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Ex-husband won't take stepson camping, wife wont take no for an answer. AITA?

Ex-husband won't take stepson camping, wife wont take no for an answer. AITA?


Usually, the Reddit community Am I the A**hole leads to a pretty strong consensus in the comments. In this case — a scenario including a large family and several intertwined relationships — the readers can't quite agree who to shame. One mom writes:

AITA for asking my ex if our son (11) could bring his stepbrother (also 11) on their father son camping trip?

My ex and I got a divorce when our son was six. When he was eight I started dating my current husband. On the day my son met his stepbrother they stood in front of each other, sized each other up the way little boys do, and were silent for a moment.

Then my son asked 'do you want to play Smash Bros?' and his stepbrother said yes, and then ran upstairs. It was fraternal love at first sight. They've been attached at the hip ever since.

My stepson's mother passed a few years ago, and my husband was actually reticent to introduce me and my son to his two kids, because he thought it was too soon. It turns out that where some kids get a pet after a parent dies, my stepson and stepdaughter got a brother.

The first year we were all together my stepson asked if my son could come along when they visited their mother at the cemetery on her birthday, and he spent the whole car ride over telling my son all about her, and it seemed therapeutic for him.

Later that night I checked in and saw that my son had climbed up to the top bunk and they had fallen asleep curled up together. Before she entered her current 7-going-on-17 phase my stepdaughter used to crawl into my son's lap as often as she did my stepson and ask them to read to her.

Since the divorce my ex husband has been unreliable at best. He cancels on my son regularly, making some excuse about work or what have you. The twice monthly weekend together have trailed off to the or four times a year. Every time I have to tell my son his father canceled, my stepson goes to his father and asks if the three of them can do something together.

One of the few things my ex husband likes enough to always follow through with is camping. He's planning on taking my son to the Poconos in a few weeks the weekend after Father's Day weekend. My son loves camping as well, and he's the one who convinced my stepson to join Boy Scouts next fall. The thing is, this year he wants to bring his stepbrother along.

I told my ex husband this and he got upset, saying that it's their time together and he doesn't want someone else's kid along with them. He says that it's supposed to be the two of them bonding.

I told him he's had plenty of chances to bond that he blew off for one reason or another, and that he should consider himself lucky that he has such a compassionate and sensitive son and that our son still wants anything to do with him.

He hung up in a huff. His mother called yesterday to complain that I was expecting my ex to just sit their while my son and stepson went off on their own and ignored my ex completely, and said that I need to look at it from his perspective since he only 'gets' to see our son a few times a year.

For obvious reasons this annoyed me to the point where I hung up. My husband says that he gets it and thinks I should let it just be the two of them. AITA?

The comments had a hearty discussion about the best way to handle a situation like this.

From Smallios:

99.9999% your ex is clearly the a**hole. But it’s reasonable for him to not want to take the stepson camping. Y T A if you try to push this.

From ImnoChuckNorris420

YTA. You asked, he answered. The answer was no. You didn't need to keep going.

From GWeb1920:

She didn’t really keep going. She advocated for her son and then got harassed by his mother.

The Ex also did not appear to be stepping up to tell the son that the step couldn’t come. It appeared that the Ex and the ex-MIL wanted the mother to do it. None of this is her problem. She relayed her sons request, her work is done. Her only response going forward should be ask your father.

She is NTA

From janiestiredshoes:

TBF I think this conversation should really have been between the son and his dad in the first place (probably with OP there to support, but to take the back seat in the conversation). She's advocated for him to bring the stepson along, but I doubt she'll accurately represent the dad's reasoning and she can't really say whether that would have been enough to convince the son without him being part of the conversation.

I appreciate she's trying to protect him, but at 11, he deserves to be part of the conversation.

From FormulaZR:

It's fine to ask and it's fine for the Ex to say no. It's also fine for the son to decide he doesn't want to go without his brother.

From Good_From_70:

Am I missing something? It seems pretty clear here that your son is the one that expressed interest in bringing his stepbrother along. Your son is pretty lucky to have meshed so well into a blended family. All you're doing is asking your ex if your stepson can come too.

Ex is allowed to say no. You are allowed to try to change his mind, but your husband is right you should not be pushy about this. I get you hold a lot of resentment against your ex, but you must have made your ex feel pretty guilty for him to go crying to his mom. I haven't gathered enough from post to indicate that you actually are being pushy yet, so I'll just say NAH for now.

Something tells me you'll leave comments that make me change my mind.

From OverRice2524:

I'm so glad your kid and stepkids get along. That being said yes YTA

Your ex wants to spend time with his son. He has no obligation to take your stepson.

But without a consensus, how do I form my own opinion? I'm lost.

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