OP’s (Original Poster) estranged son is putting him under fire for not paying for his college tuition. However, for OP and his son’s mom, he’d already gone above and beyond.
A One-Night Stand
OP had a one-night stand in college, and the girl he was with, Jade, got pregnant. Jade decided to push through with the pregnancy, and OP agreed to pay child support—nothing more, nothing less.
A Working Arrangement
Jade and OP’s arrangement had worked well for them for 18 years. Since he never wanted to become a father, he didn’t mind that he didn’t have a relationship, nor came into contact all that much, with his son, Marty.
Little to No Contact
OP explained that Jade had been a single mom since Marty was born. She never got a boyfriend, but she’s been doing “a pretty good job all by herself.”
He wrote, “We’re still friends to this day, and I’ve only spoken to Marty a few times.”
Marty recently graduated high school and planned to go to college. This is where all of OP’s problems started.
His tuition was pretty expensive, and Jade couldn’t afford it as a single parent. Hence, she told Marty that she wouldn’t fund his schooling.
Reaching Out to His Dad
However, Marty was desperate to go to college and got OP’s number from his mom. When he did, he asked OP if he could help pay for his college tuition.
OP wrote, “He made a point saying that I have a well-paying job, he was my only son, and I’d never been there for him as a dad, so I should at least pay his tuition.”
But even with everything Marty said, OP refused. He said he paid Jade child support like they’d agreed on, and he also gave her extra money on the side for Marty’s entire life.
It Was His Only Condition
OP then reiterated that he never wanted to have kids to begin with. So, child support was the condition he made so that he never had to care for one directly.
Marty then accused him of being selfish for “pretending he didn’t have an obligation” to him. OP, on the other hand, told him he did have an obligation, which was to pay for him until he was an adult.
OP’s son didn’t want to give in. Instead, he protested, saying OP “never gave him anything.”
This is another thing OP contested. He said it “just wasn’t true,” as he made sure Jade had the money to care for Marty and gave him gifts through Jade on occasion.
It Works for Us
Even though Marty felt this way, OP was confident he did his job well.
He wrote, “Jade and I have been content with this arrangement for years, and she does a great job being a parent. I funded a whole lot of my son’s life; I basically paid for everything Jade couldn’t, like extracurriculars and sometimes even bills and groceries if she was in a bad spot.”
On His Side
Jade was on OP’s side, saying that Marty was being “unreasonable” to demand this of OP. On the flip side, OP mentioned that Jade was thankful that he was present to support them both.
Explaining Things to Her Son
Ultimately, Jade told Marty that “he had other options,” none of which involved OP. She also said that OP helping him out as he requested would “hurt OP’s finances, too.”
OP explained that Marty’s tuition was “tens of thousands of dollars.” Though he gets paid more than the average, it was “not close enough to afford that.”
A Furious Son
Marty is “p*****” at his mom for taking OP’s side. He also said that OP is an “unsupportive bum” who has “done nothing for him in the long run.”
OP, however, refuses to accept this accusation. He asked, “Am I the a**hole?”
Insights From Redditors
Redditors assured OP that he was not wrong, albeit Marty feels otherwise. However, he could have been more considerate of his son’s feelings.
“Not the a**hole for not paying tuition. It sounds like you have fulfilled the obligations set by you and Jade. But don’t pretend that you don’t deserve to be called an unsupportive bum by your son. It absolutely sounds like the truth, given what you’ve written. You gave Jade the monetary support, not your kid. Yes, it was used for your son’s needs, but since kids aren’t supposed to be involved in the money issues between parents, you’re going to have to tell me what you’ve done for your son that he could consider direct ‘support’ from you. Seems like you did the absolute bare minimum but nothing more; I’m not sure you deserve the credit you want for the role you played. I’m not coming down on the OP for his prior choices or judging the agreement with Jade. We all have to make our own way in this world, and I like to think we do the best we can with what we have at the time. OP deserves credit for providing what he did, for sure. But it’s disingenuous of him to think he deserves to be seen as a supportive parent by his son or even to expect his son to have a positive opinion of the OP. From the son’s perspective, OP was not supportive, and he should be able to say that without the OP getting huffy,” wrote a top commenter.
You’ve Gone Above and Beyond
Though some think badly of OP for keeping his distance, people said that what he did was right. In fact, they argued that OP possibly did more than other people would do for their kids.
One said, “He’s done way more than many parents that don’t want to have a kid. They made an agreement on his involvement, and he fulfilled that duty and then some. Mine came in and out of my life when it was convenient for him and paid my mom child support but made sure he paid as little as possible. Not the a**hole, OP. Just as no woman should be forced to carry a child, no man should be forced to be a father. As with adoption, either or both parents should be able to completely sign away their ‘obligation’ to a child. He at least financially supported this kid. He took responsibility for his actions and chose to not be a father. I see nothing wrong there.”
Another commented, “He stated that he did not want kids, she chose to keep the pregnancy, and he fulfilled his legal obligations toward Marty while he was growing up. He is not the a**hole.”
What are your thoughts on this issue? Was OP wrong to withhold money for his son’s college education?
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This post first appeared as He Refused to Cover His Estranged Son’s College Tuition, Saying It Was Enough That He Paid for Child Support Until His Adulthood. But His Son Thinks He’s an “Unsupportive Bum!” on Quote Ambition.