Redditor aita_maybeinthewrong is a working father and husband who found himself sleeping on the couch after an argument with his wife.
The Original Poster (OP) visited the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit and asked:
“AITA for embarrassing my wife in front of our friends by not going along with her lie?”
The OP delved into what happened by giving some backstory.
“When my wife and I got married, we were both working. Once our first child was born, she wanted to quit (completely her decision).”
“I started working more to compensate and she started taking care of the house and the kid. I am a pretty clean person and I help whenever I could or if she asked.”
“I am an involved parent. The we had another kid and I started working even more.”
“At the end of 2019, my wife flew to her home country to visit her parents. Airports were shut down and all the flights were cancelled before she could come back.”
“There was a lot of red tape to unravel here and we couldn’t get her back home until May.”
“Like I said, the only reason I didn’t do household works was because I was working too much and I discussed that with my wife and she was also ok with taking care of the household.”
“I have lived alone for several years and until she quit her job I always did my share of everything. I am pretty far from helpless.
“At first, I freaked out a little as I couldn’t WFH and I had kids (7 M[pale] and 2 F[emale]) to take care of. In the end, I figured it out. I was stretched a little thin but it was nothing unmanageable.”
“My wife came back home in the beginning of May 2020. She was very happy to be home and we were all happy to have her back. There didn’t seem to be any problem.”
“Few weeks ago, we have having dinner at our house with one of our couple friends when my wife told them that I was miserable without her, that the kids were miserable, that the house was a disaster, that she had so much stuff to clean up etc.”
“She basically said that I was helpless without her and that I couldn’t take care of anything while she was gone.”
“I kinda chuckled awkwardly. I told her that the kids and I were definitely miserable sometimes because we missed her but nothing other than that was true. I told her not to lie about me or my ability take care of the kids.”
“After dinner, she was extremely mad at me and told that I was a jerk and that I should have just played along. She told me that she felt awful that I could manage everything without her and she felt that the can’t didn’t need her and that she was insignificant.”
“I obviously tried to tell her that it wasn’t the case but she kept yelling at me and made me sleep on the couch.”
“Here is the thing. Just because she isn’t employed doesn’t mean she can’t work/doesn’t know how to work. Similarly, just because I don’t do things now doesn’t mean I can’t do it.”
“I think it’s demeaning to have me pretend that I am a man child who has to be babied / doesn’t know how to do basic things / cannot take care of my own children just so that she can feel better about herself.”
“I don’t think it right to portray me as an incompetent person because she feels insecure.”
“However she is still really upset and I am not so sure anymore.”
“AITA? Am I the a**hole for not going along with the lie?”
Strangers on the internet were asked to declare one of the following:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors decided the OP was definitely not the a**hole.
“NTA if I was in her position I would be non-stop bragging to people about how great you had been as a caring father & understanding husband.”
“You were basically a single dad for a few months – that‘s not an easy task. She should be gloating non-stop about you, not tearing you down.” – Preference_Gloomy
“Exactly this. If my partner had done all that, I’d have been singing his praises.” – ScorpioGirl70
“Right? In actual song. I’d be calling his Mom up saying, ‘I need the manual on how you raised your kid so I can follow it to the letter.'”
“I’d carry his picture saying, ‘This is the reason I have more than one kid. I’m trying to make more of him.’ She should be stoked to KNOW that if anything happened to her, he’d be able to pick up the slack like a damn super hero.”
“I’d be bragging to every girl I know. Hell, guys, too. She’s NOT seeing the big picture, here.” – DataAdvanced
People who were concerned about her mental health explored the psychology behind the wife’s rationale.
“She learned as a child that she didn’t have worth. Her defense mechanism (way to get worth) is to help. When she isn’t needed, she feels unsafe and worthless because she can’t use her defense mechanism to not be abandoned.”
“The answer is not to pretend she is needed and enable her dysfunctional way of thinking. It’s to allow her to feel the anxiety. As time passes, and she isn’t abandoned, her anxiety will lessen and she’ll hopefully learn that OP is with her because he wants to be, not has to be and that she always had worth.”
“Unfortunately, she may also use her kids to feel needed (in an unhealthy way), because OP isn’t playing the game. To prevent the latter, therapy can really help.” – GirlDwight
“I think the mental health check here is extremely important. She’s was forced to be away from her family for months and I’m sure that was extremely difficult. She obviously has a lot of emotions to cope with around feeling like she’s not needed and probably a lot of guilt for not being there.”
“Talking to someone to work through those feelings vs. taking it out on OP would be extremely beneficial for both partners here. NTA.” – theVICTRAtheymade
“I second that. NTA, OP, but I do think she sounds really insecure. I’ve been a stay at home mum for 21 years and I’ve been suffering with chronic illness for the last couple of years.”
“My husband has taken over a lot of things like making meals and grocery shopping – it took me a while to feel ok about that. I guess I felt guilty and useless. She definitely acted badly but maybe a reassuring talk will help x” – weegmack
Overall, Redditors favored the OP for stepping up as a father while his wife was out of the country, and they thought anyone parenting alone—regardless of traditional gender roles—is worthy of praise.