'I want to divorce my husband over his sister's kids.'

Deciding if or when to become a parent is a life-changing decision that isn't always easy or straightforward.

But what if after choosing not to have kids with your partner, someone took that decision away by leaving their three children in your home for you to care for... forever? 

This is the devastating dilemma facing one upset 29-year-old child-free woman after her sister-in-law dropped the kids on her doorstep and disappeared.

In an AITA (Am I The Asshole) post on Reddit, she posted about how she is now asking her husband for a divorce because of it.

"I knew from a young age I never wanted to have or raise children," the woman writes.

"I met my husband in college and he was decidedly child-free too and we got married a couple of years back.

"My husband's younger sister has three kids under five with different deadbeat guys. Two months ago she left all of them at our house. She said was going on an errand and never came back. The last we heard she was safe but did not want to return."

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The woman says that the young couple filed an official report with the authorities but that the kids had nowhere else to go. In the short term, they made it work, but raising three kids in her small home was not part of her life plan.

"My husband's mum is a minimum wage worker barely scraping by. She used to be a single mum and did not want to raise these kids - but I don't want to raise them either. 

"Don't get me wrong, I feel bad for them. But raising kids is a huge responsibility that I don't want to take up. In the two months they were here, our expenses increased, we had to buy them clothes and stuff, and they are sleeping in our living room on air mattresses as we only have one bedroom. 

"I had to work from home and look after them because my husband could not work from home and daycare for three kids is expensive. It has been really rough."

After Child Protection Services got involved, they asked the couple whether they wanted to keep the kids long-term. The woman was surprised that her husband wanted to keep them.

"My husband and I have gone back and forth. I cannot live the next 16 years like this. Raising kids is hard and expensive. But he wants to be there for his family, which I get.

"So yesterday I told him I want a divorce. Quickly, before he made any commitments and dragged me into it with him. He called me an a*****e for divorcing him over kids and for abandoning him when he needed me.

"I told him he knew my boundaries well in advance and this was a commitment (to children) that he was unilaterally deciding on."


With over six thousand people weighing on this very difficult situation, the comments were wide-ranging with some agreeing that the woman is right to stay true to herself, while others say she should support her husband. 

Most however agree that it is just a terrible situation for the kids at the centre of it all.

"Forcing someone into parenthood is also bad for those children," one comment reads.

"If you are ill-equipped or unwilling, those children will be the ones that suffer for it. They deserve parents who want them wholeheartedly, and nothing less."

Certified Relationship coach Katie O'Donoghue says that while this heartbreaking dilemma has no right answers, open dialogue and constant communication about what is best for all parties would help.

"This is such a complex and challenging situation for all people involved, especially for the children as they are innocent victims experiencing the betrayal of not just their biological mother abandoning them but equally, their biological father figures," Katie tells Mamamia.

"Given the unexpected circumstances, it's understandable why this may create waves between the couple who have been left with the kids as their initial agreement when entering into their marriage, was to have a child-free relationship and life. 

"It's important for this couple, (and all couples) to revisit their initial commitments and to explore them in an open, empathetic and honest way. It might also look like revisiting relationship goals, personal aspirations and how potential new parental roles will require sacrifices, specifically from the husband in a world that largely demands women to be the primary caretaker and emotional labourer."


Katie says that the challenge here is to find a way to bridge "misaligned expectations and dreams" while also considering what is really best for the three kids.

"The wellbeing of the children is of great importance, and it is worth considering whether the husband can actually provide a 'good life' for three young kids, with his wife or not, or whether they would have a better chance by being adopted by a family who has more financial stability, living space, and who is prepared to take on the responsibilities that come with raising three young kids. 

"After all, just because they are family, it doesn't mean that it is the best option for them to stay amongst family when you consider the life that needs to be created for the kids and the capability of extended family members being able to provide." 

What do you think about this woman's dilemma? Let us know in the comments.

Katie O'Donoghue is a Relationship Coach and the host of the Self Explained podcast. You can find more about her on Instagram or her website.

Laura Jackel is Mamamia's Senior Lifestyle Family Writer. For links to her articles, follow her on Instagram and TikTok.

Feature Image: Getty.

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