Man Backed for Axing Niece's College Fund Over Comments About His Ex-Wife

A man has received widespread support for withdrawing his niece's college fund, after she made hurtful comments about him and his ex-wife.

The 35-year-old shared the family dilemma to Reddit's Am I The A**hole forum, under username Throwaway3136771, as he revealed he has a 16-year-old niece, named Leah.

He explained after he and his wife split after five years of marriage due to fertility issues, he set up a college fund for Leah in 2019.

Currently, he spends every weekend at his mother's, where Leah and her mom live, and it was during one of these trips he overheard a conversation.

File photo of smashed piggy bank.
File photo of smashed piggy bank. A man has been backed for canceling his niece's college fund over comments made about him and his ex-wife. Comstock Images/Getty Images

He wrote: "I came downstairs to grab a glass of water and heard my sister talking about my ex wife expecting a baby with her new husband. This struck a nerve and I kind of froze from shock.

"I then heard Leah react to the news repeatedly saying 'I told you so, I told you so' then explained she's always thought that I was the one with a problem for not being able to have a baby with my ex, but that I was too 'afraid' to admit due to fragile masculinity.

"I could not believe what she said, but what made it worse is her following statement about how my ex was smart to get a divorce before it was too late. I went upstairs and into the room and shut the door and stayed there for hours."

Later his family asked him what was wrong, as he continued: "I didn't want to argue but I told them that I heard what Leah said about me. Leah stopped eating and got quiet.

"My sister tried to play dumb but I told her I heard their entire conversation about my ex wife and her pregnancy news. My sister tried to backpaddle [backpedal], saying: "Leah is just a kid who doesn't know much about this stuff and was just 'spouting nonsense.'"

But he was crushed by what he heard, adding: "I later sent my sister a text telling her about how hurt and devastated I was because of what Leah said, and told her I will no longer be responsible for funding her education.

"My sister kept trying to call then texted saying Leah didn't mean what she said and offered to make her apologize but I didn't feel comfortable being in the same room with someone who blamed me for something that was out of my control and, something that literally turned my life upside down.

"My mother tried to get me to come over so we could talk saying Leah doesn't deserve me turning my back on her like that."

After it blew up, he added some edits sharing more background, updating people as to what happened next.

Explaining Leah's dad had died, he added: "I admit that I was mad when I told my sister about the college fund cancellation, I love Leah so much and see her as my own daughter...

"And I think that... sitting down and talking things out is the best option before I make any decision."

While he also explained: "Both my ex wife and I were having these fertility issues, both sides but since my ex wife got pregnant soon after her new marriage then my family thought that I was the problem 'originally.'

[I] told her I will no longer be responsible for funding her education."

"It is what it is, and I'm learning to not let words get in my head so easily. I'm not mad at anyone, I'm just trying to move on with my life like anybody else."

The post, shared on Sunday, has amassed more than 20,000 upvotes, as he was ultimately hailed as not the a**hole of the situation.

Juliaskig wrote: "Exactly. It was inappropriate for the sister and mother to talk about it, especially to the niece, who was likely 13 or even younger when they first talked about it."

FrankenSigh thought: "That's a chain of ungrateful & disrespectful & unloving people there."

HelleBirch commented: "They didn't say anything to correct her when she said it, so they have probably said/think the same on other occasions."

Kwarre16 pointed out: "Yeah the whole bit on 'thank goodness she was smart enough to leave' is what gets me the most. That was nothing but mean. She wasn't just putting her foot in her mouth. That was cruel."

Sunflowerpolkadot said: "Her age excuses nothing, 16 is old enough to understand how cruel blaming someone for infertility is."

Comfortable-Turn6172 commented: "She is 16 not 6, she know better and shouldn't have said that."

The chart below, provided by Statista, shows the highest and lowest college tuition fees.

Infographic: The World's Highest and Lowest Tuition Fees | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

Awkward_Resolve9979 reckoned: "NTA but these are big statements from a 16 year old and it is very likely she picked up on all these statements thru someone older in the family who has likely been gossiping about you for a while either your sister mother or an aunt or even the ex wife."

And Cordial_carbonara added: "$10 says she's just parroting back a version of what she's heard other adults in her life say before."

While it's not clear where the family is based, in the U.S. college tuition is a massive expense, leaving many young people in debt when they graduate.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) the average cost of study at a public four-year institution was $9,400 for the academic year 2019/20. For the entire four-year course that would equate to $37,600.

That rose for $36,700 for private non-profit institutions in that same year, $146,800 for the duration of the course, and $19,100 for private for-profit establishments, which works out to $76,400 for 4 years.

Newsweek reached out to Throwaway3136771 for comment.

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