Internet commenters took issue with one divorced father who lost the trust of his 17-year-old daughter more than three years after inadvertently fumbling it the first time.
In a viral Reddit post published on r/AmITheA**hole, Redditor u/boomerangkidaita (otherwise referred to as the original poster, or OP) detailed the custody arrangement that has prevented him from consistently seeing his daughter “Mary” and revealed how his opportunity to change that dissipated in an instant.
Titled, “[Am I the a**hole] for not letting my daughter live with me after [my] ex kicked her out?” the post has received nearly 5,500 upvotes and 1,500 comments in the last ten hours.
“My ex-wife and I divorced 3 years ago and have 3 kids together,” OP began. “So it came as a huge surprise when Mary read a statement during a custody hearing stating that she felt I was unfit as a parent.”
Continuing to explain that she went to live full-time with his ex-wife, the original poster said that after the shocking statement, contact with his daughter became limited and their relationship was reduced to child support payments and contributions to a college fund.
The original poster also said that, despite being heartbroken, he moved forward—and in, with his girlfriend and her three young children—and was as happy as he’d been since the divorce.
Then his daughter resurfaced.
“A few weeks ago I got a surprise call,” OP wrote. “She said that my ex had kicked her out of the house and she had nowhere to go. I immediately told her that I would help any way I can.
“We agreed to let Mary stay with us for a few days while we get things figured out…[but] it turns out Mary has been struggling with drugs and threw a huge party at my ex’s house and trashed the place,” OP continued. “After another talk with my [girlfriend], we decided that we do not have the space to house Mary permanently.
“It broke my heart again, but I had to tell Mary she can’t stay with us,” OP added. “She yelled and screamed and reminded me that I said I would help…but both her and my ex are refusing to speak with me.”
Divorce, while crushing for married couples, can be even more devastating for children.
Roughly one in every two children in the U.S. will see their parents separate, according to data published by Legal Jobs.
And with half of the country’s children living in single-parent households or stepfamilies, the probability of both academic and behavioral problems is high, especially for kids approaching middle and high school.
In fact, Very Well Family reports that children of divorce are 8 percent less likely to graduate high school, and 16 percent more likely to experience a myriad of behavioral issues if their parents separated when they were between 7 and 14-years-old.
The original poster’s daughter was 14 years old when her parents divorced, automatically putting her at greater risk for misconduct later in her teenage years.
Throughout the comment section of the viral Reddit post, Redditors acknowledged the 17-year-old’s admitted malfeasance, but called out the original poster for failing to intervene in a manner beneficial to his teenage daughter.
“Your daughter is a minor,” Redditor u/panic_bread wrote in the post’s top comment, which has received more than 10,000 upvotes. “Your ex, who has full custody of her, cannot legally kick her out.
“But also, dude, work on your relationship with your child,” they added.
Redditor u/azula1983, whose comment has received more than 3,000 upvotes, offered a more pointed response.
“[You’re the a**hole],” they wrote. “It was a little weed, best you knew was weed and you called that a drug problem.”
“Also when you refused to house her further/kicked her out, you did not know her mother would take her back in,” they added.
In a separate comment, which has received more than 1,000 upvotes, Redditor u/greenseraphima questioned the original poster’s behavior towards his daughter and how it matches his repeated insistence that he is heartbroken since their relationship was demolished.
“I honestly think [you’re the a**hole],” they wrote. “Through the entire post you’re upset about Mary not wanting to live with you and how hurt you were…now you have the opportunity to spend time with your daughter and figure out why she said those things.
“But instead of taking that opportunity, you tossed her out,” they added.
Newsweek reached out to u/boomerangkidaita for comment.