If being a parent is difficult, being a step-parent is doubly as complicated. Even when the child is easy to bond with and becomes as much your child as one of your own would be. For a recent Redditor @wellintentionedsmom, a scenario involving a ‘bonus’ daughter created tension between her and her stepdaughter’s father. OP’s stepdaughter asked her to take her to a doctor’s appointment without telling her dad (OP’s husband), and he got upset once he found out.
OP loves her ‘bonus’ daughter, ‘Mary,’ and especially so because she doesn’t have any children who are biologically hers. She’s known the girl since she was five, and as the young lady is now 17, the two are very close and share a deep friendship.
When Mary approached OP about a doctor’s appointment, the stepmom assumed she might want to get birth control as she had been dating a boy for around eight months. Instead, Mary wanted to get tested for cervical/ovarian cancer. OP discloses that Mary’s mother died of this same cancer when Mary ‘was barely a year old.’
OP also says that Mary’s mother didn’t choose to go through treatment for her cancer because when they found it, she was already far into her pregnancy, and neither parent wanted to risk losing the baby to chemo. By the time Mary was born, doctors could only buy her mother time.
Understanding Mary’s want to get tested, she readily agreed to accompany her. OP admits that Mary didn’t want to tell her father about the appointment because she didn’t want to ‘bring up any negative feelings’ or trigger him.
With this in mind, OP agreed to keep it a secret and didn’t inform her husband of the appointment.
When Mary got done with her doctor’s visit, they recommended she see a geneticist as her mother had died from cervical cancer. She had a long talk with her dad when she got home and afterward gave her stepmom a big hug.
OP says her husband asked her to talk privately and then lit into her for not telling him about his daughter’s doctor’s appointment. OP says that to her husband, his daughter is ‘still a child’ and all appointments need to be ‘run by him beforehand.’
When OP tried to explain that she was respecting his daughter’s request to tell him herself, he said that wasn’t a good enough excuse and that he no longer ‘knew what else you girls are hiding.’
Now OP wants to know if she’s wrong for not telling her husband right away about his daughter’s doctor’s appointment.
Some Discretion Please
@GoneGirlHome thinks that the daughter had a right to ask for a little discretion and that soon, she won’t have to tell anyone, including dad, anything.
“She will be old enough when she turns 18 so what is your husband going to do then? She won’t have to tell him anything and can make her own appointments. I get that he is her bio father, but even when both parents are bio there are many things mothers and daughters keep secret (not referring to major things here).”
User @myhairsOnfire2 thinks OP definitely isn’t TA and that her husband should be thankful instead of critical.
“NTA. Your husband needs more counseling. He should be THANKFUL that Mary has you – because if she hadn’t, she still wouldn’t have told him because she places his mental health over her own.
She’d have waited the same as she did. By having you, she had a reasonable loving adult that she knew she could trust to help her allay her fears without having to worry about your mental health in the process.
This is something your husband should be THANKFUL for – not angry about…”
@Stiffy_w thinks there may be an ego issue here with dad.
“You did the right thing. I’ve been that teenager for sure – and have been seeking my medical care alone since the age of 12 (which is legally allowed as long as the physician deems that you understand your care) there are definitely things I did not want my parents knowing or if it was necessary to tell them I wanted to do on my own.
She trusted you, you kept that trust and gave her space to approach her dad on her own. I suspect his ego is in the way and it had more to do with the fact that she went to you and not him. NTA.”
In The End
Sometimes walking the fine line between relationships is difficult, especially when dealing with stepchildren. Knowing what’s appropriate takes on a whole new meaning when dealing with a child who isn’t as much yours as your spouse’s. Do you walk the line as a friend or parent figure?
Do you think the stepmom was wrong in this instance? Would you have told the dad and broken Mary’s confidence?
A thread inspired this article.
This article is produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.