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Widow Balks After MIL Demands She Raise Her Cheating Late Husband’s Child With His Mistress

Mother-in-law arguing with ex-daughter-in-law
Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy/Getty Images

Terrible accidents happen every day that can totally flip someone over on their head, only to find themselves in need of help.

But what happens when they need to ask someone for help who they’ve hurt in the past, questioned the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor Better-Paint4891 was surprised when her ex-mother-in-law reached out to her about taking the little girl in who was the result of the affair her ex-husband had, which ended their marriage.

But when her ex-mother-in-law started guilting her for ruining the little girl’s life by turning her away, the Original Poster (OP) was furious she expected her to look beyond the affair.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for losing it with my former Mother-in-Law (MIL) and saying I don’t want to help her granddaughter?”

The OP’s relationship with her late ex-husband did not end on good terms.

“My ex-husband died six months ago in a car accident.”

“We were divorced for three years prior to that after he cheated on me for about six years with the woman he married after our divorce. His wife also died in the crash.”

“My ex and I share three children together: a 17-year-old son, a 16-year-old daughter, and a 15-year-old daughter.”

“My ex got his second wife pregnant while we were married, which is how he chose to reveal the affair in the first place.”

“I kicked him out and cut ties except for semi-civil co-parenting. He openly told me, and our children, about his affair and was never sorry. His attitude about it soured our children’s view of him, and they barely ever wanted to visit him.”

“I have never had anything to do with his daughter who is now three.”

The OP’s former mother-in-law (MIL) made a surprising request.

“After my ex died, my former MIL took her in temporarily. She’s in poor health and my ex was her only child.”

“The mother of the child had no family who was willing to take her. So she wanted to try and keep her out of foster care.”

“My former MIL asked me about two months ago to consider raising her granddaughter, seeing as she is the half-sibling of my children.”

“I told her I did not want to do that.”

“She spoke to my children, and they refused to ask me on her behalf.”

“She suggested that my children might want to keep her in their family and how could I deny them that chance?”

“So I asked my children if they had any thoughts or plans to take her on once any of them were 18. They all said no.”

“My son said his grandma had mentioned that to him but he didn’t care. My girls share a similar sentiment (though she did not ask them directly).”

The OP’s MIL began to guilt-trip her about her decision.

“Former MIL reached out again and I told her my answer was still no.”

“She suggested that her granddaughter is my family.”

“I cut her off and said that is not true. I told her I am not the child’s mother, stepmother, aunt, or anything that would imply family.”

“She told me she will need to let the caseworker know in the coming weeks that she needs a foster home if I can’t take her. She told me to do it for her granddaughter, that she’s innocent, and how can I not love her (and rambled on a lot about that).”

“I lost my cool, snapped at her, and told her I don’t want to help her granddaughter and foster care is the best place for her if she can’t raise her.”

“My former MIL told me I was a horrible, evil woman and that it was no wonder my children didn’t care about their sister when I had that attitude about her, and she hoped one day it wouldn’t come back to bite me in the a**.”

The OP was left to wonder. 

“AITA for the way I spoke to her and for what I said about her granddaughter?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some weren’t confident the OP could provide the loving home the little girl deserved.

“OP’s ex and his affair partner dealt their own hand by a) having an affair b) not using birth control c) not planning in advance for the kid’s future in case of their deaths. Trusts and wills and pre-death conversations with friends and family are all things that they did not do.” – NoBarracuda5415

“This situation sucks for everyone involved.”

“I can’t judge you for this. Yes, it would be good if you could take the girl, but most people probably would not be able to do it under these circumstances, so I don’t blame you.”

“Why does the grandmother not take the kid? Yes, she is in ill health, but she might want to hire a nanny who could look after the kid for most of the day? She does not have the right to put you under pressure.”

“Poor girl. None of all this is her fault.” – CoconutAlert1932

“NTA. It is INSANE for the ex-MIL to try to rope you into this. You went above and beyond, even talking to your kids about this. The child has been dealt a s**tty hand, and I hope she isn’t failed by the foster system.” – BookOfGoodIdeas

“The MIL is definitely the AH in this situation. I understand she’s desperate, she has just lost her son, and she doesn’t believe she can care for her granddaughter.”

“HOWEVER, none of that justifies the abuse she has directed at OP. OP owes this child no obligation, certainly doesn’t owe her ex that cheated any obligation, nor does she owe the woman whom he cheated with.”

“If OP did feel she could take in the child, that would be very kind of her, but realistically most people would not be willing to do that given these circumstances. Guilt and abuse aimed at OP are completely unjustified, and that makes the MIL the AH, regardless of how desperate she may be.” – TomBombaDILF

Others felt terrible for what the mother-in-law must have been going through.

“I can’t blame the MIL for frantically trying anything she can to ensure her grandchild is placed with a family she knows is stable and where she’d have access to visit.”

“Foster Care isn’t something I would wish on any child, even my worst enemies, because of the likelihood of abuse or trauma. It makes me want to say NAH because I can’t imagine what MIL is going through right now.”

“But that’s unfortunately not OP’s problem to solve, especially with three kids of her own and a history with the little girl’s parents that might be detrimental to everyone’s mental health. Whatever happens, I really hope it works out for that kid.” – agent_raconteur

“The mother-in-law is not insane. She’s desperate. I can understand 100% why she’s trying to do it, but also why it’s never going to happen. Everyone has been dealt a s**tty hand here, and it’s obviously gotten to an inevitable, unpleasant conclusion.”

“The OP lashed out, which she obviously shouldn’t have, but the whole thing is just sad. NAH, just a terrible situation that’s pushed people too far.” – Emilempenza

“NAH. You are completely within your rights to say no, and I don’t blame you. At the same time, I cannot fault a grieving mother for fighting tooth and nail to try to protect her grandchild from being abused in the foster care system. This is an awful situation all around.” – morgaine125

Some wished the OP would take the girl in.

“I would take the child. Talk to anyone who knows foster care.” – Ipso-Pacto-Facto

“I understand why you don’t feel any responsibility for this child with the history you described. But, the truth is that this IS the sibling to your children. She IS your children’s family. You and your children don’t want anything to do with this little girl now, but that may change when they are grown.”

“She will always feel a connection to them. And, they may want to have a more meaningful relationship when they are all grown.”

“My grandmother and mother were social workers. The foster system is broken. There’s a lot of abuse happening of all kinds. And a lot of broken children are being shuffled from house to house. Their stories do not always end well.”

“Do not allow this little girl to go into foster care. Please put to bed your anger with the two people who are now dead. This child had nothing to do with that.”

“Seek therapy if you need help with that. Please, if you have the ability to keep this kid out of the foster system, you should do it. YTA-ish.” – anubis-pineapple

“NTA. I understand not wanting to have anything to do with the result of your husband’s affair, but I feel bad for the child. She’s three and just lost her parents and probably doesn’t understand what’s happening really.”

“I would take her in because my heart breaks for an unwanted child, but I don’t blame you for your decision. Why can’t the other grandparents take her?” – Kooky-Hotel-5632

The subReddit couldn’t have been more divided about how to handle the situation the OP found herself in because of her ex-mother-in-law.

The three-year-old girl clearly was not at fault; she was not responsible for her birth or the affair that came before it. But she was a reminder to the OP of her failed marriage and what had happened on the way there.

While some could hope that the OP would be the bigger person and take this girl in, others understood that it was far too great of an ask considering the family’s history.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.