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'AITA for accusing my daughter's mother of making me a deadbeat?' UPDATED

'AITA for accusing my daughter's mother of making me a deadbeat?' UPDATED

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"AITA for accusing my daughter's mother of making me a deadbeat?"

So, I (44 M) am fairly well off. I'm high up in the company where I work and money's no problem for my wife (33 F) and our two kids. When I was 17, I wasn't the type of person that you'd want to be a father. My own father was a terrifying presence. I almost flunked high school.

My high school girlfriend Sofia left me after I got held by the cops one night and in a double whammy, she moved to Scotland with her dad for university in Edinburgh. Sofia was pregnant and never told me. She never kept in touch I wasn't looking her up in Scotland. I feel like I had a right to know. Ironically, her leaving made me get my life together and I did very well in university.

Sometime when we were 18, she gave birth to my daughter Inessa. Well, Inessa knew who I was and so she decided to contact me, telling me I was her father. Sofia and Inessa had moved back to the country (different city) and I flew out to meet her. I saw a picture of her after she contacted me, she looks just like my mother (so no need for a DNA test).

I avoided seeing her mom and I spent all the time I could with her, getting to know her and learning all that I'd missed. Here's the kicker, I gave my kids the best life possible but she struggled her entire life. After Sofia's dad died, they had a bad time in Scotland and even briefly moved with her mom to Russia. They're doing good now, because my Inessa's got a great job in the same field I started out in.

It made me mad. I could've provided for her. She could've gone to the fancy schools that my kids go to. She could've gotten new shoes, clothes, games every birthday and Christmas. She didn't even have her father to teach her how to drive. I didn't even pay child support. It makes me upset I didn't do right by her.

When I met her mom again, it was tense. I laid out everything I wrote in a calm manner and my daughter made me leave as her mother was going to cry. I met Inessa the day after when I left and we've talked every night since but we haven't brought that up. My wife told me I was an AH to tell her mother that and demanded I apologize, but I couldn't help but feeling like I wasn't wrong.

However, a few days ago, my wife told me she's pregnant and she talked to me about the situation in terms of what if I passed before my child was born and since then I've felt like a major AH because Sofia did a much better job with Inessa than other single parents I knew like my own father.

What do you think? AITA? This is what top commenters had to say:

said:

Might get down votes but: YTA. Think about her perspective. By your own admission you said that you weren't the type of person someone would want to be a father. You were failing school and being held by cops. She was young, pregnant and most likely scared of her future. It took her leaving to get you to decide to get your life on track.

I know being told that you had a daughter was a shock but would you really have provided for her being a teen dad? Apologize to them and just make the most of what you have. You now have the opportunity to spend time with your daughter, if you keep harping on the past then you will hurt your daughter.

said:

this is tough and while i empathize with your situation, i think YTA. you are focusing on your rights and what happened in the past instead of how to build a relationship with your child going forward. fighting with her mother over what she should have done when she herself was a child is not going to make things better for inessa(or anyone).

said:

NTA she kept your child from you! Wtf is wrong with these comments?! She intentionally kept your child from you. Years of their life you’ll never get back that you never got to see. I’d be raging at that mom. She’s cruel.

And said:

Slight YTA. I feel like you haven’t taken your ex’s perspective into account as to why she DIDN’T WANT to tell you. The way you described your past self shows that you didn’t seem to be very trustworthy and she couldn’t have anticipated that you would end up getting your life together and become well off enough to support them.

Also I understand you’re hurt about the situation and think you’re reasoning and acting from a place of hurt. Which is why I think you’re only slightly the @$$hole. You should apologize for the sake of moving on. If you say Sofia did a great job raising Inessa all on her own then let bygones be bygones and be there for your daughter now.

OP later shared this update:

I figured that I’d post an update since I’ve met with my daughter Inessa and her mother Sofia again. I went to the city that Inessa lives in for a business trip and she agreed to meet me. I went to Sofia’s home and took the time to talk to Sofia while Inessa was changing. I did what most of you (and my wife) recommend and apologized to Sofia.

I told her I was hurt I couldn’t be there for her and Inessa but that she did an incredible job, better than I would have been able to do before I got my life on track and I admire how much stronger than me she is for doing it all despite all she faced. This brought tears to her again but thankfully she hugged me and forgave me.

She then apologized to me for not telling me when I was older but told me it was that at first she was afraid of my father and later on she didn’t want to disrupt my life. I told her it didn’t matter and all that matters is Inessa and her happiness.

When I went to dinner with Inessa, I gave her an old photograph of my mother as a gift and she thought it was some old timey photo of herself at first because they look so similar. I told her about my own terrible father and why it hurt me so much that I didn’t get to be there for her because I had this notion that it’s a father’s duty to always help his child, guide them, teach them and love them and they’re a failure

if they weren’t. I told her I was sorry I made her mother cry but know now she was a better mother and father to her than I could have been at that time. She also forgave me and when she called me dad (she’d just been saying father before – which was still adorable cause of her mix of a Russian and Scottish accent) for the first time as she hugged me it was the best feeling in the world.

Although I’d booked a hotel for the night, Inessa insisted I stay with her and Sofia. We wound up staying up for hours watching old home movies of Inessa as a kid (which she converted into digital from tape somehow) and even though I couldn’t be there for any of that, I do feel better about it.

Before I left, I promised Inessa that I’d always be there for her and if she ever needed anything, to just ask me and I’d take a flight to see her that day.

When I got home, my wife told me I did the right thing in apologizing to both of them and that I should see her for Christmas and that our kids would be fine without me for once. So, I thank you guys for recommending that I apologize. It feels like a weight has been lifted and I can be there for Inessa without regrets.

RELEVANT COMMENTS:

Re: his wife, OP says:

I'm always worried that I'm not appreciating her efforts enough and try my hardest to show her how much I love her. Last night while I was waiting for this post to get approved, she was urging me to make an appointment with my lawyer to make sure Inessa gets a fair share in my will with our kids.

She's never even met Inessa but feels so much for her. Things like that make me feel incredibly lucky to have her because she almost seems too good to be true.

In response to:

I know trying to be a better parent than the ones you got is a major driving force for me, as it seems to be for you.

OP says:

Yeah, I guess people could tell from this post and the others, but my father was an abusive, negligent monster and I've worked so hard to try and not be like him. So the idea that I had abandoned this daughter, I guess it made me feel like him.

It hurt the most because as I've said, she looks just like my mother who meant more than anything to me as a kid. But she's given me a chance and I think she understands that I still want to be a good father for her.

Thoughts?

Sources: Reddit
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