AITA for not helping my brother with his daughters when his wife left him?
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I (F30) is single and childfree by choice. I date occasionally but no long term relationships. This is due to many reasons like I love my freedom, I want to enjoy my life unencumbered with responsibilities and want to really focus on my career.
My older brother (M34) got married when he was 26. He has two kids (F7, F4). They had a traditional household. He wanted a partner who stayed home and looked after the family while he earned. She had apparently dreamed of being a homemaker and taking care of children.
But during last couple of years she showed signs of hating it. She wanted to study more and work outside. Build something of her own. But my brother refused to step up or help. I warned him once but he told me it's none of my business how he runs his household. I kept my mouth shut since.
His wife left him a month ago. She just wrote him a letter saying she can't do this and want to explore her life. She left kids with him and basically vanished. We have no idea where she is.
Thing is my brother doesn't know how to do even the most basic things. He is the kind of guy who never changed a diaper or toasted bread. The moment my brother found that his wife left, he called my mother who rushed in to save the day. She thought it was short term and my SIL would be back, but she hasn't. My father is unwell and needs her home soon. They live hours away.
My brother suggested she take kids home with her. My dad said no. He is retired and they are both getting old. He does not want to have kids in the house full time, taking up her time and energy.
Since that was a no go, my brother asked me to either move in with them to help out or take kids in with me. I refused.
From what I see, he is a grown adult and these kids are his responsibility. I made a choice to live the way I do and I do not want to sacrifice my life for his choices.
My family is pressuring me onto this saying stuff like how my brother does not know how to take care of kids, the little girls need a women in their life, how family helps family etc.
My brother is calling me cold hearted for not even trying to help him.
Is she okay: In the post I had given no one knew where she is based on info I was given by my mother. She told me they had communicated with SILs parents as well.
Hearing that she had taken all her documents and per her note, I trusted she had gone somewhere where she can study and make something of herself.
But a lot of comments had me questioning about it all. Many of you wanted me to file report as missing person. What I realised is, me and my parents not filing it made sense. We know and trust my brother. But why didn't my SIL's parents file a report? They should have been more suspicious, right?
So I called SIL's mom. She didn't sound worried or sad, so I was more suspicious. I asked if she knew where SIL is. She said they don't know, SIL did not say anything to them etc. I told her I would be filing report today then, so we know she is safe.
Her mom panicked at that and told me not to. That SIL will come home when she is ready. I told her I have to file report unless I know she is safe. She kept insisting I don't have to. It was very suspicious.
5 mins after my call, I got a call from an unknown number. It was SIL. She was panicking and more or less begged me not to file a report. Turns out she was in another state, crashing with distant family. She really did want to go to college and my brother was not letting her. She had a huge fight with him about all that the week before she left. She was really depressed and feeling stuck. Her parents loaned her some cash through a church friend who also helped her go away.
She begged me not to file report saying he will sue her for child support and she can barely support herself and go to college.
I told her abandoning her kids was wrong. She was crying when she said she know and hope they can forgive her. She really couldn't live this life anymore. Leaving them was the hardest decision she ever made but she felt it was better than taking them and letting them starve with her. Atleast here they have home and family.
I did ask why she couldn't just divorce my brother then. She said she did not have money for lawyer or anything. No home to return to. She is not proud of it but she just couldn't stay and fight.
She didnot tell me where exactly she is. Didnot want to risk it. Asked me not to give her number to my family.
I did tell her situation with her kids. She just said my brother will figure it out. She cannot help in any way right now. She will come back to her babies when she can.