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'AITA for refusing to pay for my stepkids' private school?' 'It is unfair and showing favoritism.' UPDATED

'AITA for refusing to pay for my stepkids' private school?' 'It is unfair and showing favoritism.' UPDATED


"AITA for refusing to pay for my stepkid's private school?"

Context: I (30f) have been with my partner (36m) for 4 years and we have a 2 year old child together. I have 5 year old twins, full time custody as their dad passed away, and he has 2 children (7,12), who he has 50/50 custody of.

I was brought up in a pretty wealthy family where me and my siblings attended private school, and this was something that I valued and wanted any future children of mine to attend also.

My twins are now finishing their first year of school at the private school I attended. I pay for their tuition and my husband knew they would be going as I made it very clear that I valued this. He also agreed that it is a good investment and would want our child to attend also, paying half each when the time comes.

His children do not attend a private school, but attend highly ranked public schools. Since the twins started school his ex has been causing issues and saying that it is unfair and showing favoritism that my children attend a "better" school than theirs.

My husband agreed and they applied for the same school, but when time came to accept the offer, BM changed her tune and could no longer afford to pay her half. Note that my husband pays alimony and child support totalling to almost 50% his wage and we pay for most other miscellaneous expenses.

My husband asked if I would pay for her half and I said no. Ever since this happened he has been distant and accuses me of not loving his children enough and treating them differently. Yes, I could afford the other half but I don't feel that it is my responsibility. I never ask my husband for any financial help towards the upbringing of my children and wouldn't expect that of him.

I felt confident in my decision to refuse but his constant negativity, the comments from his ex and judgement from his family for not paying are making me doubt myself. Am I in the wrong here?


I have offered to pay some of the fees, I offered for us ALL to sit down and discuss finances and abilities to contribute. This was refused and BM shut down and began refusing to pay ANY of the fees.

The situation could have been avoided had discussions like these been had prior to application. I was not involved in, only informed of, the application as they "are not my children so it was none of my business." But it is now all my business when they want me to pay for the entire thing. I'm going to talk SO and see if BM wants to open discussions and maybe something can be arranged for the next enrolment!

Also, lots of comments assuming my contributions to the family or that I am treating his children poorly. I have made comments but I'm just going to include it in the post to save repeating myself.

I pay 80% of all finances, I pay for our holidays and day trips. All of which we arrange during our time with SKs. I am also the sole contributor to their college funds currently. I completely take on board comments about how the children might feel as ultimately I think this is the most important thing.

Conversations with them have ended in them expressing not wanting to move away from friends (12 yo especially), or being neutral either way. This is absolutely something BM pushed for and led, and had she been open from the start I am sure something could have been arranged.

Here's what top comenters had to say about this one:

___coolcoolcool said:

NTA. His ex should pay for half, just like you do.

Carolinamama2015 said:

NTA, YOU pay for your twins to go there, not him, next his ex. If they want their kids to go to private school, then the people who brought them into this world need to pay for it.

It's not like their mother isn't in the picture and these kids see you as their mom. They know their mom, they live/spend time with her it's not on you to pick up her short-comings.

And your husband is being an AH by quilting you into it. Personally, I'd call him on it, call him on why you're expected to pay fully for your twins with no help from him. But it's okay for him to ask you for money for his kids?

liiyah said:

NTA. You communicated your financial boundaries already. It’s not your responsibility, so it should not be falling on you to pay for it. Plus if they’re already in a high ranking public school, why are they so adamant if they can’t pay for it.

Ok-master7370 said:

Nta, if this gets too spicy divorce this fool or this ex wife will be whispering and expecting you to pay for "fairness" your whole life.

PrairieGrrl5263 said:

NTA...Their children have 2 parents who are responsible for their upbringing. Your twins have 1 living parent. It is unfair and unreasonable to take from your twins resources that may be needed for them at some point in their future.

If they cannot afford private school for their children, they are no better and no worse off than they were before you came into the scene, and in the position of billions of school children around the world.

OP, you are only 4 years into this marriage. You may reconsider it. A co-parenting arrangement with your current husband may be more manageable than this situation where his ex and his family try to pressure you into compliance with his unreasonable demands.

Tall_Wall7580 said:

No - NTA. Your pay for 100% for your children because there is not other biological parent to help with that cost. He already agreed you and he would split the cost for your children together- it is only right for his children’s other parent to split the cost with him.

Is she cannot afford her portion, he can tell her he’ll pay the whole thing, but it would have to be deducted from her alimony/child support. Just be because you have the money, doesn’t mean she gets to spend it.


Firstly, thank you to everyone for all of the advice, suggestions, and overall support. I wasn't sure I would update on the situation, as it seemed like something that would be an ongoing discussion. However, I guess this update post is in fact nothing to do with the issue of private school.

After reading comments and doing some reflection, I initiated a conversation with him to discuss everything. I once again suggested decreasing child support and alimony and paying together.

But I also brought up how unfair it feels that he and his ex have teamed up against me in this situation, and I do not feel that we have been behaving as a partnership. I brought up my grievances regarding feeling used and unappreciated, and how he treats my twins being unacceptable.

I voiced my desire for us to have time apart and get into therapy, saying that I needed some space to think as I was unhappy with the effect this was having on the children.

I won't rehash the entire argument but after talking about how I feel his relationship with his ex was inappropriate and crossed some boundaries, I was made aware that he and his ex have slept together multiple times during our relationship. I don't have much else to say, I feel completely numb.

I have asked him to leave (the house is mine, before I get comments), and I am talking to a divorce lawyer. For those who asked, I do have a prenup and we have only been married for just over a year.

He swears that it was a mistake and he regrets it, that he loves me and wants to be with me. According to him it "just happened" and I should be more understanding that they have a history together and he didn't mean anything to happen.

I don't know that I will be replying to any comments or updating anymore as there is nothing left to say. I need time and space to heal and to work on being the best mother I can be. I am feeling probably every emotion possible right now. I feel like a complete failure.

I have a lot to figure out, especially as we have a baby together. He hasn't asked to see his daughter, or step kids since leaving, despite me reaching out to ask if he wants to see our daughter. Once again, thank you for all the initial support I received.

Here's what top commenters had to say after the update:

ERVetSurgeon said:

NTA. He and his ex are the failures here. You have strength, courage, self respect, and a good moral compass. Go find someone who loves you and not for what you can do for them. I wish you health and happiness.

Excellent-Freedom473 said:

I'd take the money out of the college funds you set up for the step kids as well. To hell with them all! Go scorched earth!

BeneficialNose5447 said:

NTA at all. He and his ex-wife are the failures big-time here! Into therapy for yourself and also therapy for your twin children and your youngest with this man because that child is going to need it . And family therapy for you all as a whole as a family.

And I want to double in on this, he said throughout the relationship , it wasn’t just a one time thing it was throughout. And in that discussion, he truly showed who he was to you and unfortunately to his daughter.

Old-Ninja-113 said:

Ugh sorry - stay strong for your kids.

3Heathens_Mom said:

NTA. OP please be confident in knowing it wasn’t a ‘mistake’ he made in sleeping with his ex multiple times. It was a conscious and deliberate decision each and every time. I presume he considers it a mistake as he blew up his style of living which was on your dime.

Do what you need to do to protect your mental as well as your physical health. I’d suggest requesting full custody of your daughter. If nothing else maybe he will wake up and decide he wants to be an involved coparent and not just say he does to reduce his child support or if you make more to get you to pay child support.

Also please do request child support. You might not get much initially but once his older children age out the amount can and should be increased. You may not need it but his daughter is entitled to whatever is legally allowed.

UnusualPotato1515 said:

NTA! I'm so proud of you for listening to the comments & getting to the bottom of all this as sounded far too shady! You let alot go with how he treated your twins, but honestly you were vulnerable when you net him: a young widow with infant twins so can be forgiven for choice in partner when you’re so vulnerable & lonely.

Seems like the twins wont miss him much given that he didn’t spend much time with them anyway, but what’s important now is looking out for your kids making sure they’re not emotionally neglected.

Also please don’t be naive to think he cares about the twins so just talk to him about his daughter & file for child support ASAP because he needs to provide for his daughter. I know you don’t need his money but its about the principle & letting him know you’re no doormat anymore.

You’re still so young to start over so please take your time un healing & hopefully wont overlook red flags next time. Please dont spend another penny on that man & his kids & redirect the stepkids’ college funds to your own kids as their have their parents whilst your kids only have you. You’ve survived much worse after you lost the twins’ father so you’ll easily survive losing this w$nker.

Everyone was on OP's side throughout for this one. What's your advice for this situation?

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