It's not easy to be exes when you have a kid. Those relationships are often fraught, and the poor child ends up in the middle. It's one thing when you and your ex disagree about how to care for your kid, but it's another thing entirely when your ex refuses to share with the world that he even has a kid in the first place.
This post in Reddit's "AITA?" is really about a guy who became one thing in real life while purporting to be someone else entirely on social media. But it's the people in his real life who are most deeply affected by his choices. OP explains that she has a 5-year-old son named Alex with her ex, Josh. They split years ago when Alex was only a year old.
At the time, they agreed she would have primary custody of Alex, since Josh was moving in with a bunch of roommates. Josh would have Alex every other weekend. But that's not really what happened. While Josh did pay child support, he always had an excuse as to why he couldn't take Alex overnight. After a while, she gave up even asking. From the time Alex was 2 to the time he turned 4 — for two whole years — his dad didn't see Alex at all.
Then, last year, Josh changed. She writes, "his roommate situation changed, he distanced himself from his toxic friend group, and his parents were putting pressure on him," so he finally asked to have Alex one weekend a month. After some playdates to let them get to know each other, they went with that plan, and according to mom, "It's been great. Alex loves his dad and they have a great time together, and Josh expressed interest in having him over more weekends now." Seems like a good deal, right? Well, here's where it gets weird.
Mom writes that she checked Facebook in December and noticed Josh has been posting a lot of pictures of himself with Alex. But in those posts, he never calls Alex his son. He'll call him his "friend" or "his little buddy," but not once does he declare that he's Alex's dad. "Someone even asked who Alex was and he said, 'He's my little bud!'" she wrote.
Bizarre, right? Obviously, mom got upset. She believes she's been incredibly "chill" and understanding about this whole process, but she (rightly) thinks it's really awful Josh won't even admit he has a kid. So, the next time he posted, she commented on the post, saying, "I'm glad Alex is having a great time with his dad!"
Everyone on his page was in disbelief to learn he had a kid, confirming her suspicions. Apparently, he never mentioned to any of his friends that Alex was his. Josh was furious with her, and her own sister even said she was being "petty." Sure, maybe she should have confronted Josh in person before posting their issues to social media, but it seems like she has spent so much time being the bigger person in this scenario that she eventually snapped. And I, for one, don't blame her.
In an edit to her original post, she explains — bafflingly — that Alex wasn't the result of an accidental pregnancy. He was a planned baby! Yet Josh still refused to acknowledge he has a child on social media. There's something really weird going on here.
It's kind of insane that in all 9 months of her pregnancy and then throughout the first 5 years of his son's life — a son he was supposedly ready and excited for — he never once mentioned him on social media. Some people aren't big on social media, and that's fine. But Josh clearly is, to the point where he was posting pictures of his son. Just without admitting to their relationship.
Most commenters agreed OP wasn't wrong for outing Alex's dad on Facebook. It may have been petty, but what Josh was doing was so strange and he shouldn't get away with it. Also, it's plausible that she "innocently" mentioned Josh being Alex's dad, and didn't realize he had never mentioned it before. Because it would be weird that he didn't, right? If she played it up that way, it would seem totally justified, too.
One person brought up a good point to counter the "petty" argument: "Honestly, it seems like a pretty low-stakes way to test her hypothesis," they wrote. "If she had just up and asked, 'Are you refusing to acknowledge your son?' there's a ton of room for backtracking and gaslighting."
Then, a whole 'nother kicker came in the comment section. OP explained the reason they broke up in the first place, and let me tell you, this will paint a total picture of how bad a dude Josh is. Suddenly, the fact that he has a son he doesn't want to talk about makes even more sense.
This woman is a saint, and her ex is the definition of an a--hole. One commenter wrote that their theory is he was trying to keep the fact that he has a son off social media because he's trying to date again. Yeah, maybe he's trying to date the woman he cheated on his wife with! Even if that's the case, the dude is going to have to come clean eventually if he gets serious about anyone, and it's all but guaranteed she will think it's pretty awful that he pretended not to have a kid.
"God forbid your kid grows up and gets social media and sees this. How heartbreaking that would be," another person wrote. "And some dude with a random kid all over his social media is weird." It is! It really is! It's not clear where this family goes from here, but this woman deserves so much better, and Josh has a lot of making up to do. A lot.