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'AITA for being upset my wife (we’re separated) didn’t tell me she was diagnosed with cancer?' UPDATED

'AITA for being upset my wife (we’re separated) didn’t tell me she was diagnosed with cancer?' UPDATED


"AITA for being upset my wife- we’re currently separated-didn’t tell me she was diagnosed with cancer?"

My parents were well off and worked hard but they were neglectful towards me. By the time I was 10, they decided I didn’t need a nanny anymore and then I didn’t have parental figures. They spent all of their time and energy at work and didn’t have time for me at all.

When I met my wife, she was a vibrant, intelligent, caring woman. She would give you the shirt off her back. We spent hours and hours together talking about everything and anything. But it slowly slowed down.

She would come home from work crawl immediately into bed and watch TikToks for the next three hours. She wouldn’t engage, would barely do anything, and only did chores sometimes and ended up paying for someone to do her share. She would always say she’s tired and then stay up all night sometimes or sleep for 18 hours. It was awful to see her glued to her phone or her computer instead of engaging with me.

I asked for separation. It was really hard because she cried and begged me not to and I still loved her, but being with her was like a flashback to my parents. We both knew that separations basically always end in divorce. An old friend of my wife’s recently reached out to me and cussed me out. She told me that my wife had cancer and how dare I leave her during a tough time. I had no idea she had cancer.

I asked my wife why she hid it from me? And she said that I was divorcing her and she didn’t want to guilt trip me into staying or be manipulative. I asked her how long she had known. She found out three weeks after we separated.

I told her she should have told me. I had noticed her hair seemed thinner and she just seemed frailer overall but she brushed it off as stressed. Honestly, I’m really upset that she didn’t tell me. Do I have a right to be? AITA?


Only now did her hair start to thin and she looked weak. She looked obviously ill. For three years before that she wouldn’t get out of bed and alternatively sleep through the weekend and stay up on weekdays. I did all of this chores but she felt guilty and hired a housekeeper for cleaning. I did all of the cooking.

What I saw was a profound disinterest in me. She didn't want to do anything with me. She wouldn’t go on a walk with me, she wouldn’t go out, she would t read a book, she’d just lie in bed watching TikToks. Her daily screen time was 14-16 hours.

I made doctors appointments, I cooked food, I tried to get her up. At some point she just wouldn’t even entertain going to the doctor. After years of her telling me that there was nothing wrong with her, doctors saying she was lazy and blood tests showing no issues and her still lying in bed, I was tired.

If we had known that her body was shutting down, of course I wouldn’t have left. I just wished she actually went to the appointments I had set up before I asked for a separation. I am going to help her any way I can.

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

One-Confidence-6858 said:

YTA. Your separated. Heading to divorce. You couldn’t handle her when all she did was sleep. You really think you’d stick around with a cancer diagnosis?

Impossible-Peach-985 said:

You noticed her hair was thinner and she looked frail. Clearly something was physically wrong with her and her doctor was being dismissive. You are her husband, you should have been her advocate when she was too weak to advocate for herself. You were so wrapped up in your emotions and childhood trauma that you neglected your wife.

Interesting-1280 said:

YTA for being mad that ANYONE didn’t tell you they have cancer- let alone the woman that you are separated from. Also I think her reason for not telling you makes 100% sense, and shows her true character.

bizianka said:

YTA. You left her because she had less energy and didn't want to entertain you. And now, again, you made her illness about yourself.

Historical_Act6595 said:

YTA you're so self absorbed and selfish you couldn't even notice the love of your life is dying, this is all your fault. You need therapy, stop blaming your parents for your own failures as a person and stop punishing others for your childhood trauma.You left her because , just like your parents left you because you run away from problems and only care about yourself.

[deleted] said:

YTA. Your wife showed signs of depression or something similar and you left because you made it about you. Turns out her body was responding to cancer. Your childhood feelings are unresolved and are going to tank relationships repeatedly if you don’t get a grip on them.


I talked to my wife. I called her and asked if she wanted to talk. She said okay. When I came over, I noticed that nobody had been over in at least a few weeks. My wife is a clean person so there wasn’t a mess but it was clear that she was doing it on her own.

I apologized for everything. I asked her why she didn’t tell about cancer. She said that she felt guilty because she thought we would go through all the effort and find out she was just “lazy” and I would resent her. Then she thought when we separated that she could just go to a few appointments to show she was physically fine but try to change on her home own to stop being lazy.

She found out that she had cancer. She felt really bad because she hadn’t gone to any appointments I had made. She felt guilty because she knew I would come back if I knew and she didn’t want me to sacrifice for her when she had dismissed my concerns for years.

She sobbed and said that she really felt like she was just being lazy and tired like before. I asked her what she was talking about. A few times during school, she had these intense periods of being really tired and unable to get out of bed. Her parents took her to a doctor but there was nothing wrong. It wasn’t caused by anxiety and she didn’t feel depressed, just incredibly physically tired. Her parents and doctor dismissed it as laziness. I don’t like her parents.

I said it didn’t sound like laziness, it sounded like a real medical issue. I’m going to help her figure it out but to me, it sounded like an autoimmune disease or flare up. I told her that I always believe her. I believed her when she said she was just lazy after three years of trying to get her to a doctor, and I would have believed her if she had being honest with me and told me about what she went through as a kid.

She just kept sobbing. I comforted her. After she cried, I checked her fridge for food. There were only a couple of things in the fridge, including some frozen food I had dropped off before. I asked if she wanted me to go grocery shopping or come over to my apartment for some food. She chose my apartment.

I grabbed a few things for her and I took a laundry basket of dirty clothes to wash. At my apartment, I drew her a bath and cooked dinner for us. She didn’t have any clean pajamas so she wore mine. We had dinner.

She just kept saying thank you and I told her she didn’t have to thank me. She’s my wife, of course I’ll take care of through cancer. She said she made me do all of the chores before too and she didn’t want me to go through that again. I told her that she was sick and tired, and I can do everything again if she stays honest with me about how she feels and doesn’t dismiss it as her being lazy.

We ended up cuddling and she fell asleep pretty quickly. She’s been asleep and awake through today and yesterday. She’s been a bit clingy to me and she looks a lot more comfortable. She’s probably going to stay in my apartment so we’ll have to figure out how to break the lease on hers. I’m not going to divorce or abandon her. She needs a lot of support.

Here's what top commenters had to say about the update:

hinky-as-hell said:

A lot of men leave when their wife get a diagnosis like this. You were struggling in your marriage and already separated, and you are now putting all of that aside to love her through this. As a 43/f married 20+ years who has chronic mental and medical illness and a husband loving me through it, this makes me so happy to read. I wish the best outcome for your wife and for your marriage.

manwoodlover said:

I could not be more proud of a partner and I’m glad she is being honest with you. That was her Everest and I’m glad she climbed it with you.

Dear_Parsnip_6802 said:

I'm so glad you can support your wife.

JanetInSpain said:

Good for you. I'm not surprised doctors dismissed her -- doctors are notorious for dismissing women's complaints. She never had a chance because even her parents went along with it. I hope she can be cured of the cancer and the two of you can be happy again.

Thisismyswamparg said:

You’re a wonderful person op. I’m glad she has you. Poor thing has been dismissed enough. Big hugs to you both.

Middle_Interview3250 said:

NAH. it's just a very rough situation. Medical negligence and medical misogyny is real. For years I've complained of being unwell and in pain and went to multiple doctors until I finally found a hospital that did a full physical on me to discover...cancer!

Everyone else just prescribed me ibuprofen or told me I'm depressed because I don't exercise enough. I'm really happy your wife has you. also, sometimes it's hard for the care taker too. so make sure YOU are mentally well, too!

While the opinions were harsh at first, everyone was on OP's side after the update. What's your advice for this couple?

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