A very young couple finds themselves struggling to take care of a child from a past relationship, and have reached their wit's end. So, the non-parent of the couple poses an idea that's so controversial, she (u/carrot-i-am) took to Reddit to ask:
Bit of background: my partner knocked up his ex-girlfriend when they were 17/18, she chose to keep the child and simultaneously broke up with him. This destroyed him because he never wanted to be a dad and made the breakup sting more.
I came into my partners life about a month after his son was born. We’ve now been together 3 years and have a healthy, happy relationship.
Since his son became less dependent on his mother, we’ve been taking care of him for a weekend every 1-2 months as we have a lot of commitments that cannot happen if we are looking after him. We also live 2.5 hours away and his ex doesn’t want to drive part way to drop him off.
All of these weekends are hell for my partner, and just keep getting worse and worse. He puts on a happy face around his son and his family so that he doesn’t hurt anyone or create conflict. But every time we are alone, he breaks down in tears.
Recently his ex texted him accusing him of abandoning his son as we only see him for a few days every 1-2 months. She told him he was a terrible person for this. That he needs to step up. Since then, every time he remembers he has a son he falls apart.
It’s heartbreaking to watch him suffer. Since we’ve met he has always spoken about wishing he could go back and change things so he wasn’t a dad. He talks to me about how he hates his son and ex.
The other day he was upset again and I suggested he take a break from it all for 6 months, find a counsellor and try to work through this. This would mean no contact with his son or his ex. After the 6 months, we could re-evaluate and see whether he would be able to cope with being a part of his son’s life.
I’m just so worried about his mental health. Since our conversation about going NC he seems brighter and less pessimistic. We’ve found a few options for someone he can talk to and he has thanked me for encouraging him to find help.
I’ve spoken with a few good friends about it and they have called me an AH for pulling my partner away from his son. That he needs to get over it and be the dad his son needs him to be. My partner is also scared for when his parents find out (they LOVE their grandchild).
When he brought this up I said that will be something I’m sure a counsellor could help him work through and just because we don’t see him, doesn’t mean his parents can’t. I also reminded him that I’ll be there every step of the way, that he isn’t alone in this.
Deep inside I feel I am TA (the as*hole), but stand by my proposition because his mental health does matter, it’s not something that can be pushed aside and forgotten about. So Reddit, AITA (am I the as*hole) for suggesting my partner go NC with his son?
Reddit was kind of all over the board on this one!
So...your solution is to make him abandon his toddler? Get outta here with that BS. You're using his mental health as an excuse when what he needs to do is step up and be responsible for his life choices. He doesn't need you enabling his bad behavior. YTA (You're the as*hole) if that's not abundantly clear.
And he “hates his son”?! Hate your ex all you want, but your child? That’s your kid. You guys are what? 20-21? I’m assuming that having the minimal amount of custody is cramping your social life. Well guess what buttercup- when you “knock a woman up” (Also great verbiage to minimize who she is) you’re responsible for your kid.
He cannot pop on and out of his child’s life. It’s damaging and unfair to them. He’s a crappy father, pretty terrible actually. He can’t even show his son anymore physical affection. You’re both incredibly selfish. I hope the mom goes back to court and he looses his time and pays child support. He’s going to mess that kid up. Btw- YTA.
I've started typing so many responses to this, and then I looked at OP's post history and I just....OP you're really selfish and mean and you're a huge AH. I think maybe you're the one who needs a 6 month time out, and I'm not 100% convinced that you aren't the one making your boyfriend depressed and sad about being a dad. YTA so so so much.
and beerocratic did a little digging:
OP hates the kid too. She wants him GONE. From OPs post history: 'We do our best to avoid having to do anything with him. We hate kids and wish we never had to see him again.'
YTA. You don't go no contact with a child; you NEGLECT a child. If your partner has a small child he only sees one weekend every other month, he's already doing that.
But thejills has a different perspective:
I would like to offer an alternate stance. Of course someone is an Ahole for abandoning a toddler, sure. But listen. Do you think it is better for that toddler to be abandoned before he will likely remember it, or have an absent father who only sees him every two months when the kid will slowly but surely pick up on the resentment and the ill feelings the dad has ...
I for one would have loved if my dad had abandoned me instead of putting me through that. I now know there is someone out there who hates me for existing and treated me differently than other people. It is far worse than just being abandoned.
NTA (Not the as*hole). Yes he is what people call deadbeat dad. BUT if he is mentally crashing while being with the kid, he is a unsafe dad.If he had cancer, no one would tell him to man up and be dad , sadly mental illness isn't as visible as cancer or loss of a limb.
However. the way you going about it is wrong. Set up so the kid can meet his grandparents instead and you visit there for a short moment, get him also into therapy so he can be a dad. Before people scream at me, I've seen what an unsafe mentally ill parent can do and I can't unsee it.
NAH (No as*holes here) I’m wincing as I say that, a mum can choose to abort, give a child up for adoption or raise the child. A dad doesn’t get those choices as it’s not his body quite right as well.
However it leads to very complex questions as should a parent be forced to stay in a child’s life from the beginning when they never had the choice. People will say he shouldn’t have had s*x but we aren’t living in the old days anymore. Should have used a contraceptive yep can fail. It’s a horrible situation.
Unpopular opinion but NTA. This innocent little cherub deserves consistent, reliable, loving adults in his life. If his dad cannot commit that to him he needs to walk away now and stay gone.
The only thing worse than an absent parent is one that is forced to participate. The child can feel the resentment every second of his visit and will grow up feeling like a burden. BUT he better still pay child support, let’s not get carried away.
You can't force someone to be a parent, but if this guy can't handle a few days a year with his kid, maybe he really shouldn't be.