It seems the age-old friction between stepparents and stepchildren has found a new focal point – a bikini.
In a Reddit post titled 'Am I the A**hole for yelling at my stepdaughter?' a perplexed woman has aired her grievances over her stepdaughter's refusal to lend her a bikini for a family pool party, but she may not have got the answers she bargained for.
The protagonist of the family showdown, who prefers to stay anonymous, found herself at odds with her 16-year-old stepdaughter, who she refers to as Sarah. Eager to get into some summer swimwear after shedding an impressive 15kg, the 34-year-old woman asked to borrow one of Sarah's many bikinis. The request was met with a resounding rejection, sending shockwaves through the household and eventually onto Reddit.
According to the woman, her stepdaughter's frosty attitude toward her is nothing new.
"Sarah has never really liked me even though I've always treated her like my own," she explained. "She has always been very cold to me since I married her dad. My husband always tells me to wait for her to come around, but it's been 5 years and Sarah always loves to remind me on how I am not her mother and never was and never will be."
This pre-existing tension bubbled to the surface when the stepmother sought out some swimwear from Sarah's abundant collection.
"I asked Sarah if I could borrow one of her bikinis since I recently lost TONS of weight and we are about the same size (both hips and cups)."
The interaction took a heated turn as Sarah vehemently declined, saying that she would never share her belongings, especially a swimsuit.
"She yelled at me...and slammed the door in my face. I started crying and went to her dad and told him about her absurd behaviour. She has not talked to me since and has completely ghosted me."
The woman went on to explain the situation has caused significant tension in the household. "My husband is very stressed and so am I. We both think she should just borrow me the bikini for the day. After all she has so many of them and if roles swapped I would've happily gave her my bikini," she concluded.
Turning to Reddit's court of public opinion, the woman asked whether she was the one in the wrong – was she the a**hole?
The verdict from internet users was swift and pointed. One commentator pointed out, "YTA (You're The A**hole). Congrats on losing the weight but she doesn't need to share her clothes with you."
Another accused the stepmother of entitlement, stating, "I'd never ask or expect anyone to ask me to 'borrow' a bikini. Then you started crying when she said no? Grow up. You can ask and the answer can be no."
The online jury decisively leaned toward empathising with Sarah, with many suggesting swimwear holds a level of intimacy akin to underwear, making it a less likely candidate for sharing.
"Bathing suits are pretty intimate articles of clothing, just a step removed from underwear," responded one Redditor. "I wouldn't even ask my sister or best friend to lend me one (whereas a dress or blouse, I would.) You know she unfortunately doesn't like you so it's not surprising she doesn't want you to wear her things."
Another member of the discussion posed a question that was likely on everyone's mind, "How do you not have a bathing suit if you have a pool? Just get one overnight from Amazon."
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