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'My (soon to be ex) wife is a monster, and I’m a terrible parent.' UPDATED

'My (soon to be ex) wife is a monster, and I’m a terrible parent.' UPDATED


'WIBTA if I took my son and his friends out for his birthday instead of my wife and step-daughters?'

I (m42) have three kids. A son Isaac (12 almost 13) with my ex who is no longer in the picture and twin step-daughters from my wife’s previous relationship; Emma and Ava (7).

Isaac’s 13th birthday is coming up next week, and he said that he wants to go to the movies, and asked if he could bring two friends along. I agreed, and we planned a day out of fun (arcade, pizza, and a movie). These were all activities that I know that my son and his friends (nerdy middleschool boys) would enjoy.

When I told my wife about our plans, she suggested that we should have a family outing instead, and proposed a local kiddy playplace that my step-daughters apparently love. I said that Isaac and his friends would be very disappointed, and that he wouldn’t have fun at the kiddy playplace.

She tried to convince me that Isaac could still have fun because there was an ‘arcade’ (two claw machines, a pinball table, and a small DDR machine). She also said that, since he sees his friends at school everyday, family time should be prioritized over friends.

I told her that it was unfair to force Isaac to spend his birthday at a kiddy playplace instead of with his friends. She accused me of favoritism and of not loving my step-daughters as much Isaac. This hit me pretty hard because I grew up with a step-father who neglected me in favor of his own kids, and I’ve been trying my hardest to be the father figure I never had.

I’ve been spiraling down a rabbit hole of doubt about my own choices, and for the sake of my own sanity, WIBTA?

Here's what people had to say to OP:

Fit-Establishment219 writes:

Say 'I would never ask the girls to spend their bday doing something Isaac wanted to do and you should show the same respect.' Also, she's gaslighting the f**k out of you. And I'm betting it's not the first time.

Lvmllsy writes:

NTA! A play place is not somewhere a 13 year old lad wants to take his friends for his birthday. it’s HIS birthday, not the daughters. as much as i understand the wanting to do family things, you can do that on another day!

the_rabble_alliance writes:

'She accused me of favoritism and of not loving my step-daughters as much Isaac.'

OP needs to turn this logic around to expose the hypocrisy of his wife: 'Why are you letting the non-birthday children dictate where the birthday child gets to have his party? If this will be the new standard for the children going forward, then I hope you enjoy having Isaac decide where Emma and Ava will be celebrating their birthdays.”

Ksharonmcg writes:

OP, please read the top comments. Your wife is manipulative AF.

Update from OP after reading the comments on his first post:

First of all, I just want to thank everyone who commented on my last post for opening my eyes. Folks said that there was more to my wife, who I will be calling Erica, than I knew. Y’all said I should to talk to my son about what went on behind my back, and I did. I regret not doing so earlier.

Yesterday, my son had the day off school (teacher prep day I think), and I took the day off of work. After Erica left to go to her job and drive the girls to school, I sat my son down, and starting gently, I asked him about what Erica was like when I wasn’t around. (I work pretty late, so this was fairly often).

At first he was vague, and hesitated to say anything bad about her. This set me on high alert, as it reminded me vividly of a similar conversation from my own childhood, and I assured him that he could be truthful with me. After some reassurance, he finally started talking about what she was really like.

Here is a (not comprehensive) list of things he told me about.

• He was not allowed to go to his friend’s house down the street (I allow this normally as we’ve known the family for years)

• He was berated and yelled at for spending time alone in his room

• He was berated and yelled at for not playing with the twins

• He was made to watch the twins while Erica “ran errands” (she was often gone for hours)

• He was told that I would be angry with him if he didn’t obey her, or spoke badly of her to me (I again reassured him that I was not angry or upset with him)

Needless to say, it was an emotional conversation. I’m feeling very guilty that this all happened under my nose. I’m blown away that the woman I thought was the love of my life could do that to my son. I married a woman who is just like my stepfather, and I don’t know how to come to terms with this.

We went out to lunch to wind down and spend some more quality time together. When we got back, I had him pack a suitcase in case we had to leave. I also packed a suitcase, I was so furious with Erica, I never wanted to see her again. More importantly, I never wanted her in the same house as my son.

Erica arrived home with the twins, and was shocked to see me waiting for her at the table. I sent the twins to their rooms (my son was already standing by in his own) and gestured for her to sit down.

I confronted her about her treatment of my son. At first, she tried to say that he was making things up for attention, that he was jealous of the twins for getting some of my love. I shut her down. She then pivoted to the “he’s older so he needs to sacrifice for his younger sisters” angle, which I also shut down.

As a last ditch effort, she again accused me of not loving the twins. I got really angry at her then because , as you all pointed out, she was using my childhood trauma to manipulate me. In the end, she admitted to favoring her daughters, but said that it wasn’t wrong because “every mother has their own kid’s best interests at heart” and “why would I care about a kid who isn’t mine?”

My blood ran ice cold. I texted my son to get his suitcase and get to the car, and calmly told her that she could expect to be contacted by a divorce lawyer soon.

I’m staying with my son in a hotel right now, and looking at apartments, divorce lawyers, and child therapists in our area. I’m angry, I’m sad, but mostly I’m disappointed in myself for letting it go on for so long. I hope my son can forgive me one day, even though I’m sure I don’t deserve it.

I wish the best for your daughters, but screw you Erica.

Here's what people had to say after the update:

jil5a2 asked:

How long were you married? I’m hoping not long because I’m feeling so bad for you and your son… I hope nothing but the best for you guys

ItsamiaThrowaway OP responded:

We were living together for three years, married for two and a half. I’m not entirely sure how long her mistreatment of my son was going on, but from the way he talked about it, it’s been for a while.

My heart breaks for all the late nights at work, when I trusted that Erica was looking after the kids, but she was actually verbally abusing my son, or had left the kids all alone. Maybe if I would have been home more often, I would have caught something earlier. I suppose I shouldn’t dwell on the past too much, it’s not healthy. Thank you for the kind words.

payvavraishkuf writes:

I keep juxtaposing this bit from Erica with the very very beginning of OOP's first post, where he says he has THREE children. Those girls were his, and she used that as a weapon against him. And now those girls have lost an incredible father figure who thought of them as his own.

DishGroundbreaking87 writes:

Oh my goodness you’re right, he begins his first post by saying I have three kids, and ends his second by saying I wish the best for your daughters. I completely missed that.

Important-Original85 writes:

You’ve broken the cycle. You have listened to your child and he will see that and know that he is your absolute priority. Definitely did the right thing here!!

A-Q writes:

Looks like it’s gonna be a contentious divorce. Was the house bought after marriage ?

ItsamiaThrowaway OP responded:

We bought it together before we got married, but I’ll fight tooth and nail to get her out of it.

ArmDefiant5299 writes:

I'd also go to family therapy with your son. You didn't knowingly put your son into this situation, and would never have done so. You did the most important first step. You got him and you the f**k out.

Sources: Reddit,Reddit
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