We’ve likely all known someone who, once they achieved a certain status in their workplace, made that their entire personality.
In some cases, it might be all they seem to be able to talk about, but for others, it’s clearly pride to a fault, discerned the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor hometowncrowd1 was perplexed when their partner insisted that everyone in their social circles refer to him as “Doctor” at all times.
But when he went so far as to accuse his partner of “enabling” their family members by not backing him up and insisting they refer to him as “Doctor,” the Original Poster (OP) was really at a loss.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for ‘letting’ my family and friends disrespect my boyfriend by calling him by his first name?”
The OP was confused about a particular hang-up their boyfriend had.
“My boyfriend (32 Male) is a doctor. I met him through my dad back when we were traveling.”
“After we started dating, he started coming over to my hometown to visit.”
“When I introduced him to my family and friends, I told them his full name, then his occupation, and then mentioned the other stuff, like age and hometown, etc.”
“It was all good until months later when he started complaining about my family and friends referring to him by his ‘first name’ and not putting ‘Dr’ before it.”
“I found this strange. I told him that’s his professional title but as a society, we use first names and nicknames, etc.”
“He said he can’t help but feel annoyed, especially considering that ‘these people’ don’t know him well, but it’s been 8 months.”
“He said once we’re married or engaged, then they can start referring to him using his first name, but not until then.”
But their boyfriend continued to insist.
“Recently he started correcting them whenever my friends or family call him by his name.”
“His tone becomes aggressive, and then he goes on a long lecture about how they should put ‘Dr’ before mentioning his name.”
“It became exhausting, because my friends and family can’t understand his strange hang-up, and he keeps picking fights with them about it.”
It led to an argument with the OP’s family.
“Last night, we were visiting my parents, and my dad called him ‘Justin’ instead of ‘Dr. Justin.'”
“My boyfriend started arguing with him, which caused a huge fight in the house, and we ended up leaving.”
“In the car, he went off on me, saying I’m letting family and friends disrespect him continually by letting them call him by just his name.”
“I told him he was at fault here and he was being unreasonable because what he’s expecting is bizarre.”
“He said he takes pride in his profession and that he sacrificed so much to get where he is today, and my family and friends literally lose nothing if they respect his wishes.”
“He called me an enabler and said that siding with them paints me in a bad light and advised me to step up and take a stand but again, I thought he was overreacting and being hostile for no reason.”
The OP was unsure what to do.
“We got home and he shut me down and refused to speak to me.”
“Mom called me later and we talked a bit.”
“Today he’s gone completely radio silence, but the look on his face is telling.”
“We don’t have anyone who’s a doctor in the family or friend groups, but we know for certain that we don’t use people’s professional titles all the time when addressing them, especially not people we have a relationship with.”
“I don’t understand how my family and I are offending him. He is choosing this as his hill to die on apparently.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some found the boyfriend to be pretentious.
“Absolutely NTA. If bf legitimately doesn’t understand this distinction, and isn’t just being pretentious:”
“You use people’s professional titles at work. I refer to my physician as ‘Doctor’ when I go into an appointment; I would refer to my professors as ‘Professor’ in class; if I ever went to court, I would call the judge ‘Your Honor.'”
“It’s not reasonable to expect your friends and family, or your partner’s friends and family, to refer to you this way. They are friends and family, not your patients, students, or coworkers. It’s so strange that he would want his girlfriend’s parents to speak to him like they are his patients.” – redrosehips
“Half of my doctor friends don’t even make their profession known in a social setting. One of my Dr friends always responds to the question, ‘What do you do?’ with ‘As little as possible.’ It makes people laugh and strangely people don’t press her for more than that.”
“People as a group view even doctors they don’t know in a open social setting as free medical advice. It doesn’t matter if you’re asking a gynecologist about a mole. Or a podiatrist about your hair loss. So I find a lot of doctors don’t start with, ‘Hey, look at me, I’m a doctor!'” – KPinCVG
“No, not reasonable.”
“I’ve been the daughter, niece, granddaughter, girlfriend, and exfiancé of doctors.”
“Not once, have they ever wanted to be called ‘Dr. Name.’ In fact, if not working, they’d all prefer to have as little attention on their career as possible.” – sweetsundays
“I work in a medical practice and my favorite doctor doesn’t even call himself Dr. Lastname or Dr. Firstname in the clinical setting!!”
“He calls the patients back himself rather than having his scribe do it. And he always, always says, ‘Hey, nice to meet ya, I’m Jon Lastname,’ when it’s a new patient.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard him refer to himself as Dr. Name unless he’s doing dictation over the phone.”
“OP’s boyfriend is totally full of himself.” – sqbids
“I have a doctor in my friend group and we occasionally call him ‘Dr FirstName’ as a term of endearment but never every time or out of deference. This is cringe.” – Iridel05
“Does his mom have to call him Dr., too??”
“This guy needs an ego check severely. If they’re not your patients, and you’re not at work, or in a situation where someone would usually call you Dr., no one has to call you Dr.” – MrSadfacePancake
Others thought it was time to end the relationship if he continued to treat people this way.
“God complex is not an uncommon trait in doctors (not saying they all have that, but it’s not uncommon either). He is super full of himself.”
“I can’t imagine dating someone or even being friends/acquaintances with someone who insisted by being called doctor in a social setting.” – Chance-Ad-9952
“The divorce rate in doctors is extremely high because they develop a God complex and treat everyone as beneath them.”
“In my opinion, you should save some time and heartache. He’s showing you his true colors, just walk away.” – Penelope_Eckert
“Speaking as a child of a doctor who insists that EVERYONE in ALL situations needs to address him as DR. XYZ, the OP’s boyfriend is a narcissist.”
“My dad is also a grade A narcissist who uses his title and education to put everyone else down and is a divorcee. He’s a freaking nightmare, hence why I don’t talk to him anymore.” – madmaxwashere
“My parents are both doctors, and not once did they ask my then-boyfriend, now-husband to call them Dr. FirstName.”
“And all their friends call them by their first names, and that’s how they introduce themselves. By their first names, not Dr. FirstName.” – Writer-Unlikely
“Your boyfriend thinks he’s better than you and your family, and by insisting on his ‘title’ is literally lording himself over you all.”
“Is this who you want to be partnered with? He absolutely does not see you as his equal.” – Lilitu9tails
“Your boyfriend is extremely narcissistic. I get becoming a Dr is a lot of hard work, expensive, and something someone should be proud of.”
“However, he’s a narcissist and gaslighting you by turning it around on you by calling you an enabler.”
“You’d be better off finding a real man that knows how to treat you with love and respect, cuz he isn’t it.” – Wolf-Pack85
“I am a Dr, my husband is a Dr, and I work with about 100 other Drs. We are all Ph.Ds, and the only people who refer to themselves as Dr are the newbies who are so impressed with themselves that they don’t realize that it isn’t that great of a distinction.”
“The only people who have called me Dr (first name) is my mother as she was very proud and those people who were trying to joke or tease.”
“What your partner wants us not normal. He wants to look down on everyone else by making them acknowledge his accomplishments and never nodding to anyone else’s.”
“You should consider your relationship especially if he is giving you the silent treatment. That is never the foundation of a solid relationship.” – Drtennis13
The subReddit completely understood the OP’s confusion and agreed that what the boyfriend was asking for was not only over-the-top narcissistic behavior but simply unrealistic.