Man yelling and pulling his balding hair

Balancing the workload in a split-custody situation is a complicated thing, and it is difficult to gauge what is fair for each parent to provide and do. Sometimes one party is stuck with a more significant load than the other.

When one man feels taken advantage of by his ex’s request, he turns to the internet to help him decide who is actually in the wrong. He asks, is he the a**hole for not watching his kids while his ex goes house hunting?

The Disagreement

Young children holding their ears as parents seem to be arguing
Image Credit: Fizkes via Shutterstock.

The OP (original poster) explains that he is divorced and has split custody of his children with his ex-wife. Due to a year of health struggles and financial issues, the OP receives social security; this matters because the amount of time the OP has his kids is taken into consideration with such things.

He says, “After a year of heavy depression and not being able to pay bills, I’m receiving money from socials to help me pay for everything. When you apply for that, you have to tell them how often you have your kids, and I’m supposed to have mine every other weekend (because of money and health).”

“I have had them a lot more than that, and I absolutely don’t mind that, but it really screws with the bureaucracy of my economy,” the OP adds. One day, the OP’s ex-wife calls to ask a favor.

The OP states, “She calls me and basically tells me that she is going to look at a house with her new dude in the middle of our children’s sports practice and wants me to have them.” He adds, “I had them an extra day before this day already because she felt sick.”

The request leaves the OP upset, as he already has watched them on short notice recently and regularly takes them on extra days, to begin with. “I felt/feel like I’m being taken advantage of and said no,” states the OP.

He goes on to express, “I feel like there’s a limit. She knows they have their practice at this time and still booked that house tour, and I just feel so taken advantage of because I never say no and always try to help. Am I the a**hole?”

In the Wrong?

Woman laughing while man stands behind her looking frustrated and angry
Image Credit: Paul Biryukov via Shutterstock.

The majority of responses from commenters were YTA (you’re the a**hole), with many citing the fact that it is the OP’s kids in question as the reason for the vote. One comment bluntly states, “You aren’t being “taken advantage of” by spending time with and watching your own kids. YTA.”

A second person shares similar thoughts, adding, “YTA, do you not see this as an opportunity to spend time with your kids? It looks as if you see them more as a burden/chore.”

“YTA. She’s not asking you so she can get her nails done or go to a party. She’s looking for a home for your children. Pick your battles, and if you feel you’re doing too much, then don’t be her night-out/weekend-away fallback babysitter, but when it’s something that benefits your kids, you absolutely should step up,” reasons a third user.

Others came to the OP’s defense. One person says, “NTA(not the a**hole). You indicated that you do not have the funds to support this, and this is the arrangement that she wanted. She also seems to be a repeat offender expecting you to drop whatever you’re doing and take over.”

“NTA. You’re helping out and love to see them, but it sounds like you feel a loss of control over your time and finances. It sounds pretty frequent that it’s sprung in you,” adds a second person.

There were also some who reasoned that no one was wrong in this case. One user states, “NAH (no a**hole here). I don’t think your ex is being unreasonable by turning to you first for childcare. Most part-time parents prefer to get bonus time with their kids over the other parent using a babysitter, so what she’s doing seems reasonable to me.”

The comment continues, “However, in this case, it sounds like you have financial reasons for wanting to say no. It might be worth having a conversation with your ex about how much this is messing up your budget.”

What do you think? Is the OP being rude by refusing to look after his kids so his ex can go house hunting? Or is he being taken advantage of? How would you handle being in this situation?

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Inspired by this thread – photos for illustrative purposes only.

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