Not recognizing someone after you haven’t seen them for a while can be awkward. It can be even more uncomfortable when the person is someone you were close to.
Reddit user “exlooksdifferent” discovered awkward and uncomfortable can quickly lead to flat-out traumatic and hostile after he didn’t recognize his ex at her job. An interaction he thought of as short and awkward ended up leaving her in tears and seeking comfort on social media.
Her reaction left him confused, so he asked the AITA (“Am I The A**hole?”) subReddit for their thoughts.
“Am I The A**hole for not recognizing my ex girlfriend?”
Before we get into the gory details, lets go over how the subReddit works.
AITA is devoted to talking about those morally grey area interactions where you’re not sure if you’re the bad guy or not.
People share their situations as posts. Then other users respond to the original poster (“OP”) in the comments, sharing their thoughts and casting votes.
Voting Options Are:
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Now that you understand how things work, let’s get back to how the OP unintentionally crushed his ex.
“I saw my ex-girlfriend (29F) in the supermarket last week. She is employed as a cashier there. I did not recognize her at all.”
“We broke up 7 years ago and I moved away to pursue a job opportunity. She also looks very different now. I genuinely did not remember or recognize her face.”
“She looked kind of familiar but for some reason I just could not remember. She started talking to me asking me how I have been and I was like:”
” ‘sorry, do I know you?’ ”
“She got upset & said I was an a**hole and then it was awkward silence until I paid and left.”
“Later, I recalled the incident to my brother and he said it could be one of my ex girlfriends. Then it finally triggered some memories and I realized he was right, she was my ex.”
“I deleted social media a few years back and I only have one private Instagram account that limited people have can view to so I don’t keep up or stalk any of my exes.”
“Additionally, this particular ex had gained a lot of weight since we broke up and she looked completely different from when we were dating.”
“I saw her again this morning and told her that I wasn’t purposely ignoring her but that I just didn’t recognize her at first. She said she doesn’t believe that as we were together for 3 years and it is impossible to forget someone you dated for 3 years.”
“I pointed out that she looks very different now and she teared up and asked me to ‘get lost’.”
“My brother says she made a Facebook post about me.:”
” ‘When your ex says he didn’t recognize you because you got too fat…’ ”
“The post got a lot of attention from her friends saying I was an a**hole.”
“I said she looks ‘so different’ now compared to when we were dating. I never directly said she gained weight or got fat. My brother says her social media is full of self hating posts. I feel kind of bad thinking I might have contributed to that.”
“I didn’t want to hurt her feelings but it turns out I did. I’m not going to approach her any more, but I want to know Am I The A**hole for not recognizing my ex girlfriend?”
“Edit To Add: The face masks don’t apply here because she was wearing a transparent face shield, not the face mask. All the employees serving customers in the store were wearing face shields.”
“I was wearing a face mask, but I have a distinctive scar near my eyebrow that makes it easy for people to recognize me.”
As awkward and as the situation was, OP didn’t actually tell his ex she had gotten too fat for him to recognize her.
But was that going to be enough for Reddit to vote NTA?
Let’s find out.
“Did you accidentally insinuate that you couldn’t recognize her because of her weight gain?”
“I think she might just have some insecurities and problems she needs to work through. No matter what you said or how you said it she would have came out upset. NTA” – didyouhearaboutthe
“As a person who’s struggled with body image for a long time, I can pretty much assure OP that this is much more a reflection of her issues than his behaviour.”
“She’s not happy about gaining weight, most people aren’t, and OP confirmed she doesn’t look like the same person anymore. Definitely NTA!” – multiplesneezer
“I’m not going to say OP is the AH over this BUT if someone you dated for years says they didn’t recognize you because you look so different now…”
“and you haven’t dyed your hair or gotten new glasses or something in that time, the only change is that you’ve gained a significant amount of weight, I don’t think it’s fair to her to say she was being too sensitive.”
“He gave her an honest answer, not meaning anything rude, so not AH behavior. But it was coincidentally the same answer a snarky ex would give, if that makes sense.” – twelfthexpedition
“It’s unfortunate and embarrassing. I feel really bad for her. It sounds like she’s really sensitive about her weight gain.”
“She’s allowed to feel embarrassed and hurt over this, but you don’t owe her anything and even apologized.” – GoddessArtemis85
“I realize that neither of you are TA. So NAH.”
“However I think you should not have gone back to talk to her. The only reason you did that is to make yourself feel better and justify your actions. In the end, you only hurt her more…”
“You’re not TA, but …you dated this woman for 3 bloody years. 3 years.”
“I dont care if she’s become obese, it still hurts to not be recognized. I mean, 3 years is a long time…” – Traditional_Tea7492
“This same thing happened to me! I work at a bar and was checking IDs once and actually carded my own ex.”
“Clearly his name and address were on the ID, alarm bells went off but the damage was done.”
“I managed a hi, what are you doing here? And he snatched his ID and turned around and left. I think of it every now and again and laugh/shudder. 🤣 NTA!!!” – BarHavoc
“I would say NAH, but with a grain of salt.”
“What else is she supposed to insinuate from being told how ‘different’ she looks? I really think it was a bad idea to say that to her face.”
“Sometimes people need a little gentleness instead of brutal honesty. It would have been easy to say it had just been such a long time, you were tired or something, had something else on your mind, whatever.”
“That would have at least let her keep a little dignity without confirming to her face it was her weight.”
“Objectively you’re not TA. A bit of tact with the situation would have helped a lot though.” – Ghost-Type-Cat
So now that you’ve gotten his words and read other people’s thoughts, how are you feeling about the interaction?
It was definitely awkward, but was he the a**hole?