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'AITA for not wanting to parent my husband’s adult children who are my age?' UPDATED 2X

'AITA for not wanting to parent my husband’s adult children who are my age?' UPDATED 2X


Money is one of the most loaded topics in a romantic relationship, so it's hardly people come to the internet seeking advice about money-related squabbles.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she was wrong for not wanting to parent her husband's adult children over money issues. She wrote:

"AITA for not wanting to parent my husband’s adult children who are my age?"

Let me start by addressing the age gap. I was in my 30s when I met my husband and as I don’t want kids of my own or to be a parent, I liked that his kids were grown and that he wouldn’t want any more. I pursued him. There was no grooming situation here. We’ve been together 8 years. He has two kids from his first marriage that are roughly 35 & 40.

Occasionally they would ask for money here and there and he always gave it to them. Sometimes it would be paid back, sometimes not. Personally, I believe that the way to help them is by saying “no” so they can figure out their own finances (and have told him this on many occasions), but it’s not my business to tell him how to parent his kids.

Over the past couple of years, things have gotten out of control, particularly with the younger one. They have a baby now so obviously expenses have risen. Asking for money is monthly and has clearly become the “solution” to money problems. Their mom also recently received an inheritance so now they think she’s a cash cow. She has confided that the younger kid owes her over $10k!

I have not totaled what we are owed (the asks are generally between $100-$500/mo) and I’m sure that it’s more than my husband lets on. Tonight he wanted to have them over for dinner (and to see the grandbaby) to talk about their finances and what they’re going to do. New jobs? Move to a cheaper part of town? Figure out why they're asking for money every single month and what to do about it.

This is too much parenting for me to be involved in, and I let my husband know that. I would make plans to be elsewhere so as not to be in the uncomfortable situation of acting as a parent to people who are practically my own age. He said that it was fine and that he would go by himself to the store.

I asked him to wait for me and that I would go with him, because there is no money in his account (he just gave them $150 each) and we could use my card. Then he got upset and said “you’re not part of this.” Which, yeah, I’m not going to parent your adult children but I can supply the food for you to make them dinner.

I grabbed my coat and was ready to go and he was still upset and no longer wanted to have them over at all and texted them to cancel and told them he didn’t have enough money to make them dinner. Now he’s complaining that he “thought we were a team” and that I can do whatever I wanted to do tonight. I haven’t made plans yet because it all happened so fast. He’s acting like I ruined his plans with his kids.

I love my husband and we have a great relationship. We ARE a team, I just don’t feel like I should be involved with parenting his kids. We’re so close in age it makes me extremely uncomfortable. It’s not my place. I did not raise them, so I’m not sure why I should be expected to start doing so now. AITA?

Redditors jumped on with their thoughts and advice.

ike7177 wrote:

It sounds like he is also frustrated and sometimes we take that frustration out on those we like be the most because we know they forgive. Don’t read too much into it. Just try to be there for him morally without allowing any burdens from his kids to affect your life together. Don’t give him the funds to enable his kids too.

Sufficient-Shallot-5 wrote:

NTA. Your husband really needs to lay down the law with them and tell them he’s not an ATM. It would maybe even be best if he and their mother got them all together to have that conversation since they do the same to her. These are middle aged adults.

Also something to consider: they might not even actually need what their parents are giving them, they just ask because they know they will get it. I’m in my 30s and just the thought of asking a parent for money like that on a regular basis mortifies me. They need to learn shame.

friendlily wrote:

NTA. But he's giving them so much money that he can't afford to buy groceries. That's a problem. I think if you wanted to, you could have been involved in the convo too since you're being negatively impacted by your husband giving all his money to his middle-aged "kids."

But your real issue is your husband. He's much older than you. You don't say how old but I'm guessing early 60s at best. What's your game plan here? Financially supporting your husband in his retirement and whatever medical issues he has while his kids continue to suck him dry?

trishsf wrote:

NTA. I was ready to say that you were just based on the general question because you knew he had these “kids” when you married. I was wrong and I quickly realized that after reading your post. I’m not going to say your husband is TA, but I will say that he’s behaving like a child. He’s created this problem and it was lovely of you to offer to buy the food.

It says a lot that he can’t afford to go to the store for one meal because he gave away all his money to his grown children. Stand your ground and I think I don’t need to say to do so with kindness. It’s not just time for him to address this with his kids but you two need some outside help here. You have a happy marriage outside of this one issue. Fight for it.

Getting him in front of a therapist is exactly what he needs and I think your marriage needs it. There’s not a chance that a good therapist would support what he is doing. He’s enabling these adults and harming your life together in the process. Good luck.

RobinhoodCove830 wrote:

First, a conversation in which your husband attempts to counsel them about their finances is parenting, at least in this instance. It's not the same as a friend who isn't loaning money speaking to a friend about finances. (Also not the same as a friend who owes you money!) They're his kids. They're adults, but he's still parenting them.

I am in my 30s and if I had to have this conversation with my parents, I definitely wouldn't want some person my own age involved in trying to give me that advice. Second, it's gross that everyone is assuming you need his money. Even without the edit, there's nothing in the post to encourage that assumption.

(You mentioned separate accounts and having money in yours.) And you met him in your 30s! Not exactly a kid. I think it's perfectly reasonable not to want to be involved in the difficult conversation he was planning. NTA. That being said, if he needs your support, talk to him about what kind of role you can take. What does he envision for you? Is there a supportive and understated position you would be comfortable with?

OP responded:

This is good advice thank you!

Tight-Shift5706 wrote:

How old is your husband, if I may ask? His children strike me as causing him a lot of unnecessary stress.

OP responded:

He’s 63.

After getting a good deal of feedback, OP jumped on with an update.

UPDATE: had the dinner but decided to hold the talk for when mom can attend so we are all together on what needs to happen. Talked it out w/husband as to everyone’s expectations and my involvement. Thanks to everyone who helped me look at this from all sides!!

Redditors kept their thoughts coming after the update.

1moreKnife2theheart wrote:

Maybe he didn't want you to parent them - maybe he just wanted you to be a TEAM and be there to support him because this is obviously a difficult conversation he is going to have with them - plus YOU have been the one telling him he gives them too much, so when push comes to shove - you leave him alone to deal with it?

If I were his kids you leaving & not being there for dinner would make me think that you put him up to it then chickened out before the confrontation.

Yeah, sorry I kinda see where you are coming from but soft YTA. Maybe he and his ex should get together (if they are on friendly terms) and show a united front and tell the kids no more money together. THAT would be the only scenario in which I see that it would be okay for you not to attend.

OP responded:

Thanks! I can really use the encouragement to attend. I can be a “run away from awkward situations” type person.

1moreKnife2theheart wrote:

Consider yourself there to support your husband while HE parents his kids. You are just there for moral support for him. They may argue or make excuses and bully him and my himself he may capitulate to their whining and entitlement - but he has a better chance in standing firm with you with him hopefully. You need to have a conversation with hubby and maybe reschedule the meeting. Good luck to you.

lenajlch wrote:

ESH. does he have no money? You're right it is weird to have you present during those discussions since you're the same age. However, I'd be concerned that they may exploit him and probably want to be there as support. His kids need to be told no. They shouldn't be having children if they are loaning money from people all the time. Once or twice is fine... but it seems like it's weekly/monthly.

OP responded:

Yeah, he’s bad w/money and has an eBay habit to be honest. But we also live in LA and have lots of expenses. Strikes also put him out of work for months this year so yeah. Paychecks go fast.

SneakySneakySquirrel wrote:

In that case, maybe the reason he wants you there is because you’re the only person in this family who knows how to handle money. Wow. If you’re feeling charitable, maybe you could bring a financial advisor in to talk to the whole family.

OP responded:

Oof. Yeah I mean, you’re not wrong. I’ve decided I’m staying for dinner but am struggling with my input to the conversation. I want to help but I’m not sure how my opinion will be received if it’s unwanted and not what they want to hear (or who they want to hear it from).

Maine302 wrote:

Did his children somehow miss the news about the strikes this year, because I would think they'd be cognizant that money might be tight because it was a national news story for months. Perhaps their dad needs to tell them straight out that he himself struggles financially, and that he needs to put himself first, as he readies for retirement. It seems he's lucky to have you, OP.

OP responded:

He has! I think they wildly overestimate how much he makes and how far that money goes in this town. I myself am concerned about his retirement and thank god he gets a pension. I’ve been squirreling my own money away in a saving account that he doesn’t have access to, so I can retire anywhere close to his retirement and so that we won’t be struggling.

A little bit later, OP jumped on with another update.

SECOND UPDATE: I appreciate everyone’s opinions on both sides here! I convinced him to keep the dinner on schedule. As the day has progressed he actually started to get more and more nervous about “the talk” so I think those who said he wanted my support are spot on. I’ve decided to be here, but am still unsure of my place in the money conversation - this is what I’m uncomfortable with. Do I leave the room?

Edited to add that I do not need my husband financially and have a good career in which I make plenty of money to support myself.

The comments kept rolling in.

FragrantEconomist386 wrote:

NTA. I just don't accept it that being in the house during such a meeting would have had much to do with "parenting", not on your part, not on your husband's. They are middle aged people. Do you still parent them? I thought not. I have step children in their fifties. I speak with them like with anybody else. When they were small, there was some parenting involved in our relationship, naturally, but not now.

I think you could have helped your hb prepare a meal and you could have been there to support him all round. I think the message would have been something to the tune of "When are you going to stop mooching off me and your mother?"

That could be hard to express and he could have needed you there. Maybe not actually in the room, but...still, you should not attempt to parent people your own age or older.

OP responded:

Oh I was fully going to help w/dinner just wanted to leave for “the talk.”

chaserscarlet wrote:

I think it’s best you do leave for the talk. Even just sitting there silently, if the “kids” get embarrassed or angry about their dad calling them out they will immediately blame you. That you’re the one pushing this conversation and trying to keep their family’s money to yourself. Even if that is not true and they are bleeding their father dry, it’s easier to blame someone else than to admit fault.

Honestly I think your husband and his ex wife should be the ones to sit down together with them. Sends a firmer message.

OP responded:

I agree this should be a mom & dad thing, which is where my uneasiness is coming from. I also think they would probably be less open and honest with me there.

shammy_dammy wrote:

He wants to play good cop bad cop and will be bad cop.

Long-Internet-301 wrote:

You are not the AH. I have been in a similar situation with my brother and my parents. Your husband is definitely giving them more than he tells you. He is an enabler, it's a bizarre dynamic. He likes, in a strange way, that they are dependent on him. He has to cut them off completely and let them figure it out on their own or they will never fully stop asking for money.

Teddybearsinchaos responded to Long-Internet-301:

Thank you!!! There is definitely more going on here. Maybe he didn't want her to go but take her card to take more out than just buying food to have extra money for his kids. There is almost certainly more than he is telling. I don't see the appeal of being with someone who is so bad with money and enabling his kids so badly.

The age gap aside maybe OP has a savior complex or something in her past happened and this situation reminds her of it....maybe she just likes helping ppl. I know she loves him but OP needs to realistically look at this man and his family. He is indirectly draining her dry by nickle and diming her through bills and other necessary expenses.

She needs to look at his enabling of his kids and ebay collecting like you would any other person with a addiction maybe that would make it easier bc that is what it is. This is what he's been doing all his life she's not just going to change that in a few weeks and he needs to to the changing himself for himself to better his situation and his overall life.

If ppl change for somebody else it doesn't work...he's got to be able to do bc he sees the need to not bc his wife is siting beside him holding his hand. Jfc these ppl are supposedly adults! Otherwise it won't last. Sometimes love is not enough no matter how much you enjoy being with somebody. You can't save or change ppl if they are not willing to make a change.

I think all in all he got nervous bc she didn't want to be the fall guy and picked a fight on purpose so he doesn't have to do the hard thing. Weponized incompetence is at play here as well. I would suggest that OP look at her overall picture before she's gets sucked in to absorb other ppls problems she never helped create.

Present clear boundaries are needed to protect herself. This s#$t show is not hers and wouldn't want my money supporting it if I were her. Good luck OP you deserve better. NTA.

If there's one thing is for sure, it's that this post inspired a lot of very strong opinions.

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