When a man’s adult stepchildren became too much of a financial burden, he chose to give his wife an ultimatum that drove a wedge between the couple.
After five years of marriage, he had reached the end of his tether — and the bottom of his wallet — due to his children piling up the cost of living.
He thinks his wife and children should get a job and start contributing to the household expenses.
Sharing his story with Reddit’s r/AmITheA–hole subreddit, the man explained the reasoning behind his ultimatum.
His wife has two children from a previous marriage, a 22-year-old son, Jason, and a 19-year-old daughter, Carla.
“When we got married, my wife still had 50/50 custody of her kids and she wanted to move into my house,” the man wrote.
He ended up converting his attic into another bedroom so the two kids could have their own space.
However, he shares that he was never a hugely important figure in the lives of his stepchildren.
“Their dad is in their lives so I was pretty much cast as the guy who married their mom and that’s fine with me,” he wrote.
After his stepchildren moved in, the man realized the financial impact of raising teenagers.
“I vastly underestimated how much having two teenagers in the house would add to the bills,” he admitted.
“When I was single, I could pay my mortgage and my bills on my own. After the wedding, everything except the mortgage went up, not to mention the expenses for the children and their extracurricular activities.
Although the man’s wife received child support from her ex-husband, he still found himself dipping into her savings account to support his stepchildren.
In the meantime, his wife was not working and could not contribute financially.
“It was really important to my wife to be a stay-at-home mom until they graduated,” the man wrote. “It was tight but we made it work.”
When Jason graduated from high school, he ended up leaving home to attend college out of state. Carla, meanwhile, opted to stay home and take a year off before applying to college.
She is currently out of school and not working.
Recently, the man overheard a phone conversation between Jason and his wife that concerned him.
“I go into the kitchen and my wife is on the phone with Jason and she told him he was more than welcome to move in and she was thrilled to see him when he got here,” he wrote. .
“After she hung up, I told him she should have spoken to me first so we could discuss it. I didn’t object, but I told him he should know what he would be expected if he moved in.
The man was aware that Jason’s return meant more financial demands.
However, his wife disagreed.
“She replied that she had always told her children that they would always be welcome home whenever they wanted and that they would not have to worry about the expense,” the man said.
He told his wife that if Jason came back he would have to pay rent and help with utilities and groceries and that his sister should start doing the same now that they were adults.
His wife thought that his children should not be expected to pay for love at home.
“I told her that if she was so convinced her children weren’t participating now that they’re adults, she could go back to work,” the man offered.
Since giving his wife the ultimatum, she’s been sleeping in Jason’s old bedroom and has involved her parents, who tell her husband he’s wrong.
“My thing is that they are no longer children. When they turn 40, they will still be his children, but that does not mean they should be treated as minors,” the man stressed.
Related stories from YourTango:
Redditors sided with the man and felt he made a fair deal.
“Funny how their dad is off the hook for support now, but YOU are still paying through the nose to support his kids,” one user noted.
“They definitely have to contribute,” another user commented.
Other users criticized the man’s wife for not making her weight and contributing to the bills.
“Your wife clearly doesn’t want or intend to work again. Insisting on being a stay-at-home mom while the kids are in high school is ridiculous, and they still have years after graduation” , said one user.
“I don’t know what ‘stay-at-home parent’ means when your kids are in high school. They’re probably gone about 75% of the day…so what’s there to do at home every day that couldn’t be done while working part-time or full-time? another user commented.
“I bet if OP [original poster] spoke to the father, he would find out that at least part of the reason they divorced was that the wife never wanted to work,” another user suggested.
Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango covering entertainment and news, self, love and relationships.