screamed at me and reminded me that I said I would help. She's since gone back to my ex and I know Mary needs help, but both her and my ex are refusing to speak with me.
I honestly think YTA. Through the entire post you're upset about Mary not wanting to live with you and how hurt you were by the statement she made in court. Now you have the opportunity to spend time with your daughter and figure out why she said those things and what went wrong in your relationship.
But instead of taking that opportunity, you tossed her out instead. Sounds like she was right to not want anything to do with you, if that's your idea of being a father.
ESH I would suggest rehab & counseling as a condition that she stays with you. If she won’t agree to that then she can’t stay with younger children in the home. Also she is still a minor. Contact your lawyer because your ex should not be able to kick her out. That is not good parenting.
I think your kid cried for help, you had the chance to protect her (even if from herself) and you screwed it.. Teens can be difficult, and the letter thing really sounds like something the mother might have orchestrated, especially if your relationship with her isn't great... I think you betrayed your kid a bit trusting the mother's account of what happened over hers and 'giving her back' to her mother.
She might also resent you for staying away all this time (yes, even if she's the cause for that, I know it's not logical) But I understand how tricky it would be to insert her in the family dynamic you are in now. So very soft YTA, because this seems like a very nuanced situation with no easy answers...
NTA. It’s a very clear cut legal situation: dad doesn’t have custody. Dad could get in MAJOR trouble for keeping her without informing the court or asking for a change in custody/visitation, depending on what the judgment says. ESPECIALLY if being an “unfit parent” was part of the allocation.
YTA. So don’t live there for the time being. Rent something cheap near your gf. Step up and be the parent she needs where you’re ex failed. Even at 18, 19, 20 she might need a parent. Do you not parent after a child turns 18?
At 14 years old she was young and susceptible to whatever your ex did to get her to make that statement. She has time to be your daughter and THIS is your make or break moment. Put in the work, OP. call her now and make it right.
These people can get over themselves, you are NTA. You've done what you can with the girl, you can't be expected to potentially destroy your current relationship just because she's coming to you now, only when she needs help. People are purposely ignoring that this is not your house, and your gf has a day in who stays there.
YTA. She's your daughter. Step up. This whole situation is warped, but step up. You have a huge opportunity to make things right. Take it.
NTA.Y’all needa realize he moved in wit his girlfriend, ultimately it’s her decision not his, plus his daughter basically cut him out of her life and only came back when she needed help
As an outsider, this is so clearly an ESH. Both you and your ex are failing your daughter and it is plain to see. And come on dude, this is a cry for help from your minor daughter and you do this to her?
NTA. She turned on a dime and decided she didn't want a relationship with you until her other choices were gone. Tell her that you are willing to help her pay for treatment or meet up with her for dinner or ice cream (if you are willing to do those things), but that you can't take her in.