When parenting gets hard, you should just…quit? One dad on Reddit thinks so, as he recently posted about how challenging it was to co-parent his 6-year-old son with his “toxic” ex. Instead of working things out like an adult — or taking the matter to court to ensure the best treatment for his son — the dad decides he just won’t ever see his son again. He partially blames this on the fact that his new wife is pregnant and “cannot deal with stress right now.” I’m sorry, what?
In the ever-popular “Am I The A—hole?” subreddit, this dad explains that he was with his ex for 10 years, and they started dating at just 15 years old. They both had substance addiction in their past. “I caught on quickly that the effects of my addiction had detrimental effects on my body and I became sober,” he wrote. “I got my life together and wanted the same for my ex. I tried many things for her to change her lifestyle, but she always fell back into old habits.”
More from SheKnows
He’s been married to his wife for three years, whom he met in college. “I fell in love with her, the more I got to know her,” he explained. “My ex didn’t change her lifestyle, I wanted to move forward. I left her and cut off all contact with her.”
However, his ex was pregnant. “After my son was born, we had a nasty custody battle and I barely got visitation with him,” he wrote. “She used my past against me and I wouldn’t do the same, because that’s still my son’s mom.”
So, was it out of respect for his ex that he didn’t fight for custody by revealing her substance abuse — or was it because he didn’t actually want to be a dad now that he had a new woman in his life? At least he still visited his son — at first.
“She did everything in her power to make our life miserable,” the dad wrote. “Every time my son was over, she found a reason to take him home early. EVERY WEEKEND. She is disrespectful to my wife, though she told me it didn’t bother her at all. My ex even refused to let my son on his weekend with me and we had to take it court.”
He continued, “My ex was still coming to my home on my weekends to bother us, she constantly threatened to take my son away, this one time I bought clothing, toys, etc. for my son. She accepted the gifts, but ended up throwing all of it into a gutter, while recording it. The next time she came to pick up my son, I confronted her about it and she again threatened me to not let me see my son, if I get disrespectful with her.”
It all sounds very complicated and stressful, sure. But he didn’t even try very hard to make a different custody arrangement, so why is he complaining so much? After the visitations were challenging and “disrespectful,” the dad just gave up. He decided it was too much work to see his son, so he just wasn’t going to anymore.
“I got frustrated and told her to not bring him here anymore, as she wished,” he wrote. I’m sorry, what? So, he’s annoyed with his ex and decides to take it out on his 6-year-old. It’s heartbreaking!
Unfortunately, it gets worse. “She didn’t contact me for 5 weeks and the 6th week she texted me, she would be bringing my son over, that he missed me,” he wrote. At this point, you think the dad would have cooled off and would be missing his son too, right? Apparently not. “I texted back telling her that I did not want him here anymore, as she wanted and to not contact me anymore.”
How could you possibly think it OK to completely cut off your child like that? He justifies it by saying he’s still sending child support, as if that somehow makes it all better.
“I still fulfill my financial obligation to my son, I sent her $300 extra every month, To take care of him,” he wrote. Then, like any a—hole man would do, he also places the blame on another woman. “My wife is heavily pregnant and cannot deal with stress right now,” he added. “I have to put our baby and her first.”
It’s hard to keep it straight. It’s his ex’s fault for being difficult and it’s his new wife’s fault for being pregnant and unable to handle the stress (even though earlier he said his ex’s behavior “didn’t bother [his wife] at all.”) It sounds like he just doesn’t want to be a dad and trying to find any excuse where this would be OK.
If that’s not bad enough, he goes on to claim to be the victim in this scenario. Yes, seriously. “My ex blasted me on Facebook and everyone is against me for putting my wife first,” he wrote. I mean, duh!
“I feel like I made a somewhat of a good decision, for my wife’s and baby’s health, not only for them but also for my son,” he continued. “The environment between us was too toxic for him. my mother is calling me a deadbeat even though I still provide for him financially. His mother made it very clear she would never change and maybe it’s for the best if he didn’t visit us anymore.”
Take a break from banging your head against the wall to read the replies — Redditors hold nothing back.
“YTA for not bringing up your ex’s past substance abuse in the very beginning,” one person wrote. “You know that your ex constantly relapses and her failure to get past her substance abuses is what ended your relationship. Did you really think that was something the court didn’t need to consider? IT’S THE SAFETY OF YOUR CHILD AND YOU LEFT HIM WITH SOMEONE YOU KNEW WAS A DRUG ADDICT. IN WHAT WORLD WAS IT NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO FIGHT FOR HIM AND MAKE SURE HE GREW UP IN A SAFE ENVIRONMENT???”
This person goes on to say, “You want to be a dad? Being a dad means FIGHTING FOR YOUR KID. HE ISN’T A TOY YOU GET TO TOSS ASIDE FOR A NEW TOY. BEING A DAD MEANS YOU FIGHT.”
Others suggested the dad present new evidence to the court and fight for custody. “OP needs to see a lawyer and renegotiate visitation rights with all the evidence of how toxic his ex is, including the video of her throwing the clothes/gifts in the gutter, any abusive communication from her, record all interactions and so-on,” the wrote, adding, “OP, your CHILD should not pay for the horrible relationship between you and your ex. Stop kidding yourself that it’s better for your son to not see you – it’s easier for YOU, but children aren’t things you can discard when things get difficult. Man up.”
“He is still your son, he wants to have a relationship with you, and you have a legal right to visitation,” someone else wrote. “Your son will never forget that his father didn’t want to see him any more. It’s not okay for you to abandon him like this — you and your ex need to figure out a way for you both to have the legal access to visitation that you both deserve.”
The commenter suggested the dad not talk to his ex or acknowledge her social media posts when they trade off their son. “Just be the adult here,” the added. “You had a kid, so it is your job to be a parent. Forever. You don’t get to opt out of that. Stop using your son as a bargaining chip in fights with your ex.”
The OP seemed to address these comments with an update. He explained his ex isn’t using substances anymore and “does not mistreat my son.”
He claims he didn’t bring up her addiction in court because she was in recovery, adding, “My son was also just a baby and I did not want to remove him from his mother, who clearly improved herself for him. My intention was not to make an enemy out of her, but to co-parent in a healthy stable environment. My son loves his mother so much and it feels wrong to take him away from her.”
The dad has agreed to see his son in July, including on his 7th birthday. “It’ll be the first time he will be with me on his birthday,” he wrote. “My ex reluctantly agreed to these terms, after I apologized to her for the treatment I gave my son and another situation between her and I .”
He goes on to say that he will be talking to her through a lawyer and wants more contact. “I told her I would love to have 50/50 custody, I would keep paying her $960 a month and to let me have my time with my son peacefully in exchange,” he said. “I lastly told her that she didn’t have to agree to the custody suggestion over the phone and that It be better if it’s done on paper via our lawyers.”
Most importantly of all, he apologized to his son via FaceTime. “I told him, I was sorry for not having him over for so long,” the dad wrote. “He was upset and cried, asking me why he wasn’t allowed to see me anymore. I told him that daddy was an dummy and that he’s always welcome to stay here. I told him I would make it up to him with a really big surprise. He got very excited and started packing his backpack while we we’re FaceTiming.”
The dad added, “I said what I said out of anger and I shouldn’t have, my anger and actions affected my innocent son and I take full responsibility for that. I will anything to make it up to him and to better myself for my children.”
Thankfully, he owned up to his terrible actions, realized he made a mistake, has plans to see his son, and is going to try to get equal custody. Hopefully this will go a long way to reverse the damage he inflicted on his young son.
Before you go, check out our gallery on Cute & Stylish Kids Face Masks.
Launch Gallery: These Celebrities Show Their Co-Parent Exes Love on Mother's Day
Best of SheKnows