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Stepmom accused of favoring bio daughter & stepson over stepdaughter; 'It all started at graduation.' AITA? UPDATED 2X

Stepmom accused of favoring bio daughter & stepson over stepdaughter; 'It all started at graduation.' AITA? UPDATED 2X


When this stepmom is accused of favoritism, she asks the internet:

"My husband thinks I favor my bio daughter and stepson over stepdaughter because of what I did at her graduation. AITA?"

Hi! I’m a 43 years old woman. I have one daughter 18. Her father left us when I was pregnant with her. I own a small company in interior design and it’s very successful in my country.

I make a very good living. I met my husband 55, about 8 years ago. He moved in with me 7 years ago and we got married 2 years ago in a private ceremony. My husband has two children from a previous marriage. Boy 20 and a girl 19.

Both my stepchildren hated me and my daughter in the beginning of the relationship. When my husband asked them how they’d feel about him moving together with me they both initially hated the idea and told him that if he did it they would just stay permanently with their mother.

After a while my husband moved in anyway and said to them that they were welcome should they change their mind. They did, after seeing the big house with the pool and all all great accommodations. The boy started liking us gradually and we’re on great terms now.

The daughter, not so much. She was horrible to me and my daughter and one day when she was 13-14 I heard her making fun of my daughter’s weight and looks to her face. I was livid. I have suffered ED growing up because of bullying so I KNEW how dangerous that was.

I knew how my daughter must’ve felt, so I told my husband that stepdaughter was never allowed to live in my house again. My stepdaughter tried to apologize and she was sobbing but I didn’t budge.

I had too long of an experience with bullies that I knew it just got worse when they got confronted and had to apologize and I wasn’t going to take the risk. So she moved permanently with her mother(my initial plan was to break up actually but this was my husband’s idea)

She still bullied my daughter in school (they didn’t go to the same high school but my stepdaughter had friends in my daughter’s class that did her bidding. I found about all of this about a year ago.

My daughter was embarrassed to tell us and she thought she could manage her bullies. It broke my heart and I felt so guilty that my baby didn’t dare to confide in me.

Uni is free in my country. Students often take student loans (with almost zero interests) and work part time jobs while studying to make ends meet but the education is free.

When my stepson started uni however I gave him €100K so he didn’t have to work or anything and just concentrate on his studies (engineering).

He was so grateful but told us that he wasn’t sure he could be trusted with a large sum so my husband is handling his money making monthly payments. I am planning to do the same with my daughter.

Stepdaughter graduated with great marks and she’s started medical school this year.

She asked her father about her 100K and he came to ask me. I was confused because before I gifted my stepson I asked my husband if I could do it and the reason was because I wasn’t planning on doing the same thing with my stepdaughter.

He told me I could do what I wanted and it wasn’t weird at all because My stepson and I had a great relationship and he always saw me as a second mom.

He got really mad and told me that my stepdaughter had changed a lot, but it wasn’t true at all. Although she wasn’t living with us anymore she made sure to make our lives a living hell every time she visited and even got physical with my and my daughter.

If she started playing nice now it was only because there was money involved and I knew that and my husband knew that too. I even told him that she called my that bitch and even in the phone my number was saved under “that b&h”.

He is now very angry. He hasn’t talked to me in over a week. He’s saying I’m using my money to control their lives and that he’s heartbroken.

If I don’t have enough money for both daughters I can split my daughter’s share between them since my daughter isn’t even sure she wants to start college right away (and let’s face it, she will likely never get into med school: his words) Maybe if I did it, stepdaughter would be more grateful and be closer to my daughter.

I don’t know what to do. I feel like I don’t owe my stepdaughter anything. My daughter and I have suffered enough because of her ways. She’s could still do like the rest of her peers.

Work and take loans and she has a bright future ahead of her. There maybe be some truth in his words about me using my money as a reward/punishment. I an ashamed but still defiant. I should do what I want with my money. AITA?

Before we give you OP's updates, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

garaaa writes:

Wow, I’m so sorry. Honestly the stepdaughter sounds like a total nightmare and I can’t believe she used people to bully a younger girl at a different school. That’s horrid and proves you were right that once you confronted stepdaughter about the bullying it would in fact get worse for your daughter.

I think it’s absolutely insane that anyone would expect you to drop that much money on someone who will obviously treat you and your daughter like shit. I know it’s hard on your husband but I think you are more than fair. You paid for your stepson, built a relationship, she isn’t entitled to the same just because she wants money.

You aren’t controlling their lives, it sounds like your husband has let your stepdaughter run out of control. You aren’t being controlling not dropping 100k on a kid that would bully yours into social isolation/an ED.

Why does she get special treatment over your stepson and your daughter? I hope you don’t pay for her school, this shit will never end if you give in now… next it’ll be her wedding, her house… just gross.

fkufdog writes:

Well, think about it logically, if your children told you they would never see you again if you moved in with a man, what would you do? I’ll take a wild guess and say you would end it, right? Well, he didn’t. So, we’ve already established he’s a bad dad who doesn’t actually care about his children’s best interests.

Next, his kids didn’t want to move in with you until they realized you were rich. Kids often learn these morals from their parents, so what does it tell you that both kids were suddenly okay with things, and the step daughter threw a fit about leaving the home of a woman she hated, simply because you have nice things?=

Maybe that they were raised by someone who has a particular interest in the finer things in life.

Continuation of point one, when it came to picking his child or picking your money, again he picked you with the money and permanently kicked his kid out. What the f?

Finally, now that you’ve said you won’t give her any money, he’s trying to pretend he’s a good father? But we’ve already established twice, he doesn’t actually give a shit about his kids best interests.

And given he’s the one in charge of his son’s money, it stands to reason he’d probably expect the same. Even if he didn’t, again, he’s only willing to ‘be a good dad’ when that involves taking your money. If it involves giving up your money though, oh no his kids can go rot for all he cares.

And I guess one last point, he wanted you to give up providing for your actual child to provide to his, and even decided to insult your kid, so that brings me back to my first point, if you were in a situation where you had to choose between a man and your kid, who would you choose?

Because you seem like you’d choose your kid, even before you realize he’s just in it for the money. Remember, truly manipulative people, you never see it coming.

thorsss writes:

I personally, in your shoes, would speak to the stepson. And I’d be more direct if I thought that the stepdaughter will succeed in pulling on her dad’s heartstrings that “it’s not fair” and she “really needs this”.

The way he’s fighting with you, making such an unreasonable request, leads me to believe he’d think “sharing” the sons fund is justifiable. I mean, he’s already tried it so...

If your husband just started sneaking her an allowance each month like the son, then your stepson wouldn’t even realise what his dads doing, possibly ever if he doesn’t have access to check the account.

It’s such a lot of money he’d happily accept whatever is sent to him in five years when he wants the remainder for a house - or you’d all notice a massive chunk is gone, the maths doesn’t add up and it’d be too late.

He’s put a hell of a lot of trust in his father - dad could be dipping in himself and the son would never know. Ofc, not all parents would do that (I certainly wouldn’t), but it’s the ones who trust parent/partner etc that get burned.

Simply checking your accounts regularly is a responsible financial skill. You could tell him to do that as part of a “life finances” lesson? And make sure his name is on the account? Then you wouldn’t be outright making any accusations?

guccc writes:

Please, please get a will and make sure your daughter gets everything. Teach your daughter about handling her finances and more importantly, setting hard boundaries and enforcing them.

The stepdaughter knows what she’s doing and likely believes she can bully your husband and by extension, you into paying for her college. And as others have stated, this entitlement will keep getting extended to other things like a wedding and a house.

This girl bullied your baby, probably worsened her ED, physically assaulted her in her own home, and thinks she’s entitled to your money? Please OP, do not pay her a dime and make sure you get a will ASAP!!!

And as for your husband, I’m sorry but he doesn’t look like he can see beyond your money - his relationships with you and his kids are very superficial and I think you might want to reconsider the whole relationship. Good luck!

zakdown writes:

I’m a male, my fiancé has more money than I do. I have two kids from before and she has one. My son has been great to her, my daughter has not.

Not outright bullying, but stealing her things and then gaslighting her that she was just losing everything. We found boxes worth of my fiancés things in her room when she moved out at 18. Of course she was acting like an angel to me, but my fiancé and I talk and listen to each other, so I knew what was really up.

My fiancé and I both agree that she gets less money than the others. It wasn’t bad enough to cut her out completely, but there will be HEAVY rules in how she gets to use what she will be given.

All of this to say… first of all. Your step daughter doesn’t deserve money because she hasn’t earned it yet.

Secondly, your husband should have been on your side this whole time, and the fact he isn’t is very upsetting.

Third, if you want to make amends with your husband, you can put some money in a trust for your stepdaughter, and put HEAVY limitations on it. One big one I’m doing is that my daughter can only be reimbursed for “qualified” purchases.

She won’t just be handed money, she’ll have a lawyer she can submit receipts to be approved for reimbursement. So she’ll have to come up with the money herself first to make purchases, and only then might she get money back. She won’t be able to say shea going to use the money for something and then use it for something else.

The reimbursements are limited to basically just certified educational institutions. So she’ll get help paying off loans and such after college, but she’s got to make it through college on her own.

Consider if a limited trust like this might be a suitable compromise with your husband (who really you need to reevaluate in whole anyway). It would “give” her some money, but she wouldn’t be able to use it in any way you don’t approve.

You could even take it a step further and require some absurd amount like 50% of the trust be used toward therapy and correcting her bullying behavior, and the trust only pays directly to the therapist, so she can’t BS you and say she’s going if she’s not.

And now, OP's update:

Yes, about getting physical. She pushed my daughter so hard that my daughter stumbled and fell over the Christmas tree, two years ago. She said she didn’t mean it my daughter was in her way and she didn’t see her.

She didn’t know that I was watching the whole time. She even laughed when my daughter fell. She wasn’t allowed in our house on holidays afterwards.

Me, she literally slapped me in the face when she was 14. That’s what my husband say. That I have kicked her out and forbidden her from visiting on many occasions and his experience is that because I own the house I’m doing this.

I wouldn’t be able to do the same if it was his/joint house. I don’t see it like that at all! I always made it clear my daughter came first and if I had to choose between our relationship and my daughter I chose my daughter. In his mind that’s extortion

Update 2:

Hi! I have now talked to both my husband and my stepdaughter so I thought I should share it with you if you’re interested.

But before that I want to say that I’m very disgusted(although not surprised) by the amount of people who actually took a bully’s side.

What I wrote in my first post wasn’t just one-off incidents. any one with more than three brain cells should have understood I wasn’t going to write 8 years worth of bullying and bad behavior in one post to convince bully apologists to understand why I did what I did.

Many also talked about how we, as parents, have “failed” the bully. I don’t know how since the two other children we raised turned out to be decent human beings with a lot of empathy for others around them.

I only wish everyone who defends bullies, or try to explain away their horrible life scarring behavior, to never have had to deal with one in their or their children’s lives and feel the pain they can inflict on others.

I do not regret any of my actions. I saw my stepdaughter for what she was and I acted instinctively. Her young age played little to no roll in my decision to protect my baby. My daughter was and still is my sole priority.

Update: I decided that I should try to confront my stepdaughter directly instead of communicating through my husband or via text so I asked her around for tea. She accepted immediately which was a first.

She showed up last Sunday. I sat her and my husband down and I just bluntly asked her why she should expect any financial help from me when she hated my guts.

She got defensive and said that she didn’t ask me, she asked her dad. I told her that I knew she wasn’t stupid and she well knew that stepson got his gift from me and not their father. She said what’s the difference you’re married.

I told her the difference is that stepson treated me and my daughter as family while she always hated us, bullied her little stepsister even in high school (she was shocked here she didn’t know I have found out about the high school bullying)

and I asked her if she would give money to someone she knew hated her half of the amount she hated me and why then she expected Me to do that.

She started crying and apologizing etc. I told her I wasn’t the one she should be apologizing to. I told her that I wished her great success and happiness but that I won’t be helping her financially throughout her education.

My husband was silent the whole time, when she left I told him to never compare our daughters again making my daughter to be the inferior one just because she wasn’t as academically successful as her stepsister.

I trust my daughter and I want her to be happy and if she wants to study in a “less prestigious” school so be it! Her happiness is the most important thing to me and I didn’t appreciate him dragging her and comparing her to others when none of what happened has anything to do with her.

He tried to apologize and told me he just wanted to help his daughter. I told him he’s free to do that however he wanted, just not on my daughter’s expense.

What do YOU make of this story? And advice for OP?

Sources: Reddit
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