Whether or not we want to admit it, there are some tasks we’re more willing to help out with than others.
Having preferred tasks is totally reasonable, but how we respond to having to do them is another matter entirely.
One woman found herself criticizing her husband in the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit for his attempts to dodge their shared responsibilities.
Redditor Competitive_Ad_5468 explained how she always seemed to have the same sort of argument with him, and she’d had quite enough of it.
The Original Poster (OP) still questioned whether she was being too critical, however.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for thinking my husband is frustratingly pedantic?”
The OP was seriously butting heads with her husband.
“I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. This situation had happened several times over the duration of our relationship, and I can’t seem to convince my husband his behavior is anything but perfectly reasonable.”
“I (27 [Female]) asked my husband (29 [Male]) if he could start letting the dog out to pee around noon. We both work from home and organically trade off taking care of the dog, as we both know his general routine and sometimes have different meetings throughout the week.”
“I’d noticed that my husband only let him out twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. But over the past few weeks, Dog seemed to want to go out around noon, and every time I let him out, he would pee for about three times as long as a usual pee.”
When the OP tried to bring this up, a frustrating conversation ensued.
“So I casually asked Husband, ‘Hey, I’ve noticed Dog seems to have a full bladder in the middle of the day, [and] I know you usually only let him out twice, so could you try let him out around noon if you think of it?'”
“Him: ‘Hmm, do dogs get uncomfortable with a full bladder?'”
“Me: ‘…seems reasonable to assume so'”
“Him: ‘but we can’t measure that'”
“Me: ‘ok but that’s pressure on his organs and that can’t be comfortable?'”
“Him: ‘we don’t know that. We know that’s how it feels for humans, but we don’t know that’s how it feels for dogs. Also how do we know his bladder’s even full?'”
“Me: ‘b/c he pees for like two minutes straight and that’s three times the length it usually takes him to pee'”
“Him: ‘but that doesn’t mean his bladder’s full. The time doesn’t matter, the volume of pee relative to the size of his bladder matters. Are you measuring his bladder?'”
“Me: (trying not to explode) ‘can you please just let the dog out at noon'”
“Husband: finally agrees”
This conversation devolved into an argument.
“I let it sit there for a while, then basically said ‘I feel like this level of pushback for a super basic request feels unnecessary to the point of being personal?'”
“For context, we’ve bickered this week so I thought there could be leftover resentment.”
“To which he seemed AGHAST, like why would any reasonable person be annoyed at his behavior or think it was antagonistic?”
“And then we had an argument about the argument.”
“We have had this argument so, so many times, and every time I call him pedantic, he seems deeply offended, like that’s a completely left-field thing to call his behavior.”
“…am I the insane one here? Is this normal, logical behavior that I’m just irrationally annoyed about?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some pointed out this could be an effort on the husband’s part to get out of his responsibilities.
“It’s not pedantic, it’s obstructionist rhetoric (i.e. grasping at straws so he doesn’t have to let the dog out).”
“NTA” – plinky4
“I think the end goal here is for her to decide it’s not worth asking him to do anything because it’s more work to get him to agree. He’s trying to get out of pretty much any task she ever wants to ask of him.”
“That is massive a**hole behavior. Or – possibly- he really enjoys playing devils advocate and trolling you – which might be worse. Either way, this guy does not respect her.” – Music_withRocks_In
Others gave suggestions for how to discourage the behavior.
“So I think one way to deal with this is to not let the conversation get sidetracked and redirected. Like so:”
“You: Can you let the dog out at noon?”
“Him: bull about dog’s bladder not getting uncomfortable.”
“You: I don’t know, but can you let the dog out at noon?”
“Him: bull about animals not feeling pain when they have to go.”
“You: okay, we can talk about that with the vet next time we go, but until then, can you let the dog out at noon?”
“Him: go to the vet about this! you’re being irrational/illogical, dogs probably don’t even need to pee at all”
“You: okay, but I still need you to let the dog out at noon. Can you do that?”
“The thing is, you don’t need him to agree with you that you’re right or logical or rational. You just need him to let the dog out at noon. That’s it. That’s all.”
“You can non-committally okay EVERY pedantic reason he has and still ask and expect him to take the dog out at noon. You can even (cheerfully!) agree with him that you’re being irrational and illogical and then continue to ask him to take the dog out at noon. (This works. This works really, really well, as long as you don’t get defensive.)”
“You get to have needs! And wants! And requests! And so does your dog.”
“They do not him to give them a Logical Man Blessing to be valid. They are valid whether or not he agrees, wherever or not he thinks they’re rational – they are valid whether or not he thinks they’re valid.”
“You don’t need to justify or convince him. If he doesn’t agree with your reasoning, that’s fine – he doesn’t need to, he just needs to agree with the ask. And all you have to do is keep on asking.”
“Don’t get defensive and don’t engage with his bull. Just keep coming back to the request. You do not need his validation to ask for something.”
“You don’t need to get defensive when he doesn’t agree with or questions your logic. You don’t need to try to convince him. All you need is for him to give you a definitive answer to your question – so keep asking the question. That’s it.” – honeycrispcombe
“I would go with this, but I would specifically use the words ‘that’s nice dear’ every time, before adding the actual request (‘can you let the dog out at noon’, in this case). But I might be a petty a**.”
“I will note, however, that you married a guy who is pedantic (somewhat frequently, by your report) so it does seem a little wrong to then complain about that very behavior. It seems unlikely to be new behavior, and you didn’t mention that it was, so, it’s kind of an ESH situation.” – walkoncrunchyleaves
Some pointed out issues they saw with respect and gaslighting.
“[This is] one step away from gaslighting honestly”
“He sees himself as more intelligent than her, and he’s using that position of intellectual superiority (real or not) to play keep-away with the point of the conversation.” – lazarous0
“All of this. I dated a guy like this for the better part of a decade and even found it endearing at first because I genuinely enjoy a good debate.”
“By the time we broke up, he’d been gaslighting me for years – including about how I felt about my own health.”
“I don’t often buy into AITA’s love of throwing around terms like ‘gaslighting’ or saying ‘leave him,’ but this is a super slippery slope here.” – JellyFish72
“That’s exactly what I thought. Like it feels so close to gaslighting. And I would argue it’s absolutely mental games which is unacceptable.” – basilobs
“You’ve married someone just like my father. If you don’t have kids yet I can send you an overview of my therapy and medication costs so you know what they have to look forward to?”
“Wish I was joking, but that pedantic shit causes anxiety in a very real way. When you constantly feel you have to prove all you say you believe you aren’t good enough.” – SwiggyBloodlust
A few questioned if this was the type of relationship the OP wanted to be in.
“Jumping aboard to say this works. People like this are using their energy trying to get you to agree, or at the very least doubt your own feelings/opinions. Refusing to engage will eventually make it not fun for him.”
“But I ask you OP, is this really how you want to live out your life? Strategically defending from someone who is crazy-making for fun? Who yanks your chain for their own enjoyment? Come on. NTA.” – amhran_oiche
“Great plan but so stressful to be doing this on a daily basis! I guess this is what they mean when they say relationships are hard work.” – Thinking-lotuslake
“With all due respect, this should not be the kind of daily hard work a relationship entails. Someone who respects you wouldn’t put you through this every day (or even often, though everyone is allowed to be imperfect sometimes.)”
“If you have to employ this regularly, it’s probably time to reevaluate the relationship.” – honeycrispcombe
The subReddit was definitely in agreement on this one. Not only was the OP in the right for feeling frustrated, but some alerted her to the possibility of marriage troubles and incompatibility.