Internet commenters rallied around one high school student on Thursday after he revealed that his college fund depends on the results of a DNA test in a viral post.
Posted in Reddit’s r/AmITheA**hole, the post has received nearly 15,000 votes (97 percent upvoted) and more than 1,200 comments in just eight hours. In the post, which was recently locked by forum moderators, Reddior u/zhhgn asked the popular subreddit’s 3.4 million members if he was wrong for initially refusing to take a DNA test to prove he is his father’s biological child.
Explaining that his father recently found out his mother had cheated on him sometime in the past, u/zhhgn said that his parents are getting divorced, and that his father wants him and his two siblings to take DNA tests to prove they are all his children. Detailing his concerns with taking the test, u/zhhgn added that his dad threatened not to pay for his college education if the DNA results were negative.
“I have a feeling I’m not my dad’s biological kid since I don’t look anything like him and people even have commented I don’t look like the rest of my family,” he wrote in the viral post. “I’m terrified because I think he’s upset enough that he won’t talk to me anymore and definitely won’t be paying for my college.”
According to Education Data, the average cost of college in the United States is $35,720 per student, per year. But that number is subject to change based on a myriad of factors including additional fees, year-to-year inflation, where students live, and whether the colleges and universities they attend are public or private institutions.
On average, an in-state student attending a four-year public institution can expect to pay $25,684 per year. However, for out-of-state students, rates jump nearly $20,000, increasing to $43,721 per year. Education Data also reports that for students attending private nonprofit institutions, the average yearly cost of attendance is $53,949, while students attending private for-profit institutions pay just $34,548.
Although u/zhhgn did not specify which college or university he plans on attending next school year, he acknowledged the secondary institution he chose will come at a high cost.
“I stupidly picked a pretty expensive school because I thought my dad would pay for it,” he explained. “He said it was ok but now even if my mom was willing to I don’t think she can afford it.”
“I’m so mad at her and my dad for putting me in this position,” he added.
While u/zhhgn initially refused to take the DNA test, he said he agreed because he wanted to know the results for himself, and because of a threat levied against him by the man he called his father.
“I’ve told him I’m not doing the test and he said that’s ok,” u/zhhgn wrote. “He said that’s ok but he will assume I’m not his and not have anything to do with me since I’m 18 already.”
In many states, the results of DNA tests can absolve “parents” from financially supporting children that are not theirs. However, many Redditors responding to u/zhhgn’s viral Reddit post said that both of his parents had failed him financially — and emotionally.
In the post’s top comment, that has received 22.9K votes, Redditor u/TheGingerCynic laid out the circumstances in layman’s terms and assured u/zhhgn that he is not the a**hole of this situation.
“So you’re 18 and just found out your dad may not be your dad, and he’s punishing you for something beyond your control. NTA,” they wrote. “Your mother is clearly an a**hole. Your dad is being an a**hole to treat you as a stranger if you’re not getting a DNA test.”
Responding to u/TheGingerCynic, Redditor u/Animalime pointed out that even if the DNA test confirmed that the original poster is his father’s biological child, the damage had already been done.
“This is a no-win for OP. Even if it turns out he is DNA related he’ll always know his dad was willing to throw him away over a piece of paper,” they wrote in a blunt comment.
Despite thousands of supportive comments and an overwhelming sense that he was not to blame for his parents’ alleged transgressions, u/zhhgn said that after he agreed to take the test, his mother has been pressuring him to change his mind again.
“My mom is trying to get me to not take it,” he wrote, responding to a commenter. “I think it’s because she knows I’m a result of her cheating.”