Getting divorced is hard no matter what.
But getting divorced when you have kids to co-parent can get extra messy, since there's no clean break from the person who broke your heart and pissed you off.
While there are couples that manage to draw healthy boundaries and respect each other in the new season of separation and co-parenting, that dynamic takes two to tango.
If one party is actively manipulative or volatile, it's bound to get ugly. In the mire of arguments and long-standing tension, it can be hard to have a clear view of who is making a real point. That's where the jury of the internet comes in.
AITA for telling my ex-wife I don't care if she and her family starve, because I am just responsible for our sons?
I have two sons ages 16 and 14 with my ex-wife. Our marriage reached a bitter end when I learned she had remained married to me for over three years so I would support her through returning to school.
This was all so she could switch careers to an even better paying one, despite her old one paying as much as mine. For years I tried like hell to save our marriage because I felt it fracture.
She played along until she got what she wanted and then she was honest that she had never wanted to save our marriage and had been over me for years.
When we divorced, custody was set to 50/50 of our boys and she was ordered to pay child support to me because she was making so much more after her change of career and education.
She remarried a year after our divorce and had more children. After the birth of her last child four years ago things got bad.
Her husband was diagnosed with cancer, then one of her kids got diagnosed with a long-term medical condition, then Covid impacted her job.
Our boys would tell me how rough things were at their mom's and how they wanted to live more with me. I went to court and the judge moved her down to every other weekend and changed the child support order to reflect her decrease in custody.
Recently, she had to move into a smaller house because of how badly they were struggling and then she came to me for help after the courts refused to end the child support payments.
She told me I needed to help her and that I should be helping to take care of my boy's family, and that's what she and her family are.
I told her she used me for three f**king years so she could survive off my money, she did not get to ask me for more, to support a family that is not my own. She called me a selfish a**hole.
She told me her family is living off charity and they could be so much better off if I would help them. I asked her why I was supposed to care.
She told me she wished she had cheated while we were together and that using me for money wasn't enough. Again she told me about her family and how they would starve. I told her I didn't care if they did or not.
That none of them are my problem and I only care about my kids. She called me an a**hole.
Her husband sent me a text that night saying I was a cruel a**hole and he hoped the boys would hate me when they realize I want their whole family to suffer. AITA?
People weighed in with their thoughts on OP's strong words, and the complex situation at hand.
NTA, but make sure you have a high-level conversation with your boys so that they’re prepared for your ex and her husband to try to paint you as the root of all evil when they go over there.
NTA. Is she actually destitute? It doesn’t sound like she is. She moved into a smaller house—that’s still a house. It’s not a shelter, not even an apartment. Are they on food stamps?
I'm getting the sense she’s having a hard time adjusting to a life on a more modest income, but not that she’s totally broke. You also know she has a history of manipulating money out of you.
I’d leave this up to the courts. If she was really broke, wouldn’t the court lower her child support payments?
You acknowledged that your responsibility is only your children, and you were correct. You don’t owe your ex-wife a handout, especially when she’s the one who has to pay you child support.
She may be struggling right now, but she also could be living beyond her means, and with her husband having a terminal illness, she now has to face the fact that this will drain her financially because cancer treatments aren’t cheap.
She made the choices that she made, and she screwed you over in the process. She doesn’t get to turn around and manipulate you into giving her money just because she is broke and doesn’t have any.
She probably has relatives or friends she can turn to, but she turns to you because she hopes you will feel sorry for her and give her money.
But when it doesn’t go the way she planned, she turns into an angry mess and throws a full-blown adult temper tantrum.
She should have never strung you along during marriage. She played you for a fool and is now feeling sorry for herself while she plays the world’s smallest violin.
Your boys didn’t even want to live with her because things were so bad, and even that is saying something.
At the end of the day, she made her bed. She used you financially until she was ready to cut you loose, and with her bed made the way she decided it should be, she made her mistakes and now she can ultimately lie in it.
After screwing you over in more ways than one, she doesn’t get mercy or compassion. She emotionally abandoned you during your marriage, and now she can deal with the consequences. NTA.
NTA. As long as your kids are taken care of, your obligations are met. She was just using you when your marriage was falling apart and left you when she didn’t need you anymore.
Now she needs you again and has come crawling back with open hands and a guilt trip. Your ex is just a user. You mean nothing to her if she can’t leach off you.
So long as OP is taking care of his kids, he's holding up his end of the responsibilities. Based on the content of this post, it seems like his ex is a routine manipulator.