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Mom loses custody of two children due to social media addiction; husband says, 'I have evidence and I'm ashamed of you.' AITA?

Mom loses custody of two children due to social media addiction; husband says, 'I have evidence and I'm ashamed of you.' AITA?


When this woman is blindsided by her husband's abandonment due to her addiction, she asks Reddit:

"I lost custody of my two children due to my social media addiction. AITA?"

I (36F) lost custody of my children to my husband (34M) because I am/was addicted to my phone and social media. My therapist suggested writing about this might help me heal and work through what is going on with my life.

We were married almost 11 years. He first started saying something about my phone usage about 3 years ago. That led to a fight where I basically voiced all of my insecurities and blamed my phone usage on my husband.

I told him that he didn’t spend enough time with me. I told him that I knew he didn’t find me attractive. I told him that I knew he settled. And it was his fault I used my phone because he didn’t give me enough attention.

That only made the problem worse because he was quick to point out all the times that we were supposed to be spending time together while I was actually just staring at my phone.

So he started pausing movies and TV shows when I was looking at my phone. I would go upstairs to the bedroom and ask him to change the TV to something that I wanted to watch and then I would immediately just stare at my phone. So he started staying downstairs until I was asleep.

Each time I would get up to use the restroom at night, I would spend at least 10 minutes in the bathroom on my phone and then I would get back into bed and look at it for another few minutes. I couldn't unload the dishwasher without looking at my phone more than a few times. My phone was the biggest thing in my life.

This would become a big fight every 3-4 months until the last time when I said some things that I will regret forever. I told him I knew he didn’t love me. I told him that he never took photographs of me because he didn’t find me pretty.

He never took photos of me and our children because he didn’t like me and he was ashamed of me. That was basically the end.

He went and got his tablet and showed me hundred of pictures that he took. There was me and the children and the dogs and some with me and the children and my aunt’s horses. I was horrified by what I saw.

And now my life is over. And in every single one of the pictures I was there in the background with my neck bent starting at my phone. Whether it was outside or in our home I always had that phone in my face.

Then he showed me the videos and I couldn’t stop crying. Videos of my youngest daughter saying “mommy” or “I have to potty” over and over again while I was laying on the couch with my phone. All right there on a little SD card in our living room.

And all this time he has been the primary caregiver and domestic caretaker. He gets the kids up, feeds them, and takes them to school. I pick them up in the afternoons while he cooks dinner and cleans. He bathes them and got them ready for bed. I went in each time and spent a few minutes with them and said “I love you.”

After the pictures and videos incident, things were calm for less than a month before we finally split. I called from work and asked him to make a specific dish for dinner. He said that he already had another dish planned and meat thawed.

But I insisted and he budged. He went to Fred Meyer’s and got the groceries and made the meal. It was ready 5 minutes after I walked in the door with the kids. And then I sat on the toilet for 45 minutes with my phone and when I came out him and the kids were gone. The meal was on the stove cold.

He didn’t answer my call. He texted and said they would be at the library until it was time for bath. I got the papers 2 days later.

Not going to go into all the details but I’m sad. I see the children whenever I want as I moved less than .5 mile away. He doesn’t want to keep the children away from me, but he said that if he’s not going to let them be neglected.

I cry every day. I’m not sure what benefit I will receive from sharing this but I hope this helps someone else who might be experiencing the same thing.

My therapist says social media addiction is real and triggers dopamine just like any other addiction. I’m afraid one of my coworkers is making the same mistakes, but I am too afraid and ashamed to say anything to her.

Only my mom knows the real reason we split. I don’t know what to tell everyone else. AITA?

Let's see what readers thought of OP's addiction. They had varying opinions on whether or not she was TA:

leoparddent writes:

YTA. What did you even lose yourself and your family for? What did you neglect and abandon them for? Instagram? Arguing with people on Facebook groups? I hope you find peace but I cant help the heartbreak I feel for your poor husband. Wow. He did everything and you ruined him.

highlonely writes:

NTA. ex is doing an AMAZING job and doing everything right. u recognizing and admitting these problems is also a step in the right direction! u noticed u need help, now u’ve just got to get it.

try replacing ur phone addiction with a healthier habit, like writing. photographing!! it includes ur phone and u could include + spend time with ur loved ones whilst doing it.

maybe substitute whatever ur looking at on ur phone with a book? i can recommend some great ones. maybe try replacing ur phone with a cheaper one, like a blackberry or a flip phone that way u only use it to make texts/calls.

i admire u reaching out for help, although we can’t help u. we can make suggestions and give u advice but this is ur battle. u have to take that extra step and give up the phone. and like i said before, u recognizing and admitting u have a problem is the first step to a solution.

wishing u the best of luck and i truly hope some of the advice given helps. one more thing, don’t worry about what u have to tell others. u don’t have to tell anyone anything, u owe no one an explanation.

rootintootin writes:

YTA. Get a pay per minute phone from the store, a flip phone from a simpler time. Use it to talk to your kids in an active sense and delete this god forsaken app… don’t post here again, don’t reply to my comment, don’t make any more excuses.

You need to give yourself tough love and unfortunately there’s no patch for stepping down on tech addiction, you’re gonna have to cold turkey that shit.

Get a manual, write-with-a-pencil journal and reconnect with society… as shitty as the world out there is…. It’s the only one we got… stop wasting the time you spend on earth and learn to love your hobbies and your kids… just bc you ruined your marriage more than likely for forever, you still have a chance to reconnect with your children. Good luck.

starkkat writes:

YTA. Honestly most of this stuff just sounds like extremely narcissistic and selfish behavior. The phone is a symptom but you are the problem. After all your husband does you bullied him into changing dinner after he had already started making it? You neglected your daughter?

Somehow you have made this all about you. You consistently talk about how sad YOU feel and how hard this has been on YOU. But you have not shown that you feel bad for your poor husband who has been raising your kids all by himself.

You don’t seem to feel bad that you hurt him, you seem to be sad because now there are consequences. You don’t appear to be sorry that you neglected your children. You are sorry for yourself not for the people you hurt very deeply.

Getting rid of social media is not gonna change your behavior. I mean you should still do it, but you have many more problems to fix and by the looks of it, you aren’t willing to start.

yeahhho writes:

YTA. All the time you blamed him and accused him of not paying enough attention to you... You were the one completely ignoring him AND your kids??

Please, please, please, get off Reddit. Get off social media. You WILL lose your kids. Your ex is a good man who is still allowing you to see the kids but once they're old enough they'll make the choice to not bother with trying to get your attention and will cut you off themselves.

And when they're old enough to understand that pain, your ex will also put more strict boundaries.

All of this is still avoidable. You can still have a place in your kids lives. Get. Off. Reddit. And get a journal.

And you know what you tell everyone else? That your husband left because of your social media addiction. That's what you do. Other close ones need to know so they can help you avoid it.

I understand addictions. I'm a child of a mom who was addicted to pain meds + alcohol and had a more mental issues. The biggest mistake my dad made was not let others know so they can help.

That ended up enabling her. There is no helping if you keep it a secret and play with your therapists suggestions like this. She said write about it, so you come to Reddit?

You NEED to quit cold turkey. When they took my mom to rehab finally, they didn't ease her into it. They had to cut her off her addiction completely. And that's what saved her and gave some part of her back to us.

If you love your kids at all, quit. Get an old phone with no apps. Get a journal. LISTEN to your therapist and follow EXACTLY what she says. GO to your kids. Spend time with them. Show them nothing matters more than them. Or you WILL lose them. And tell your therapist how you twisted her suggestion and posted on Reddit. Do not hide it.

awayduty writes:

NTA. Im genuinely surprised people would criticize her story thats both sided instead of trying to be the well intended protagonist. Out of many of the stories told in this subreddit, she clames to be the one at fault and has lost her most valuable things.

Judge me all you want but this has been the most human like post I’ve seen in maybe all the time I’ve been here.

Regarding her situation, yeah her husband is the outstanding parent, but she’s also trying to do better to prevent her phone addiction, and by God if people would stop blaming others and acknowledge that they’re at fault as well, we’d live as better people.

The best of luck to your ex husband and kids, but also props to you for knowing what you did and trying to do better. Best of luck to you!

okcaregiver writes:

NTA. There is a documentary called the social dilemma on Netflix and I actually breaks down how that phone was set up to keep you addicted so don't feel bad that you are addicted to your phone it...

was made for that if you'd watch his documentary you could probably forgive yourself for being a victim of a bunch of money grubbing assholes who are psychopaths and own and run some of the biggest companies in the world!

elmo6 writes:

YTA!!! You emotionally abused him and neglected him and your children, so it’s a shocker he’s tolerating your presence at all. People are crazy for feeling bad for you dude, you deserve to feel sad.

You were given several chances to not be the worst and every time you were, in fact, the worst. I’d say karma caught up to you, but that would imply your actions weren’t the direct cause of everything going wrong in your life.

spitzy writes:

YTA. Honestly, as much as this may hurt… you absolutely deserved this. Never paying attention to you children?? If I were your ex, I wouldnt have stayed as long as he did.

I mean, even laying on the couch, phone in hand while your child was begging for your attention… thank god he got the children out of there and the most you could do was spend a measly few minutes with them before saying “I love you” before walking out and glueing your phone to you face again.

They deserve a mother, or even step-mother, who will actually care for and love them. I understand social media can be/is an addiction but when you have a family to care for you need to know when enough is enough.

Your children come first. You need to have priorities and your phone over your own flesh and blood children is wrong. Please, for everything that is holy, re-assess your priorities and learn from this. Heal and maybe then, you might be able to try again or try to be more active in your children’s lives.

whoregoroth writes:

I have nothing negative to say to you and I’m not going to participate in the dog-piling. You’re in enough pain as it is.

I will say that your whole story is my ex-husband to a T, and it’s one of the many reasons why I left him. I wish he could have the self awareness that you do and get himself some help so he may be a better parent to our kids in the future. You’re doing great..

your children will be proud of you one day when they’re old enough to understand that addiction is addiction is addiction and that you overcame it for yourself and for them. I’m glad you’re working through this with a therapist, I wish you well in your journey towards recovery and healing. You got this, OP.

crownedcaff writes:

I’ve struggled with social media addiction as well I think….diagnosed by myself lol. But seriously, I think we dive into social media when we feel like our life is lacking. So we vicariously live through others.

And this just makes us dislike our lives even more as we think “they have it so much better than me” “they’re so much prettier than me” “their family is happier than mine” and so on. When in reality, social media is just people posting the highlight reels.

The good stuff. If you would just unplug…you’d realize how good your life really is! It doesn’t need to be shown off to others. You need to be there and present or you’re going to miss it. My advice, delete your accounts.

Don’t just delete the apps. Deactivate the accounts. Once they’re gone you’ll realize just how much you don’t need them. They don’t add anything to your life. Best of luck to you.

talent7 writes:

NTA. The bravery it must of took to write this and admit it on this platform. This right here needs to be more widely talked about. There needs to be more awareness and more resources for people who struggle with social media addiction.

There are so many people, almost everyone that has this exact problem and won't even admit it and are constantly stuck on their phones and it needs to be talked about way more.

I trust you will evaluate your life and trust yourself enough to know that your life is worth more then spending it sucked to these depression box's (phone).

Your life can be salvaged and i hope you and your husband one day come back together and you consciously are present and have the happiest lives together as a family. Thank you for your bravery, and so many blessings to you and to your family.

Do you agree that OP is TA here? Any advice for her? What do YOU think?

Sources: Reddit
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