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Child-free couple's marriage tested by sudden guardianship decision after father's death. + Update

Child-free couple's marriage tested by sudden guardianship decision after father's death. + Update


"I(28m) want to adopt my sister after my dad's death, my wife(28f) refused because we agreed on no children. Is there a way to fix this?"

I[28M] have been married to my wife [28f] for 2 years. we do not have kids and we do not plan to. I have a little sister [11f]. Due to the age gap , I am more like another father than a brother.

My father passed away from pancreatic cancer. There are 2 options for my sister: either I take her in or my uncle [dad's brother]. So we asked her who she wanted and she chose me.

Here is the problem, my wife and I decided that we did not want kids, So she does not want to adopt my sister especially since my uncle can. But my sister has no parents now and I want to make sure she is able to recover and be healthy and since she wants to be with me, I will not force her to be with our uncle.

This is causing a lot of tension with my wife , things escalated and finally told her I am doing this whether she agrees or not, she can either accept it or we get divorced. We have not talked since then. What I can do in such situation?

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


Well you have to chose, unfortunate situation.


I would say just one thing: op can find another wife, but can't find another sister. for her choose him, they have an bond, that will be broken, if op chooses wife. plus, one thing is have children, another thing is an brother or sister dropped due that, if they get along.


Unpopular opinion but OP’s wife seems a bit selfish. OP you are doing the right thing. Your wife may not want kids but this is not you going out of your way to adopt a baby or something - it’s your little sister, she is family and she needs you and feels safer with you than your uncle.

I am really surprised at how insensitive your wife is being during a time like this. Life is unexpected. You are not asking her to be a mom and your little sister likely would never view your wife in that way anyways. You are honestly better off without your wife.


While I agree with the spirit of your comment, the wife is not selfish or insensitive: this will change her life totally, so she's entitled to pause and think.


I don't think there's much else you can do other than wait for your wife's response. She doesn't want the responsibility of children, which you both agreed to, and now you are changing the dynamic of that because of this unfortunate situation. But circumstances aside, she is still entitled to not want children and to divorce you over it.

I think you have made the right decision to stand by your sister. This is terrible that you have to make this choice, but that poor child needs you and I hope that even if you wind up going through divorce, that your wife can understand why you have to do this.


Your marriage is over. Make the divorce as painless as possible. You're doing right by your sister, but this isn't the life your wife wants, she's allowed to make that choice.


Speaking as a child free by choice woman, I think your relationship with your wife is finished. Do I think you should take in your sister despite agreeing to be child free and having a good alternative?

Yes, as long as you understand the consequences of that decision and are completely OK with them. You and your wife are adults and should be able to amicably and rapidly divorce.

Truly, all of this should have been discussed and determined prior to your Dad passing, and not during a weeping conversation with an 11 year old girl, without speaking with your wife first.

But, such is life. You've let an 11 year old decide and I think it would be absolutely terrible to say yes and then change to no. I wish you, your STBX wife and your sister all the best of luck.

Three days later, the OP returned with an update.

"[update]I(28m) want to adopt my sister after my dad's death, my wife(28f) refused because we agreed on no children. Is there a way to fix this?"

I talked with my wife again. She still refused as she does not want kids. So we basically decided to go our separate ways. She said you really are choosing your sister over me.

I told her I do not want to go into this discussion again but if that what you want to hear then fine. Yes my sister takes the priority now, I am choosing her over you.This was our last conversation. I have been living with my sister for 1 week now. Being a single father-ish brother is definitely challenging but I am really enjoying it.

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


Sounds like the best outcome for all concerned.


It was a good idea for OP and his ex to separate here. Frankly, kids are a lot of work, especially kids that lost their parents and probably have some trauma related to that to unpack.

OP's ex knew her limits, knew that she wouldn't be able to handle the responsibility, and reacted accordingly. OP had been onboard with being childfree, but this is a situation that you can't really plan for. He didn't expect his kid sister to be orphaned, and was ready to step in. A sad situation, but unavoidable.

ETA: So many people fighting over this one in the comments. You can think what you want, but I'm not particularly inclined to think someone's a terrible person because they don't want kids and stick to that.


I would normally agree with this take but, “you’re picking her over me!” Sounds terribly immature when “her” is an 11 year old orphan. That said, 100% agree divorce is the right move here. Someone who doesn’t want to raise a kid shouldn’t be forced to.


I mean I get it, he did technically choose being a father to his sister over being a husband to her. And especially if she still loves him, I can see why his choice could bring out that response.

It's definitely best for everyone they separated: guy gets to take care of his sister, sister gets taken care of, ex gets to keep being childfree. But I can totally understand how it's painful for her in the short term.


I think it worked out for the best. My father died when I was 14 to cancer and my oldest half sister (she's 21 years older than me) took me in and it was obvious she didn't want me there.

Some of the rules were: no hugging or showing of affection from anyone toward me (she had a son who was 11. He needed all the affection so none was left for me), I wasn't allowed to go on vacation with them because I wasn't family, I wasn't allowed to spend weekends with them because that was family time and I wasn't family, etc.

I ran away when I was 15 and she nor her husband ever reported me missing. A month after I "disappeared" my best friend's parents reported me missing. I was brought back and my "sister" refused to pick me up because the money she was receiving for me had stopped since I was no longer there.

I told my story to explain this: it is better to not be forced upon somebody who doesn't want you especially after losing your only parent. I'm thankful the sister has OP who loves her so much but I'm also thankful his wife removed herself.

The sister is going to need all the help and love she can get to make it through this devastating time and the resentment she would have felt from the wife would have only made things so much worse.


An important takeaway from this mess: If you have a child/children you must have a will and you should absolutely make arrangements about who takes guardianship of your child/children in the event of your death after having serious conversations with these people. It may seem morbid but it is so so important.

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

Sources: Reddit,Reddit
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