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Stepmom refuses to pay for stepkid's private school; 'This isn't my FAMILY!' AITA? UPDATED 4X

Stepmom refuses to pay for stepkid's private school; 'This isn't my FAMILY!' AITA? UPDATED 4X


When this stepmom is fed up with her stepkids, she asks the internet:

"AITAH 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 favouritism 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?

* ETA, 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.

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

And now, OP's update:

Wow. A lot of assumptions were made in your comment. Lets go through them. SO and I have agreed we will split the cost of tuition equitably. The twins are receiving special treatment for going to a different school.

Many blended families have children who attend different schools. As stated, they go to highly ranked public schools and have friendships built and are comfortable and enjoy their schools.

They really aren't fussed about wanting to move schools. It is SO and BM who want them to move, this isn't a desire expressed by the children and had it been I would have potentially felt differently.

3: I don't value or care about my stepchildren. Because I'm not paying 35k a year for them to move school? BM is refusing to pay despite it being her who is adamant they go.

She makes enough through her job, alimony and CS to pay for her half, would you accuse her of not valuing or caring about her children because she is choosing not to spend that money on the school?

4: I can afford it and won't, why? The money that could be spent on it is currently being put into savings accounts for ALL children's college/future funds. Funds which I am the only parent to put money into... but again, I don't care about or value my SKs.

I also pay 80% of the household bills, pay for all groceries and the majority of family holidays, day trips etc. All of which are booked and arranged during SOs custody time, so they never miss out, of course I treat them so different and I'm an evil stepmom!

SO contributes nothing to my twins and I am the sole financial provider for them (as my post states, their father passed away), and has point blank refused to pay for anything for them in the past as they are not his children.

5. My SO and his ex are treating all 4 children equally. How? As I said, my SO has no financial responsibility towards the twins. As SKs mother, how can she treat two children she spends no time with and has no responsibility for equal to her children?

By your logic, all four children's tuition costs should be divided by 3 and split among each parent in that case. Which, I did even offer to pay a portion towards the tuition, but I am not paying the full cost when they have parents who are fully capable of paying themselves.

Thank you for this comment. I feel like I am being villainized for not wanting to pay for 4 children's education expenses when BM and SO both reached an "agreement" on paying for this, without my input. I don't see how it has fallen completely on me now that they don't want to follow through.

The comments talking about how "poorly" I apparently treat my SKs are crazy. My SO has told me time and time again that my twins are not his, and he shouldn't be expected to love them the same as his children.

HIS words, NOT mine. My twins live with him 24/7 and he barely even interacts with them. I'm not allowed any input in the lives of his children because I am "not their mother", but I am good enough to cover their mother's responsibilities when it suits them? He set this precedent of "his" kids and "my" kids.

In all honesty, the comments calling me an AH and accusing me of treating the children differently have actually opened my eyes to how my twins are being treated by their stepdad.

Right now I feel like I am failing them by putting them in a situation where they don't receive any love from their SP. I don't even mean financially, I mean emotionally.

I'd be more than willing for SO and I to cover the school between us, if the CS and alimony is reduced somewhat. They both know this. I have offered this multiple times, along with paying 1/3rd of the cost or them choosing to use the money I have saved for their college funds to go to the school.

I think my offers have been more than fair, but I guess by reading some comments I haven't. Going to discuss this further with SO, in regards to him going to court for adjustments, and getting couples counselling. I'm not okay with being taken advantage of or the way that ANY of the children are being treated here.

Update 2:

Neither my husband, nor his ex are poor, they are both educated with good jobs. We all are. My husband wants no responsibility for my children but you expect me to assume total responsibility for his, but only when it comes to money, because I'm not allowed to be a part of any other parenting discussions... why?

The precedent of his and mine was set by him. He was happy with his children in their school before mine attended school.

He made a huge fuss about how their school fees were MY responsibility as it was something that was important to me and how he shouldn't be expected to pay for any of it.

And do I think the kids see that I supposedly am a wicked step-mom... no I don't think that is how they feel. They don't want to move schools.

They have college funds that they wouldn't have if I wasn't paying into, they go on multiple holidays a year and are very happy children, by their own admissions.

Update 3:

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. The conversation was over like 6 hours, on and off. It would be an essay to rehash the entire thing, not to mention I was incredibly emotional and wouldn't be able to recall everything crystal clear...

but after hours of arguing and me being suspicious about their relationship being, in my opinion, too close and overstepping boundaries, I said I wouldn't be surprised if he still loved her or was still involved.

I have seen texts pop up that were suspicious, but not exactly outright "proof" of anything. The argument went from being about finances and private school to his relationship with his ex.

He broke down, typical, and "confessed" while trying to downplay it. He thinks he now deserves some sort of recognition for his honesty.

It’s best if you stay single until your kids are grown. Now you’re a single mom of 3 kids. They need stability.

I have made zero comments about wanting to date again? I am about to divorce someone and have just found out I have been being used. I can assure you, dating is the last thing on my mind.

Not to mention my trust is completely shattered. I have only spoken about focusing on my children and being the best mom I can be. But again, thank you for your advice!

What do YOU make of OP's story?

Sources: Reddit
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