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Father accused of using expensive gifts to try to 'steal' daughter from ex wife. AITA?

Father accused of using expensive gifts to try to 'steal' daughter from ex wife. AITA?

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"AITA for 'spoiling' my daughter?"

TopReserve103

I (M47) divorced my ex-wife (F45) eight years ago. We've shared custody of our daughter, Olivia (F17), since the breakup when Olivia was nine. My ex has Olivia from Monday to Thursday, and I have her on Fridays and the weekends. It's been arranged this way as I work a corporate job that would make it difficult to devote the amount of time I would want to Olivia during the week.

While my ex got remarried about three years after we split, I never did. I dated here and there, but with a combination of work commitments and simply not finding the right person, I have stayed mostly single.

For background purposes, I have a very well paying corporate job; I won't go into my salary specifics, but it is very close to the seven figure range annually. My ex is a stay at home mom, and her husband earns a good salary. I would say they're comfortable.

Due to my large amount of spare income, the majority left over is spent on Olivia. We have a great relationship and if she wants something, I often get it for her. Over the years, I've bought her designer clothes, jewellery, a new phone, Mac, and paid for a weekend break for her and her four closet friends.

Olivia has never become spoilt or ungrateful because of this, and I make sure she still develops a sense of responsibility by doing chores and the like; she also works hard at school, being on track to go to a good college.

When it was her birthday a week ago, I bought her a car. It was a nice car in the $45,000 range. Olivia was beyond excited and she couldn't stop thanking me. I presumed there was zero issue, until a couple of days ago, I received a call from my ex.

We generally have a civil relationship, and we get on in order to co-parent Olivia. However, when I picked up the phone, she was livid. She said I'd "spoilt" Olivia by buying her such a nice car for a present, when she would never be able to afford something of that price and it makes her present look inadequate by comparison (she got Olivia a necklace).

I said that wasn't my intention, and as Olivia is my daughter, I wanted to get her the present she wanted with my salary. My ex said I was being incredibly selfish and determined to seem like the "great parent" who gives Olivia everything she wants.

The call ended by her saying I'd spoilt our daughter, and I have to stop giving such expensive gifts so it can be a level playing field. I informed her that I would not be doing this, and I would get Olivia what I wanted to with the salary I've earned.

I feel if I work for my money and want to spend it on Olivia, I'm entitled to do so. Her opinion is that there shouldn't be such a discrepancy in the gifts and I'm trying to "one up" her by spoiling Olivia. So, AITA?

Here were the top rated comments from readers after the OP's post:

moridin-604

NTA. You work hard and have put your work ahead of other relationships except the one you have with your daughter. You feel that her character is matching your expectations of her and reward her as a result. Your ex wife doesn’t factor in at all and if you make them feel inadequate, to me, that is their issue not yours.

Cabbagesoup88

Right! If mum has such a problem she could get a job. No other kids were mentioned but even if there were half siblings she could WFH part time or something to boost her Income instead of acting like the spoiled brat she claims her daughter is.

ChipEnvironmental09

"My ex has Olivia from Monday to Thursday, and I have her on Fridays and the weekends. It's been arranged this way as I work a corporate job that would make it difficult to devote the amount of time I would want to Olivia during the week."

I do feel for your ex - how much time do you think your ex spends with her daughter on those four weekdays even though she is stay at home mom? Your daughter is 17, goes to school and surely has active social life...

Sure, your ex is taking it little too far with her accusations, but she is the one getting the short end of the stick and not you - you have your daughter on days you can actually do something with her and you have the means to give her more expensive things.

I don't want to judge you as it doesn't seem that you have bad intentions and you don't want to undermine your ex, but that doesn't change that your system isn't fair to your ex and that big purchases should be discussed and agreed by both parents...

You are already the "fun parent" as not only you aren't the one forcing her to go to school and do homeworks, you even give more expensive things and some children do care about that.

Poekienijn

INFO: did you discuss buying her a car with your ex? You have shared custody, it seems to me something like this should have been discussed beforehand.

OriginalTall5417

Soft YTA. You and your ex are co-parenting, which means that you make decisions about how your daughter is raised, together. This includes what types of gifts you BOTH think are appropriate and also how much allowance she gets etc. It is okay that you chip in with a larger amount, but large gifts such as a car should be discussed with her mother first.

Your ex is also not wrong that it can undermine her relationship with your daughter, as not only is she the parent who has her on “boring” weekdays, while Olivia gets to do all the fun things on her weekends with her dad.

She is now also the one who gives the boring lame gifts, while you get to give the lavish ones. It creates a discrepancy, and while you’re entitled to do so, it does raise questions if this is what’s best for Olivia and her relationship with BOTH her parents.

You should’ve discussed giving the car in advance with your ex and agreed on a price range you both deem reasonable. There were also solutions possible, where your ex could chip in with the gift, so it would come from both of you.

Perhaps your ex was also planning on giving a car, and now she can’t. It’s a soft YTA, because you obviously love your daughter and mean well, but you should talk stuff like this through with your ex.

So, if you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit
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