am i the asshole

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Man asks if he’s the a**hole for walking out on wife after cancer diagnosis

Commenters on Reddit answered with a resounding 'yes'.


Siobhan Ball

Internet Culture

Posted on Aug 5, 2020

It’s possible that subreddit Am I The Asshole? has found its biggest asshole yet in one man who walked out on his wife mid-cancer diagnosis—because it meant she had cheated him out of children.

You guys, I think I've done it: I think I have found the biggest asshole in the history of AITA. I just... have no words. followed by screenshot of the post

The man’s wife was hospitalized with searing abdominal pain while he was away on a business trip. After his return, the two of them were informed by her doctors that she was suffering from ovarian cancer and would need a full hysterectomy, including the removal of her ovaries and fallopian tubes—an incredibly aggressive form of treatment that’s both hard to live with and indicative that the cancer is already in an advanced state.

Rather than consoling his sobbing wife, his first response was anger, and not just an understandable rage at the cancer. Oh no, he was mad at his wife because now it was too late for her to give him biological children, something he’d been pestering her about for years.

That news jolted me from my chair. Because the doctor was effectively telling me that she wouldn’t be able to have kids after this, and after years of work, I thought we’d finally have a family.

I’m overwhelmed with emotions of anger, not just anger at the disease, but pent up anger form the fact that I had begged her to have kids since we were 26, but she refused for her career.

He also had other concerns, namely that she wouldn’t be hot or fun anymore either. Not only was he being cheated out of a “real family” by his wife’s selfish failure to predict she was going to have cancer and having children to pre-empt it, he might end up with a wife who wasn’t pretty or entertaining to boot.

And now instead of becoming a real family, I didn’t even know if she would remain the woman I married, whether the last picture of us together would be last time I’d remember her looking beautiful, young, and carefree. Because the wife I as in front of me was already a different person.

Despite his wife’s reassuring him that they could adopt, meaning she must have been aware that at least part of his response was anger over the loss of her ability to have children, OP proceeded to walk right out of the hospital.

It's heartbreaking. She could think of him first even in the most dire moment, and all he could think was "she can't be a baby machine anymore"  Genuinely disgusting.
Exactly!!! I can’t even believe that he is questioning if he is the asshole or not. Would adopting a child mean they aren’t your “real family.” I love how she is telling you it’s okay and you guys would get through it together when SHE is the one with cancer, NOT you! Also she is still the same beautiful person, I don’t see how her having cancer makes you believe she is a completely different person than who you married (which was her). She is probably about to go through one of the hardest things she will have to face, and when you both were told the news she was understandably upset and tried comforting YOU, when it should have been the other way around. She deserves so much better and you probably shouldn’t go back as you were so worried about yourself and your “real family,” you neglected to support your wife (your actual family) when she needed you. My heart goes out for her and what she is going through as you have made a horrible situation worse.  If it wasn’t clear... YTA and a MAJOR one.  Edit: Thank you kind strangers for the awards!!!
This! No chance of a “real family”?? Is his wife not his real family??? YTA ALL DAY.

Without explaining himself or even telling anyone where he was going, OP set himself up in a hotel for the night so he wouldn’t have to see his wife later if she was discharged that day. According to OP, while he was at the hotel, he was able “to get a grasp on all my emotions and feel more like my normal self in that I knew exactly what I felt about every aspect and how I would react to it from here on out.”

He then received a phone call from his mother in law, telling him that wherever he was he should stay there, prompting him to come to subreddit to ask if he was in any way at fault.

AITA for walking out? I admit it was done on impulse but this diagnosis just sliced my life and my wife’s life wide open.

I wasn’t going to expel the cancer if I stayed that night but I did at least make myself aware of my situation. And I feel I have a right to be angry that my hope of biological kids, the only kind I ever wanted, is rapidly fading away.

Unfortunately for OP, who seems to find himself entirely justified, the answer was a resounding yes.

Imagine wasting that much time on a man to find out what a terrible person he is when you need his love and support the most. He 100% shouldn’t go back and grovel, just in case there’s any chance she actually listens and takes him back. YTA OP, she deserves more than you.
Jeeeesus. Sometimes I read a post on this subreddit and think, "Yep, this is it--THIS is the worst human being."  And then this guy goes and prove me wrong.  YTA OP. Sure, you're allowed to mourn the loss of what could have been, but you don't get to abandon your wife during the worst moment of her life and cry victim.  I really don't know if you should go back. MIL is probably right, and as others have brought up, negative influences can be harmful to cancer patients (this is very true; I'm a biologist and have written reports on this sort of stuff). If you can't honestly overcome what ever the hell you've got going on and support and love your wife 110%, go kick rocks.
Of course not, she isn't even a person. To him, she's a walking incubator, and if the baby maker goes away, she's "not even the same person anymore." This guy is not an AH, he's the stuff that comes out of one.

And while some thought he should go back and grovel, others thought his leaving was the best favor he could do her, and he should stay far, far out of her life—after delivering a breathtakingly apology first.

Oh. My God. Your wife deserves far better than you. YTA.  This is not about you or your feelings. No one preempts cancer. No woman should be forced to have children earlier than she's ready to just to fit into someone else's grand master plan. The fact that you don't see her as the person you married when she is more than just an incubator and a baby making machine is deeply troubling.  You should go back. Grovel and support the hell out of her. The vows you made were "in sickness and in health".  Stop being a wet ham sandwich of a man and be a decent human being.
Yeah... there are some things you just can’t come back from.  Besides. If this is even real, OP is so stuck in his self-righteousness. I don’t think he’s capable of seeing his wife as an equal even if he tried. I don’t think he even realizes that he doesn’t see her that way.  To him she is just an object he wanted to use to achieve an end. And he’s mad the object didn’t do what he wanted and sacrifice her life (career) in a different way for him. Now she might die and all he cares about is that his tool isn’t going to be able to do its job.  Even if he groveled... I don’t think he’d ever really change, inside. It would creep back up. I doubt he even wants or understands that he needs to change. This is one of the most hopeless relationships I’ve read about. He would have to completely change his entire worldview and first, acknowledge that he’s done something deeply inhumane. None of this will happen.
He should not go back. Cancer patients have a better success rate and recovery, if they are surrounded by positive influences around them. My mother had that operation and it took years to heal internally. This high stress situation revealed his true character and I honestly see no coming back from this. What's there to excuse? Sorry, that you ruined my hopes of a real child because you got cancer? I feel less attracted to you because your oven is being ripped out and we can't get a bun in anymore?  Not the positive influence OPs wife needs. And I doubt he has anything more to offer her, than seeing her as a babymaker

Reddit user dreadsquidred pointed out that surrogacy exists, meaning his wife’s infertility wouldn’t even stop him from having biological children while married to her—but followed it up by saying he should never, ever have children with anyone because he’s such an asshole.

And has this ignoramus never heard of a surrogate? Or the multitude of other alternative ways of conceiving biological offspring?  ...not that OP should consider that, however. In fact, if you're reading this, OP, please DO NOT procreate.  Like ever.  YTA man.
You are a GIANT asshole. Do you not know adoption exists? YTA YTA YTA I hope your wife finds a partner that actually cares about her.
YTA - Did you only marry her to have access to a baby incubator? There was always a risk that she would be infertile for one reason or another - and there are options to deal with that like adoption or a surrogate.  She just found out that you care more about your ability to have biological offspring than you do about your wife. She is going into a fight for her life, also mourning the fact that she won't ever have biological children, and she has just found out her husband somehow blames her for getting cancer. She needed you to be there for her in that moment - and instead you left her alone in the ER.  It's okay to be upset, it's okay to feel sad and scared, but you left her alone, and you care more about not having kids the old fashioned way than you do about the fact that your wife could die.  I would be shocked if this isn't the end of your marriage.

The deeply depressing statistic that the majority of husbands leave their wives after their wives receive a cancer or other serious diagnosis was brought up, and several experienced cancer care specialists confirmed the ubiquity of this in their own, albeit anecdotal, experience.

Its worth noting too that statistically when men get sick, women stay around. But when women get sick, the men leave. So Sadly OP is just one more example of that pathetic truth.
Absolutely this kind of asshole exists. Oncology nurse here. It’s not even uncommon for women I treat to be dealing with cancer and a divorce at the same time because their husbands leave them when they’re diagnosed. I almost never see it the other way around though.
YTA.  Congrats, dude, you made your wife's CANCER about YOU.  Did you even spend three seconds thinking that your wife might need some emotional support after, idk, a CANCER DIAGNOSIS? Did you ever think about HER broken dreams, or her fears, or her feelings?  You are why oncology nurses are trained to expect married female cancer patients to get divorced during treatment.
It happens a LOT. When men get sick their wives generally stays. When women get sick, men generally leave.

People were also distinctly unimpressed at his conflation of biological with real when it came to family and children. Adopted members of the subreddit in particular found his attitude toward family abhorrent.

I'm not gonna lie, men who only want biological children and seem utterly disgusted by the idea of parenting any other children bug the hell out of me. I mean, seriously? Are you an animal? A king who needs to ensure you lineage carries on? Screw that. "Real" children can come into your life in many ways. And if you're so stubborn that you can't imagine raising a child that isn't "yours", even your hypothetical biological children deserve better.
Seriously. This is so fucked up. I’m adopted and my family is fucking REAL. What the fuck did that even mean. Jesus.  Parents are the people who raise you, not fucking birth you. I can barely get my words out- I’m so angry.
Yes, your family is real, and you’re completely right to be angry.  My older daughter is adopted, and she is 100% our real daughter. I may not have given birth to her, but I kiss every scraped knee and tuck her back in after every bad dream. Genetics don’t make families—love does. It sounds like something on a greeting card, but it’s true.

In the end, user AskAJedi spoke for the whole sub.

Yeah she’s probably going to die. He’s not the asshole. He’s a complete monster.


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*First Published: Aug 5, 2020, 9:05 am CDT