When this man is upset with his wife, he asks Reddit:
My wife Jane (34F) and I (38M) have been together for 5 years. She also brought my step-daughter Emily (9F) into our marriage. We have her for four days a week (M-T) while she's at her dad's Fri-Sun.
From the beginning, Jane told me Emily doesn't need a second father figure as she has her dad to fill that role. I was only supposed to be a trusted authority figure in case she ever needed anything.
I didn't mind and try my best to respect that boundary. She's a sweet child anyway and doesn't cause trouble so it's not like I have to discipline her. Her father is also a good dad.
Emily's dad recently got married and his wife has two kids of her own who are at their place Wednesday to Saturday and at their dads' Sunday to Tuesday. Emily and her new step-siblings don't get along at all. They're always fighting and it's pretty toxic.
Emily's dad asked Jane if they change their custody schedule to match his step-kids' to keep the children apart. It's not a big deal in and of itself because we don't live far from each other so picking and dropping is no issue and she can easily be dropped off to school no matter where she stays. The issue is my wife agreed to it without consulting me.
Jane is currently doing a certification course for the next 12 months and they have classes on Saturdays from 9-5pm. She asked me if I can babysit Emily on Saturdays, but I can't because I play golf with my brother and sister on Saturday mornings from 8am-1pm.
This has been our tradition from before Jane and Emily came into my life and I had told Jane from much before that this is important to me and my siblings. She asked if I can move to another day but that's not possible either because my siblings also have jobs and families of their own so Saturday was the best day for us.
I told her she can hire a babysitter but she doesn't want to spend money when I can do it for free. I told her that wouldn't work for me. She then got mad and said golf is stupid and I should put my step-daughter over my siblings.
That pissed me off so I told her I'm not going to sacrifice my hobbies just so that she can have a free babysitter. For the record, I don't have anything against Emily. I've babysat her before and she's a good kid.
If there was a family emergency or if it was an occasional occurrence, then yeah I would cancel golf for that day to take care of her but I can't give up something this important to me for 12 months continuous. She called me a selfish asshole and slept on the couch last night. So AITA?
ESH. Your description of being told not to e a father figure I take with a grain of a salt. We’re only hearing your version of this story. Let’s say that’s true, the fact is you are a step parent. You married someone with a child so that is a responsibility to you agreed to when you said “I do”.
Frankly it is just a golf game and you could find a way to work around this. Tell me, someone is on the hospital that you care about, you gonna say “I’m busy playing golf so can’t see you today”.
Frankly many AITA posts (like yours) have a real narcissistic bent to them. When you enter a marriage it isn’t a relationship of convenience. Both partners need to respect each others dreams/goals/desires, but you also need to compromise and help each other out.
NTA. It sounds like this is something that should have been worked out more carefully as a family before agreeing to. Is it possible that the dad/step mom change their kids schedule as well? That way they have her when Jane is busy with certification courses.
YTA. This is a sad story that's filled with assholes, but here we go... Just as Jane's relationship with Emily isn't negotiable, neither is yours, because you signed up for the Jane train.
Jane's wrong when she says Emily's dad fills that role - you can't share space with Emily and ignore her problems without being an asshole full stop - and your self-characterization as a babysitter in this is such an abdication of what it means to be an adult that asking if you're the asshole is redundant.
Your golf tradition with your siblings isn't that complicated. Traditions can - must - adapt, anyway. If your siblings know what's been going on, then the "whys" won't require elaboration when you work with them on this...
because golf is a substitute for any number of activities, and all of them pale against the importance of helping a 9-year-old in your life that is desperately short of advocates.