Consent in a relationship extends beyond the bedroom. If someone is doing something to you that you don’t like, they should listen when you say no.
Redditor StyleEnvironmental45 got into an argument with her boyfriend over this exact thing. The original poster (OP) shared her discomfort with something the boyfriend was doing, and he responded with a joke.
OP got upset, but the boyfriend doesn’t think it’s a big deal. Did OP overreact?
To find out, she asks the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit:
“AITA for being upset at my bf making a consent joke?”
OP explains their situation:
“My bf was cracking my toes which I hate (it hurts but he likes cracking any joint and I have to sternly tell him to stop)”
“Today he cracked all toes on one foot and I got upset and he mockingly said ‘oh right no means no’ while rolling his eyes and laughing”
“I didn’t like the tone. I told him to think about the joke he just made and how distasteful it was.”
“After much discussion his final word was that it’s just me and him there’s no victims here it’s just us so it should be okay for him to make that one statement that was dark humor.”
“He says me being offended in solidarity for other victims that are not me and no one is currently being personally hurt by his statement is me ‘looking for something to be offended by’”
“He has issues with our society lately says ‘everyone is too sensitive’ so me being upset that he said that to him is ‘ridiculous’ especially since it was just about my toes and he’s never attacked anyone.”
“I don’t know how to explain to him why even tho no one in the room is personally offended it’s still not okay …unless I am being an overly sensitive asshole?”
On the AITA board, people are judged for how they react. They explain their story and internet strangers weigh in on whether or not they were a jerk.
This is done by including one of the following in their comment:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
OP stated her boundaries clearly, and her boyfriend made a sarcastic comment in response. Of course OP got upset.
The board determined that OP was NTA.
“Let me get this straight. He sometimes cracks your toes non-consensually and when you expressed your lack of consent, he made a consent ‘joke’?”
“That wasn’t a joke, and the issues isn’t whether or not it was ok for him to make that ‘joke.’”
“He’s simply deflecting from the fact that he likes to do something that hurts you sufficiently that you tell him to stop and he doesn’t.”
“That’s what’s offensive.”
“NTA. But your boyfriend> Thoroughly TA.” – stannenb
“NTA, dark humor is one thing but that’s not really dark humor at all, it’s an expression that mocks the existence of consent. People may be too sensitive sometimes, but consent isn’t an issue of sensitivity.” – Davidcaindesign
“NTA. Jokes about sensitive topics can be done, but treating ‘no means no’ as if it’s humorous is… Suspicious to say the least. Also. ‘If there’s just me and him there’s no victims’ is… Not the great point he thinks it is. He made you uncomfortable, doesn’t matter if you were alone.” – IbelieveInGood
“Consent is not a joke. And him making light of it and not coming around at all is eye opening.”
“Just because he hasn’t attacked you yet doesn’t mean he won’t. He’s showing you who he is deep down. Believe him. Get out now before he takes this not believing in consent thing to other levels. (Not that he definitely will, but that is scary and statements like that make my skin crawl.)”
“It’s your body. You get to decide what is or is not done to and with it and with whom. He already doesn’t ask for permission before cracking your bones even though he knows you don’t like it. He’s obviously not into asking your permission.”
“Please be careful.” – britt_gingee
The biggest issue is OP’s relationship with her boyfriend. Crass joke aside, it doesn’t seem like he respects her boundaries.
OP should reassess what is going on here.
“HE IS HURTING YOU FOR HIS OWN ENJOYMENT WHEN YOU SAID NO. NTA. No does mean f***ing no. This guy cares more about using your body to make a noise he likes than about the fact that he is hurting you.”
“He does not think consent is important, and he cares more about men’s feelings getting hurt than woman getting r*ped. This dude? Is garbage.”
“You will never be more important to him than his own minor needs, and he will never, ever put you first in a way every person deserves to be put first sometimes in a caring relationship. Throw away the whole man.” – Music_withRocks_In
“He does stop most of the time – he cracked them all in one quick swift. The bigger issue to me was the crass joke he felt comfortable with me to make and felt I shouldn’t be upset about.” – StyleEnvironmental45 (OP)
“He shouldn’t be doing it at all – not his toes and you don’t like it. He’s literally prioritizing himself over you with respect to YOUR body. DTMFA. NTA” – anathema_deviced
“You lost me at ‘My bf was cracking my toes which I hate’ — if he knows you hate it, why does he do it? It doesn’t sound like he respects you. NTA” – Ravenclaw79
The comments eventually reassured OP that she wasn’t wrong to be upset and needs stand up to her boyfriend.
“UPDATE: I’m reading all of your comments. Thank you for the input. I realize I excuse too much and I needed the outside perspective. I will not continue to feel guilty about being “too sensitive”. I needed all these words of encouragement”
Hopefully going forward, she takes a harder stand against her boyfriend, and he in turn learns a little compassion.