Call Me by My Name, Not Dad, Man Tells His Ex’s Young Daughter
He never looks for praises.
He’s never one to boast.
He just goes on quietly working
For those he loves the most.
His dreams are seldom spoken.
His wants are very few,
And most of the time his worries
Will go unspoken, too.
He’s there…a firm foundation
Through all our storms of life,
A sturdy hand to hold onto
In times of stress and strife.
A true friend we can turn to
When times are good or bad.
One of our greatest blessings,
The man that we call Dad. – by Karen K. Boyer
this original poster (OP) sympathizes with his ex-wife’s daughter who’s hardly seen her dad. But even though he tries his best to care for her, he has his reasons for refusing to be her make-believe father.
OP shared this story on Reddit’s popular r/AmItheA–hole forum as u/TruthWorldly1515: “I have split custody for my two sons Diego (12) and Sasha (10) with my ex, Josie. About a year after we split up, Josie got pregnant with Eva from a one-night stand. That guy never stepped up. He’s pretty broke so doesn’t pay child support and would stop by every now and then when Eva was young but hasn’t been seen since she was 4 or 5.”
According to OP, he has maintained his friendship with his ex-wife and spends time with all 3 kids on cookouts and other activities. And since Eva goes to the same school as his kids, OP also often picks her up along with his sons and drops her at her mom’s place. Over the years, OP has helped Josie in looking after her daughter but more as a friend and not as a father figure to the child.
The problem started one day after he dropped Eva off at her home, as OP continued to write: “The other day when I picked them up from school, Josie asked me if I wanted to stay for dinner. We had a nice meal and hung around a while. When I go to leave and Diego and Sasha hug me goodbye and say, ‘Bye, dad,’ Eva also gave me a hug and called me that as well. I figured it was a mixup and go ‘What was that, Eva?’ She goes ‘Oh sorry..meant to ask if I could call you that now.’ I told her I’d rather she call me my name.”
Well, it’s purely understandable that the young girl was deeply hurt by his response. But OP told the AITA that he really isn’t comfortable with having the responsibility of being Eva’s father on him. To him, his two sons are his real kids with whom he enjoys bonding and fulfilling all his duties as a dad.
However, Josie called him a jerk for rejecting her daughter, saying that it was not like she’s seeking child support. She told OP that he should be flattered that her youngest child wanted to call him dad.
Nevertheless, OP does not want to cross that bridge because he’s afraid of future expectations when Eva gets used to calling him and treating him as her father. Is he an a–hole for taking this stand?
According to nerdgirl71, “That’s not your child. You’re doing enough to include her with your kids periodically. Letting her call you dad sets her up for heartache down the road. It was good to set that boundary now. Josie also needs to talk to her, get her some therapy to deal with an absent father. You are in no way responsible for filling that void. NTA.”
Ariesinnc3017 also commented, “Look, Josie should be grateful that you are so welcoming to Eva and have given her backup. She should respect your boundary, which isn’t unreasonable. The sad fact is that Eva’s dad is an a-s, and she’s grasping for you as the closest thing to a dad. My heart goes out to her. And thank you for showing her kindness. Maybe in time, your relationship with her will naturally grow and you’re like an uncle to her. But you are not the daddy!!”
Another wise piece of advice from BklynPeach is, “Do not relent. My stepdad had a daughter with a woman (Mary) before he married my mom, his third wife. Mary subsequently had a child with another man. Both girls called stepdad Dad even though he was not the younger girl’s Biodad or on the younger one’s birth certificate. Stepdad eventually had to pay child support. When stepdad became disabled, the mother filed and won a SSI check for both girls on his record. When he died, they came looking for an inheritance. OP, you do not need to put yourself on the hook for child support, college, weddings, grandfatherhood, inheritance. In fact, I would send Josie an email that you are not Eva’s father and do not want Eva to call you Dad. That you are simply kind to the child because she is your kids’ sibling. Keep a copy. That way you will have a record of NON-CONSENT should Josie ever try to file for support for Eva, which is what I think Josie is planting seeds for.”Whizzco