When we read the headline of a recent post on the “Am I The Asshole?” Reddit page, we had a sense of déjà vu. “WIBTA If I find my boyfriend’s estranged father?” the writer asked.
Now where have we heard that before? Oh right, it sounds like the plot of several made-for-TV movies. The ones where there’s a big brooding man with a heart of gold. He would get married and start a family if he wasn’t haunted by his past. A past that involves a dad who left him behind. And though it may seem important, that past is not something he wants to face.
He swears he doesn’t want to meet his dad, but the woman in his life knows it’s exactly what he needs. And so Nancy Drew sets off to find the man who made it so hard for her partner to trust anyone. The man who forced her partner to build a wall around his heart. If only the two could meet, everyone would be better off. If only the dad had a chance to tell his son he loves him and that he was wrong to leave, everything would be better. Everything would be fixed. Right? Right?! Well a woman on Reddit is basically trying to figure that out, and the internet is begging her to stop.
Here’s The Sitch
The woman in question has been dating her boyfriend (who she is calling “Tom”) for eight months now. Recently they had “the family conversation.” She explained that Tom’s mom died when he was a toddler, and his father couldn’t take care of him. He spent his childhood in foster care and hasn’t seen his dad since he was six years old.
“When I asked him why he hasn’t found out where his dad is since being an adult, Tom said he didn’t want to know and doesn’t care,” she wrote in her original post. “But I could see the sadness in his eyes, and I think he does want to know at the very least if his dad is still alive.”
She said that finding people is “what [she does] for a living,” which is vague and ominous. Is she a private investigator? A detective? A journalist? A social worker? A binocular manufacturer? A professional hide-and-seek player? A fact checker for Where’s Waldo?
“I have started researching from the very details I got from Tom and was planning to tell him once I got solid information,” she continued. “I had no intentions of contacting this man or telling him about Tom.”
This woman was feeling great about this investigation until her party pooper sister got involved. “I was talking to my older sister on the phone and when I mentioned how I was researching Tom’s biological father she called me an a—hole and said I was invading his privacy.”
How dare you, sister! How would you know? You didn’t see “the sadness in [Tom’s] eyes.” And so OP asked Reddit once again, would she be an a—hole if she goes through with this plan to find out if Tom’s father is still alive?
Stop right there! Tom made it very clear that he doesn’t want to know about his dad, and regardless of his reasoning (trauma, indifference, or otherwise), OP needs to close the file, hang up her trench coat, turn off the Hallmark Channel, and call it a day. Because no means no. Because she could ruin her relationship in an effort to form an unwanted relationship. And because, as one commenter put it, “[her] savior complex is going to hurt people.”
“I’ll never understand the thought process of people like this. ‘Hey, do you want me to do this thing?’ ‘Absolutely not!’ ‘Well, I know better!’” one Redditor said, and more than 700 others agreed.
And she should not take the “sadness in his eyes” to mean he secretly wants to contact his dad, one person said. Maybe it’s because he’s sad to have been abandoned by his dad, not because he wants to meet him. Or! And we may be going out on a limb here — maybe there was no sadness in his eyes. OP seems to have bad judgment about the situation, so why should we trust she has good judgment about the state of his emotions?
“And even if he does secretly want contact, it’s still up to him to say that,” a Redditor said. “OP needs to take her bf at his word.”
We tend to agree. In an emotional situation of this nature, her boyfriend and only her boyfriend should be the one to do the sleuthing, if he chooses to do so. OP’s heart is in the right place, but she should leave the detective work to the Hallmark movies.
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