The intricate dynamics of a man’s internal struggle regarding his responsibility towards his younger sister were brought to light in a Reddit post that had been shared and discussed extensively. The original poster (OP) had every intention of taking care of his sister, but his wife had a differing viewpoint. This situation arose when the OP’s father passed away, leaving his sister without any immediate family to look after her. At that time, the OP and his wife had been married for two years.
The OP’s relationship with his sibling was more akin to a father figure due to the considerable age gap between them. When their father embarked on his final journey, the OP’s younger sister was just eleven years old. It’s important to note that the OP and his wife had not planned to have children and had no intentions of starting a family anytime soon. This presented a complex dilemma following their tragic loss, leading to unforeseen tensions. In the OP’s words:
“My father passed away from pancreatic cancer. There are two 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. Herein lay the problem: My wife and I had decided that we did not want kids.”
Both the OP and his uncle acknowledged the significance of allowing the young girl to express her preference regarding her living arrangements, and she chose to stay with the OP and his wife.
However, trouble began when the OP’s wife made it clear that she did not want children and that taking in his sister would effectively mean they were adopting a child. She argued that since the girl’s uncle was willing to adopt her, neither she nor her husband should bear that responsibility.
The OP insisted that he wouldn’t force his sister to go live with their uncle because she had expressed her desire to stay with him. Given that she had lost both her parents after her father’s passing, he felt a strong obligation to ensure her well-being.
This disagreement deeply upset the OP and his wife, to the point where he ultimately told her that, whether she liked it or not, his sister would stay with them. He also warned her that if she refused, it would lead to a divorce. Following this, they fell into a prolonged silence.
In a later update, the OP revealed that he and his wife had revisited the issue and decided to part ways. He recounted her saying, “You’re choosing your sister over me.” The OP reassured her that he respected her perspective on the matter and didn’t want to revisit the topic. He emphasized that, for the time being, his sister was his top priority.
That last conversation marked the end of communication between the OP and his wife. He added, “I’ve been living with my sister for one week now. Being a single, quasi-fatherly figure to her is undoubtedly challenging, but I’m truly enjoying it.”
Many commenters on the original post believed that the OP had done the right thing by prioritizing his sister and felt that his wife’s refusal to take in a homeless teenager was insensitive. They also emphasized the importance of having a will in place, designating a guardian for children in the event of untimely parental loss.
One commenter shared their own experience, where their half-sister took them back to their childhood home after their parents passed away but clearly didn’t want them there. At the age of 15, this person ran away, and their half-sister and her spouse didn’t seem to care about their disappearance.
Another user believed that the OP and his wife should have divorced, as it would have been evident to the sister if there was hostility in the household.
Someone who doesn’t have children shared that they would have found this situation to be a deal-breaker as well.
While some individuals supported the OP’s wife, recognizing her limits and her inability to handle the emotional trauma of raising a child, others argued that assisting in raising the sister would inherently place her in a motherly role, even if she didn’t want it.
Another poster mentioned that they would typically side with the wife in such situations but couldn’t do so in this case, as they felt the wife had been unfair to the OP and his sister by accusing him of favoring his sister over her.
Your thoughts and opinions on this matter are welcome!