Navigating Family Boundaries – The Divorced Mom’s Dilemma

Diseased african american man with runny nose holding napkins

Divorce can be a painful and tumultuous journey, particularly when children are involved. Recently, a social media post ignited a passionate discussion about a single mother’s decision to refuse to pick up her ex-husband’s child from school. This seemingly straightforward scenario unravels a complex web of emotions, past betrayals, and parental responsibilities.

The original poster (OP) begins by sharing that she is a single mom with two boys, aged 11 and 10. OP and her husband divorced five years ago because the now ex-husband cheated on her. The divorce was particularly challenging because they had been together for over 13 years, initially as friends, before becoming a couple. OP’s world shattered when she learned about his affair and the subsequent pregnancy. Later, OP shared that her ex-husband married the woman he had an affair with, and they had two children, a daughter, and a son, after the divorce.

Last year, tragedy struck as they lost a child, revealing his wife’s cancer diagnosis. This led to heated arguments between the divorced couple. He asked for OP’s help, claiming his children (ages 5 and 3) needed more family support. His own family had cut ties due to religious reasons, and his wife had no family nearby. However, OP refused, citing his betrayal as the reason.

What OP didn’t expect was a call from her ex-husband’s daughter’s school when the girl got sick. He couldn’t leave work because he’d already missed much due to his wife’s illness. OP was asked to pick up the sick child but declined. This decision led to a fiery phone argument, where he accused OP of heartlessness. He even hoped their shared sons would be ashamed of her.

The original poster wonders if she’s in the wrong here and turns to the online community to seek advice on her complex situation.

Family Dynamics After Divorce

As OP’s post went live, a large number of online users shared their two cents on the post, with the majority rallying behind OP.

User wifeofamarriedman gets right to the point, expressing shock at the audacity of the ex-husband’s request. The user firmly believes that given his history of betrayal, OP is justified in her refusal.

“He has the nerve to try to manipulate you after cheating? Those aren’t your kids and not your problem. I also feel bad for the girl, but it’s his mess to solve. Give an inch, he’ll take a mile. Say no now to prevent future problems.”

Responsible-Event-93 condemns the ex-husband’s behavior, suggesting that he may be scheming for OP to become a mother figure to his kids in case his wife passes away. The user asserts that his actions are disgraceful and encourages OP to stand her ground, saying,

“He is lining you up to be a Mum to their kids after his wife dies. His behavior is disgusting. Stick to your guns.”

User JBB2002902 offers a practical solution, advising OP to contact the school directly. This way, OP can ensure her contact details are removed from records related to children who aren’t hers. This simple step can help her maintain clear boundaries and protect her emotional well-being.

LittelFoxicorn empathizes with OP’s situation, highlighting that she doesn’t owe her ex-husband anything after his betrayal. The commenter also questions why the ex-husband and his new wife can’t seek help from their own family, friends, or babysitters.

Finally, Wants_2_ helps introduce a psychological angle, suggesting that the ex-husband might be trying to reunite the family in the long run. The user theorizes that he’s pushing for a big family unit, especially for the children’s sake, once his wife is no longer in the picture.

The Verdict

In the midst of a tumultuous divorce, OP’s decision to decline her ex-husband’s request to pick up his sick daughter from school appears justifiable. The history of infidelity and emotional turmoil has understandably strained their relationship. The comments predominantly support OP’s stance, citing concerns of manipulation, ulterior motives, and the need for clear boundaries.

While empathy for the sick child is evident, the consensus leans toward the belief that the ex-husband should seek alternative support options, considering the complex history between him and the mother.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments. Do you think the OP from this social media post was wrong?

Featured Image Credit: AndrewLozovyi /

This article was originally published on Ash & Pri.

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Annika Stepanov

Annika is passionate about personal finance and travel, pouring her extensive experience into her writing on these topics. She has a diploma in Creative English Writing and has been working in the industry since 2016.