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Man REFUSES to adopt new wife's 2 yo stepson. AITA?

Man REFUSES to adopt new wife's 2 yo stepson. AITA?


When this man is extremely reluctant to adopt his stepson, he asks Reddit:

"AITA for Refusing to Adopt My Stepson?"

I (M38) met my wife (F36) 10 years ago when she was a widow with a 2-year-old son. We got married 7 years ago and have a 6-year-old daughter together. I love my wife and daughter, but I don't feel the same way about my stepson (M12).

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate or mistreat him, I just don't see him as my son. I'm actively involved in his life, I pay for his school, take him to his activities, play with him, and help him when needed, but I don't feel that the connection between us is that of a father and son. I feel he's more like a nephew than a son to me.

My wife knows this and she's unhappy about it. She says he already sees me as a father. What got to me was when she suggested that I legally adopt him and call him my son.

She says I'm creating a difference between him and my daughter, which I consider untrue since I try to avoid any favoritism. I've suffered from this myself; my parents preferred my younger brother, and I won't make that mistake with him.

I believe I'm doing my best to be a good stepfather, but I can't force a feeling that doesn't exist. I don't want to legally adopt him because I don't want to take on a heavy responsibility that isn't mine. I don't want to call him my son because I don't want to lie to him or myself. AITA?

Let's see what readers thought.

fauxknob writes:

YTA.If a widow has a two-year-old child and you are unwilling to be that child's father, you do not marry her. All of them come together. Whether you want to admit it or not, you are the only father he knows. Man, F you.

convivialkit wries:

ESH. Since your wife was a widow when you met her, this should all have been discussed and settled way before you got married and had a child. If you were unwilling to adopt her young child, she should never have married you and produced another child.

She made a mistake marrying you in the first place. You can't force a feeling you don't have, but please stop pretending you don't know that you are the only father figure he has ever had and your rejection of him has and will continue to affect him emotionally. You're not a very nice person.

aloreious writes:

NTA. Growing up, I had a step-dad, granted I was 10 when mom and him got married. He was always there as a dad, but he wasn't my dad. But he didn't treat me any differently.

My mom was constantly trying to get me to call him dad instead of his first name. And he never pushed that boundary. It wasn't til I was in my 20s that I called him dad.

As long you make sure without a doubt that you are treating him no different than your daughter. That you are stepping up and being a Dad to him, that's all that matters.

Even if you don't feel that connection, as long as you are providing that connection to your stepson, it doesn't matter if you adopt him or not. As long as he feels the same love you give your daughter.

As far as your wife goes, do not let her pressure you or your stepson. Allow the process to evolve over time. Who knows in 20 yrs your feelings may change. But your wife can not push the issue, no matter how she feels. This is something between you and your stepson. Remember a child's resentment can last a lifetime. Make sure you do right by him.

Looks like the jury's out on this one. What do YOU think?

Sources: Reddit
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