Here is a very interesting post on Reddit’s popular r/AmIthe–hole forum, where the two adults involved were judged as a–holes: the woman and her boyfriend.
Posted by the woman who introduced herself as u/RogersGinger, OP related about her 49-year-old boyfriend who has two kids aged 9 and 13 years old.
According to OP, “I get along great with the boys. They’re awesome, smart, creative, funny kids. They can also be jerks, but that’s normal. I’m on the verge of becoming an official stepmom, which would be a big ‘step’ for all of us. Lately, I’ve felt extra scrutiny from the three of them (kids and boyfriend), which makes sense.”
The woman also mentioned the lack of independence that she has observed in the boys. They cannot be left alone for an hour so her boyfriend can run errands, go to a corner store on their own, or walk to their school even if it is only a few blocks away.
One day, they went traveling together and checked into a hotel. They were at the pool when her boyfriend told OP that he had to get his swimsuit. However, 40 minutes had gone by and there was still no sign of her boyfriend.
After waiting so long, OP felt she had to go to the bathroom for a few minutes. She continued her post with the following details: “I was watching them in the hotel pool. Small pool, not deep, but no lifeguard. My partner said he was ‘going upstairs to get his swimsuit’ and left for 40 minutes. I had to pee. I said jokingly to them ‘ok dudes, shallow end, no drowning!’ and went to the lobby bathroom for maybe 5 minutes, then came back to watch them. Weeks later, this has come up with both of them. I’m annoyed with my partner for disappearing for an extended period of time when I thought he was coming back to swim, and I’m annoyed with the boys for ratting me out as if I left them in a burning car or something when I just had to pee and they are 9 and 13 and both decent swimmers! Argh! But maybe I’m wrong. AITA?”
Well, the two adults got blasted on the forum! In the eyes of those who made the most controversial comments, both OP and her boyfriend were a–holes.
There are nuggets of wisdom that everybody can pick from the following reactions.
One Reddit user briefly explained, “I grew up with a pool and myself and siblings are great swimmers who had MANY swimming lessons, but I still wasn’t ever left alone in a pool, and if my mom had to pee, we all got out and sat on the side. It’s not about independence, it’s about what happens if one of them hits their head or any other stupid accident. My brother actually did this once on vacation at the small resort pool. He was being stupid and a normal boy and dove off the top step and hit his head hard on the bottom of the pool. He was knocked unconscious but I dove down and got him. Now if this happened to the 9 yo, the 13 yo would have probably known what to do, but would the 9 yo done the same if the 13 yo was knocked out? I’d say NTA, but it’s just something to think about for next time. You never know what can happen.”
Another commenter shared similar truths based on real experience, “ESH, except the kids. He sucks for leaving you for 40 mins and just expecting you to watch the kids. You suck for leaving kids unattended in a pool. Shit happens. In my line of work, I have had stories just like this of kid that age in a pool/pond with no adult supervision winding up dead. That’s not a question of independence. You should have texted your partner and told him you had to use the bathroom so he needed to get his a-s down there and watch his own kids. Not leave the kids unattended in water. Your partner, by the same token, had zero business ditching you to mind his kids without asking permission. And no business leaving you for that long, he’s probably the bigger a–hole here. Does he often just ditch you with no warning and leave you to parent his kids without discussing it first? ‘Decent swimmers’ drown all the damn time. It’s also not a question of independence. Adults drown.”
This individual’s remark is another eye-opener: “I don’t think you’re an AH, but I wouldn’t leave my 9yo and my 13yo alone in a hotel pool just because of the possibility of an abduction. I would be less worried about them drowning and more worried about possibility of some creep preying on my kid. Not sure what country you’re in, but here in America, kids get stolen out of their own apt complex pools, out their own yards, etc. Nope, not leaving my kids alone, even for 5 min, in a hotel pool.”
Meanwhile, this down-to-earth Reddit user does not hold back from saying, “Your bf is the AH for leaving for so long. You are also TA for leaving them. Have y’all not seen what happens. Kidnappers only need a minute.”