Dad Waiting Two Years to Tell Daughter Why He Really Divorced Mom Sparks Debate

A father of two has divided the internet after deciding to tell his teenage daughter the truth about why he divorced her mom.

In a Reddit post upvoted 12,800 times on the "Am I The A**hole" subreddit the divorced dad explained how his marriage broke down three years ago after his now ex-wife "raised the possibility of an open relationship."

Open relationships, or polyamory, are a type of intimate relationship involving multiple sexual partners, all of whom are aware of and consent to the arrangement.

"That was a dealbreaker for her because she says she's figured out that she's non-monogamous by nature and felt stifled by not being able to express it," the dad explained.

He said her stance on the matter left him with little choice but to seek divorce as he didn't want to be "married to someone who isn't faithful."

The couple had two children together, now both in their teens and their mom insisted he "not tell the kids about her being poly and that being the cause of the breakup" as she wasn't ready and they were already taking the news badly.

Despite insisting they were splitting simply because they were not happy, his daughter, who was 16 at the time, felt it simply "didn't make sense to her" and became an "angrier person" over the years that followed.

Now 18 and in college, the daughter recently contacted her dad to ask more about the split. "It turns out that her mom had posted about her situation and divorce in a poly group on Facebook and someone sent my daughter a screenshot," he explained.

When confronted by his daughter who asked if this was the "real reason" behind the divorce, the dad simply refused to "lie to my kid's face" and told her the truth.

Though the father confessed all to his daughter, he asked her "not to tell her brother." However, she refused, telling him her sibling "deserves to know what mom is really like."

His actions have resulted in what he describes as simply "a big mess."

"Both kids are angry with their mom and won't see or talk to her," he wrote. "My ex is losing her mind at me over it and her family is p***ed because they think I caused it by not saying it was a hoax."

While the dad acknowledges he "broke the agreement" he made with his ex-wife, he "didn't want to lie" to his daughter, particularly as she had proof of her mom's actions. Many on social media were inclined to agree with him.

Epostiler said it was poor judgment on the part of his ex for posting about it on social media. "If your ex wanted to keep it a secret from the kids, she shouldn't have posted publicly about it," they said.

Mental-woodpecker300 agreed, writing that the ex-wife "should have been more cautious" with what she shared online. "This is ENTIRELY on her, you agreed not to tell the kids, YOU didn't," they wrote. "Your daughter found out and asked you if it's TRUE. you never agreed to flat out lie to your daughters face and destroy her trust in you all so your ex could avoid blame."

Librerosa praised the dad for being honest. "You did the right thing for your daughter," they commented. "Being the child of divorced parents, I know how the situation your daughter was in very well. It's terrible when you know you aren't being told the real reason for the divorce and you know you're being lied to."

Nolan358 felt that the ex-wife "brought this on herself" and that the dad "held up their end of the bargain." They added: "When the daughter found out and asked directly it was perfectly reasonable to tell the truth. That's not bad mouthing the ex, it's just confirming facts."

OriginalLCC added: "Unfortunately she's learned the hard way that private posts don't always stay private on Facebook."

However, others like UrbanScuba, felt more could have been done to protect the ex-wife's privacy. "I've known poly people, it's not something you do for fun," they wrote. "The dynamics of a 3+ person relationship are incredibly complex... Having kids would make it way more complex, especially if they're under 18 and you're hiding it for ostensibly their sake."

Fun_Computer_8401 felt her sexual preferences should have no bearing on her parenting skills. "You can be poly and a great person, a great mother," they wrote. "Your sexual preferences don't necessarily affect how you raise your children or if you are present in their life."

Juliennix added that while it was a "very rough situation" the ex-husband could have responded by telling the daughter "let me speak with your mother and then we can all talk" or "this is for you and your mother to discuss."

Newsweek has contacted the original poster for comment.

Though the idea of an open relationship may seem an outlandish concept to the more traditionally minded among us, it's more common than many may realize.

In fact, a study published in Frontiers in Psychology found that 1 in 9 Americans have been in a polyamorous relationship, while 1 in 6 would like to try one.

Divorced couples continue to prove a source of much debate online. In 2021, one man earned the backing of the internet after announcing he was divorcing his wife after she smashed a coffee cup over his head.

Another seemingly amicable pair of exes, meanwhile, have clashed after the ex-husband's new fiancé demanded that his former wife stop using his surname.

If you have a similar family dilemma, let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.

A broken picture frame.
Stock image of a family in a cracked picture frame. A divorced dad has been commended for his honesty after his daughter asked why his marriage to her mom ended. Comstock/Getty

Update 03/01/22, 11:30 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include additional comments.