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Staunchly childfree wife refuses to take in husband's newly discovered daughter. AITA?

Staunchly childfree wife refuses to take in husband's newly discovered daughter. AITA?


"WIBTA for refusing to welcome my husband’s biological daughter into our home"


Me (31f) and my husband (32m) have been together for around ten years. We met in college at 20 and 21 and have been inseparable since then. We have almost all the same interests and lead a very active lifestyle.

We have both been very adamant about staying child free since we met. And that isn’t something I pushed him into he actually brought it up first when we got together. He’s pretty neutral to kids but I hate them and we both agreed that a child would ruin our lives.

A year before we met my husband did a study abroad in Europe and met Sarah. They had a fling but he lives in the east coast and she lived in california so they agreed to break it off after the semester ended and they didn’t keep in touch after. I’ve known about this since we got together but I didn’t care because it was before we met.

Sarah found my husband on facebook and reached out to him 4 months ago. She is sick with an aggressive form of cancer and probably has less than six months. She also has an 11 year old little girl named emily that is my husbands child. We’ve since got a paternity test but as soon as I saw the pictures I knew she was his.

We have been to california to meet with sarah and see how we’ll proceed. Right now sarah’s mom has moved in with them as a caregiver but she is very elderly and not a long term solution and there’s no other family.

Sarah is adamant that we take emily in and raise her like a normal family. It is truly heartbreaking to see them but as far as I’m concerned they are complete strangers to us.

My husband is very conflicted about all of this and it is even worse now that Sarah has been reaching out to his family about it. His mom reluctantly excepted that we wouldn’t have kids but now she is ecstatic and hounding us about taking emily in.

I can’t be a mother. It will ruin our lives and I will always resent emily and could never love her. She’s a sweet kid but I did not sign up for this and have always known I couldn’t be a mother. we’ve talked about this a lot and he’s not even sure he could be a good dad but he feels very obligated and pressured to take her in which I understand.

We’ve talked about a lot of options but I gave him an ultimatum last week that I wouldn’t allow Emily into our home and he would have to figure out an alternative solution. This has already turned our lives upside and I don’t think I can take it anymore.

I’ve been called heartless by almost everyone we know but I feel like it would be worse for Emily to have a “mom” that feels this way. I feel awful and I love this man so much. I’ve had to leave out a lot and some details might not be very clear so I’ll try and address things in the comments.

Edit: I’ve looked at the comments and I feel like I didn’t make my husband's feelings clear about this. He does not want to be a dad or take on this responsibility. I was very neutral to this in the beginning to see what he wanted to do but he has also been against it from the start and tried to come up with alternatives.

We are both being pressured and harassed by family about it and that is why I finally told him that I would have no part in it and he had to make his own decision. But i don’t know if he would make the decision to take her in if I was never in the picture to begin with.

Edit 2: Y’all are not understanding that giving this little girl up for adoption is an option. I understand how harsh this sounds, but my MIL or other family are not an option for guardianship.

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:


NAH. You know yourself, and if you can't provide the love and compassion that this child needs, you shouldn't pretend. That being said, I believe the only path forward is for your husband to take custody alone.

If you convince him to leave this child to the system, your relationship with your MIL will become toxic, and your husband's guilt will eat him alive. This is a situation where there isn't a solution without regrets. It's unfortunate, but that's life. I hope that little girl winds up with the love she so deeply needs and deserves.


Agreed. OP's husband is no longer "Child Free" by any stretch of the imagination and if she manipulates him into walking away from Emily, the marriage will ultimately end anyway. She needs to file for divorce and move on. Free her husband to make the decision he knows is right and she can go live her merry child free life with someone without children.


YTA. Your husband is not "Child Free". There is a living and breathing biological child that he is now responsible for. You can be "Child Free" but that means this marriage needs to end immediately so you can move on with your "Child Free" life and he can step into the role he is now in as Dad to his biological child.

Look, whatever choice you make for you, your husband NEEDS to step up for his daughter. And, she is VERY much his daughter. If that means the end of the marriage then that is what it means but this is his child and he has the responsibility to step up for this child that he created.

At the moment your feelings do not matter. You are a full blown adult with self determination who can make any choice she wants in her life moving forward. They might not be fun choices but you determine your own future.

Emily is a little girl and does not have any choice in this matter. This little girl is about to have her ENTIRE world turned upside down in losing her Mom. The only real family she has except for your husband - her Dad.

And you are sitting there giving your husband ultimatums when the fact of the matter is if he does not step up his daughter is going to end up in foster care. And, foster care for an 11 year old girl is going to be catastrophically bad for her. Think emotional and mental destruction.

Your husband is the one person who can give her stability and safety at this time. And whatever that means for your marriage honestly does not matter in the least. Your feelings at the moment do not matter.

What matters is getting this child into a safe and stable environment where she is going to be able to grow and thrive after losing her mom. NTA for not wanting to be a mom or involved with the child but you are a MASSIVE AH for your incredibly selfish oulook here.


NTA. But.... Yours and your husband's lives are diverging. He has responsibilities now that don't match the plans the two of you had for your lives. You can love someone with all your heart but the timing isn't always right. That's the case with your husband now.

Your best option is most likely to hire a good Divorce Attorney and file for divorce. Some family members may take this badly, but you need to set your husband free because you are both going in different directions.


”I gave him an ultimatum last week that I wouldn’t allow Emily into our home and he would have to figure out an alternative solution.”

That isn’t an ultimatum. An ultimatum is a choice, i.e.: if you do this, then this is what will happen. What you gave is a demand. These are two very different things.

It’s fine that you don’t want to be a mother. And you are correct that it would be unfair to Emily to have to survive a “mother” like you, especially since you are determined to treat her badly and with nothing but contempt. But what isn’t fine is you taking this choice away from your husband and making his decision for him.

Your husband is in a vastly different position in this situation than you are. He—not you—is the one who now has the knowledge that he has a biological child who is in desperate need of help and who has nobody to turn to.

You don’t get to decide if he’s going to carry that weight of turning his back on her for the rest of his life. Because that is an enormous weight and he would be carrying it alone.

You have every right to tell your husband that if he takes in Emily, then you will leave. That’s an actual ultimatum. You don’t have a child, after all, and you don’t want one, so that’s a fair ultimatum.

Your husband, however, does have a child, and he has a right to make his own decision about whether or not he will care for her. YTA. You don’t get to decide for your husband on this.

So, what do you think about this one? If you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit
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