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Ex with cancer needs favor after cheating and divorce; 'Should I help him?'

Ex with cancer needs favor after cheating and divorce; 'Should I help him?'

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Warning — this is a sad story of cancer, lost love, and cheaters who need favors. On Reddit's Am I the A*shole, a woman needs advice after her ex comes back into her life begging for help.

'WIBTA for not having my cancer stricken ex husband stay with me through his treatment?'

For most of our marriage my husband (39M) and I (37F) had a very happy relationship. We had good jobs, decent money, two kids and loved each other. Then he got diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and we went through years of painful treatments and recovery together.

We moved to a small house to be close to the research center where he underwent treatment. His parents paid half of the down payment on the house, the other half was from our savings and investments.

In the divorce, he gave me the house and took all of his medical debt. We have been divorced a year, but now his cancer has come back and he needs treatment again at the same research hospital.

He wants to stay in what is now my house while undergoing treatment — and his parents expect me to house him and look after him because he was generous in letting me have the house without taking his rightful share from the equity.

When we were married and he was undergoing treatment, it was new stuff that was expensive and also very physically draining on him.

We were lucky that both our jobs were supportive and flexible, but with his health issues, little kids and expenses, we had to downgrade our lifestyle a lot.

That plus the physical changes in his body made him very depressed. Whenever he felt a bit better, he'd go stay in his hometown. It's a small town where most of his family and a lot of his childhood friends live.

I was doing all the care-taking of him, while also dealing with insurance complications. I was also managing the kids, the entire household and my full time job. We had help from friends and neighbors but it was very hard. I wasn’t happy about him spending his healthy days away from us, but it was good for his mental health so I didn’t feel like I could object.

While he was staying there he had reconnected with his high school girlfriend. A couple years ago he admitted to me that he was sleeping with her and I filed for divorce. He had fully recovered from his cancer by then.

There are other aspects around the cheating that left me very heartbroken and feeling betrayed. His giving me the house and taking all the debt was an apology of a sort.

His parents feel that I owe him for getting the house and should let him stay there for the 2-3 months his treatment is at the facility. I do want him to be well and I don't want my kids to lose a loving father.

But I can't deal with having him around me, especially not if I end up being his nurse and caretaker again. I am still very bitter about how our marriage ended. A lot of people close to me are telling me that I should support him for the sake of my kids. WIBTA if I say I can't do that?

Here's how the comments shook out:

From No-Dragonfly4661:

NTA. Let his girlfriend take care of him.

OP responded:

They announced their engagement the day the divorce was finalized. That still hurts so much.

From justbrowsing086:

NTA. Even without the cheating and whatnot, caretaking is a full time job and it’s very taxing emotionally, mentally, and physically. You’re not his wife anymore. You have no obligation to do this.

OP responded:

The last time I did it out of love, I can just not do it now. It was very difficult. The big upside to me in getting divorced was not having to deal with that anymore. As difficult as it is to take care of a sick person, dealing with the insurance bureaucracy and keeping track of all the medical contacts and treatment details is a pretty big logistical nightmare.

From Aspen_Matthews86:

NTA and for anyone saying you owe him, you paid your debt in full, by taking care of him and then by not raking him over the coals in the divorce, when he cheated. You owe him nothing.

From teresajs:

NTA. You received the house as part of your divorce settlement. You could have gotten his retirement accounts or something similar instead of the house, if there were such assets to be had.

Stop thinking of the house as being 'given' to you. It was awarded to you as part of the divorce settlement, not 'given' to you as prepayment for future caregiving.

But you getting assets from the divorce don't entitled your cheating Ex to free housing, utilities, food, and caregiving. Your Ex and his AP can find their own housing near a cancer center.

If it's important to his parents that your Ex get care and housing, they can figure out how to help provide that. He's your Ex which means that it's no longer your responsibility.

'While I empathize with Ex's plight, I won't be housing nor providing care for him. Due to the circumstances of our divorce, it wouldn't be appropriate for me to provide those services. At this time, Ex needs the support of his family and close friends more than ever, and I am not longer either of those. I hope that Ex recovers from his illness quickly, and I'll be praying for him.'

From Joeswastedtime:

NTA man has the audacity to cheat after you’ve been keeping the ship afloat and taking care of him and everyone else alone? Sounds like karma is getting him now.

From B-owie:

NTA. He cheated on you, you divorced when he was recovered, him being kind in the divorce should not mean you have to care for him.

Its a sad state of affairs, I guess he would like to be close to his kids while ill and going through treatment but at the same time, there should be someone else in his life who can care for and house him through this difficult time.

And a big one from OK_Consideration5327:

I think I know how most Reddit users will respond. They have no sympathy for cheaters, and probably think your ex-husband deserves no sympathy. “He reaps what he sows”, will probably be a common response.

I try to have a “What would Jesus do” mindset. It’s easy to help people who are good to you. Helping someone who wronged you is very difficult, but very rewarding. As long as you don’t let him take advantage of your kindness.

That being said, you’re technically NTA. His parents are wrong for saying you owe him for getting you the house. That’s manipulation on their part. Now that you’re divorced, he’s no longer your responsibility. Letting him stay at your house would be an act of kindness, but not an act of obligation.

Don’t let hatred or anger motivate your decision, but do what you feel is best for everyone including yourself.

OP responded to this one too:

I am struggling with this so much. I don't think I hate him, a part of me still loves him as an old friend. I definitely wouldn't want my kids to suffer the devastation of losing their father. He loves them and is loved by them.

When I look at it as an outside observer, I can understand what he was going through in falling in love with someone else. During the worst parts of his illness I was frequently cleaning up after him, his vomiting, his loss of bowel control.

I pulled muscles and injured myself helping him move. He found that emasculating. So I can see how he'd find it appealing that someone still saw him as the old him when he was healthy and strong and I became the nurse figure. So I tell myself that and I don't hate him.

But I went years without sex because he was sick. The loss of libido was an expected temporary side effect of his medication. I accepted that and made do with being celibate. I feel guilty talking about how painful it was because I should be grateful he survived and that is so trivial given the situation.

And all this time I was making do thinking he wasn't able to, he was sleeping with a whole another person. And that disloyalty still makes me cry.

Good luck, OP.

Sources: Reddit
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