Normally, immediately bailing on a date as soon as you see the person you’re supposed to be on a date with would be considered rude AF… so your initial instinct when a young man asks “am I the assh*le for immediately bailing?” may be to kick him in the shin and be like YES.
However, we urge you to reserve judgment on the young man in this tale until you get to the end. Then you, along with the citizens of Reddit, can vote on whether or not he is, in fact, in the wrong.
Here’s his original question:
“So I am a college student, so is this girl. We met on Tinder and have been talking for a month or so. She said she didn’t have an Instagram but did use Snap.
Anyway, fast forward to just a few hours ago, we met for the first time (we were both looking for a relationship and not a hook up). She is beautiful, smart, and charismatic. She had a very nice body too, although in some of her photos she had a ‘weird line’ down her abdomen that I figured was inappropriate ask about as I only knew her for a month.
So, we had plans for dinner tonight at a local diner. I got there before her, and went to a table. About five minutes later she comes. I was confused as I could almost 100% guarantee it was her but was like “it can’t be because this woman has a child”. Then, she comes up and says “Jack?! Hey! It’s Melissa” I kinda nervously said “hey..” in a confused way. At first, I figured maybe she was babysitting or this was her unmentioned brother and thought wow she really is into me for still keeping our date (I don’t mind kids as I am an elementary education major). Nope.
She said “This is Mike, he’s my son!” I was shocked. I just looked at her and she said “Yea, hes my bundle of joy. Had him at 18” I said “Are you serious?” and she was like “Yea!! But it’s no big deal, if I put him on his iPad he wont make a fuss, and, by the way, sorry for never mentioning him! Sometimes things get hectic in my life”
I just stood up, looked at her and said “I’m sorry, I don’t think this will work out.” She was like “..oh, but I really like you” and I just said “I’m sorry” and left.
Now, part of me feels dickish because I have never done that to a girl and try to hold respect for them, but I felt
totally lied to
betrayed (in a weird sense). I wanted to start my own family some day with a woman who hasn’t had kids. Obviously if I was in my late 30s or 40s I would expect it, but I am just a college junior…. plus, I don’t want to take on a ‘father’ responsibility should our relationship get serious over the next 2, 3 years
So, Reddit, AITA?”
Let’s review her actions from his perspective, shall we? She never once mentioned having a child in the month that they’d been talking before their date. A month is not a short amount of time. Taking a kid on a date in general is typically seen as improper, but particularly a first date with no warning.
Most people wouldn’t introduce a potential partner to their child until the relationship is serious and established. And the way she casually busted out a “Sorry for never mentioning him! Sometimes things get hectic.”
Who does that?!
A hectic schedule is not a valid reason for never mentioning a child. Maybe never mentioning what kind of car you drive/don’t drive – but not your child. Who “forgets” to mention their child? And then springs them on a first date without so much as a “hey I’m on the way but I couldn’t find a babysitter, so I’m bringing my toddler along.” It absolutely comes across as purposeful.
Having said all of that, he’s not exactly in the clear here. The way he handled the situation was less-than-graceful. He never mentioned not wanting to date someone with children. The fact that he’s studying elementary education but couldn’t muster a single bit of tolerance to even acknowledge, much less spend time near, the child right in front of him is a little concerning.
And can we talk about this string of problematic comments?:
“She had a nice body” (Reddit didn’t need to know that, but okay.)
“I try to hold respect for them” (“them” being women.)
“I felt betrayed” (by the fact that she had children before him. Remember he had only known her for a month and had never even met her in person. How exactly could she betray someone she didn’t even know existed?)
Interestingly, people were divided. Most people didn’t particularly like the way he worded a lot of what was said. However, the underlying idea of a 20-year-old young man not wanting to jump into a relationship with someone who has a child seems pretty reasonable.
Most people voted him “Not The Assh*le.”
Believe it or not, there’s an official rating system for this Reddit thread!
Now let’s look at how people voted:
She is for hiding it, and also that’s just weird to bring your kid on a first date?”
“> “Yea, hes my bundle of joy…”
Such a bundle of joy you hid his existence from OP for a month. I get it – there’s a huge stigma around having a kid that young and trying to find a partner at that age with a kid sucks. But, damn lady, catfishing someone is not the right way to go about it.”
“NTA. She literally lied to you. Although I wrinkled my nose a little at your #2 about a woman who hasn’t had kids, you’re allowed your opinions about who you want to date. No one should misrepresent themselves to that degree! I was a young single mom and yes it’s hard to find a decent man, but lying is just silly.”
“Hey, OP! Things get so hectic; I’m really sorry that while we have been conversing over the last month it just slipped my mind to mention this ‘bundle of joy’ who I GAVE BIRTH TO TWO YEARS AGO. Things just get so crazy. Heh. You know how that goes.”
She didn’t forget to mention it. She was afraid that if she did, you wouldn’t want to date her. And you know what? That’s fine. You’re twenty. It would be fine at any age, really. She was hoping you would become attached enough and think “oh, well this is ok.”
I understand her fear. I do. But I absolutely cannot forgive lying about having a kid. That’s shitty.
My partner dated someone for a couple months before he met me. They were out for lunch or something and she sprung on him something about her kid. He wasn’t particularly pleased and wanted to leave without making a scene. She became upset with him in turn, demanding to know what kind of man would leave a woman because she had a kid or some such. He let her know that the issue was that she lied by omission about having a kid and he couldn’t understand how a parent could do that. He paid the bill and never saw her again.
I have two kids. When I did date after I divorced their dad, that was nearly the first thing out of my mouth. It was not particularly charming, but why would I hide the fact that I have kids? They don’t define me, but they’re my children, ffs.
Edit: Wanting to start a family with someone on your terms doesn’t make you an asshole either. You need to make sure you are equally honest about that up front though, in the event that you willingly find yourself in a situation like this (but perhaps where mom leaves the kid at home).”
She should have mentioned. For sure.
You could’ve been nicer. It’s just time. You could have gone thru with quick date. Politely left. Follow up days after with hey nice meeting you. Didn’t feel a connection though. Wish you the best.”
“ESH from my viewpoint as well. As you say, the date was definitely in the wrong to not discuss the child and even more so to spring him on OP with no warning.
But OP’s response is pretty brutal. I don’t even think he had to go through with the date, but a kinder explanation (“Listen, I know it’s tough as a single parent, but I’m really not looking to get into this sort of situation right now and I really feel you should have mentioned your son before now. I feel pretty misled and put on the spot.” would have helped her realise the scoop and hopefully avoid making such a mistake in the future.
At 20, neither party has that much experience or maturity with this sort of thing, most likely, so it’s understandable to react harshly, but I don’t think the excuses it.”
“NTA, but ‘betrayed’ is a little much in this circumstance imho. Yeah she lied, potentially because she was afraid to tell you or she’s had some bad experiences. Makes her TA for sure but talking about being betrayed when it’s a first date off tinder.. be happy she didn’t have two heads. Shake it off and move on.”
“NTA, oof I get that it’s hard to date as a single mom and I sympathize but you don’t just say surprise this is my son on a first date without even telling you she has a son!
And I understand he is a big part of her life but don’t go bringing him on all your dates! That’s going to end up being confusing for him! Or what if the kid started to really like you so now you have to let them both down!
Though your last point makes you a little bit of an asshole, as if your future family would be any less because your wife has a kid from a previous relationship.”
You’ve read the story, you’ve seen the chart, now cast your vote in the comments!