The Original Poster (OP) and his wife open their family-centric farm to his neglected cousin, Alice, who is forcibly pushed out of her parents’ home at 18. This act strains relationships within the family, causing division and a sharp decline in attendance at family events usually hosted on their farm. The tension reaches its peak when an alternative living arrangement for Alice is suggested, pitting family unity against what OP perceives as ethical responsibility.
The Family Farm
OP and his wife own a large farm with ample space for extended family visits, featuring five bedrooms, three bathrooms, and electrical hookups for four campers. The farm serves as a gathering point for the family, especially during the summer months.
Cousin Bill’s Family
In his early 50s, Cousin Bill has a daughter named Alice from his first marriage. Alice’s biological mother died when she was just two years old, leaving her without maternal support. Six months after her passing, Bill remarried Tanya, and they’ve since had three more children.
The Forgotten Daughter
Alice is consistently overlooked in her blended family, as the attention gravitates towards her half-siblings. She’s left out of family trips, and her parents won’t financially support her in extracurricular activities. The result is a daughter acting out, displaying a dual personality depending on her surroundings.
Alice has been sent to OP’s farm for four consecutive summers to “work,” primarily because her parents don’t want her around. This becomes a sanctuary for Alice, providing her with an environment where she is wanted. As she turns 18, her dad declares that she will be kicked out to “teach her responsibility.”
The 18th Birthday Move
On Alice’s 18th birthday, OP, his wife, and Alice decide to act. They arrive at her house and start packing her belongings, carefully selecting only the items that are unquestionably hers. This marks the beginning of her new chapter.
Medical Benefit Hack
OP’s boss creatively adjusts the company’s medical benefits plan to include Alice until she completes university. This enables Alice to get therapy and also participate in sports while saving money. It’s a lifeline she hadn’t expected but deeply appreciates.
The Family Fallout
Bill and Tanya are furious that OP has taken Alice in, leading them to boycott family events hosted at the farm. This triggers a ripple effect; other family members also decline to attend, siding with Bill and Tanya. Tensions escalate quickly within the family.
Gas Prices and Excuses
As some family members cite the cost of gasoline as a reason for not coming, attendance at OP’s family events dwindles to a mere quarter. OP’s casual response to their absences further upsets the family, who believe he should fight harder to maintain unity.
The Dorm Proposal
OP’s aunt suggests a compromise: Alice could live in a dorm during the week and visit OP’s farm on weekends. This suggestion is presented to smooth over the family conflict. However, it’s not received well.
OP finds the dorm idea foolish and states his stance plainly. He’s stubborn about keeping Alice where she feels welcomed and loved, even if it means family strife. His resolve is immovable, as he has Alice’s best interests at heart.
The Wise Wife
OP’s wife, who is generally level-headed and intelligent, also thinks the dorm suggestion is impractical. She stands by OP’s decision to keep Alice in their home, fully invested in Alice’s well-being.
Alice herself would prefer to stay at the farm but offers to try the dorms if it would help restore family peace. Her willingness to compromise shows her maturity, but she values her new home with OP.
Some family members accuse OP of undermining Bill and Tanya by taking Alice in. They argue that OP would understand their point if he had his own children. This line of reasoning fails to address the immediate issue of Alice’s well-being.
Family members skip events, reducing the gatherings to a fraction of their usual size. Once a nexus of family activity, the farm is now noticeably quieter. The absence is palpable. OP is caught in a dilemma: to stick to his convictions and keep Alice where she’s happy, or bend to family pressure and send her to a dorm.
Was The Man’s Behavior Appropriate?
OP posts his story online for feedback and guidance from the internet community. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter.
One reader said, “They mistreated her for years, kicked her out of the house, and now they want to demand that you kick her out too. Horrible people, and you shouldn’t think twice about the dorm unless Alice wants that.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “You understand her position and the cause for her undesirable behaviors. You understand the unfairness of her treatment and the failures of her parents. You also have the courage to stand up for her against your family.”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “Bill and Tanya can’t have it both ways: if they’re going to kick Alice out at 18, they don’t get any say in how she navigates that. Although if she didn’t like their terms, decided to strike out on her own, and found people to help her with that, there still wouldn’t be anything they could do about it.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader commented, “I would tell your family members that they looked the other way while Bill neglected her for 16 years; they can look the other way when you’re NOT neglecting her.”
What Do You Think?
What are your thoughts on their actions?
What would you have done in this situation?
This story is inspired by a thread from an online forum.