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'AITA for refusing to divorce my terminally ill husband even though my GF wants me to?' UPDATED

'AITA for refusing to divorce my terminally ill husband even though my GF wants me to?' UPDATED


"AITA for refusing to divorce my terminally ill husband?"

I (30F) met my husband "Dave" (32M) when we were little. He's been my best friend since we were 10. We were raised in very conservative Christian families in the Bible Belt. We followed the script expected of us: dated in HS, engaged in college, married after his graduation, & kids after I established a career (kids are 5 and 3). We've been married 10yrs.

We separated but stayed legally married 3.5yrs ago b/c I finally admitted to him/myself that I'm a lesbian. I thought that I could "fake it till I make it" but I just couldn't do it anymore.

It was strained for a while & we continued couple's therapy. Ultimately we both wanted to do the best for our kids. For us, that meant continuing to "live" together (he lives in the apartment above our detached garage) b/c neither of us wanted to be single parents.

Eventually we both started dating other people & I met my GF "Krista" ~1.5yrs ago. She knew I had kids & an "unconventional" co-parenting arrangement upfront, & I told her I was still legally married after 6mo of dating. She had been fine with our living/co-parenting style prior to this, but was less than thrilled by my lack of official divorce.

She asked if divorce was eventual, and I told her yes, Dave & I agreed we'd divorce when it no longer was mutually beneficial to remain married (i.e., a new potential spouse). The longer Krista & I were together, the more my being married bothered her. She feels remaining married symbolizes I'm subconsciously clinging to my straight identity & is a barrier to moving on w/ my life.

I mildly disagree with this but understand. She does NOT want to get married, & had voiced the opinion that it was "just a piece of paper," so I'm surprised it's become such a big deal. I agreed 4mo ago that I would bring it up with Dave & set a timeline for divorce by the end of this year to make her happy.

2mo ago Dave's company downsized his job, & a week later he found out his increasing fatigue & illness was aggressive leukemia. He's undergoing treatment that is estimated to be 10% effective in cases like his, & they told him to consider that this might be terminal. If the treatment fails, they've given him 6mo-1yr.

For Krista this changes nothing. For me, divorcing Dave now would be unconscionable & would make what is potentially his final months even harder than they have to be. Whether she likes it or not, he's the father of my children & my oldest friend. To force the issue while he's fighting for his life would be incredibly selfish & damaging to both him & our kids.

She's telling me that not only am I regressing into denial about my sexuality by refusing to bring it up again, but also that I'm already a selfish a$$hole by leading her on, & that I want the best of both worlds by remaining married to a man while continuing to date a woman.

What do you think? AITA? Here's what top commenters had to say:


NTA. I am sorry your going through that. I understand what you wanted in the beginning, but now you are just looking after Dave. I understand where Krista is coming from, you haven't given up your strait relationship yet, and that is frustrating for her. But now I don't think its about the relationship, its about your friendship.

I am sure others will disagree, but you are likely making Dave's life better at the probable end. I would hope that Krista would be able to understand what you are hoping to do in this scenario. Have you explained to her?

I mean in reality can you really argue that you have remained married at this point. You guys lead separate lives and are actively dating, at this point to me it really is "just a piece of paper". I supposed if you still live with him its easier to argue, but either way, I don't see the problem. But thats me, anyways I hope you figure something out. Best of luck to Dave.


NTA - it doesn’t make sense at this point to get divorced. With all due respect, if he’s coming to the end of the road, why not just wait? (I’m so sorry if this sounds insensitive, don’t mean it to be) If he makes the recovery then I’d bring it up but until then it’s just a matter of time.

He doesn’t deserve the added stress from his best friend during these more trial last months/year. Your girlfriend needs to respect your family.

OP responded:

Thank you, that's how I've felt about it. And you're not insensitive, it's pragmatic. But she's worked it all up to be this big psychological thing. Like, if I don't get the divorce before he passes away, I'll always have some lingering doubt that I really meant our separation.

I forget exactly how she phrased it, but I took her words to mean that insisting on a divorce is confirming my new sexuality. Not insisting signifies I'm not really serious or committed to being a lesbian for life.

[deleted] said:

NTA - Krista is using a lot of bad-faith arguments and manipulation to paint you as the bad guy, which is really unfair and shitty. Frankly, she's showing you who she really is when she ignores reality and tries to guilt you into going against your conscience. She doesn't sound like a good person, a kind person, and I'm kinda mystified what her good qualities are and where they've gone to.

Does she even care about your kids? Her actions certainly don't reflect that if she'd risk damaging them by insisting you divorce their father in his hour of need. ESPECIALLY when she doesn't even want to get married!!!!! She's basically trying to turn this into a "pick him or me" situation and it's real ugly how she's doing it. Is this who you really want to be with for the rest of your (and your kids') lives?

And OP responded:

I'm really starting to think not. She's been mildly immature about our situation before (the biggest one was trying to insist that I leave the kids with Dave whenever she comes up with something she wants us to go do that isn't kid friendly, regardless of how short the, no, he's their dad but he's not my free babysitter to just dump the kids on whenever we want to go party).

But she does have a lot of good qualities. She's great with our kids and she's normally very loving and affectionate. She's the type who volunteers at animal shelters and takes people meals when they're sick and buys boy scout popcorn just to help the little guys out even though she can't stand microwave popcorn.

This is the first time she's been like this, and it completely blindsided me. I can't believe how she doesn't see the cruelty of what she wants me to do, or the effect it'll have on us.


NTA. At this point you would be TA if you divorced a man with months to live. Not to mention it would be financially foolish - divorce is expensive! Your girlfriend is TA here. If someone were being this way with me it would make me question why I was with them.

And OP responded:

It is definitely doing that. :/

Later, OP shared this update on the situation:

Thank you. I received the most helpful, constructive feedback I've ever gotten in my entire life from you all. As far as the issue at hand in my last post, I feel confident that I'm doing the right thing by not asking Dave for a divorce. Krista still disagrees. As such, she is no longer my girlfriend.

I tried to have a calm, adult conversation with her about it the night after my original post. Emphasis on "tried." She was immediately aggravated and defensive. Told me that unless the next words out of my mouth involved signing divorce papers, we had nothing to talk about.

I asked her why it bothered her so much and it turned into an argument no matter how calmly I tried to remain. Ultimately she admitted (in a fit of rage) that she felt people who stayed friends with their ex's are psychologically damaged and guaranteed to cheat. When I asked if she knew my situation and felt that way, why did she press me for a relationship (that she originally said she never wanted)?

She said that she assumed Dave would snap and do something that either was awful or that she could convince me was awful at some point. It then came out in our argument that she was pushing so hard on the divorce issue, now, to intentionally create tension and shatter Dave and I's care for each other because, again in HER opinion, it's completely unnatural.

That was it. I told her I was done and I didn't need a heartless, selfish, insecure, jealousy-riddled POS like her in my life or around my kids. The rest of it after that was just immature on both of our parts, with us both yelling insults at each other while she threw stuff everywhere (clothes, blankets, couch cushions) looking for things she'd brought to the house and left over the last year.

The kids weren't there, thank god. I had the foresight to see if Dave would have them for a "sleepover" in his apartment. I'm ok, I think. Grieving a bit, which feels stupid considering everything. But I feel like I had a rotten tooth for so long, I didn't realize how much pain and pressure it was causing me until I yanked it out.

Sources: Reddit
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