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'AITA for not getting my stepdaughter a graduation gift? She doesn't even like me!'

'AITA for not getting my stepdaughter a graduation gift? She doesn't even like me!'


Is it off-base to not give my stepdaughter a graduation present?

BitIntrepid6701 writes:

I (48M) have been married to my wife (43F) for 6 years. She has a daughter (18F) from a previous relationship who I'll call Amy. Amy just graduated high school last week. For months, my wife kept asking me what I planned to give Amy for a graduation gift.

I told her I didn't plan on getting Amy anything since she's not my biological daughter and we've never been particularly close. Amy has made it clear over the years that she doesn't really see me as a father figure, which is fine.

But it has meant we've never built much of a bond beyond basic politeness when living under the same roof. Well, my wife was furious when I said I wouldn't be getting a gift. She accused me of never making an effort with Amy and playing favorites since I gave my own daughter (22F) a nice graduation gift a few years ago.

I tried explaining that's different since my daughter is, well, my actual daughter who I raised from birth. Amy overheard the argument and started crying, saying I obviously don't care about her at all.

My wife doubled down that not giving her daughter a gift for this milestone was unbelievably hurtful and disrespectful. In my view, I'm not obligated to give gifts to kids who frankly don't want me involved in that role. But now I've got my wife and stepdaughter thinking I'm being massively insensitive. So, AITA here?

Here are the top comments:

tctwizzle says:

Why is it all or nothing? She has to accept you as a father figure or she’s essentially dead to you? She didn’t choose to marry you. As long as she’s not rude to you, that’s all you can expect. What about birthdays? Do you get her birthday gifts?

Does she give you birthday gifts? What if this was the kid of a close coworker that invited you to the graduation party, wouldn’t you bring something. I don’t think anyone is expecting you to like buy her a car, or give her a down payment on a house or anything, but something would be nice. Especially since she cried, like clearly she had some sort of feeling towards you.

ManyYou918 says:

YTA (You're the A^@ole). It sounds like you haven't put any effort into this relationship. Your wife says you put no effort into Amy so of course you are just polite to each other. And before you say Amy hasn't put any effort in - you got married to your wife when Amy was 12 so the onus is on you.

You are being massively insensitive and your stepdaughter probably doesn't want you as a father figure because you haven't taken the care to try to be one for her and this has solidified. You're not obligated to give presents but you were there for some of the most formative years of her life and you are her family. Her crying over the conversation shows you really hurt her.

PM_ME says:

Of course YTA. You're the adult in this situation. You joined their family. It was (and still is) your responsibility to try to build the relationship with your step daughter. Of course an elementary school kid is gonna say this new guy isn't their dad.

So what? That doesn't mean you just wash your hands of them. It sounds like at the first opportunity she gave you, you used that as an excuse to never have to make an effort with her.

NapalmAxolot says:

YTA. Imagine Amy is a close niece, and act appropriately. Should you get a close niece something for graduation after your wife specifically tells you to?

Yes. You should have told your wife "I hadn't really thought about it, what do you think I should get?" Apologize to everyone, and ask your wife what to buy Amy.

What do you think?

Sources: Reddit
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