Man Only Paying Off Grandson's College Debt but Not Stepson's Kids Backed

A man has shared how his late wife's son is furious with him after he didn't offer him money.

In a viral post on Reddit's r/AmITheA****** forum with over 6,000 upvotes, the widower explained: "My wife was a lot younger than me and she had a 10-year-old son when we met. Her ex had shared custody, I had a couple of grown children from my first wife. My stepson Charlie and I never really bonded. He had a father and he made it clear I wasn't his parent—just his mom's husband. I respected this, he was always polite and respectful, just distant."

The poster, u/Useful_Menu_5811, explained how he helped pay for Charlie's college, attended his graduation and his wedding.

Men argue over money
A young man turns his back on an older man, with an inlay of a picture of cash being passed over. JackF/LightFieldStudios/Getty Images

"When he got married our invitation was made out to his mother plus one. That was kind of a slap in the face but we still attended and gave them a substantial cash gift to start their life. The thank you card didn't have my name on it," said the man.

When his wife died from a stroke at just 49, he saw Charlie and his wife at the funeral for the first time since the wedding. His late wife left all of her estate to her son, and he took many of the sentimental belongings too.

"I didn't begrudge him any of it," said the man in the Reddit post.

But things had recently become fraught between them again when the man had gifted his grandchild some money.

"My first grandchild just graduated cum laude last year and I went to his graduation," he explained. "My son mentioned that my grandson had a job waiting and would be debt free pretty quick. I asked how much he owed. Then I wrote him a check to pay it off. I plan to do this for all my grandchildren."

After paying off the debt as a gift, the man was shocked when he heard from his stepson Charlie.

"I guess my daughter-in-law and my stepson's wife are Facebook friends or something. He found out what I did. And he came around to ask if I planned to do the same for his children," said the poster.

He admitted he was upset that Charlie had come around only to ask him for money after ignoring him for years, and said that there was money for them in the will that they could have early if they needed it.

"I don't really have any connections to his kids. I don't see them. They don't consider me their grandfather. I've personally only ever seen them at the funeral," he said. "I was really put off by him coming by to ask about money after ignoring me for years. I know that if my wife were alive she would want me to help out her son. It just felt dirty."

Charlie was furious when the money was refused and insulted his stepfather. "He said I'm a petty little man and that his mom would be ashamed of me for treating his kids like this," said the poster.

Taken aback by the situation, he took to the internet to ask if he was in the wrong.

Denis Liam Murphy, an expert in "blame," author and high performance coach, told Newsweek: "This whole situation is infused with blame, from both sides. What often gets missed is that it takes two to tango. One person often has a better victim story than the other, but actually both parties have some part to play. Normally it is a deep unconscious contribution that has been hidden under years of self-control."

Murphy explained: "I can see that Charlie and his stepfather will use this experience to conclude it is each other's fault. Then they will use this to have an excuse to not see each other again—which if they were being radically self-honest—this is what they always wanted."

On Reddit, users sided with the man and said he was right to refuse the money to his stepson. One commenter said: "You don't owe them anything, and it's very telling that Charlie wants no relationship with you except when it comes to money."

Another Redditor wrote: "He's lucky you paid for his college and gave him money for his wedding. You don't owe him anything."

"We have been taught from birth that there are short-term wins that come with playing the victim card, but we aren't shown that they come with long-term, and painful side-effects. Anger is not a natural human emotion. It is a symptom of our blame addiction. We only feel angry when we think something has gone wrong or is unfair. But we only think this because our 'ideal' hasn't come to fruition," said Murphy.

Newsweek has reached out to u/Useful_Menu_5811 for comment. We were unable to verify the details of this case.

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