Parents usually want what’s best for us, no matter what—even if it means making those super tough decisions. Sometimes, what we want isn’t always what is best and our parents are able to see the bigger picture when we can’t—especially because they have more experience in life. However, those “tough decisions” can often times be too hard to decide on their own and they seek advice from others on how to handle things.
Recently, one father asked Reddit for advice on what to do about his daughter’s relationship, as she’s hiding a pretty big secret. Many times, I’d suggest that parents should stay out of their children’s relationships altogether, but, this father’s worries are absolutely legitimate.
u/Pause96 wrote into the “Am I The Asshole” thread asking Reddit users if he’s wrong for wanting to tell his daughter’s boyfriend about her “dark secret.”
I’m the dad of a 25 year old young woman who I love very much. I’ve been able to have a good relationship with my daughter and I enjoy my time with her, but there’s one thing about her that would give many people pause – she is a diagnosed sociopath.
She exhibited odd, disturbing behavior at a young age, and after a serious incident of abuse towards her younger sister, I realized she needed professional help. Throughout her elementary years she struggled heavily, getting in lots of trouble in school for lying, cruelty and all other types of misbehaviors. With an enormous amount of therapy & support, her bad behavior was minimized as she grew older. She received an ASPD diagnosis at 18, and I had suspected it for long prior.
After her aggressive behavior was tamed, her following years were much more fruitful. She’s law-abiding; has a decent job and a good education; and has many good friendships and admirers. Especially male admirers; she is very, very charming and adept at attracting guys and maintaining their interest. She uses that old dating guide “The Rules” like a Bible. She currently has a boyfriend of about a year and a half who’s crazy about her, and who I have a very strong relationship with (we live in the same area and spend time together regularly). He is a great guy, very kind, funny and intelligent.
But I doubt she loves him. We’ve had some very honest, in-depth discussions about her mental health since her diagnosis, and she’s been open with me that she doesn’t feel love or empathy towards anyone, even family. When she acted very sad and broken up over the death of one of her closest friends at the funeral, she confessed to me privately that it was all a put-on, and that she felt “pretty neutral” about the whole thing. She has also stated she has never once felt guilty about anything she’s ever done, and doesn’t know what guilt feels like. While she enjoys being around her boyfriend and is sexually attracted to him, I highly doubt she feels much of anything towards him love-wise.
Her boyfriend (who might propose soon) has no idea about her diagnosis, and she’s been very upfront with me that she has no plans to ever tell him, thinking it’ll scare him away. I’ve made it clear to her that she needs to tell him the truth before they marry; that he has the right to know and consider it; or I will; to which she always responds, “I know you wouldn’t dare.” I actually would – I really like and respect this young man, and would feel awful keeping this “secret” from him, and letting him walk into a marriage without this piece of knowledge.
I’m not trying to sabotage my daughter’s future. Maybe her boyfriend’s love of her personality and other aspects is enough that it won’t end the relationship. It’s his decision to make; but he deserves all the facts. Someday he’s bound to find out she’s a bit “off”; it can’t be kept a secret forever. AITA?
Clearly, this is something that the father is struggling with. On one hand, he should be loyal to his daughter. On the other hand, his daughter has a disorder that will impact both her future and her boyfriend’s future. People online were torn on what to say.
Some people thought that the father should 100% be honest.
NTA – holy crap what an awful situation to be in. I know she’s your daughter but this is marriage for this guy and he deserves to know. You already told her you were going to tell if she didn’t, so I think you should. –shh_secret_savy
Simply for any future children they may have, I say NTA. If this guy wants kids, it’s really going to suck to find out he is coparenting with a sociopath. Also is ASPD genetic? If so he definitely deserves to know. –decemberandjuly
NTA. You should tell him, but he probably won’t believe you. He is getting into something really dangerous with someone who doesn’t react or respond in the way a normal person would. Almost anyone would want to know this. –Discothecube
But, others said it wasn’t his place.
YTA – But I say that lightly. While I agree that he deserves to know, it isn’t your place to tell him. My guess is she probably recognizes that there is a stigma around sociopaths (mainly sociopathic = homicidal) and doesn’t want to be seen that way. –Hanisong
YTA completely. I say this as someone who is qualified to make these types of diagnoses and provide appropriate treatment. She has a history of problematic behaviour but it sounds like she is well functioning enough as an adult. Maybe she loves in different ways to others but that doesn’t exclude her from having positive relationships. In fact, it is this sense of safety in a relationship that will help her keep learning these skills. I get that reddit isn’t going to like this, because it believes that ‘sociopaths’ exist in some distinct bad and untreatable category. But this is not true. significantly, sociopathy isn’t even a recognised diagnosis so I’d be very cautious of any care provider who gave your daughter this label. Every single person with any form of history of trauma, early parental relationship difficulties or the 40% of people who don’t have a secure attachment style will have difficulty feeling love or being loved in relationships. Nobody runs around warning future partners of these things. –iglooboo
While the father has good intentions and wants the best for his daughter, he also knows that it could be hard for the boyfriend to find out after they’re married or after they have children. So, I don’t think he’s 100% wrong for wanting to tell him but should definitely speak with his daughter further before doing so.