Unhappy Family Of Three Sitting Together Having Problems In Relationship daughter

He Embraced an Unintended Fatherhood Role, But When Money Came into Play, It Threatened Everything He Held Dear.

In a tangle of family ties and responsibilities, the Original Poster (OP) finds himself caught in the delicate predicament of stepping into the parenting role for his wife’s best friend’s child, Harper, owing to her neglectful father. The narrative reaches its zenith when OP, exasperated and feeling taken advantage of, confronts his wife Amber about the strained situation, creating a fracture in their relationship and leaving readers wondering: what comes next?

A Family and a Friend

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OP, a dedicated father, and husband, finds himself caught in an unusual family dynamic. A few years ago, he started dedicating Saturdays to exclusive father-daughter time with his seven-year-old, Emma. OP thought this would give his wife some much-deserved ‘time off,’ while he would spend the day doing whatever Emma wanted.

The Recent Trend

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His wife, Amber, has recently been inviting her best friend, Jennifer, and her daughter, Harper, to their home during the weekends. This arrangement develops due to Harper’s irresponsible father, who prefers drinking and watching sports over spending time with his daughter. As OP notes, “Harper’s dad is a lazy sack of c*** and refuses to do anything with his daughter.”

The Unexpected Addition

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Saturdays, the day that OP dedicates solely to his daughter Emma, becomes complicated due to Harper’s regular presence. For any activity that OP plans for Emma, he now has to include Harper. Thus, a trip to the zoo, bike riding lessons, and dance classes now always involve Emma, Harper, and OP.

Mother’s Day Meltdown

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Mother’s Day brings a breaking point for OP. After taking both girls to their dance class, he finds himself buying gifts for both Amber and Jennifer. The act of buying a gift for Jennifer feels like a responsibility that should fall on Harper’s father, not OP.

A Difficult Conversation

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Days after Mother’s Day, OP decides to voice his concerns to Amber. He expresses his fatigue over the inadvertent parenting of Harper and wishes for her real father to step up. However, this conversation proves to be a cause of tension between him and his wife.

The Silent Treatment

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Following the difficult conversation, Amber starts giving OP the silent treatment. She moves into the guest bedroom, creating a physical distance that mirrors the emotional one. This decision leaves OP questioning if he is the antagonist in this scenario.

An Update and Clarification

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OP elaborates on the situation, revealing that Emma and Harper are best friends. It also becomes clear that OP’s decision to dedicate Saturdays to Emma is a conscious one, intending to give Amber a break and spend quality time with his daughter.

The Unfair Financial Burden

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The burden of Harper’s dance classes falls onto OP and Amber, as Harper’s father deems it a waste of money, and Jennifer cannot afford the cost by herself. This added financial strain amplifies OP’s frustration over the increasingly complex dynamics within the family.

Amber’s Unwavering Stance

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Despite OP’s expressed concerns, Amber continues to stand by her best friend and her daughter. Her insistence on supporting them, seemingly at the expense of her marriage, heightens the conflict. It seems the silent chasm between Amber and OP is growing wider and more challenging to bridge.

Emma’s Innocent Request

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Emma, unaware of the tensions, requests more joint activities with Harper. Her innocent wish serves as a stark reminder of the complexities of the situation and the potential impact on the young friendships involved. It presents a new challenge for OP to navigate.

The Intensified Dispute

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OP wishes to go back to the simplicity of father-daughter Saturdays with Emma alone. He expresses he is exhausted of raising Harper and says it’s time to force Jennifer to confront her own husband. OP contemplates if he should confront Harper’s father directly or if he should let the situation be.

Was The Man’s Behavior Appropriate?

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The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter. Here are some of their responses:

Forum Responded

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One reader said, “I think the friendship between Emma and Harper matters in this scenario. Are Emma and Harper super close? Are they also best friends? Does Emma prefer to have Harper there with her? If the answer is yes, I think this also needs to be taken into consideration. And, in this scenario, I think it’s a stretch to say OP is “raising Harper” if these two kids are besties who greatly enjoy hanging out together. I had a close friend like that as a kid – we were inseparable at that age – and I would have much preferred to be with my BFF than to be forced to hang out with my parent solo just because my parent wanted that.”

Another Commenter Thinks

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Another responder wrote: “If your wife wants to step up for Harper, then she needs to do that, not put it on you. She should be taking her places and doing things with her.”

A Third View On The Story

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A different person states, “Stop taking Harper; it’s that simple. You’re having dad-daughter bonding time and don’t want a tag-along.”

“If Harper wants to come along on these things, then make her mother come with you all, but not your wife.”

What Do You Think?

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What are your thoughts on their actions?

What would you have done in this situation?

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