Most of us have been through at least one really troubling event in our lives.
It can be pretty hard to move past that moment, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit, and the work of doing that should be celebrated.
But Redditor greentoaud wasn’t sure he wanted his girlfriend to talk about her transformation in public, especially at a work dinner where his CEO would be present.
But when his girlfriend thought he was embarrassed by her past, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he was wrong to tell her not to talk about her life.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for asking my girlfriend to not embarrass herself by bringing up shameful stuff at a dinner party with my company’s CEO?”
The OP had mixed feelings about his girlfriend’s past.
“My girlfriend had kind of a rough upbringing, and now she has turned out really successful.”
“She’s also probably the most self-confident and self-assured person I know.”
“I really admire her, but just once in a while, she says stuff that’s socially uncomfortable.”
Her candor sometimes made the OP feel uncomfortable.
“For example, we were going to dinner, and my friend kept apologizing for her messy car.”
“My girlfriend said, ‘Girl, I grew up in a hoarder house, and I’m in the middle of shoveling sh*t out of that house, there’s nothing on earth that could disgust me anymore!'”
“And while that’s true, it was kind of an uncomfortable overshare.”
“Another time, her coworker was talking about how their kid was really shy and she didn’t know how to help.”
“My girlfriend was like, ‘Give her time, I’m sure she’ll grow into herself. I didn’t talk to anyone in school, literally like I had no friends if you’ll believe it!'”
“Last time this happened, my girlfriend and I were at a networking event, and one of my coworkers joked about how my girlfriend should enjoy grabbing thirds of food while she’s young because she can’t eat like that forever.”
“Without missing a beat, she said, ‘Oh, I don’t think about food restriction like that anymore, it’s an eating disorder trigger! Anyway, I’m trying to bulk up.'”
The OP wanted his girlfriend to start scaling her real talk back.
“We had a big argument about it after the eating disorder comment.”
“We were invited to a dinner at my company’s CEO’s house this coming weekend along with a few peers.”
“I asked her to not share anything uncomfortable there.”
“She asked what I meant, and I gave her the same examples.”
“I told her that that kind of shamelessness about stuff most people find shameful is awkward.”
“She was like, ‘But it’s not really shameful? Like, I got over that self-hating sh*t. And renovating and flipping a house? So many of your coworkers talk about that.'”
“I said it wasn’t the house-flipping, it was the fact that it was her family home and it was a hoarder house. And it was weird to shamelessly talk about having no friends and an eating disorder.”
The argument escalated.
“She was like, ‘That stuff is in the past, why would I be insecure now?'”
“I got exasperated and asked her not to share stuff that most people would be embarrassed to say at dinner.”
“And she got angry and said that it sounded like I thought her whole life was embarrassing, so should she shut up?”
“I said, ‘No, just talk about current stuff? Like you just got a promotion, traveled to Europe, and bought your dream car?'”
“And she snapped at me, ‘But I’m also still shoveling cat p**s and stinking garbage every day, so it sounds like you’re just embarrassed by me. F**k you for saying I should have more shame. I’m damn proud of myself, it sounds like you’re the one ashamed.'”
“I’m still worried about how this dinner party will go, and I’m questioning whether I f**ked up by saying something.”
“AITA for asking my girlfriend to not embarrass herself at a dinner party with my company’s CEO?”
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 agreed with the girlfriend that the OP 100% sounded like the embarrassed one.
“You’re not asking her to not embarrass herself (she’s made it clear she isn’t), what you’re doing is asking her to not embarrass you.”
“Stop trying to frame this request as saving her from herself and have an honest conversation about the fact that it makes you uncomfortable.” – CrystalQueen3000
“YTA, she’s right. This is a you problem, and you need to get over it, or you will most likely end up single.”
“And f**king apologize to her, sincerely.” – CatMomma82
“YTA. Your girlfriend sounds like an emotionally intelligent woman relating to people in conversation, and none of these are out of place for the topics.”
“You might not like her saying it but none of what you’ve described is weird or uncomfortable.”
“She’s right, you sound embarrassed by her past.”
“I’m freelance and downsized, but I used to have a small number of employees. If one of them had a girlfriend at an event who spoke like this, I’d think she was straightforward, relatable, human, and sociable. None of that is shameful.” – Vegetable-Ad-647
“Success doesn’t erase trauma. She isn’t ashamed of her past, so why are you?” – PrincessWaffleTO
Others thought the OP sounded classist and emotionally repressed.
“This is an example of straight classicism.”
“I also grew up poor but now am now (fairly) successful, and, like OP’s girlfriend, I’ve surprised people by mentioning things like what my parents do, the jobs I worked in college, or how many of my friends from home now have teenagers because they had kids when we were teenagers.”
“If my friend or boyfriend told me I was embarrassing them by telling people who I am, I’d be f**king livid.”
“Hey OP: this is who your girlfriend is, and she sounds way f**king cooler than you.”
“Being born rich and staying rich is nothing to be proud of. Pulling yourself up from nothing is hard as f**k, and something to be proud of.”
“I hope she figures it out and ditches you.” – Laure_Lye
“In my life, I’ve encountered people embarrassed by these things, not just because of classism but like that ‘It’s embarrassing to show emotional struggle/ any struggle’ mindset, which gets turned into ‘Emotions are embarrassing’ in general with the flick of a switch.”
“But since she’s only bringing up actions in the examples OP gave, I’d say classism is more likely of the two explanations for OP’s discomfort, rather than emotional repression.” – AlfoBooltidir
“He believes it reflects badly on HIM. This is ALL about him, you see.”
“He only wants her to talk about status objects, like cars, vacations, and success. OP is an insecure narcissistic fake and wants a fake trophy girlfriend.”
“OP, you’re a tool and an a**hole. I would break up with you, because there is no substance to you, just a lust for status and a desperate need for approval from strangers.”
“It’s very unattractive and downright pathetic. Your girlfriend is real, human, and proud, while you are a self-loathing hollow man.” – DecentPear2496
“YTA. She’s right. There’s nothing embarrassing about overcoming adversity.”
“I would find your girlfriend and her openness extremely inspiring and personable. You’re embarrassed your girlfriend had to struggle and doesn’t need to brag to be comfortable with where she is now.”
“It’s a lot more embarrassing to be with someone so shallow as to only speak on bragging points.” – ur-humble-overlord
But some did agree that the girlfriend was oversharing among her acquaintances.
“NTA. I think you made your point terribly OP, however, it sounds to me as though GF’s comments are her over-compensating, and potentially inappropriately so.”
“To play pop psychologist, it feels to me that she’s bringing this stuff up so blatantly that she’s saying, ‘I’M FINE, I’M FINE,’ in her mind, and almost throwing this stuff out there to test people and see how they react. Hence her losing it when you asked her to be cognisant of her audience.”
“I really don’t want to hear about cleaning p*ss and shoveling sh*t at a social gathering. There’s a time and a place for everything, and a function at your CEO’s home should be treated as though you are in work. Because you are, just in a different location.”
“I think she absolutely should feel proud of herself, but I’m afraid to me this is coming across almost as though she’s had therapy to help her deal with the shame/self-hatred that she may have felt in the past but has put up defensive walls in the process.”
“It feels like she’s focused so very hard on the ‘I had a crappy childhood, but you know what, I’m doing pretty ok now’ that she’s getting very territorial about her boundaries. I get that, I really do. It’s a journey though, and it sounds like she has a wee bit to go yet.”
“Straight away, it struck me that there was something ‘off’ about her comments. Over-sharing can range from a fun/interesting/bonding experience for her audience, to slightly uncomfortable, to triggering.”
“It’s like she’s refusing to recognize that, as she has got to the point where she doesn’t have to deny her past to herself anymore… but is finding it hard to realize or accept that others might not be quite ready to hear that stuff.” – BeneficialDark1662
“NTA. These are the kinds of (supposedly) offhanded comments that bring a fun and casual party conversation to a screeching halt.”
“Everyone thinks, ‘Am I supposed to address that? Are we supposed to be sensitive and supportive right now? Or am I supposed to ignore it? But doesn’t that make me an a**hole if I ignore it?'”
“This results in an awkward silence because nobody knows what the acceptable response is.” – Unnecessary_Timeline
“It isn’t embarrassing to have had an eating disorder or clean up a hoarder’s house.”
“It is embarrassing to dump all your stuff on casual acquaintances who are just sharing a social situation with you by association and did not volunteer to process and respond to the deeper difficulties of your life.” – nurserynurserygander
“There’s a version of this story where the girlfriend kinda sucks.”
“Yes, she’s bringing these things up in related contexts, but there are people out there that hear a slight problem and can’t wait to trump it with a worse personal experience and become the center of the conversation.”
“Sometimes you just want to apologize for having a messy car, you know?”
“And I’m not saying the GF is this way, but just because somebody keeps bringing up a traumatic experience, it doesn’t mean they are ‘over it.’ In fact, some bring it up even more as a way to compensate. There could still be some insecurity there.” – doobie3101
While everyone could agree that the girlfriend should be proud of how far she’s come, and that she also shouldn’t feel embarrassed for where she’s come from, there was some disagreement about when and how to share those stories.
Some found her candor refreshing and thought it would fit well into a casual conversation, even with coworkers and CEOs, while others thought it would be better to save those stories for more established friendships.
But what everyone could agree on was the OP’s way of handling this and his clear embarrassment surrounding his girlfriend’s life. Though some could agree that the girlfriend should save these stories for another time, it was clear the OP was worried about more than simple etiquette.