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I Refuse to Take Care of My Ex-Husband Who Has Cancer

Helping people who have previously wronged and betrayed us is a difficult and emotionally-taxing task. A woman was asked by her ex-husband and their children to help take care of the man due to sickness. But she decided to refuse, due to her ex-spouse’s behavior in the past.

woman got into a conflict with her kids due to her refusal to help her ex.

My ex-husband and I had 3 children (25F, 23F and 22M). We separated 4 years ago after he said he was tired of seeing my old face every day and wanted to find someone younger (his words to my face when asking for divorce). The divorce was a mess, he tried in every way to take everything I had, and I even had to take on half of his debts. Long story short, I never talked to him again face to face, and we only talk through lawyers when it’s something about our children.

Months ago, from my children, I found out that he was diagnosed with cancer, and it is in an advanced stage. I didn’t say anything more about it, because any topic related to him doesn’t appeal to me, but I decided to support my children and stay by their side.

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Yesterday, my 3 children (all live with me) sat down with me telling me that their father could no longer work (chemo + cancer) and wouldn’t be able to stay in his current home, so he had nowhere to live, and they would like for him to live here in these last stages.

I immediately said no and that I felt offended that I had even been asked that question, knowing how much he and I dislike each other.

They started to argue, saying that our house was his last option, because his relatives couldn’t, and they didn’t want to leave their father without a home and that I should think about them.

I asked who would take care of him when things got worse, because all three of them work outside the home and I work from home, or who would cover all of his financial and medical expenses. They didn’t know how to answer and that they would decide between the 3 of them to help their father and not be so burdensome for me and that the 3 of them were willing to let their father live in our house.

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I said that despite valuing their opinion on any other matter in the house, this matter is my decision alone, and it remains no.

They called me heartless and said that they are just trying to give their father a place to live, not my ex-husband. And I was being petty about all the things he did and not thinking about them.

They’re still pressuring me to change my mind, especially with their father only having 15 more days in his house, but I can’t feel anything other than offended that they asked that, knowing how much the divorce messed with me (depression and anxiety).

My ex got in touch on my personal number, asking to rethink and leave the past behind just in these last moments. Funny that he asked me, but not his exes much younger than me.

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Netizens agreed with the poster.

  • «Tell him he can ask his much younger and „cuter“ exes. After all, you wouldn’t want to bother him with your „old face“ every day. And do your kids know how he treated you? I understand not getting involved with my parent’s grievances, but as a child in that situation, I would never consider even asking my mother to care for my father if I knew how he treated her.» Reyvakitten / Reddit
  • «At 22–25 years old, they’re old enough to realize it’s an unreasonable ask of their mother and to make their own sacrifices to take care of him if they want to. Not to expect mommy to do it for them. People live on their own at that age.
    It’s kind and caring that OP is letting them live at home until they’re ready to be off on their own. They should appreciate that. OP’s not stopping them from helping their father or trying to discourage them from doing so. She just understandably doesn’t want it done in her home, on her time and on her dime.» exscapegoat / Reddit
  • «I’d normally say you should never spill all of the nasty divorce details to your kids since it could change the way they see you or their other parent. This situation is entirely different, in part because the kids are adults and also because OP has multiple extremely valid reasons for refusing to let him move in.
    If her 3 kids that are in their 20s can’t even afford to live alone, there is zero chance that all of the financial and emotional burden for supporting the ex/father won’t fall almost entirely on OP’s shoulders. It sucks that he has cancer, but he also has to lie in the bed he made for himself.» CreditUpstairs7621 / Reddit
  • «If he hadn’t insulted her, abandoned her, probably cheated on her, divorced her and tried to leave her destitute while successfully leaving her with half his debts, then they would have still been married when he got his cancer diagnosis, and she might have been perfectly willing to take care of him and pay his medical bills (assuming he treated her with respect if not love).
    It is entirely his fault that he doesn’t have a home to live in or a wife to care for him, he threw that away to date what sounds like a string of gold diggers, and now that he has nothing they want nothing to do with his cancer-riddled, middle-aged butt. OP should not be expected to just suck it up, take on more of his debt, and shoulder the burden of caring for this selfish, spiteful man.» GovernorSan / Reddit
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  • «The kids definitely don’t get it. They’re talking about bringing dad in like a stray dog. „Someone“ will feed and walk the dog and pay for his expenses. That „someone“ will default to OP, and she shouldn’t be put in that situation.
  • But consider sitting your kids down and explaining two things: first, how neither you nor them are able to care for a dying person. And second, that dying person severed the „death do us part“ perk of the relationship. It’s over.» HighlyImprobable42 / Reddit
  • «Your children’s request is completely unfair. They want you to take in a man who insulted you to your face, tried to take you for everything he could, and saddled you with his debt? A man with whom your relationship is so strained that you only ever speak through lawyers?» SushiGuacDNA / Reddit
  • «The audacity of your ex-husband and the unfair pressure from your children is completely unjustifiable. You are not a rehabilitation center or a forgetful sanctuary just because he now faces his mortality. You shared a life once, but that bond was severed through his own doing. Being in need does not automatically qualify him for your compassion or your home, especially not at the expense of your peace of mind.
    I understand your children’s position stems from emotional turmoil, but their perspective is evidently blinded by the situation. They should rather focus on providing support in ways that do not involve sacrificing your comfort. Maybe they could arrange a caretaking service or look into palliative care facilities. Your well-being also matters, and you have the right to set boundaries to protect it. It’s not just about „leaving the past behind,“ it’s about not allowing someone who caused you distress to disrupt your life once again.» Ok_Strategy_5392 / Reddit

Having to deal with exes that have broken our hearts before is never easy. And often, it’s hard to find it in us to help someone who has betrayed us. In a recent article, we wrote about a woman who refused to take care of her ex’s son during an emergency.

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