This young man, the original poster (OP), just turned 18 years old and is turning to the internet community for advice.
His Stepdad Want Him to Pay Rent
One day after his birthday, his stepdad told him he wanted him to start paying rent to “live in his house.” He didn’t expect to live in the house rent-free forever but believes his stepdad is acting spitefully. He has been married to his mother for nine years, and they have two children together.
They Don’t Have a Good Relationship
He has never treated OP like his own. His stepdad doesn’t actually need the money and knows OP doesn’t have it. OP is confident he won’t charge his kids rent while they are in school.
He Will Have to Get a Job
To be able to pay rent, OP would have to get a job. But he has exams starting in mid-April, and they last until July.
He Needs to Study Hard
He is studying science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects and hoping to score well enough to gain admission into a good university and study medicine. He aims to achieve very high grades, which requires a lot of studying.
He Can’t Do Both
He will have difficulty maintaining that level of study if he has to get a job.
He’s Moving Out in a Few Months Anyway
OP is moving out in a matter of months anyway to attend university, and loans will fully fund everything. His mom and stepdad will not be contributing any money toward his education.
His Stepdad Doesn’t Care
Even after knowing all this, his stepdad is still charging him money to stay. OP says he has some savings left from his last job but needs to save that for when he moves out. Paying his stepdad £800 in rent that he doesn’t need feels like he is punishing OP and making his life more challenging.
His Aunt Doesn’t Like His Stepdad and Will Take Him In
Fortunately, his mom’s younger sister, who also doesn’t like OP’s stepdad and disapproves of him charging rent, told OP to come and live with her. She offered him a guest room for free, so he could continue saving for university. The distance from school would be the same, although he would live an hour away from his mother.
His Mother is Upset
Although his mother won’t speak out for him, she is distraught that OP is moving out already. His stepdad is annoyed and argues with OP that he is treating him like a tenant to prepare him for the real world. OP replied, “do tenants not have the right to leave?” His stepdad said OP is hurting his mother and taking resources away from his aunt because he is “too entitled” to pay rent. OP said he’s doing what’s best for him and will visit.
Is He Wrong to Leave and Not Work?
OP understands that he is at the age where he would have to pay rent eventually wherever he lives, but he’s very focused on his studies. He’s wondering if he’s wrong to leave his mother and not just get a job and pay the rent.
The Readers Respond
Several readers jumped in and gave OP their full support. This comment received over 35,000 votes of appreciation.
“Your stepdad tried to flex on you…and his powerplay backfired. Your mother may be crying, but she LET HIM DO IT. That house is half hers, and so is the decision to charge you rent. She is not blameless here. Your aunt’s “resources” are none of your stepdad’s business.
The same reader followed up with some good advice.
“OP, move out without another guilt pang, okay? Work hard to crush your exams, and be super-considerate and make yourself very useful in your aunt’s household (shovel the walk, do dishes, walk the dog, whatever is needed — and if you don’t know, ASK). Please don’t come back to this house to visit if your stepdad is home. Ever. Your mom can darn well find her way to your aunt’s house, WITHOUT Mister Flex on her arm. God bless your aunt for sheltering you from stepdad and his nonsense! And don’t feel obliged to invite him to your graduations, either.”
The Stepdad Just Wants Him Out
Some readers mentioned that the step dad was likely trying to get OP to move out anyway.
“He was probably going to try and kick you out or slowly make it intolerable for you to live there anyway, so good on you for beating him to it and getting out on your terms. Glad your aunt is awesome, good luck on your exams!”
“You are a dependent child, still in school, getting straight As and going to post-secondary in the fall. Your stepfather wanted to steal your money and still crow about how generous he is to let you keep living there.”
Overall, many shared the same sentiment that there was not need to go back and visit.
“Don’t visit. Don’t waste your time and money going 1 hour to visit people who didn’t want you around. You just turned 18, are working toward future goals. If you had been out of school for a few years and had no plans for the future, rent would be totally reasonable.”
“The house with OP’s mom and siblings sounds toxic. And going back to visit will be super stressful. Not something OP needs to deal with right now. OP needs to be focusing on their own future. Passing the exams, getting into the school they want. They don’t need this family drama screwing up their future.”
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