People Confess The Truth In Their "Am I The Jerk?" Stories

It's difficult to come to terms with your actions. You may find yourself questioning your actions from years prior - trying to wrap your brain around your mindset during that time. These actions may hurt the ones closest to us and sometimes even ourselves. In looking back, these people confess their darkest truths to the public in the hope of redemption. Read on and let us know who you think the jerk is. AITJ = Am I the jerk? NTJ = Not the jerk YTJ = You're the jerk WIBTJ = Would I be the jerk? EHS = Everyone here sucks

18. AITJ For Ditching My Partner On A Road Trip?


“I’ve (f30) been going out with my SO “Smith” (m39) for 8+ months. We have been planning to go on a road trip but it couldn’t happen because he kept insisting that we let his 2 friends tag along.

He brought it up again and promised that he won’t ask me to let him bring his friends with him since (1) I’m the one paying for the expenses and (2) It’s my car.

(3) I always wanted us to go alone for once without having his friends tag along. (4) I don’t wanna pay for his friends.

We agreed that I’d come to pick him up in the morning so we could go.

I came in my car and entered his neighborhood. However, when I saw him standing outside with his bag AND his 2 friends were also standing there with their bags, I was shocked and furious.

I didn’t pull over I just turned around and kept driving and went back home. I saw him running after me in the rearview mirror. He then stopped and started calling me.

I did not respond till I got home.

He lashed out at me on the phone asking why I turned around and left. I told him why and how I didn’t appreciate how he basically tried to force me to take his friends with us after I said “no” already.

He called me awful and said that I ruined the entire thing for us and acted immaturely and spitefully. He said I could’ve just accepted it how it is but I told him that I would never accept being put in a situation where I’m expected to just “suck it up”.

He hung up after yelling at me for a few minutes.

I called back but got no response. He texted about how I embarrassed him in front of his friends and is refusing to speak to me till after I apologize.

AITJ for turning around in my car and going home? Did I make the right call?”

Another User Comments:


But I think some miscommunication happened here that can be insightful to anyone. Sometimes we don’t say what we mean and sometimes we do, without even knowing.

He said he “wouldn’t ask anymore”. I hate to think like this sometimes but I think some people are smart with their words. He said he wouldn’t ask anymore. And he didn’t.

He brought them without asking.

It’s funny what people say and what people do and remembering what they said and connecting it to what they did. It’s like, lying almost? Like what he said was enough to make anyone believe he would do fully what was being asked of him but it was also phrased in such a way that gave him a loophole to do as he wanted in his mind maybe.

Of course, that loophole is imaginary but… I just find it interesting. lol

Also, I find some people try to play the, “Well you said not to ask you to let me bring them – you didn’t say not to bring them”.

When it’s very obvious that is included in the ask.” aretherebetterdays

Another User Comments:

“NTJ. But I laugh at the irony of an almost 40yo man who tried to sneak his buddies onto a trip, when he was already told “no” for many (incredibly reasonable) motives, calling YOU immature.

Look, I don’t know or anything, but you’re going out with an almost 40yo teenager.

“Mommy won’t let me bring my friends on our trip!!” is all I could picture in my head.”  OffKira

Another User Comments:


You’re with a failure-to-thrive loser who expects you to pay for him and his loser friends by putting you in an uncomfortable situation where you cannot say NO!!! He knew they weren’t supposed to attend – but he tried to back you into a corner.

It’s pretty pathetic that this grown man cannot go anywhere without his posse.

He doesn’t want to spend any alone time with you. Sounds like he is just using you to entertain and support him and his loser friends while you’re at it.

When confronted all he cared about was how YOU ruined their good time and that you need to accept how it is.

Then went on to say you embarrassed him for not bending the knee to his needs and what he says, footing the bill while you’re at it.

Is this the type of life you want to continue living?

Also kinda concerning that none of these grown men in their 40s have cars or enough income to take trips without having a woman support them!

He is a leech who is showing you who he is! Believe him.

NTJ ……but you would be if you continue this.” PearlsOfWisdom27

7 points (7 votes)

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StumpyOne 4 months ago
The fact that you're even second guessing leaving him standing there makes me have serious concerns for you. Seriously? He's a loser. Dump him and move on. Why are you allowing him to make you feel guilty about this? The only thing I would feel guilty about, in this situation, is not having ran his bags over with my car.
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17. AITJ For Asking My Dad To Pay To Repair My Partner's Phone?


“My partner, ”Serena,” and I have been together for 2 and 1/2 years. She’s lovely and I can‘t imagine not spending my life with her. Most of my family, but especially my dad, loves Serena.

It’s sweet to watch them interact, and it’s very obvious that he’s very fond of her.

A few months ago, my dad and Serena went on a hike on a mountain trail.

According to Serena, my dad was holding Serena’s phone trying to take a picture of the view and accidentally dropped it. He dropped it over the cliff, so it took her almost an hour to try to locate it and when she did, it was cracked terribly.

It was no longer usable and basically hanging on a thread. My dad apologized profusely and kept stressing about his “slippery fingers.”

When this happened, Serena wasn’t too mad and I got her a new phone.

My dad seemed apologetic and I was more than willing to get Serena a new phone, so I didn’t think much of it.

A few weeks ago, my dad, Serena, and I went on a run.

Midway through my dad remembered that he was late for something, and asked Serena for her phone to call a taxi. While he was taking the call, he dropped the phone, cracking her screen and her screen protector.

It was not as bad as the first time, but still pretty bad. He apologized once more and Serena wasn’t too upset. She paid for her own repairs and told him that everything was alright.

A few days ago, Serena and I were at a family dinner, and my dad accidentally dropped Serena’s phone into a bowl of hot water. Serena doesn’t remember giving it to him and he claims that he knocked it into the sink.

At this point, I’m annoyed. Serena is a very careful person and she’s dealt with more than enough phone troubles in the last year. Serena politely asked him to pay for the repairs, and he refused, telling her that he was “a poor old man that made a small accident.”

I stepped in and told him that he should pay for it considering that it’s HIS fault that this happened.

He declined and made a fuss about how his ”wealthy son is exploiting him.” Serena and I had to leave early.

Serena has already paid to get her phone fixed, but I’m still pressuring him to pay her back.

A few of my family members think that I shouldn’t make this my hill to die on.”

Another User Comments: 

“3 times is NOT a coincidence my man, especially since you mentioned she doesn’t remember giving it to him and he played the “feeble old man” card.

If the dude can go hiking, he’s no “feeble old man.”

Make a plan to catch him doing it. You may never know why, but at least you’ll have closure.

Or no more contact until he’s willing to admit what he’s doing and why.

That includes all financial help too.

NTJ.” Quiet_Progress_355

Another User Comments: 

“NTJ – And something is wrong with your dad. I think he has some weird jealousy issues with your relationship and this is a petty way to show it.

He’s doing it on purpose, made very clear, especially with this last time. Why is your dad making this the hill he dies on? His excuses for not repairing the phone are childish and don’t make sense.

I wouldn’t be surprised if it all came down to funds and how he probably feels more entitled to his son’s finances and eventually will start complaining about how much he spends with his partner.” pecileci

Another User Comments: 

“NTJ and I’m going to go a different direction..

Is there a possibility that the reason for your dad’s slippery fingers is medical? I’d watch to see how he does with other small objects that you maybe don’t notice him dropping because they aren’t breakable.” Historical_Carpet262

5 points (5 votes)

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Pcogale 4 months ago
NTJ and there is something wrong with your dad.

Get the phone fixed and never let it leave your sight (or Serena's). No he can't use it. No he can't hold it. He can use his own phone.

If he carries on like a pork chop with these boundaries remind him that he wrecked the last 3 phones and your not going to give him the opportunity to destroy a 4th phone.

I would also probably pull back from him. There's something going on if this is new. It's either got something to do with Serena (perhaps wanting her to react to his bad behaviour so that he can tell everyone how there's something wrong with her), or he just wants her attention. Both are not good. Has been like this with any of your other girlfriends or is this your first serious girlfriend.
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16. AITJ For Not Getting My Friend A Wedding Gift?


“I (23F) have known my best friend (24F), let’s call her Maria since we were babies. We have been inseparable our whole lives and she is like a sister to me.

We both grew up in a poor area and our families struggled a lot. We are both in our final year of college now and I don’t have a lot of finances to spare – I have lots of student debt and I work two jobs to have enough income for food and rent, etc.

We both go to a very prestigious college so we have worked very hard to get to where we are.

Around six months ago, Maria met a guy at the shop she works at, called Mike (33M).

They started going steady pretty quickly and Mike is very rich – he is the definition of living off daddy’s inheritance. At first, I was a little bit skeptical as obviously, Mike is quite a bit older than her but she seemed happy.

After a month of them meeting, Maria had changed a lot. She was missing lectures and tests to go on last-minute holidays to Dubai, Paris, New York, etc, and always coming back with designer accessories.

After three months she moved in with Mike, which upset me as I had to sell our shared apartment because I could not afford the rent by myself. I thought they were moving very quickly but I didn’t want to seem jealous or petty by bringing it up.

Around a month ago, Mike proposed to Maria, and she accepted. I was happy for her, but after she told me her plans, I was shocked. Maria’s dream since we were kids was to work for NASA and she has worked so hard for this – she has taken internships there and was planning to apply there next year.

But her new plan is to get married, graduate college and move to LA with Mike and become a housewife. The wedding is planned for this December and it is the most lavish, expensive wedding that you could think of.

Her bridal shower is next week and she has asked me to be her maid of honor. While I don’t approve of her plans, of course, I said yes.

She’s inviting me and some of her new, rich friends she’s met through Mike to the shower, and she made a group chat with all of us in.

She sent us a list of the presents she wanted which took me by surprise because this list included designer items and luxury furniture that I could definitely not afford – the cheapest was $550!! I had planned to get her something sentimental and personal, not designer brands.

While all the bridesmaids were discussing in the chat what they would buy for her I messaged her privately and apologized that I wouldn’t be able to buy anything. She completely went off at me, saying that my financial issues shouldn’t get in the way of her wedding.

I got pretty upset as this isn’t the Maria I’d known my whole life and she is well aware of my issues with finances. I told her that if this is the way she was acting, I wouldn’t buy her anything at all.

She’s removed me from the wedding party chat and I’ve had several angry messages from Mike and the bridesmaids telling me what a horrible friend I am. I’m feeling very conflicted about whether I’m in the wrong, AITJ?”

Another User Comments:

“Ntj – But your friendship is over basically.

Her values have changed.

She isn’t the same person anymore. And honestly, there are some massive red flags in her relationship.

You cannot help her in this regard. It’s time to let her live her life the way she wants.

Your lives aren’t compatible anymore.

She is placing a gift over your shared history. And what your friendship means.

To be honest, being a bridesmaid is very expensive. And with her taste, it will be even more so.

It sounds like she is putting having an expensive lifestyle over her own dreams.

I think you need to do what’s best for you. Do not go into debt for this wedding.

I would decline being in the wedding party due to financial reasons. If she is a true friend she would understand.” Prudent_Border5060

Another User Comments:·
“NTJ. She dumped you with a shared apartment that you can’t afford, and then is mad you can’t afford things? And your financial situation shouldn’t ruin her wedding, like what? Does she think you’re out here being poor just to spite her? Does she think you should just fall behind on your bills and skip a few meals so she can have a fancy handbag? This girl doesn’t care about you, and she’s made it very obvious.” CaptColten
Another User Comments:·
“NTJ, there is so much wrong in what she did since meeting him! First leaving you suddenly with a house to pay for, that’s not okay at all! I feel a bit of pity for her, she abandoned a wonderful life project for riches and made friends with people with pathetic values who will certainly abandon her at the first sign of trouble.

I wonder if her rich fiancé is going to be faithful, but I guess she’ll prefer crying in a Hermes silk square than a handkerchief… Those people clearly influenced her, but she also chose to turn on you.

Can you stay friends with someone who changed that much, who now has an unrelatable lifestyle? I’d guess she’d just keep rubbing her riches in your face if you stayed around, so better leave her to understand her own mistakes.” WendigoMoon

5 points (5 votes)

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Pcogale 4 months ago
NTJ - but you are no longer friends.

She's in for a rude shock when life isn't as peachy as she thinks it will be. Likely she will be bored with the social set and she will be judged but the people born into that life. There will likely be lot more going on for her that she will never admit. There are many that put up with a lot of crap because it comes with money.

You on the other hand are living your dream and you'll get your dream job. She will likely look back in time and perhaps regret her choices.. or not. But the best thing for you to do is live your best life that you enjoy and not worry about what your former friend is doing.
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15. AITJ For Not Eating Dinner With My Mother?


“I have three kids: 8 and 1-year-old daughters and a 4-year-old son.

My mother loves them all dearly but I have noticed that she sort of ignores my son sometimes. It’s not like she’s doing it on purpose and it only started after my youngest was born but I don’t like it.

I mentioned this to my mom and she immediately apologized. She said that she hates to admit it but because he’s the middle child, she forgets about him sometimes. Especially since the baby.

I decided to give her a chance since she seemed genuinely sorry.

My husband and I had an emergency this morning and decided to drop off our kids with my mom (she offered) and then after we dealt with what happened, we were planning on having dinner with my parents since it’s thanksgiving anyways.

We usually have big dinners with the entire family but the timing wasn’t great this year so my mom was really desperate.

Well, the second my husband and I got to my parent’s house, I noticed that my daughters were very happy while my son was sitting in the corner crying.

I asked my mom what happened and she told me that my son scribbled on my older daughter’s drawing and so she put him on time out.

Either way, I went up to my son and asked him what was wrong.

He was an absolute mess but eventually told me that he got mad because granny wasn’t listening to him and didn’t look at his drawings and he even said he thinks she only likes his sisters.

I asked my mom if this was true and she laughed it off and jokingly said that while she didn’t give him much attention, it doesn’t mean that he should ruin his sister’s work.

I didn’t laugh, I was actually upset and she noticed. She just said that she was sorry and that she’ll try to be more attentive next time. She also said the same thing as last time about him being the middle child.

I told her that she won’t have to try next time because I’m not leaving the kids alone with her ever again. I then said happy thanksgiving and picked up my son, told my husband to grab our other kids and we left.

My mom kept begging us to stay for dinner since we promised and also said that she was sorry and what more I want her to say. I just ignored her.

My dad called me later saying that he understands my decision regarding the kids and would do the same but I should’ve stayed for dinner. My mom had made a lot of food and was really looking forward to it and I broke her heart.

But she also keeps breaking my son’s heart. Idk, AITJ? I can’t sleep because of how conflicted I am.”

Another User Comments:

“NTJ. Not at all.

This will come to mean a lot to your son in the long run.

That, someone, had his back – even if he’s too young to fully comprehend what is going on – this is the sort of thing that sticks with them. A boundary was set, and his emotions, mental well-being, and needs are being met by a parent.

Neglect is horrible.

Realizing you’re not the favorite child is horrible. Being left out is horrible. Especially when that’s your grandmother.

Trust me. This is a core memory in the making, something that will stick, especially if repeated.

(The good, not the bad).

I say this from experience and how much this sort of stuff mentally broke me, and that was just my relatives.

Please stand by your son. Do not doubt your actions or second-guess yourself.

Please stay by his side, have his back, and give him love.” faeriekitteh

Another User Comments:


Your son is a little kid who’s ignored by his grandmother because… he’s the middle child? Seriously? Your mom doesn’t sound like she’s sorry at all because her actions say otherwise and her excuses are even worse.

I also think it’s stupid that she couldn’t spare a few minutes to look at the kid’s drawings, but had no problem putting him on time out as soon as she saw he scribbled on his sister’s.” Brave_Fennel_6476

Another User Comments:


I don’t believe she will change, because she doesn’t really want to change. I see this as a girl vs. boy issue, not a middle child issue. She tolerated your son when he was a baby, but as soon as the next granddaughter came along she forgot all about him.

My dad was exactly like this. His first two grandchildren were girls. As soon as a grandson was born, he literally brushed the girls aside and only paid attention to the grandson.

He doesn’t understand why he doesn’t have a relationship with his granddaughters today (who are now in their 20s) though my sibling and I have explained it to him multiple times.” columbospeugeot

5 points (5 votes)

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Pcogale 4 months ago
NTJ - this is deliberate. I too think it's a girl v's boy thing. Was it the same when you were growing up? Was there a favorite kid and a scapegoat? If so, she's repeating it with your kids. She'll triangulate them and your son will be devastated.

Good on you for standing up for your son. You set your boundary and when she crossed it yet again, you followed through.

There's a part of me that would've said stay for dinner but this had more impact. I'd be watching the kids very closely next time you are in her presence with the kids (I would not leave them alone with her and I wouldn't let your daughter go alone either).
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14. AITJ For Not Babysitting My Niece?


“I (29f) typically babysit my niece (4f) twice a week while my sister (26f) is at work. I only watch her for 2 hours between her leaving for work and her fiance getting home.

Saturday night, I went out with some friends. There were 7 of us so we took 2 different cars. 4 in my car and 3 in another. I was following the other car as we were going to another friend’s house in the country that I hadn’t been to before.

Well, the worst happened. The other car was hit at 60mph. The car rolled. It was bad. Only 2 people were hurt. A kid from the 3rd car was life-flighted out of the scene and my closest friend, “Stan”(30m) was taken from the scene by ambulance and transported to a major hospital an hour away.

Stan fractured his spine, broke a bone in his arm in 3 places, broke his wrist in his other hand, and had a concussion.

Thankfully he was released Tuesday but will have to go back over the next few weeks for multiple surgeries (no I don’t think he should have been released yet).

His entire upper body is in a cast right now so he needs full-time care. He doesn’t have family or an SO that can help so he is staying with my husband and me so we can care for him.

So here’s where I might be the jerk. When we were told he could come home as long as he had a caregiver, I let my sister know I would not be able to babysit my niece for a few weeks.

I had kept her updated thru everything so she knew I would be his caregiver. At first, she said it was fine, just focus on Stan and try to take care of myself as well (I’m 25w pregnant).

This was until it actually came down to it. I’m taking care of Stan, my dog, his 2 dogs, and my own child (9). It’s a lot. When it came time for my niece to need a sitter, my sister told me she can’t find another sitter and that her daughter wouldn’t be much work.

I told her I have too much on my plate right now and there was no way I could add a 4-year-old to the mix.

She went ballistic on me over it.

She told me family comes first and I should be more concerned about her daughter than Stan. This sparked a fight where I warned her if she couldn’t be reasonable I wouldn’t watch my niece ever again.

My mom got involved and said she understands this is a bad situation but my sister needs my help too. I told her I can’t help everyone and Stan is my main focus right now.

Now they are both refusing to speak to me because I should be able to fit my niece in because Stan mostly lays around right now.

I’m starting to feel like I could be wrong here.

I would only have my niece for 2 hours a day twice a week. AITJ?”

Another User Comments:

“Your sister is an absolute jerk. You’ve been providing her free childcare for years now, and you have an extreme health emergency where somebody else’s needs are more important than hers and she loses it on you?

I realize having to make last-minute arrangements for childcare can be stressful but your sister is being extremely inappropriate in taking it out on you.

Sounds like she is entitled and completely takes you for granted.

I wouldn’t ever watch her kid again unless she pays you.

NTJ.” imothro

Another User Comments:

“NTJ. Anyone who uses “family comes first” to win an argument point is automatically a jerk.

Your mother and sister can get stuffed.

Stan didn’t magically show as a need in your life – it was a process during which your sister was aware of your changing needs and priorities.

Your sister will have to restructure her life a bit if she can’t find a sitter, just like you’ve restructured your life – more than a bit – to take care of Stan while he’s in need.

You are awesome.” tosser9212

Another User Comments:


Your friend was in a horrendous wreck and needs full-time care. Your sister needs to stop being so selfish and get things in perspective. Besides, this is her child, not yours.

Ultimately, taking care of her is your sister’s responsibility, not yours. If she can’t find another sitter, that is her problem, not yours. You have been extremely generous to your sister by doing what you have done already for free.

She needs to be grateful for what you have done so far.

Let’s face it – it’s not that she can’t find childcare. It’s that she can’t find childcare that she wants to pay for.

There was no reason to being your mother into this except to add another person to bully you, and the silent treatment is a form of emotional manipulation and mistreatment. If you give into this, you can expect more treatment like this in the future every time you try to stand up for yourself.” bamf1701

5 points (5 votes)

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Pcogale 4 months ago
NTJ - your sister never expected you to hold your boundaries. You have your own commitments even before Stan.

Perhaps your mother would like to step up if she's so concerned.
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13. AITJ For Not Letting My Sister Vacation At My Place?


“I (F29) live in Australia. I moved to Australia 5 years ago to move in with my long-distance Australian partner at the time. He’s now my husband and I’m now officially an Australian citizen.

I’m originally from Britain and the rest of my family lives there. My husband and I own a house and have a spare bedroom, and over the past 4 years, I’ve allowed my older sister “Becky” (F35) and her husband and their kids (M11 and F8) to vacation at our home (except during 2020 when there were travel restrictions).

They are in love with Australia and are very grateful to visit here.

This year, they visited last month for 2 weeks. Becky and her husband took the spare bedroom and the kids had air mattresses in the living room.

They had a great time and it was all very pleasant.

But the day after they left, I noticed that Becky and her husband completely trashed the spare room. There were food wrappers, crumbs, and plastic bottles all over the floor, food stains all over the bed, weird marks on the furniture that definitely weren’t there before and there was an awful rotting smell in the room that we can’t get rid of.

I texted Becky pictures of the room and said that this is not okay. Becky said she was sorry and said that she and her husband were in “holiday mode” and just wanted to relax.

I told her that my husband and I aren’t her maids and said that she and her family are not allowed to come back next year.

Becky said I’m being irrational and that it was just a little mess.

I told her I don’t care and that it was mine and my husband’s house and we don’t want it to be treated that way.

Becky got our parents involved and they accused me of thinking I’m better than everyone and said that I’m being unfair to Becky.”

Another User Comments:

“If it was a little mess, why didn’t they clean up after themselves? Funny how you become the maid.

Funny how they have not offered to cover the cost of damaged furniture and deep cleaning supplies.

Your sister is a grown woman who’s hiding behind your parents to fight her battles because she refuses to grow up.

She acted like a toddler left in a room unsupervised and now she expects her parents to coddle and soothe her like a child, but she refuses to accept any blame.

How could she accuse you of thinking you’re better than her? Is it because you have manners and know how not to live like pigs? This reminds me of when I used to work in a restaurant serving tables during uni and families would make the most horrible messes and not think twice about who had to clean up.

Just rubbish people.

She can go on holiday elsewhere. NTJ” jasperjamboree

Another User Comments:


While they’re on vacation mode, you’re not. That’s your home. You bought those furnishing & home with your hard-earned funds.

She behaved like a pig & left a sty.

If she wants to get others involved send them the pics & ask, “so if she did this to your home then you’d be okay? Cause if so, I’ll come to visit & stay with you & do the same since it’s okay.”” zadidoll

Another User Comments:


I also allowed my sister to stay in my house, she made a mess, and then when I told her to come to clean it she went off.

That’s actually the last time I spoke to her. I took pictures and posted them on our family social media page since everyone was talking about me overreacting, and then I left the page.

I was so confused, I housed her husband for 3 moments FREE and accepted his messes. Then her for 3 months with minimal “rent” and she treated my place with no respect.

I also found out that after they left, they cracked my shower. And then KEPT USING IT CRACKED.

Anyways, goodbye to all of them. I am better than them, I don’t trash someone’s house when I am a guest. That’s better.” ItsWetInWestOregon

4 points (4 votes)

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shgo 4 months ago
My mom left a mess in my car with Trash pushed up under the seats. It took me three hours to clean it. Now when she visits she has to rent a car.
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12. AITJ For Making My Son Walk Our Dog?


“My wife (39F) and I (42M) have three sons, Alex (15), Dylan (11), and Jake (8). When I was a kid I always wanted a dog but my parents said no.

I never got the chance to get one during my twenties but recently my interest in owning one was sparked again so I asked my family what they thought about getting a dog.

My wife wasn’t enthusiastic about it but she relented after a few weeks of me asking. Alex and Jake were excited to get one but Dylan was immediately opposed to the idea.

Dylan was always different than my other sons, he never had an interest in sports and was always more subdued than his brothers which has always made it hard for me to connect with him.

He remained opposed to the idea of getting a dog but my other sons and I managed to wear him down until he finally relented. However, he said that if we did get a dog, he wasn’t going to be interacting with it or taking care of it, that would be completely on me and his brothers.

I found this ridiculous but I agreed at the moment hoping he would change his mind after meeting the dog.

The problem is he hasn’t changed his mind yet. We’ve had Zeus for seven months now and Dylan has not warmed up to him in the slightest.

He doesn’t play with the dog, he doesn’t cuddle with him, he doesn’t let Zeus into his room because he “destroys stuff” and whenever he is near the dog he just ignores him.

I find this completely ridiculous. Zeus loves Dylan, he follows him around whenever he sees him and jumps on him to get his attention and play but Dylan just isn’t receptive to it.

To change this, I told Dylan last week that he would be in charge of walking the dog every day after school. Dylan straight-up refused and has shut down the conversation every time I bring it up.

It’s been a week and he hasn’t walked the dog once.

In my frustration, I told him that if he didn’t start listening then I wouldn’t allow him to go to the comic book store anymore and he freaked and told my wife.

Now, my wife is upset with me, claiming that I knew what I was getting into with this and I knew that Dylan wouldn’t be playing with the dog but his intolerance of the dog is weird and I refuse to entertain it any longer.

My wife has been short with me ever since that conversation and Dylan is cold with me as well. Alex is now agreeing with his mother which is making me have second thoughts.

So, AITJ?”

Another User Comments: 

“YTJ and you are telling Dylan that you can’t be trusted. He relented and agreed under the promise he would have no responsibility and you misled him and are now punishing him for not doing something that you said he didn’t have to do in the first place.

This is gonna have repercussions beyond the dog if you don’t change course, recognize and apologize to your son.” Bulky_Mix3560

Another User Comments: 

“YTJ without a doubt. The dog is yours and your other 2 sons period! Dylan didn’t want a dog and you’re forcing him to take responsibility he refused and didn’t want.

He doesn’t like dogs! Get over it. He does not ever have to bond with YOUR dog. And what’s with this “he’s different from my other 2 sons so we don’t connect” guess what, siblings are different and you shouldn’t treat any of them differently because of it.

Just because he’s not your idea of a rambunctious boy doesn’t mean you can’t connect with him. I’m on Dylan’s and your wife’s side. I hope she goes above you and lets Dylan go to the comic book store.

This is a good way to ensure Dylan goes no contact with you when he leaves for college.” Holmes221bBSt

Another User Comments: 

“How to tell the world you resent your middle child without saying the words.

  1. You don’t connect with him because “he doesn’t do sports or other manly things”

  2. You wanted a dog.

    Pressured your wife into getting a dog. When your son expressed he didn’t want the dog, you lied to him about the dog not being his responsibility

  3. When your son kept his boundaries intact and didn’t interact, or bond with the dog he TOLD you he didn’t want, you punish him for it, because his aversion to the dog is “weird” (aka not what you wanted or expected).

  4. Instead of being an adult and talking to your son about WHY he didn’t want the dog BEFORE you brought it home (and potentially having a bonding moment with the son you struggle to bond with) you push the innocent dog on him after you have already bought him, in a bid to force responsibility on your son and teach him a lesson (I think?)

Conclusion: do you even like your son? It sounds like you resent that you have no common interests with him (aka he doesn’t like what you like, and you try to force it on him anyway, and he rebels and that upsets you) and instead of TRYING to find one or trying something he likes, you just… mistreat him. YTJ. Majorly.” alphaowlboy

4 points (6 votes)

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Wodkabottle 4 months ago
Could you be anymore of a jerk? You lied, manipulated, reneged, and now want to punish him for boundaries he set? You're an wacky, straight up. You go right now, apologize, and give him like a hundred dollar gift card to his comic book store. And pray this relationship can be restored. Do you even love your son? Because it kinda sounds like you don't.
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11. AITJ For Ditching My Partner's Family Dinner?


“I’ve been in a relationship with my partner Ed for 10 years. Ed is an only child and has a very little family, so he is extremely close to his parents, especially his mom, Louise.

My relationship with Louise is civil, but I’ve always felt uncomfortable around her. She’ll often comment on my looks. These comments are unprompted and aren’t nice. She’ll say things like ”You don’t try to pretty yourself up with makeup?” or ”Why don’t you do something nice with your hair?” I often end up feeling icky after leaving Ed’s parent’s home, and Ed has noticed this, but he’ll often say that her comments aren’t meant to be mean, and he doesn’t try to see things from my POV.

He’s said things like ”My mom says things about your hair because you have straight hair and she knows you could do so much with it, and she has curly hair and can’t style it however she wants like you could”.

I don’t want to go with him to his parent’s home because it’s so unpleasant, but I know how much his family means to him, so I suck it up.

A few days ago, Ed and I were at his parent’s home for supper.

I had worked that day, but I tried to change my updo a bit by quickly putting my hair in a half ponytail on our way to his parent’s home. Right before supper, I, Ed, and Louise were on their porch when she said ”You would look SO much nicer if you would cut your hair! Why do you have long hair if you won’t do anything with it?” I just stood there because I’m so used to hearing comments like this, and Ed also didn’t say anything.

Minutes later, I noticed that he was looking at my hair oddly, and he asked HIS MOM (not me!) ”Why does her part look so weird?” (talking about the part created by my half ponytail) and she said to him ”Her part is not straight.

She clearly didn’t take the time to make a nice part when she put up her hair” And all of this was said while I was right beside them! I was between them, so there was NO reason to not address me directly.

My feelings were hurt by this point and I’d had enough of this treatment from Louise (and now Ed), so I said ”Why are you guys so obsessed with my looks?” and I decided to leave.

Later that day, Ed asked me why I left. I explained that I was sick of these types of comments from his mom and that I felt like he and his mom were mean to me.

He said he didn’t realize (how??), but I should make it up to his mom because she was now crying because I left abruptly. I said I didn’t think I should apologize for how they acted, and he said I was making things worse.

AITJ for leaving right before supper and not apologizing?

I don’t think this should matter in the treatment I’m getting, but I work in a lab, so I’m not allowed to wear makeup and my hair needs to be tied up when I work.

Also, Louise barely wears makeup and she never styles her hair, so I don’t understand why she feels like she can criticize my looks. I always look presentable when I visit his parents; I wear nice clothes and I don’t look unkempt.”

Another User Comments: 


Ed needs to stand up to his mother regarding her treatment of you.

You are an important person in Ed’s life (10 years!!!!!). There’s no excuse why his mother is still treating you this way.

This may end up as a dealbreaker if you choose to continue with the relationship (especially if you decide to get married).

I would really talk to him and how uncomfortable you are. This behavior isn’t normal.

You not wearing makeup shouldn’t warrant these rude comments. You didn’t do anything wrong.

I assume Ed is used to letting his mom control things and not standing up to her.” luvduvbunny

Another User Comments: 

“NTJ, but 10 years is a very long time for you to put up with this and it sounds like you need to communicate more clearly with her and/or Ed about it.

Why haven’t you asked her to stop before now? It’s rude of her to comment, and it would be better if you didn’t have to, but as a strategy not saying anything clearly isn’t working.

And communicating that you want the behavior (criticism) towards you to stop is far better than bottling it up and then exploding at them when it gets too much.

Really Ed should be the one having the conversation because it is his mother.

If you do end up discussing it with her it may be best to be as polite as you can about it to her face. She might brush it off as she “doesn’t mean anything bad by it”, but that doesn’t matter.

What matters is the criticism is bothering you and needs to stop.

If the comments continue once you have been very clear and specific about what you want them to stop, then you may need to reevaluate whether or not you really want this woman in your life for the rest of your life.” Legal-Needle81

Another User Comments: 


But your partner’s mom is and your partner DEFINITELY is. Why would you want to be with someone who allows anyone to talk to you like that???? He should be defending you and telling his mom to stop.

He isn’t doing this. He offers you NO support and he in fact seems to join in. Why do you allow yourself to be treated like this? You need to recognize your inherent worth and LEAVE HIM and find someone who treats you with the love and respect you deserve.” jennifersb66

4 points (4 votes)

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mima 4 months ago
Why don't you have some self respect and leave him?
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10. AITJ For Leaving My Brother's Wedding Early?


“My (23F) older brother (26M) recently married a girl that mistreated me in high school (24F). I was friends with her from the ages of 10-16 and then when my mental health got bad and I was no longer fun to be around, my friend group shunned and ridiculed me, including her.

My brother and I are not close because we cannot get along, mainly because of her. When he invited me, he said he was ‘extending an olive branch’. Apparently getting married had given him a new appreciation for family and since I’m his only full sibling (we have a ton of half-siblings), he wanted to fix his relationship with me.

During my brother’s wedding planning process, whenever I attended an event like the cake tasting or rehearsal dinner, my brother’s then-fiancée and her friends (my old friends) would make fun of me.

I have severe issues with self-esteem and anxiety, and they’d sit there and whisper about me. They’d criticize my hair, makeup, or clothing. I literally felt like I was back in high school.

I still went to the wedding (yes, I know I’m an idiot) and I wore a dress that showed my forearms. I have scars on them. They’re faded and healed, but some are prominent and raised.

I covered most with make-up, and I just hoped that everyone there would be courteous and ignore them. I was wrong. I sat at a big table with my family and my brother’s in-laws, and her friends.

I noticed one of them pointing at my arms, and then my brother’s MIL was suddenly offering (practically forcing) me a shawl to wear. That was my final straw for the night, so I handed my little sister that I was babysitting to a cousin, and I left.

I went home, cried, and then took a nap. I was only there as a guest and I wasn’t driving anyone home, so I thought no one would be inconvenienced by my leaving.

I awoke to over 100 missed calls and texts from various family members demanding to know where I was. Turns out, they had decided to take some family photos and no one knew where I had gone.

These photos were unplanned. I tried to lie and say I felt like I was going to faint so I left because I didn’t want to ruin the wedding, but somehow my brother found out about his MIL forcing me to wear a shawl and he tried to kick her out.

He then got into an argument with his wife, and he left the wedding for around thirty minutes and our dad had to go and track him down. My dad said the wedding wasn’t ruined because my brother eventually returned and everyone still got on the dance floor and had fun, but a scene was definitely caused.

I’m being blamed for this by my brother’s wife, her family, and the majority of my own family. According to them, I’m a massive jerk for leaving without telling anyone and I caused a disagreement between a newly married couple.


Another User Comments:

“NTJ. You handled a difficult situation in the least disruptive way you could think of: you didn’t demand that your brother (or anyone else) stop focusing on the wedding in order to help you, you didn’t yell, you didn’t even have a fight, and you didn’t skip out on any planned activities that you had agreed to do.

It’s ironic that they are claiming your absence created a scene when your actions were exactly the opposite of creating a scene.

Anyone who criticizes you should be told, “I was being actively harassed.

I left as quietly as possible to avoid making a scene. What exactly do you think I should have done instead, yell at my tormentors? And for the record, I didn’t ’cause a disagreement’ between my brother and his wife: they had a disagreement because she believes it’s perfectly okay to harass and mistreat people, and he doesn’t.”

And I just want to point out something: your brother cared enough about you that, when he heard what his MIL did, he understood that it was a form of mistreatment of you, he tried to kick her out, he fought with his brand-new bride and he left his own wedding to go after you.

I realize it is small consolation, especially given how appallingly unsupportive the majority of your family is, but it sounds like your brother deeply cares about you.” DinaFelice

Another User Comments:


Your family is blaming the victim in this case.

You decided to leave quietly, without fanfare.

Your brother is to blame for his own emotions, not you. The bride and the friends all indirectly contributed to creating an uncomfortable environment and bearing responsibility because they haven’t yet developed adult maturity to leave this HS attitude in the past.

Maybe MIL was trying to act sympathetically to you and unknowingly exacerbated the situation. In the end, your brother allowed his emotions to overwhelm his sense of responsibility.

He may have had good intentions, but it’s easy to imagine that he created unreasonable expectations for you to be comfortable in an uncomfortable environment.

You found yourself in an intolerable situation and exited quietly.

You couldn’t have done anything else better. You fulfilled your obligation by attending. You left the wedding party to enjoy the festivities without bother. Your brother loses his cool over a few inconsequential photos.

He demanded your appearance. Both he and his bride could have taken measures to accommodate your discomfort.

It may seem like a big deal today, but over time it will fade into nothing.

Just remember you have no burden to bear here.” bolshoich

Another User Comments:

“NTJ. Seems like your brother really should have chosen a nicer partner, and I’m sorry for the obvious issues this has caused you.

Your family is mostly being unreasonable; a courtesy text to someone saying you were taking off would have been nice, but you are an adult, and it’s not your responsibility to let others track your movements.” AnonymousWritings

4 points (4 votes)

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Grish 4 months ago
He couldn’t have avoided the science because he chose to marry a person with that kind of character. You could have made things a lot more volatile, but instead you chose to be mature, inconvenienced no one, and left quietly. I would however speak frankly with your brother about his new wife and her friends behavior, so that he understands your choices in the future as I imagine you will want to avoid her as much as possible. NTJ
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9. AITJ For Not Letting My Sister Straighten My Son's Hair?


“I (26M) am a single father to my son (4M). My son has the most beautiful curly hair ever that he inherited from his mother who is afro-Latina. I am white.

My family all has straight hair except my mother who has curls too. Hers are way looser than my son’s though so she doesn’t really know what to do with his hair.

He’s very tender headed so we usually keep it short. For the past few months, he’s refused to get his hair cut. I thought he was getting nervous because the barber’s is usually packed but I tried to do it at home and he freaked out so now his hair is about chin length.

I’ve taken some classes and used YouTube to care for it and he loves his hairstyles. My partner (22F) is black and she helps me with his hair too.

I recently had to work late and my sister (32F) was the only available person to watch him.

She was taking her family to the zoo so my son was going along with them.

When I picked my son up, his hair was straightened. I have never used heat on his hair besides a blow dryer (with a diffuser) and I immediately freaked out.

I asked my sister what happened and she said that she tried to brush his hair before they went out and it looked ‘messy’ so she straightened it. I have made it clear before that no one can brush my boy’s hair but me and my mother and heat is not allowed.

She said she forgot she couldn’t brush it and she didn’t want him outside looking messy. I told her she should’ve just tied his hair up in a ponytail or bun after that.

We ended up arguing and I took my son and left. My son was very upset and I had to call my partner for advice. She came over and we managed to revert his curls with minimal damage.

Now, my sister and her husband are demanding that I apologize. They’re saying that I had no right to fight with them after they babysat my son and took him out.

I honestly don’t know if they’re right or wrong because I’ve asked 10 people for their opinions (majority family) and they’re spilt 50/50 on my side or hers. Everyone who agrees with her is saying that I should’ve reminded her of what to do with my son’s hair when I dropped him off because I shouldn’t have expected a white lady with white kids to know any better.

My son’s hair was in cute finger coils done by my partner when I dropped him off.


Another User Comments:


So imagine if a blond kid was dropped off and came back with brown hair cause the family thought that blond hair looked thin and brown would look thicker.

That is a similar level of crazy to what went down here.

There is no reason to freak out over a 4yo having messy hair, or to change their hair because it’s messy – that does not impede trips out of the house.

A 4yo is fine to go out of the house as long as they are reasonably clean and clothed. That’s it. Hair styling is 100% optional.

Your sister was WAY out of line.” thirdtryisthecharm

Another User Comments:


Possibly no jerks here if your sister TRULY forgot but somehow I doubt she did. You have to actively TRY to forget what your sibling is telling you about caring for their kid to forget it.

Start interviewing for babysitters you can rely on in an emergency situation. Line up several possibilities to protect against being unavailable, and make sure they know during the interview process that they are not to do anything more with your son’s hair beyond tying it back.

No heat treatment of any kind whatsoever.

Usually with curls, once you wash it with shampoo and conditioner, the curls come back after you dry it.

I have naturally curly hair and depending on how long I have it, I wear it both ways.

I straighten my hair with a straightener. Once I wash it, the curls are always back.” jammy913

Another User Comments:


Former cosmetology student here. Just so you know many hair types among people of color are coarse and easily susceptible to lifelong damage if poorly cared for and treated.

Straightening his hair was one of the worst possible outcomes when done by someone unfamiliar with people of color and their hair needs.

Have your son wrap his hair with oil. There are various treatments but you’re gonna need to condition it asap because unfortunately, a ton of hair is going to break off over the next few weeks because of her.

I have seen people’s hair fall entirely out to stumps from poor straightening.

I’ve seen irreparable burn patches on the scalp (not skin burns, patches where hair comes in roasted before growing and just breaks), balding and worse. This is why women of color can get intense about their hair and why they’re so touchy about anyone fussing with it.

It can take YEARS for the hair to recover and sometimes it’s never the same.” snailranchero

4 points (4 votes)

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StumpyOne 3 months ago
NTJ. She changed a child to meet her idea of normal, instead of accepting him as is.
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8. AITJ For Telling My Partner To Get Rid Of His Dog?


“We are both 26. Just for background, I have been telling him to rehome the dog for months. He brought the dog home 4 months ago. His mother “gifted” him the dog behind my back and I knew for an absolute fact that we were not in a spot financially to care for this animal.

He refused, saying he was already attached to the dog and she was “too cute” to rehome and he felt like he couldn’t rehome the dog due to the number of funds his mother spent on the dog for him ($1200).

This is a dog breed he has been wanting for as long as I’ve known him.

Anyways, it started getting incredibly frustrating recently because the dog, who is 2 years old, has behavioral and medical issues and we are now in debt.

We are almost $200 overdrawn in our bank account due to an unexpected trip to the emergency vet (I told him not to bring her and that she was fine – he brought her anyways).

$650 later and overdrafting our account, the vet told him the dog was fine. So he over-drafted our account knowing that neither of us gets paid until next week to make sure his dog was okay.

We have no food in the house and now can’t afford gas to get to work. My boss was lenient enough to let me work from home but my husband has to be in the office.

His boss knows we are struggling and is super generous and actually bought both me and my husband food today. They came to drop it off with me at noon. When I tell you I was drooling thinking about eating for the first time in two days, it would be an understatement.

Just note that the dog has plenty of food.

So they bring the food over and come inside and put it on the table. I go to hug my husband and his boss saying thank you and that dog got up on my table, knocked the food down, and wolfed it down in point two seconds flat.

I immediately started crying and telling him to get the dog out of here and I was done. Oddly enough, his boss is on my side (not only because of the financial burden but because he knows I’m spiraling from the stress of this).

My husband on the other hand is telling me I’m being overdramatic and not thinking clearly because I’m hungry and says not only am I “incredibly selfish and inconsiderate” but he won’t rehome her.


Another User Comments:

“IF this is true, and I really hope it isn’t because… I can feel my hope in humanity dwindle, then I know how to ease your financial burden: Lose the freaking husband! Girl, you have gone hungry for two days and he doesn’t care! He lets you starve while he proudly watches as his dog jumps on the table and eats your food!

My god, this is just mental.

Why are you hesitating? You deserve someone who loves you and cares about you. NTJ jeez, that shouldn’t even need to be said…” waterfall_blue

Another User Comments:


Sorry, but no dog is worth going into debt over, having to go hungry, or not being able to work because you cannot pay for gas to actually get to work.

If I were your husband, I would have been mortified that my boss dropped by to bring me food.

Your husband is not only absolutely irresponsible but he’s also clearly showing you that he prioritizes this dog over you, therefore you might want to reevaluate your marriage.” Temporary-Deer-6942 

Another User Comments:


Dogs are expensive but so worth it when you can actually afford them. Honestly, I’d recommend dividing finances since he’s going overboard with spending $$ that can be used elsewhere; a $120-140 bag of dog food is really expensive & unless the dog is allergic, there’s no reason for the food to be that expensive.

Dogs will eat their food when they’re hungry, regardless if they like it or not; they’ll always eat human food though even if it makes them sick for days. Stop depositing $$ into the shared account until 3 days before a shared expense is due then transfer your portion. You shouldn’t have to go without because your husband is unnecessarily blowing through income.” Few-Entrepreneur383

3 points (5 votes)

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Pcogale 4 months ago
NTJ - his mother needs to fund this dog or it needs to stay at her house and he can go an visit it.

I would look at separating your bank accounts. Especially if you both earn something similar. You each pay half of the bills. The expense of the dog comes out of his account... but I suspect this won't work because he won't have the money to pay for his half as it's going on the dog.

For the moment, you probably both need a break. He needs to go and spend some time at his mom's or you need to go and spend a few days at your friends place (a hotel room is probably out of the question - or go to your parents if they live closeby). This may be a wake up call for him.

His mother planned this. Is she a narcissist? Is she always doing stuff like this. Looks like she's being helpful but she's actually manipulating the situation and making things worse for you.
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7. AITJ For Telling My Father To Stop Having Kids?


“I (20f) am the second eldest daughter of my father. I have an older sister Vel (23f), a younger sister Iza (14f), a younger half-brother Tae (3m), and a younger half-sister Jezlyn (nearly 2f).

There are also my step-siblings, Jinhae and Heejin (9m & 8f).

My father recently told us that his wife is pregnant again. When we weren’t enthusiastic about it, he got upset and said we should be excited about another sibling.

I said that another sibling just means more babysitting for us and that it isn’t fair on us. If he wants a lot of kids, he needs to be at home a lot more than he is and needs to put his children first.

He’s his own boss and he can choose what hours he works, so he has no excuse to never be home. If he is home, he’s mostly doing the devil’s tango with our stepmother.

Vel and I have always been expected to be babysitters. However, due to my job, I travel for work quite often so it usually falls on Vel. Vel is 8 months pregnant with her own second child and is already raising her own 3-year-old.

He said that he works to provide for us and I said that’s fine, but he needs to be at home more. He doesn’t need to stop working, but he needs to be at home more.

I said I’m fine providing for our family as I have income, so long as it means he was home more because we would rather not be babysitters.

He said that it’s selfish to not want to help out around the family.

I lost my temper and said he was the selfish one by having so many kids and expecting his eldest to just babysit despite us both having kids ourselves. He said we’re choosing to take care of them to which I replied we really had no choice because he was basically forcing us to take care of them, and if we didn’t they’d end up neglected.

My sister literally has no life of her own because of this – she can’t get a job because she can’t be away from our siblings whilst I’m away for work, otherwise they get neglected.

She can’t have a social life for the same reason. She can barely even see her friends.

Our stepmother tries when our father is at work, but she’s really struggling with depression, disability, and a custody battle with her ex over their two kids so she needs our help.

We’re happy to help her because she genuinely is struggling but is trying her best, he’s just not trying. I said he needs to stop having kids until he can man up and raise them properly.

He said he does his best and that I’m an ungrateful jerk and that I should start looking for my own place because he’s sick of my attitude.


Another User Comments:


Move out.

Get your own life. And when your father and stepmother can’t take care, it’s the right thing to call CPS (sorry).

Chances are high, that he will just keep on having more children, as long as you cover up.

And if you move out there is also a high risk that your younger siblings will have to take that responsibility, which actually is a form of mistreatment and neglect (and also what happened to you and your sister).

You are not really helping your siblings when you hold the status quo.

Get them real help and another chance.” nerdiesthomemaker82

Another User Comments:

“NTJ. What you describe is a man who has things his way and wants things his way. He doesn’t care about any of you.

This won’t change until you change. You need to leave. Your sister and your stepmom have to make their own choices. If they stick with him, this means doing things his way.

None of you should waste any time trying to change him or hoping he’ll change. It isn’t going to happen.” disruptionisbliss

Another User Comments:

“NTJ. You and Vel both need to give your dad a deadline.

You will no longer be helping out or living there by a certain date. Maybe you each offer ONE day per week with certain set hours where you will babysit, and only a few hours so stepmom can either rest or whatever.

I am not sure what disability she has, but if she cannot take care of her own children then she needs to stop having them as well. That is not all on your dad.

She knows her capabilities. I feel like (based on the names) you are not in the US. If you were I would let them sink or swim and then call CPS if the kids are being neglected.

Since you may not have that option, surely there are some relatives you can call to put pressure on him to step and care for his kids or at least hire a nanny.” Corduroycat1

3 points (3 votes)

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Pcogale 4 months ago
soft YTJ - your you're actually not.

You need to move out. Your much younger siblings are not your responsibility. They are their mothers and fathers.

Your older sister needs to move out too. Unfortunately your 14 year old sister will probably bear the brunt of baby sitting but that's not your problem and don't make it your problem. She can spend as much time with you as she can get away with (without the babies).

Your dad is using your accommodation to control you. And he sees it as fair - he funds, and you baby sit. You need to remove yourself. You aren't responsible for them.
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6. AITJ For Excluding My Stepkids?


“I married my wife Ella 3 years ago. We were both single parents when we met and we both had the same mindset when we met; the kids came first and we would do the best for them.

I share custody of my bio kids ages 13 and 12 with my ex-wife. Ella has primary custody of her kids and their father is not the most stable of parents.

Sometimes he will show up and be present before flaking again. It meant my relationship with them is a little unsettled. Sometimes they want me to be a dad and are glad to have me there, other times they just want their father and get uneasy about people assuming I’m their dad.

For the most part, our relationship is good though. My relationship with my bio kids has always been excellent too.

About a year ago my bio kids admitted to me that they wanted more time with just me.

That while they were fine with me being remarried (I had asked them how they felt about Ella and her kids when first started seeing each other and we communicated a lot before any next step was taken) they missed having me to themselves at times.

They missed that family feeling between the three of us. They admitted they would like that more than time as a whole family group. I did stuff with each individual kid but never thought to maybe do groups.

So I started doing just that. I take time with just my bio kids, I do the same with my stepkids, but I keep it separate outside of family time, and they still get that individual attention too.

The problem is Ella’s family does not like it. Ella herself had some sadness that my kids wanted it when her kids never mentioned wanting it. But she also understood and agreed it was the right thing to do.

My stepkids have been disappointed a few times when it was just me and my bios. Either they wanted to spend more time with my kids, who they fully see as siblings, or they wanted to have that more full family feeling.

We spoke to them. It did help. There was still disappointment a couple of times after the discussion. My in-laws see that as a problem. They have told me I am showing my stepkids that my bios are more important and that I am not going to be the father they need.

We then found out my stepkids had been talking to their grandparents about their feelings since we’d had the talk with them, and saying things they were not telling Ella or me.

They seem to feel conflicted because sometimes they hate the distinction between bio and step and other times they want it. They also confessed they get sad that my bio kids always use step.

So it’s been a mess. I told my in-laws that it’s important each kid gets their time. They asked me why, and whether I’m reinforcing a distance between my bio kids and the rest of the family.

They told me my kids will never truly accept them as a family if they are allowed to hog me and that I am doing so and intentionally hurting them, which makes me not a very good father or stepfather.


Another User Comments:


You need to respectfully ask the in-laws to mind their business. They are encouraging their grandchildren’s insecurities.

Every child deserves to have special time with their parent, step or otherwise.

Your children expressed their need to have bio-family time just with you and you realized how important that was for them. That’s when your wife and in-laws need to have special bio-family time with their kids.

Then you all get together. It’s not rocket science.

Keep being the great dad, partner, and step-parent you are. Your wife needs to be with you 100% here and deal with her family’s insecure attitudes.

They are simply wrong.” AggravatingPatient18

Another User Comments:


Sounds like you are caught in a tough spot and are just trying to do the best that you can. There’s no pleasing everyone here.

If you insist on more family time like your in-laws are suggesting when your bio kids have been very explicit about not wanting that, it won’t work the way your in-laws expect it to.

Your bio-kids will grow resentful of their step-sibs and in 10 years, they will be here on AITJ posting about how they don’t want their step-sibs at their weddings or some other big life event (I have read a few posts like that).

Forcing more blended family time with your bio-kids (instead of just the 3 of you) might create more distance with their step-sibs rather than bring them closer. I also get where Ella, her bio-kids, and the in-laws are coming from.

With a flaky bio-dad in the picture, they are counting on you to fill that hole and make up for his failures.

Have you tried family therapy?” solo_throwaway254247

Another User Comments:

“NTJ, I was going to go with no jerks here but your in-laws are overstepping and way out of bounds.

Don’t listen to them saying you’re being a bad father or stepfather because you are actually an amazing Dad/Step Dad.

Also, I want to give you and your wife kudos for how you’re handling a blended family, you’re killing it.

I love that you break down the groups, and still have individual time and family time. It sounds great for the kids so they can bond as a family, bond individually with you or your wife, and also have sibling bonding time with the parent.

It does sound exhausting for you and your wife but it’s been working. Regarding stepkids when you Group with them and individual time is the equivalent like with bio children. Do the same amount of activities with both your bio and stepkids.

That way they’re not jealous that this group or this one got more. Do your children want to bond time with your wife like you do with stepkids? Do the stepkids get their mom to themselves as well? If possible I would have your wife do what you do in each group separately so that when you have your kids she had hers, and vice versa.

Do the same amount of individual time between everyone and still do family time.

With stepkids not liking that your kids feel like stepsiblings, there isn’t a lot you can do. Your kids feel the way they do and stepkids are going to feel their way too.

Maybe put stepkids in therapy especially to address their absentee father that could be why they’re clinging to your kids. If your kids are older and you do end up doing family therapy maybe have the therapist explain to them how stepkid’s Dad is and how they cling to you and the kids but don’t force just explain.” Safe_Potato_7000

Another User Comments:

“No jerks here.

Growing up when your parents have divorced is hard. Some children, especially if they are a bit more grown up, find it difficult to adjust to all the changes that are suddenly thrown their way.

It seems like you maintain a good dialogue between your bio kids, stepkids, and your partner.

My only advice would be to continue to maintain this communication and hopefully, things will be more settled over time.

I can understand why your bio kids would want more one-on-one time with just you, and I can understand why your stepkids want to be involved as well.

There are a lot of insecurities being a child with divorced parents, as it’s difficult sometimes to know where you stand and feel like you “belong”. At least, that’s how I felt as a kid when my parents divorced and remarried. There are a lot of complex feelings that both your bio kids and stepkids are going through, all you can do is your best to support them.” _winkingskeever

3 points (3 votes)

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Truevirgo 2 months ago
You keep being that amazing father the kids all of them will respect love and appreciate you when they get older
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5. AITJ For Asking My Friend To Wake Up Earlier On Our Vacation?


“I’m currently on holiday with a friend who likes to sleep in late – like, until noon or 1 pm. In contrast, I’m a very early-morning person. Normally, when we travel together this isn’t a big deal, as we’ve always stayed in hotels in separate rooms, so I’ve just done my own thing in the morning and we’ve met up at lunchtime.

This time, we’re staying in an Airbnb and they’ve only left us one set of keys (and they don’t have another, I’ve checked), and the front door of the flat will only close from the outside with a key (there’s no handle, you have to put the key in the lock and pull it closed).

This means that if I want to go out in the morning, I have to take the only set of keys with me and essentially lock my friend in (she can get out in an emergency, but she can’t close the door behind her if you see what I mean).

My friend’s not happy about this because yesterday I was out until noon, she got up at ten and was sitting around bored, unable to go anywhere until I got back.

I did head back to the flat when she messaged me that she was up, but I was on the other side of the city at a museum so it took me a couple of hours.

I did tell her the night before that I was going out, and she said she didn’t mind, but I think waiting around being bored annoyed her a bit.

As a compromise, I said that maybe she could get up earlier (about 8/9 am ish) to let me out of the flat and then go back to bed – that way, she’s got the keys if she wants to go out before I get back at lunchtime.

She’s not happy about this as she hates being woken up, and she thinks I should just hang around the flat until she gets up and she’ll “try to get up earlier” (so far on this trip she’s been getting up at noon).

Am I being unreasonable to say that I’m not going to sit around all morning waiting and that if she doesn’t want me to wake her up to let me out, then it’s kind of fair that I take the keys with me so I can go out in the morning?”

Another User Comments:

“Ntj – your friend doesn’t like waiting around for you if you’re out and about before they get up but expects you to wait for them while they sleep in.

Your compromise is very reasonable, and other than paying for a key to be made seems to be the only solution.” togocann49

Another User Comments:

“NTJ – I sleep in till noon all the time but it isn’t difficult to get up a little earlier.

She’s being unreasonable whereas you’ve just tried to make it fair for the both of you. Neither of you should have to sit around waiting and your compromise was a pretty good idea especially since she can just go back to bed if she wants.

Maybe just see if you can figure out a time for both of you to get up, set an alarm, or something. Hopefully, she can get over herself so the both of you can enjoy your vacation.” nexus-tibbies

Another User Comments:

“I would have gone with no jerks here until she started demanding that you sit, bored, with nothing to do, waiting for her to get up.

That is an AGONIZING way to spend a morning! I remember doing it on a few vacations with family. EWW!!!

NTJ. Hopefully, you can find a compromise you both can live with and get back to enjoying your vacation.

Another commenter proposed 2 valid options:

  1. She gets up for 5 minutes when you’re leaving to let you out; and gets the keys.

  2. You set a fixed gather time that you will be back, with the keys, to either be let out by her or to depart together.

    (Again – should have a fixed period of time where you have to be there if she decides to go back to bed… or not get up).” Kitchen-Arm-3288

Another User Comments:

“No jerks here.

This stinks.

Nobody is the bad guy here. You just have different sleep patterns and a really strange house lock setup situation.

You tried to come up with a compromise, but she’s not really budging is she? Is coming back at 11:30a unreasonable?

Either way sounds like you know where the housing limitations are for future trips since you do travel so well together typically, but for now, you two will have to just muddle through. There aren’t very many elegant solutions.” fzooey78

2 points (2 votes)

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Morning 4 months ago
Sooooo. Go to a hardware store and make a second set of keys.
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4. AITJ For Telling My Friend It's Her Fault She is Single?


“My friend Layla (27f) goes out with a lot of people. In the eight months I’ve known her I’d say she sees an average of two new men per week. She doesn’t usually get follow-up texts.

To be honest, her pictures on social media are heavily filtered and only show her face. It’s a military town so there are plenty of young single guys to pick from.

I like having Layla as a friend, she’s nice to go out to bars with or try new restaurants with, but as a bisexual woman, I would never pursue her if I was single.

She doesn’t really put any effort into her appearance, she’s awful at texting, and she doesn’t really have any passions or hobbies. I’ve seen her messages to these guys she talks to, she gives them one-word responses or only talks about herself.

I guess they probably hold out hope and go out but then her pictures are deceptive and she always insists they pay.

Recently she complained to me about how no one ever asks her out again, and how no decent guys in this town want a relationship.

I tried to be polite but said that it was not true, there are plenty of decent guys in this town. She then asked why none of them want to go out with her.

I was honest. I said that her pictures don’t really reflect what she looks like, and in her texts with these guys, she doesn’t really ask them anything about themselves. I also mentioned how it’s 2022 and most younger guys in our town probably don’t like you demanding they pay, especially when you order nice food and multiple drinks.

Layla is now not talking to me, and my husband who doesn’t like her said good riddance and all that. I tried to apologize for hurting her feelings, but she wouldn’t have it and I’m wondering if I was completely in the wrong or what.

AITJ for being honest about her life?”

Another User Comments:

“NTJ – You were being honest, but as polite as possible about it. That’s what friends do for each other, tell the truth.

If she doesn’t want to change her behavior or accept the truth and would rather lash out at you over her insecurities that’s her problem to deal with, not yours. Hopefully, she’ll come to her senses and realize she may need to change her attitude if she wants a partner.” SimplyMichi

Another User Comments:


Honesty without compassion is cruelty.

Do you think she doesn’t know she heavily filters her pictures? Sounds like a person that’s insecure about their appearance.

Why they don’t reach out again – did you do post-Mortem interviews with these guys to find out why or are you projecting your own judgment and using this opportunity to take her down a peg where you think she belongs?

I think you were not a great friend to someone who’s insecure about themselves and is struggling in their love life.

Here’s the thing – I have done the very thing you did, and couldn’t understand for the longest time why someone would be upset with me for answering their question honestly.

It wasn’t till I reflected on my own shortcomings did I realize what I lacked was compassion, and being less critical… because frankly, that’s how I was treated – so it’s okay right? But what if we tried to be better and kinder than what we got from others?” Alwayscold_Ola

Another User Comments:

“I’m going to say NTJ, but maybe if a similar situation comes up in the future I’d handle it a bit differently.

You’re right that it’s very entitled and not a good look to expect men to pay for her just because they’re men, you’re right that one-word texts are impossible to answer, and carrying a one-sided conversation is awful.

And, come to think of it—why is she waiting to be asked out? Does she ever invite the guy out?

But…I know she asked, but you might not have been the right person to tell her this.

It doesn’t sound like y’all have a super close relationship, and the way you speak about her shows a certain amount of disdain (she has no hobbies, she makes no effort with her appearance, and she’s awful to text).

She was probably just looking for validation and someone to gas her up, rather than advice or feedback. It’s one of those situations where she shouldn’t have asked a question she didn’t want the answer to, and you could’ve been more tactful or just said “I don’t know.” But tbh I agree with your husband—life is too short to hold onto friendships you’re lukewarm about. You haven’t irreparably wounded her, she’ll get over it. Just let her go.” nefarious_planet

2 points (2 votes)

3. AITJ For Asking About My Co-Worker's Daughter?


“My co-worker has a daughter who has a bit of fame, she’s not a celebrity or anything but she is “public”, to give an idea, she’s verified on Twitter and has a Wikipedia page, albeit small and outdated by a couple of years.

I find her very interesting and entertaining and occasionally check on her socials to see what she’s up to. I ask him about her sometimes as well and he sometimes tells little stories about her.

He and his wife divorced when she was 18. On her social accounts, I’ve noticed she only has 3 posts in total about her Dad, one in 2020 for his birthday, one in 2019 which was a photo with him and her brother on father’s day, and one in 2016 I think on his birthday too which was an old photo when she was a child.

Her mum (who still has my co-worker’s surname) has a lot more photos and posts about her and is definitely a lot more affectionate to her too.

Additionally, she also uses on her socials her stage surname rather than her actual surname (aka his).

I felt like I could trust asking him how things are between him and her (and his son too), he’s asked me very personal questions about my divorce in the past and I’ve worked with him for quite a while and am on pretty good terms with him as a work partner and friend.

We spoke for a bit until I asked why he doesn’t appear in any photos on her accounts, he sarcastically replied he was camera shy. I said fair enough. I then asked why she likes using the stage name on her socials (it’s also the surname I think of a family that is close to her/her family) and he replied that he “doesn’t really know” (he sounded like a mix of sarcastic, angry and disinterested).

I asked a few more questions, but he didn’t really seem interested in answering, I could tell he was getting a bit annoyed so I stopped.

The next day, I arrive at work and he pretty much is ghosting and ignoring me.

I don’t think much of it until later that day when the boss comes and takes me aside and gives me a warning. Apparently, I was asking him “provocative” and “harassing” questions, despite him not looking too bothered when I asked them.

I go and try to talk to him and he just tells me to leave him alone and walks away.

This nonsense reminds me of something someone in primary school would do.

I’ve tried to contact him and nothing and I’m very annoyed at the moment and want to know did I do anything wrong?”

Another User Comments:


I got creeped out reading this post.

If you’re going to ask personal questions at work (and 99% of the time you shouldn’t), you have to be able to quickly and accurately be able to pick up on the verbal and physical signs that your questions aren’t welcome.

On top of being really intrusive into his personal life, your interest in his daughter seems over-the-top…the details you rattle off about her are just too much.

This guy just wants to work, not air out the whole history of his relationship with his daughter.

He’s probably also trying to protect her from people who think she’s public property because she has some prominence. That’s you. He’s protecting her from people like you who make people feel unsafe online.” madelinegumbo

Another User Comments:


You asked incredibly invasive and personal questions about an extremely sensitive topic.

You literally asked a guy why his kid doesn’t love them as much as their ex and how they feel about it and used the fact that he kept his temper as an excuse to ask even more invasive questions.

You researched every example of exclusion and favoritism for multiple years and threw it in his face with questions framed to make the situation about his relationship with his kid as though it meant nothing more than the latest episode of a sitcom you both enjoy.

And now you’re blaming him for primary school drama because he doesn’t want anything to do with you? Most 6-year-olds have enough empathy to understand why what you did is cruel.

When faced with a threat, people often fight, flee, freeze, or appease the aggressor.

This guy initially chose a combo of freeze and appease to get you to go away and stop unacceptable behavior. Probably because fighting in the workplace would get him fired.

And you assumed that meant everything was fine and doubled down.

Leave him alone.” Reddit User

Another User Comments:


I imagine from your perspective these seemed like harmless questions, but from his perspective, they may have felt like probing questions about the state of his relationship with his daughter, which isn’t really an appropriate topic for a work acquaintance.

You mentioned that he had asked you personal questions about your divorce, and I can see why you may have taken that as an indicator that you were free to reciprocate, but that isn’t necessarily a reliable way to determine someone’s comfort level with what they consider private themselves.

Plus, your pointed interest in his daughter, rather than in him may have been a factor too. (It’s a bit creepy to know your coworker is following your kid’s socials to the point where they are commenting to you on patterns they’ve noticed.)” cheekmo_52

Another User Comments:


You stopped when you saw that he was bothered by the questions. He asked you personal questions with no issue. If he doesn’t want someone asking him about his personal life, he shouldn’t be asking anyone else about theirs! And instead of using his words to say that he didn’t feel comfortable speaking about her, he went and told management AFTER asking you personal questions. Just stay away from him. That solves the problem on both ends.” intelligent_nature00

1 points (3 votes)

2. AITJ For Complaining About My Husband's Work While He Was On The Phone With His Boss?


“My husband’s work schedule is 7 days on, 7 days off. I hate having him away that long and our kids look forward to his off week to have him home.

Unfortunately, his employers don’t share that sentiment and it’s not uncommon for them to call him on his off week to do a small job they can’t find anyone else for or go to a local yard to help prepare for a job.

He gets OT for these calls. He already makes a decent enough income but he says the extra helps give him wiggle room. His company is pretty good at getting him days off for important events in the kids’ lives and special days but I get fed up with him getting a call for one extra job every other time he’s home.

This past week was his off week. Lo and behold, Friday night he gets a call from his manager about going in on Sunday to do some prep for a job they’d be doing on Monday night.

I was mad and started to loudly complain while he was on the phone about how it’d be nice if he worked for a company that wanted their employees to see their families as much as possible.

I went on that I didn’t need my husband home to watch the kids so I could go out with my friends that afternoon and that obviously dinner and a movie as a family that night wasn’t nearly as important as whatever his company needed and couldn’t wait until his actual work week started.

I unloaded pretty much every grievance I have with his company.

He went outside to finish the call and when he came back in he told me he got taken off that job and put on another one that starts later in the week.

I thought that would be a good thing and make him happy but he said no because he lost a good bonus ticket and will barely make his hours losing those two days.

He said we’ve had this conversation before and if I want to continue being a stay-at-home mom then that means he has to work the hours he does just to break even and every extra hour he can pick up helps.

I don’t think I did anything wrong though because what wife doesn’t want her husband home as much as possible? Not to mention his job should be mindful that he’s a father and should be a father first, their employee second.


Another User Comments: 

“YTJ, 7 days off is a blessing that not many get. You can’t be unprofessional when talking to any employer like that and you made him look bad. You should have calmly talked to your husband about it when he was done on the phone.

Also, if you just needed him to watch the kids so you can go see friends, how is that spending time with him? If he is the only source of income for your family you need to allow him to work whenever it is available to him.” CoolSummerBreeze420

Another User Comments: 


I would be mortified if my partner started complaining loudly while I was speaking to my manager on the phone the way you did.

You’ve got to remember that it is HIM talking the calls on HIS week off.

Just because he is your husband and a father doesn’t mean that week still doesn’t belong to him. If he’s still spending time with you as a family, this shouldn’t be an issue since he’s working his butt off to support you as a stay-at-home mom.

If you can’t accept that, get a job and help him pay the bills.” rrredandyellow

Another User Comments: 


You can’t take it into your own hands to control his work schedule with his boss.

You need to talk to your husband and HE needs to communicate with his boss.

It sounds like your husband has already been clear with you that your decision not to work is why he has to work long hours.

So you had discussed this but chose to go over his head and talk to his boss, sidelining your husband.

If you’ve written exactly what he told you about why he works so many hours, it really sounds like he is getting sick of having to work so much and having to hear you complain.

You can’t have your cake and eat it.

You can either work and have your husband home more or not work and deal with him being gone. This poor man is stuck and the pressure you’re exerting can’t be making his life easy. Think it over.” Reddit User

1 points (3 votes)

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ang 4 months ago
YTJ You could have gotten your husband fired.
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1. AITJ For Asking My Brother's Ex To Be A Bridesmaid?


“My (f25) brother Mike (m29) started going out with Grace (f30) in HS and their relationship has been on and off. They would officially go out for a few months, break up, get back together, and so on and so forth for the last 10+ years.

Even while “broken up” they still do everything together like come to family events, Christmas, go on vacations, etc. However, they both see other people during their “break ups.” Their relationship is the textbook definition of “it’s complicated.”

Grace and I are extremely close since I’ve known her for so long and she feels like a sister to me.

My fiancé (m28) and I are getting married in July 2023. Grace and Mike broke up again 3 months ago. Mike has been seeing a new girl Sara (f28) for 2 months.

I really want Grace to be a bridesmaid at my wedding since she’s one of my closest friends and my bridal party would feel incomplete without her. I talked to both Grace and Mike about it individually and they’re both really excited for her to be a bridesmaid.

Mike told me he’ll be bringing Sara as his +1 “if they’re still together by then.” (his own words.) Everybody is cool with this arrangement. Except for Sara.

I’ve never met Sara cause we just haven’t been introduced yet but I had nothing against her until this.

She found me on social media and sent me a message. She was furious. She said that having Grace as a bridesmaid would be “in poor taste” and that it would send the wrong message since Sara herself is “reduced to nothing but Mike’s +1.” She said it seems like Grace is more part of the family than she is.

I pointed out that Grace is my close friend and Sara only just started going out with Mike. She said since Grace is an ex then that friendship needs to die.

I went off on her that she has no right to dictate my friendships or wedding choices since I’ve never even spoken to her prior to this convo and that being jealous and controlling isn’t a cute look.

I told her she’ll be lucky to even be a +1 at all cause there’s a good chance Mike will break it off with her before the wedding even rolls around.

She bombarded me with messages calling me names and that I’m being selfish for “purposefully excluding her in favor of Mike’s ex.” I screenshotted and sent them to Mike and he agreed she’s just being super jealous but to just ignore it cause she’ll get over it over time.

Friends and family are split. Some agree that it was a super controlling move on Sara’s part but others think she has the right to be wary of the situation and that I didn’t need to be rude.

My fiancé agrees that she’s super controlling and suggested rescinding her invitation, but ultimately I care about having my brother there so he can bring whoever he wants. Plus I highly doubt they’ll still be together by then anyway.

So AITJ for having Grace as a bridesmaid and for going off on Sara like that?”

Another User Comments:

“NTJ but wow what a mess.

Definitely, NTJ for making Grace your bridesmaid because you have a close relationship with her – to the point where it sounds like your friendship with her exists outside of and regardless of what her status with your brother is.

For going off on her – yeah, some of the things you said didn’t help the situation, but she initiated and escalated, also homegirl has literally never met you before and is making demands about your wedding party? Seems like Mike is doing nothing to calm her insecurities so she’s trying to take it out on you instead.” alrightkid

Another User Comments:

“You’re definitely NTJ, and not to say that Sara isn’t either (I mean, the AUDACITY to ask you to change up the wedding party after having literally never even spoken to you before), but going off of your responses here, your brother is the biggest jerk.

Not in this particular situation, but just in general. It honestly sounds like Grace cares more about him than the other way around; the fact that he’s upfront about not wanting anything serious with her doesn’t mean he’s not actively hurting her every time they get back together.

I may just be taking this too personally since I’ve been in a similar situation to Grace before, but my heart really hurts for this girl, and I feel like if you cared for her to any degree, you would encourage her to never get back together with him and find someone that’s going to both cherish her the way she deserves to be AND has the same end goal for their relationship.” hailznoel

Another User Comments:


Don’t invite that woman to your wedding, even if they are still together.

Everyone sounds like a huge mess except for you. I get that Sarah isn’t thrilled about the situation. She might be realizing she’s just a placeholder to be discarded whenever Mike and Grace temporarily get back together for another turn on the merry-go-round they call a relationship and Mike might not have been as upfront about that as you were led to believe (you have after all, never met Sarah so you aren’t privy to their conversations + asking her to be his +1 to his sister’s wedding a year from now sends mixed messages – quite far from being clear this is a fling).

But her reaction is unhinged and out-of-line. She is just Mike’s +1, that’s in no-way insulting. Grace is more connected to the family – as a long-term family friend – than her. And obviously, she absolutely can not dictate your friendships or wedding.

The way you went off on her, with the ‘jealously isn’t a cute look’ and ‘he’ll likely dump you’ comments, before she escalated, was excessive and immature. But it pales compared to her overreaction and initial entitlement, so that’s why I’m going with NTJ.

Sarah is. Like who does that? Mike also is for handwaving it away with “oh she’s just jealous”.

Her calling you names and harassing you is reason enough to withdraw her invitation.

You don’t want her drama and attitude at your wedding.

As an aside, having read your comments, I might try to talk to Grace to help her realize that she has no future with your brother and would benefit from actually moving on.

Might want to talk with your brother too but I wouldn’t be too hopeful given what you’ve told us about him.” No_regrats

Another User Comments:

“YTJ – I was with you till the “he will break up with you by then” dig – that was cruel and mean-spirited considering your major jerk brother is toying with this girl and wasting her time – having Grace around and your comments make it worse.” First-Butterscotch-3

-1 points (3 votes)

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Pcogale 4 months ago
NTJ - Sara's demand's are out of line. But you did inflame the situation with some of your comments.

But there are no winners here.

You also probably need to have a chat with Grace because your brother is not going to commit to her. If he was going to then he would've already. Sara probably knows that he'll be back with her when the relationship tanks but she's hoping it doesn't so she's doing what she can to stop him spending any time with her. Sara is out of line. It's your wedding and Grace is a long term friend.
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Sometimes it's obvious, other times it's not! You be the judge about who's the jerk! Upvote, downvote, and comment on your favorite stories by signing up for a Metaspoon account. Click Log In at the top right corner of this page to get started. (Note: Some stories have been shortened and modified for our audiences)