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'Wife divorced me after she got cancer; now she wants to come back. Need advice.' UPDATED

'Wife divorced me after she got cancer; now she wants to come back. Need advice.' UPDATED


"My [34M] ex-wife [32F] divorced me after she got cancer so that she could "leave" first, now she wants to come back - should I give her another chance?"


I met my wife (I'll call her Anna) during our first year of university. We dated through university and got married right after her graduation. Things were happy for about a while until Anna discovered a lump in her right breast. I encouraged her to have it checked out; she was reluctant to do so, but ultimately did because breast cancer runs in her family. And sure enough, that's what she had.

The good news - if it can be considered good news - was that the breast cancer she had was extremely treatable with chemo and radiation. Based n her family history her doctor also recommended a double mastectomy for her.

This put Anna in a REALLY dark place. I suggested she go to therapy but she outright refused and said she never wanted to hear me suggest that again. So I did my best to be encouraging and supportive to her.

I took time off work to be at every appointment with her, I took on 100% of the household chores both inside and out, I did all of the shopping, I drove Anna everywhere she wanted to go, I planned out special dates for us, I gave her an hour-long foot massage every night, I literally did whatever I could.

About six weeks into her treatment, Anna brought up the idea of going to stay with her sister Sarah for a week. This honestly relieved me as I was burning the candle at both ends trying to accomplish everything, and I thought some time apart would help us both.

Two nights into her stay with Sarah, Anna called me and said she wanted a divorce. She said she had read a lot about men who abandon their wives when their wives get sick, and that she was determined to leave me before I could leave her.

I can't put into words how much this crushed me. I loved my wife. She was my everything. I begged her to reconsider. I told her I had NEVER thought of leaving her, not even once. I asked her again to go to therapy.

She refused again. I asked her to go to couple's therapy with me. She wouldn't. I asked her what I could do to convince her I wanted to stay. She said there was nothing. I am a man and therefore I would leave. End of story.

It took about a year because of where we live (thanks COVID) but eventually everything was finalized. I ended up selling the house and splitting the proceeds between me and my now ex-wife.

I didn't want to stay in that town anymore, so I put in a transfer request at my job and ended up moving to a town about 2 hours away. For the past couple of years, I've been focusing on myself more. I got a dog. I've been on a few dates but nothing serious. I picked up hiking as a hobby and started gardening.

Out of the blue, Anna called me three weeks ago. She said she'd been in town on a trip with friends and saw me, and all of her old feelings rushed back. She said she was sick and out of her mind at the time, and that I couldn't hold her words or her actions against her. She said she still loved me, that she always had, and that she regretted leaving me. She begged me to give her another chance.

I'm.... so confused. If I'm being honest, I still love Anna but I'm no longer IN love with her. She broke my heart. I was devastated when she ended things. It took me a long time to get my head on right. But I also know she really was in a bad place because of the cancer.

Do I owe it to her and what we had to hear her out? I'm scared that if we reconnect, I'll always feel like she'll have one foot out the door. But maybe that's unfair? I don't know what to do. Should I give her another chance like she wants?

Here were the top rated comments from readers:


I never recommend couples getting back together unless the issues that drove them apart are “fixed.” Cancer was not the problem. (Lack of) communication, trust and a willingness to compromise was (on her end).

She made unilateral decisions without caring how it affected you. She refused therapy. The way you’re writing this, it’s still all about what she wants. Which sounds like the dynamic that destroyed your marriage. So what changed?

I wouldn’t do it. But if you want to open the door, you need to start with brutally honest couples therapy (and her active and honest participation is non-negotiable and a deal-breaker otherwise). Have the therapy to hash out and bury the past, and see if DATING is an eventual possibility. You guys need to start from scratch.

And it’s ok if you try it and you can’t “move on” like she expects you to. She hurt you, regardless of her motivations. Sometimes you can’t undo things.


Did she ever get therapy?

Doesn’t sound like she actually did or plans to do anything to make up for her actions. Who’s to say she won’t drop you the next time a big hurdle in life comes along?

I would tell her you don’t think it would work.


"She said she was sick and out of her mind at the time, and that I couldn't hold her words or her actions against her."

She hasn't changed, here she is refusing to take responsibility for her actions when you both know you gave her every opportunity to find help. If she really wanted to make things work with you why did it take her seeing you by chance to do something? No, she's just lonely and is trying to shoot her shot because she's betting you're not over her.

Four days later, the OP returned with an update.

"[Update] My [34M] ex-wife [32F] divorced me after she got cancer so that she could 'leave' first, now she wants to come back - should I give her another chance?"


Firstly, I'd like to say thank you to everyone who left comments on my original post. I now know what people mean when they say "RIP my inbox." I posted that and went to bed never expecting it would blow up so much.

By the time I woke up, the post was locked (not sure why) so I couldn't respond to any comments. But I read as many as I could, and tried to take everything into consideration.

Many of you suggested I reach out to my ex-wife "Anna" for an in-person conversation; the overwhelming consensus was that meeting her in person would tell me all I needed to know... and you were right.

That seemed reasonable to me. I texted her and she jumped at the chance to meet, and we did so yesterday after I was done work. I chose to ask her to meet at a local coffee shop. Maybe it sounds bad, but I didn't want to meet her at my house or anywhere private just in case.

Anyway, Anna was already there when I got there. She got up and hugged me. I let her, but didn't hug her back. Then we sat down. I asked her to remain quiet while I talked and then I told her everything. I'm gonna sum it up here because I honestly don't remember everything I said. I think I talked for like ten minutes solid while she just sat there and teared up.

But I told her things like how much she had devastated me. I told her that I would have stuck with her through thick and thin, no matter what. I told her that I loved her, and that hadn't changed after her diagnosis or treatment plan.

I told her that I was broken after she initiated the divorce. I told her how hard it was for me to pull myself back together. A lot of you pointed out that if Anna and I got back together, I should be worried about what she would do the next time she got sick - or if I got sick. And you were right. So I told her that too. And she got mad and interrupted me at that point.

She said I was being unfair. That I wasn't taken into consideration her mental health at the time. She said she wasn't thinking straight, but that now she was. I took the chance to ask her if she'd been to therapy.

She told me she hadn't, and that she had no plans to, and that she didn't need it. I have to admit, that crushed me a little. I asked her why. Just... WHY? It's the one question I've really wrestled with over the months.

And she said that she'd gone looking for support groups and found a lot of women who had stories about their partners leaving. She even mentioned Reddit, funnily enough. She said she talked it through with her sister "Sarah."

Anna said that Sarah, to her credit, had tried to dissuade her from divorcing me. But that between social media and some of Anna's friends, Anna felt like she "had to go through with it to be seen as a strong woman."

That is word for word what she said to me. I don't remember anything else exactly but I will never forget that. She broke my heart and threw away our relationship because somehow in her mind that translated to being strong.

She then started trying to tell me we could get back together again, but at that point I just told her flat-out that wasn't happening. What it comes down to for me is that I just can't trust her. I would always be worrying about the same thing happening again. She cried a lot and tried convincing me for a little while. When I got up to leave, she threw her iced coffee in my face and stormed out.

So yeah. We're definitely not getting back together. I have the closure I always wanted. I wish it felt better. I've been dwelling on it for the past day and a half. I keep wondering if there's something I could've done better, some way I could've saved our relationship. But I know there's not. I've blocked her number. I kind of hope I never hear from her again.

Here were the top rated comments from readers after what appears to be the OP's final update:


I’m glad you got the closure you needed. She seems like she’s always trying to save face and puts her reputation over anything else. She even did it when she through the drink in your face; she saw you getting ready to walk away and she didn’t want the perception that dumped her in public so she did that to make you look like the villain.

I hope you find happiness moving forward and meet someone who truly understands “through sickness and health.” Be strong brother!


What’s that saying, people who are in therapy are in therapy because of those who won’t do therapy?

Anna is trip…


The immortal words of Leonard Cohen, "All I ever learned from love was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you."


"When I got up to leave, she threw her iced coffee in my face and stormed out."

Nothing says "lets get back together" like a little assault.


"you aren't taking my mental health into account but I refuse to do anything about my mental health"

Ok soldier.


Anna clearly didn’t give a damn about her marriage, if her own sense of being a “strong woman” was more important that literally everything else. This guy clearly meant it when he vowed “in sickness and in health” but it meant nothing to her. Glad he moved on.

So, do you think the OP made the right call here? Should he have given his ex a second chance?

Sources: Reddit,Reddit
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