Most college students financially rely on their parents to make it through their schooling, at least to a certain degree.
But when Reddit user Bitter_Business got a call from her mom and dad telling her she needed to learn independence, she was shocked to hear that she had only 11 days to come up with the money for new housing and a new phone plan.
Confused and hurt, Bitter_Business tried to find out why her parents—who had agreed to help her through her degree—had suddenly cut her off. She later discovered it's because they suspected she was a lesbian.
She told her whole story in a post titled "AITA for not wanting a relationship with my parents now they've cut me off?"
"I'm a student. My parents make enough money that when I went through student finance to get my maintenance loan I was told I could only get the minimum (just over 3k a year) because finance is calculated from what your parents earn and there's an assumption that your parents will help you out."
"I'm on a high intensity course and I wasn't sure how I'd be able to balance studying and schooling, so when I found out I was going to get minimum I told my parents I wanted to either take the coming year to save up, and then go to my first choice university a year later than planned, or go to my second choice now because I wouldn't be able to afford to live in the city my first choice is in."
"My parents then said that they would pay my rent if I went to my first choice on schedule. They set me up in a studio flat, so all I had to do was get a part time job to cover the cost of food and bills."
"On 18th February - my 20th birthday - they called me and said that I was relying on them too much and needed to find out what the real world was like by earning my own money, so they would cover my rent and phone for that month (so until end of February) and after that I was on my own, then said that they were still my parents and they loved me, and wanted me to stay in touch, just learn some independence while doing this."
"I begged them to reconsider but they ended the call, so I had 11 days notice that I would have no flat or phone. I begged my uni for emergency housing but they said that I had no proof I'd been cut off so they couldn't do anything. I emailed my parents asking them to write a letter stating they'd cut me off so I could sort my student finance and emergency housing, they said no."
"I asked work if I could take on more hours and was told that due to my contract I can't do any more than I'm already doing, so I'm now looking for a second job. I'm sleeping on a friend's sofa until a place I can afford opens up, and as I still don't have proof I've been cut off for student finance I will probably have to drop out this summer."
"I got a facebook message from them today telling me they were disappointed I didn't call on mum's birthday a couple days ago, and that I've not given them my new phone number yet. I responded telling them the position I'm currently in and that I no longer want a relationship with them. I've gotten a bunch of messages from them and my brothers asking me to reconsider."
"My friend says I shouldn't feel bad but I feel incredibly guilty, and like a spoiled brat, because I don't love my family for their money, I love them because they're my family, but at the same time they've really screwed me over here."
"AITA for not wanting a relationship with them?"
"Update: I messaged them asking why they cut me off, saying the least they could do was explain why they're fine leaving me homeless. They responded. My friend (the one I'm staying with) is an out and proud lesbian. There are maybe 2 posts about me on her social media, one being a group shot of us and some people we were studying with in the library with me and her sat together, and another from a couple days before my birthday where she posted a photo of me when we went to lunch because we weren't planning on seeing each other on my actual birthday, and in the caption she refers to me as 'princess' in a clearly joking way."
"My brothers then showed our parents and told them I was a lesbian and she was my girlfriend. So now I have proof that they cut me off, proof they're homophobic and confirmation that they can and will switch on me at the drop of a hat, as well as proof of my brothers (who are older than me and living with our parents) being jealous sh*t heads. They didn't just tell me this on the phone because they hoped I'd figure it out, which is tricky given that it's not f*cking true."
"Apparently there's enough affection still there for them to expect a call on mum's birthday, but not enough to not totally f*ck me over. So yeah, never talking to them again. Any of them."
"I've sent the screenshots to the person I spoke to in emergency housing, though I've been warned that for something called 'emergency' housing it's not very fast. My friend has said I can stay with her as long as I need. The reply my parents sent hasn't explicitly said the phrase 'we cut you off because' but given the context of them replying to my message asking why it should be enough. Thanks everyone, I felt really sh*tty cutting them off over finances, but now I know they're pure f*cking evil I don't feel so bad."
"I've also sent my parents the screenshots of my brother confirming that he and my brother lied about me, and they've very apologetic, but that doesn't change anything. As my brothers live with my parents, I hope they're all very happy together right now."
"New plan: changing the focus of my studies going into third year to focus on the subjects I want to do, not the ones my parents wanted me to do. If I do this, I have a far better shot at getting a work placement (it's far less popular than my current field of study) and if I get a work placement I can spend my third year working full time, earning a bit of cash, and then resume my studies the following year."
"Failing this, and if I can't get any help from the university or student finance, then I will defer my third year and work full time for a year. My friend says I can stay with her as long as I need and has said if I can't get emergency housing but can sort out my placement or another job then we could get a place together next year so I have a confirmed roommate."
"I no longer think I'm TA so I'll probably be taking this down."
Of course Reddit was on OP's side after her parents cut her off.
"NTA - Your parents royally screwed you over here. You had two separate plans to be able to afford to go to university yourself and they said if you went to your first choice they would help you out. To then cut you off with very little warning is completely unfair. I don't blame you for not wanting a relationship with them after they've put you in this position." -singinscotlawyer
These parents seemed out to prove their support was conditional.
"My word, I was on your side even before reading the 2 updates you posted. Definitely NTA and no matter what they say or how much they apologize, I would never trust them again to NOT punish me financially if they disagree with my choices. The most abhorrent part of this is the dishonest way they went about doing it. OP, you are in a tough spot now but I assure you it will not only get better but you will be the stronger for it. Continue to move forward in life and wish your family the best as they live togethers in their emotional misery." -Misha220
Some people online actually thought the parents had ulterior motives for cutting OP off.
"even more obvious its them being worried their massive income is going away because of covid and instead of saying we cant afford to do X anymore theyre hiding behind a facade of love and care." -imagine_thinking
These parents can't be trusted.
"So much of this... OP obviously showed independence by rationalizing two separate plans that we easily achievable within their own, unassisted, means. That is not a lesson in independence, OP only learned that they could not trust their parents." -cruelmalice
Obviously, if the parents truly wanted to teach OP a lesson, they should have given her adequate warning.
"NTA, they made an offer and backed out of it, in the middle of a semester. If they wanted you to be independent they should've let you make your own decision to go a year later. Now youre out of a home and struggling financially (and even if you get on top of finances fully, youll be strung too thin for your health) because they pulled the rug from under you."
"I understand, it feels real grimy to try to cut ties when money is involved. But really it shouldn't be about the money, it's about the fact they left you out to dry and they expect a 'thank you.'" -RockorRollInitiative
Best of luck, Bitter_Business, hopefully your university will offer you the support your parents have yanked out from under your feet.