TikTok content creator Ester Taniaj is a makeup expert who also shared the outrageous anonymous real life stories her 2.3M followers send to her on her social media accounts. She shared a story sent to her by a woman who married her stepdad, which caused fierce debate.
While some claim the relationship is inappropriate, the anonymous woman who sent in the story claims she is happily in love with her former step-dad, with whom she began a relationship aged 20. Telling the story, sent to her anonymously, the TikToker said: “My mum and dad divorced when I was 14 years old. This really affected me and I wanted to move away from my parents.
“After they got divorced I told my parents that I wanted to go to an art school, but not just any art school, this was a boarding school. I was really eager to get away from my parents and basically have my own life.
“While I was at this art school my mum remarried, so this guy became my stepdad. My mum told me she was really in love with him and everything was perfect. They visited me every now and then, so I met him a couple of times.”
The woman in the story moved back home after graduating from her boarding school aged 18. She explained: “This is where things get really complicated. My mum owned two salons and was never home, my stepdad worked at home and was there all day. This meant I had a lot of time to spend with him.
“Every now and then he would ask me to go to dinner, or to the movies, just to hang out, and before I knew it was developing feelings. I knew this was really bad because he was my mum’s husband. But there was something about him I really liked. That’s when he started opening up to me about how controlling my mum was in the relationship and how he was thinking of leaving her.
“That’s when I realised that he probably liked me too. I mean, we hung out all the time and the vibes were there. I knew I had to get away so I went to go and study abroad, but my stepdad and I kept in touch.”
Despite moving away from the uncomfortable situation developing at home, the woman and her stepdad stayed in communication. He eventually told her that he’d discovered his wife, her mother, was having an affair.
“This didn’t surprise me because this was how my mum’s relationship with my dad ended,” the woman said. “He asked me to come home and I did and when I saw him again I realised that I was falling in love with him.”
The woman’s mother and stepdad divorced, and her mother moved on with her new partner. The woman went on: “My stepdad seemed brokenhearted but at the same time really relieved. Once the dust had settled I decided to go back to school, which was in another country, but the whole time my stepdad and I kept in contact, we would talk on the phone every day.”
At this point, the relationship seemed to change. The woman said: “Once the divorce was final my stepdad started going to the gym every day and he got a new car. And he got a condo. He started sending me selfies in the mirror showing off his abs. Then I realised he was definitely flirting with me.
“On my 20th birthday I decided to go home and visit my mum, and yes, I knew would be seeing my stepdad. My mum and I had dinner and she told me my stepdad was seeing other people. That made me extremely jealous.
“My mum noticed and asked me if was upset. I said no but she kept pushing. Finally, I admitted to my own mother that I was in love with her ex-husband. Being the drama queen my mother is, she instantly started to cry and told me I was trying to ruin her life. She got up and ran out of the restaurant.
“After this, my mum didn’t want to take my phone calls. So I went over to my ex-stepdad’s house and I decided to tell him everything I felt about him. He told me he had feelings for me too.”
The woman’s mother didn’t stay angry for too long, however. The anonymous woman, who revealed at the time her now ex-stepdad was 47, went on: “I decided to email my mum and tell her that I had every intention to date, my ex-stepdad. A couple of months later my mum rang me out of nowhere and told me she would accept the relationship. She also told me I should start planning my wedding. Mind you, I had only been dating my ex-stepdad for a little bit.”
Years later, the woman and her stepdad-turned-boyfriend are grappling with disapproval from her family. She explained: “Now the main problem is I get a judgment from my entire family. My aunts and uncles hate my stepdad, and I’m pretty sure my mum has been telling them he’s actually a cheater, even though she’s the one that cheated.
“He recently asked me if I’m open to getting married, and I said yes. I basically told him that I think we should elope. He told me I will regret it if I don’t have my family there, but I know they hate him. I know it’s a weird situation, but they don’t understand that I didn’t grow up with him. I didn’t meet him until I was 18 years old.”
And now even the woman’s mother, who is also her boyfriend’s ex-wife, is keen for a wedding to go ahead. The woman said: “When my mum found out that we were going to get married she started planning the wedding herself, she even tried to pick out the wedding dress and the cake.
“So, two weeks ago my boyfriend and I eloped. We’re married and literally no one in m family jobs. My mum’s still trying to plan the wedding, I don’t know how to tell her there will be no wedding. Should I keep the secret?”
Internet users had a strong reaction to the story, with many debating the appropriateness of the age difference in the relationship. One said: “19 and 47!?!??!?”
Another agreed with the sentiment and wrote: “Okay I thought it was fine but then she said 47…”
Many went so far as to claim the woman in the story was a victim of grooming. One said: “Tbh he was definitely grooming her. But the mom’s reaction was wrong. She should’ve tried to help her see the grooming, not push her into his arms.”
“A lot of people here are way too okay with the grooming and trying to defend this so hard when it’s so wrong from so many sides,” another said.
But some were supportive of the couple and their relationship. One wrote: “Stay away from them, they are toxic, you found your happiness, take care of it and live your life.”
“She should just tell the family that they tied knots and that’s it. she’s adult and can marry whomever she wants to,” another said.
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) uses the following definition of grooming: “Grooming is a method used by offenders that involve building trust with a child and the adults around a child in an effort to gain access to and time alone with her/him. In extreme cases, offenders may use threats and physical force to sexually assault or abuse a child. More common, though, are subtle approaches designed to build relationships with families.
“The offender may assume a caring role, befriend the child or even exploit their position of trust and authority to groom the child and/or the child’s family. These individuals intentionally build relationships with the adults around a child or seek out a child who is less supervised by adults in her/his life. This increases the likelihood that the offender’s time with the child is welcomed and encouraged.”