A once reluctant father came to Reddit for advice, but ending up getting roasted. Trust me, you'll want to read the comments below.
I know the text makes me an AH, and it's probably right. When I (34M) was 20, I had a relationship with a girl, let's call her Clara. When she got pregnant, I honestly wasn't happy, but since she decided to keep the baby, there wasn't anything I could do.
When our daughter, let's say Sadie (13F) was born, I legally recognized her. We have shared custody, and she stays with me 2 weekends a month. I also pay child support. I go to her school events, holidays, etc.
But if I'm honest, I don't feel like I love her and I know that that makes me the AH. I care about her, but I don't miss her when she is not with me and I don't feel the need to see her.
6 years ago I met my wife, Anna, and it was love at first sight (side note: me and Clara weren't in a relationship since Sadie was born, so no cheating). Clara and Sadie both disliked my wife, but that didn't stopped me and we got married.
We now have 2 kids: 4M and 2F. With my younger kids it was completely different for me, I loved them since the first moment I knew they existed and that love grows every day since they were born.
Sadie comes to our house 2 weekends a month, but she hates my wife and my toddlers. I don't allow her to speak badly to them, I told her she has the right to not have a relationship with them, but she has to respect them. My wife has no problem with Sadie and never complained about her.
My kids mostly ignore her, but they act like this with everyone who won't play with them. My half sister, who is a friend of Clara, came to visit us and stayed with us for a few days. My half sister doesn't like my wife because she wanted me to marry Clara. We were no contact for a few years, but my wife, who wants everyone to have a good relationship, convinced me to let her back into our lives.
Before leaving she got in a fight with me, saying that I coddle my 2yo way too much and how horrible I am for not doing that for Sadie too. It is true that my 2yo is a total daddy's girl, and if I'm home she always follows me around and wants to be near me. She often asks for cuddles and hugs and I'm happy to give them to her.
Same with my son, but my sister wasn't disturbed by me cuddling my son, just my daughter. She was always obsessed by daddy's girl figure, since she was never that with my dad (long story).
She said I'm an AH, because since Sadie wasn't a daddy's girl, my 2yo shouldn't be either.
I told her that while I'm not a good father for Sadie, even if I am and always was present in her life, it doesn't mean that I shouldn't love my youngest daughter. Am I the a-hole for coddling my 2yo, even if I didn't do the same for my oldest??
Reddit definitely did not like this guy, and YTA (you're the a-hole) was an extremely popular ruling.
Yes, YTA for giving unequal treatment among your children. In my eyes, I see that Sadie is inconvenient for you and meddles with your “perfect” family. She didn’t ask to be born and she clearly feels your cold nature towards her.
The pain to feel rejected by her own father will damage her for life. You may be there monetarily or in body, but you aren’t giving her love, something that cannot be bought. Do better and be more fair.
And he doesn't get why she doesn't like the other kids and wife. It has nothing to do with who they are and everything to do with her having to sit there and watch her dad be a doting father and partner to other people while he treats her like a tumor.
I'm vaguely annoyed that the mom and dad are doing shared custody when he never wanted the kid. That isn't healthy for the kid or the dad or the other children.
I think Sadie's mom has a small bit of responsibility here. You can't move forward with a pregnancy when it's clear the father doesn't want to have a kid with you and expect them to be dad of the year. It seems like it was obvious that OP would be a s#*t dad to Sadie from day one.
He's different with his younger kids because he was in love with their mother and wanted them. He obviously thinks Sadie was a mistake.
I guess if someone forced me to become a parent when I really didn't want to I'm not sure how great of a mom I'd be. It's wrong, you hope you'd be able to treat the kids equally, but I honestly don't know if I'd be a good parent if someone told me that I was going to become one at 20, whether I wanted to, was ready to, or not.
I get what you’re saying. However OP could’ve just paid child support and surrendered his parental rights allowing him to mostly move on with his life. But OP chose to have partial custody of Sadie. That’s what makes him TA in addition to blatantly favoring the toddlers. I understand that not being attached to a kid can happen but he chose this.
My take on this situation is that for 9 years (before you had your first loved child), Sadie assumed your lack of affection and only doing what you were supposed to do as a parent to avoid being called a deadbeat dad, was just how you are as a parent.
Then you have a son and Sadie realizes that you are capable of being a loving father, just not to her. She is an afterthought and an obligation to you, not a loved child. Her existence isn't her fault but you certainly blame her for it.
You say yourself that you don't love her. Why are you torturing her by forcing her to see you play 'happy families' with the kids you wanted by continuing to have shared custody? YTA.
So your take is that I should abandon her? It's true that I wasn't happy when she was born, but I tried to be there for her all the time. She doesn't see me play happy families, I never coddle my youngest in front of her and when she is here, my wife always tries to have the kids focused on her so that I could focus on Sadie.
YTA - you better not be forcing Sadie to spend weekends with you because of a f*$#ing custody agreement. I can’t imagine that she’s willfully visiting given that she doesn’t like your wife and kids (who could blame her, you showed her who was more important).
Because if she doesn’t want to be there you are KNOWINGLY and WILLFULLY subjecting her to this cruel torment of watching you love your other children when she knows you don’t feel the same for her, because honestly, with this setup how could she f*&^ing not? I rarely ever do this, but you should be ashamed of yourself, this is truly appalling.
I'm not forcing her to do anything. She wants to come here because here she has her own room and she doesn't have that at her mother's place. And when she is here, me and her mostly go out because she loves museums and she always wants to visit them (her mother doesn't take her, since some of those are out of town).
I don't coddle my youngest in front of her. Yes, the relationship and my feelings are different, but i always tried to make it up to her by spending time with her. We speak every day and we always spend holidays all together.
YTA and you know it. No one cares about you cuddling your second daughter. Everyone cares about the trashy way you treat your oldest IN COMPARISON. Be a better man. Ugh.
Btw, as a second daughter who WAS the loved one - I saw the disparity in how my dad treated me versus my half sister. And I no longer speak to him. So he lost his chance with both daughters to have a 'daddy's girl'.
No one is team OP, here. But everyone feels for Sadie and agrees she deserves better.