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Woman Divorces Husband To Be With Friend Who Donated A Kidney To Help Save Her Life

Woman in hospital bed
ER Productions Limited/Getty Images

When we think about wedding vows, we commonly think of two people staying through the good times and the bad, in sickness and health, and well, forever and always.

But if one partner discovers that someone else will give them what their lifelong partner cannot or will not provide for them, the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITAH) morally questioned, do they have to stay married?

That was the question Redditor throwra-Fox-2800 found herself haunted by after she needed a kidney transplant and her husband refused to even get tested to see if he was a match to donate.

When she started having feelings for an old acquaintance who participated in the kidney donation chain that got her a replacement kidney, the Original Poster (OP) decided it was time to commit to someone new.

She asked the sub:

“AITAH for divorcing my husband for a man who gave me a kidney?”

The OP was in desperate need of a kidney transplant.

“I (43 Female) have a genetic kidney condition and I lost the function of both of my kidneys a couple of years ago. I was on dialysis and on the transplant list.”

“I never drank alcohol or did anything to exacerbate my disease. It’s just luck of the draw.”

“My husband John (49 Male) refused to get tested. It’s his choice and I can’t make him.”

An old acquaintance participated in a donation chain that saved the OP’s life.

“I have a friend Sam (34 Male) who donated his kidney.”

“He didn’t directly donate to me because we were not compatible, but it was part of a kidney chain.”

“Because of him, I was able to get a kidney. I thanked him profusely because he literally saved my life.”

Sam’s reasons for donating made the OP take a hard look at her marriage.

“We had not been close friends and I asked him why he decided to donate.”

“He told me that he always harbored affection for me but did nothing because I was married. When he found out I needed a kidney, he didn’t want me to die.”

“It turned my world upside down.”

“I did not want to engage in an emotional affair so when I did question my feelings for my husband, I immediately went for separation.”

The people in the OP’s life were divided over her decisions.

“I was happier apart from John. I filed for divorce.”

“John was blindsided and devastated at what I had done.”

“People I know have called me cold for what I did.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in:

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

Being a moral debate, opinions went in every direction, including some feeling that John had every right not to get tested, making the OP the AH. 

“You can choose to divorce for whatever reason you want but YTA for expecting your husband to immediately wanna give up his organs for you. He’s not your spare parts.”

“In sickness and in health doesn’t mean killing yourself for your spouse. There are chances of death in every surgery. You’re mad he wouldn’t get tested but you probably would’ve thrown a fit no matter what he did.”

“You’re an AH.” – Civil-Piglet-6714

“YTA if you divorced him specifically for not being comfortable with giving up part of his body. Even in marriage, it’s HIS body and he doesn’t owe you parts of it. He also shouldn’t be judged for not wanting to go through a major surgery/give away his organs.”

“NTA for divorcing him because you are happier without him.” – Tk-20

“NTA for not wanting to stay in a relationship.”

“But if your reason was because he didn’t want to donate or test, then YTA. He doesn’t need to prove his love for you by giving you a body part.”

“The person who donated did this willingly. If your concerns are, ‘But why couldn’t it have been my significant other,’ then nope, YTA.”

“But still, if you don’t want to be in a relationship, then that’s your right just as he had every right to say no to testing.” – Belle_pc


“If: her body, her choice when it comes to anything relating to a woman’s body, up to and including the right to abort, then the other side of that equation is his body, his choice. Including his choice to keep his body intact and not donate organs while alive.”

“Does it suck that you, as the wife was the one needing a kidney? Yes. Would I personally have made a different choice? I don’t know. That’s the sort of thing you can’t decide upfront. Fortunately, I’ve never had to make such a choice.”

“You going woo-woo for a younger guy is just that. A younger guy, probably more attractive or willing to say what you want to hear, and giving you attention. You’re disappointed in your husband, probably a bit angry and hurt that he seemed to not want to help you, so you’re more receptive to other people flirting, giving attention, etc.”

“Hey, maybe your marriage has been going steadily downhill for the past couple of years. You’re growing apart and neither you nor your ex-husband put effort in to grow together again.”

“Those are more valid reasons to consider a breakup.”

“But just for some guy who pushes the right buttons to get you a bit excited? That’s shallow. That’s what does make you the AH. It implies you were not only already done a while ago, but consciously or subconsciously looking to trade hubby in.” – b3mark

Others disagreed and said if it were up to John, the OP might have died, making her NTA.

“NTA. You were going to die and your husband didn’t want to bother with a test. That’s colder than you leaving him for the man that saved you. Good luck, and forget all those a**holes. Life gave you another chance, so make the best of it.” – Significant-Cup4227

“NTA. If it was up to your husband, you may have died. He was fine with the idea of losing you. You just sped the process up by filing for divorce.” – soph_lurk_2018


“Even if you take Sam out of this equation, your husband refused to get tested to see if he was a match, and sure, that’s his right, and he’s under no obligation to do it, but that also shows a lack of love and care that you’d hope a spouse would have for you.”

“It doesn’t surprise me that you reevaluated and chose to leave him.” – CrystalQueen3000

“NTA. You know what, I will judge John. Yeah, it was his right not to be tested or donate. I won’t debate that.”

“But he’s your husband. He wouldn’t even get tested.”

“And you’re happier away from him.”

“He’s devastated… but he stood to lose you entirely and wouldn’t even get tested. Just. Hm.” – Ladyughsalot1

Some pointed out that both the OP, John, and Sam had all made mistakes.

“ESH. Husband is an a**hole for refusing even to get tested. It’s absolutely his right to do so, but that doesn’t make him any less of an a**hole.”

“You are an a**hole for ending your marriage (where you weren’t in danger) without even ATTEMPTING to fix the marriage so you COULD be happy with him. It’s absolutely your right to leave a marriage for any reason at any time, but that doesn’t make you any less of an a**hole.”

“If you tried to fix things and just found that your issues were irreconcilable, or if his behavior was in any way making you feel like you were in any kind d of danger, then you wouldn’t have been an a**hole here.”

“For better or worse goes both ways. Anyone leaving a marriage without communicating that they’re unhappy or attempting to fix that marriage is an a-hole. Full stop. Anyone unwilling to suffer to keep their spouse alive and healthy is an a**hole. Full stop.” – TopCriticism2667

“ESH. Husband is s**tty for not getting tested to see if he could save his wife’s life.”

“But the wife… I really dislike it when people stay in a relationship until they see the next relationship on the horizon. Leave when your spouse is cold and inconsiderate, not when your spouse is cold, and inconsiderate, and you have a new romantic interest.”

“You were not an a**hole for leaving. You were an a**hole for staying in an unhappy marriage until another prospect came along.” – bizaromo

“ESH, you, your husband, and Sam.”

“You because you can’t have the decency to sit down with your husband and talk about everything and do some counseling.”

“Your husband sucks a bit for being so blasé about you needing a kidney. He has the right not to get tested as if he were a match. He would have to recover, and then you probably get huffy. He didn’t pick up the slack to care for you when he was recovering himself. (It makes me think of that woman who donated her kidney to her boss and then got fired because she ‘took too long recovering’).”

“Sam also sucks because who in his right mind tells a married woman, ‘I did it because I have this huge crush on you.’ Like seriously. He could’ve said, ‘Because I am your friend, and I could help someone who then made it possible for you to get a kidney!'”

“So OP, think about this. I have a feeling you’re just p**sed your husband wouldn’t give up a whole-a** organ. And you need to talk to someone about it.” – Lena_1995

“ESH, your husband could let you know he doesn’t want to donate his kidneys and it’s his right.”

“The way you ended the marriage for another man is more telling that you would have divorced your husband if he donated his kidney to you anyway.”

“That other guy sucks because he decided to be the third person in your relationship. If he never said about having feelings for you, you would still be married and working on your issues with the husband.” – Ren_3092

Others argued that medical experiences can change a person, and the OP deserved a second chance at happiness, so again, NTA.

“NTA. ‘I was happier apart from John’ is what my decision is based on.”

“Going through life-altering and life-and-death situations changes a person.”

“Knowing your husband, the person who is supposed to be your person, wouldn’t even consider being tested and a friend said I couldn’t let you die if there was something I could do to prevent it is a big eye opener, gut-punch moment.”

“My mom was a match for my dad. I was very involved as a support person tagging along for the intensive testing and then there for my Dad during surgery and recovery until my Mom could take over.”

“Every time they asked a variation of ‘Why are you doing this,’ her answer was always, ‘I love him, and if there is anything I can do to save his life and increase his quality of life, I’m going to do that. It also increases my quality of life in turn because I get to be with him longer…'”

“I can’t imagine watching my loved one deteriorate (dialysis is rough) and not step in. I did not qualify, or else I would have tested, as well.”

“So, go get your second chance and make the most of it.” – Adventurous-Sand6711

“NTA! In 2017, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. My husband at the time was not supportive.”

“I slept on the couch, he wouldn’t touch my bald head because it ‘freaked him out.’ He would drive me the four hours to my chemo appointments and drop me off; he refused to stay and sit with me because they gave me sedatives during chemo, and he didn’t want to ‘watch his wife nod off like a heroin addict.'”

“I made it through chemo and beat the cancer, and a few months later, I left him and never looked back. Cancer gave me back my life and showed me that it was ok to find my happiness, and I knew it wasn’t with him.”

“Two months later, I found the person that I was always meant to be with. Life is a crazy roller coaster, but it’s way more fun when you are sitting with someone who wants to ride with you, even on the scary parts!”

“Good for you, OP. Find your happiness and never look back!” – so_effing_casey

“Cold because she didn’t cheat but instead did it the right way… come on… NTA AT ALL.”

“My message for the OP is go live your new life to the fullest and do everything you ever wanted to do with your new partner!” – vote4progress

“The OP said, ‘My husband John (49 Male) refused to get tested. It’s his choice, and I can’t make him.’ And she’s right: His body, his choice. But freedom of choice doesn’t mean freedom from consequences. If I were married and in his position, I would absolutely do what I could.”

The OP said, ‘I did not want to engage in an emotional affair, so when I did question my feelings for my husband, I immediately went for separation. I was happier apart from John. I filed for divorce.’ You didn’t cheat, didn’t want to so you took the necessary steps to prevent that. You were happier with him out of your life so you went through with a divorce.”

“That’s your right and, if you were truly happier with him apart from you, then that’s a completely valid reason. You don’t have to be in a relationship if you don’t want to be. A lot of people see marriage as something you can’t undo and if you do, you’re wrong or bad but that’s not the case. Anyone who disagrees can suck a juice box.”

“NTA.” – Queen_Andromeda

This was an incredibly complicated situation that didn’t seem to have a one-hundred percent right answer attached to it.

Some understood how the OP had felt betrayed by her husband for not even getting tested, so when a friend not only got tested but donated, she realized there might be men in the world who were willing to do more for her than her husband.

Others understood that sentiment but argued that the husband had the right to be afraid of the surgery and also to want to keep his body intact.

Plus, with the relationship ending during such an emotional time, questionable decisions are to be made. There’s no telling if the husband was supportive in other ways while being afraid of surgery or if Sam would be a good partner just because he was willing to be an organ donor.

Hopefully, this whole arrangement would prove to be a second chance at life and a second chance at happiness for all involved.

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.