There’s no reasonable way for any one person to know every piece of information in the world there possibly is to know.
But assumptions also shouldn’t be made about what they could know, especially when they claim to know it, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Despite telling her boyfriend and his father what she knew, Redditor PotterOtterSpotter was getting fed up with how much they doubted her and mansplained to her.
When they accused her of being rude for retaliating against their latest round of information, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she should have put up with their mansplaining.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for letting myself be mansplained to?”
The OP frequently struggled with her boyfriend’s mansplaining habit.
“My (28 Female) partner (30 Male) is very good at mansplaining.”
“I don’t like this term, but that’s exactly what he does. He will happily explain the most basic things. Sometimes he starts a discussion with, ‘Do you know what XYZ is?’ or ‘Do you know how XYZ works?'”
“And, despite my answer, he will either explain it anyway, or he will try to challenge my knowledge, like ‘Oh, yeah? What is it then?'”
“I find it infuriating and I talked to him about it many times.”
“He says he doesn’t realize he does it and he does not try to offend me. He says he just feels like he needs to prove that he knows things. He’s been doing so much better and watches himself when we talk, which is very much appreciated!”
“The thing is, he got it from his father, who does the same thing, and to be fair, is even worse!”
A recent episode of mansplaining was especially frustrating.
“We were recently at his parents’ house to see them and his sisters. We started talking about a subject I’m fairly comfortable with based on my knowledge.”
“Unfortunately the inevitable ‘Do you know how XYZ happened?’ question was asked by my partner’s father… which I politely replied, ‘Yes, I do.'”
“That was not enough and yet again, I got lectured in a friendly manner.”
“My partner of course had to join in and they both were pitching me the whole subject basically taking over each other to add as many details as possible.”
The OP decided to do something about it to prove a point.
“At that point, I had enough, so I decided to play along.”
“I would exclaim, ‘Wow,’ ‘That’s cool,’ ‘No, really,’ and ‘Oh, I had no idea’ left, right, and center… I basically became a caricature of a nosey 4-year-old.”
“This confused everyone in the room, which lead to the following exchange:”
“My partner said, ‘I thought you said you knew it,’ in a ‘gotcha!’ sort of way.”
“I said, ‘Oh, I do. But you both decided to ignore it, so I thought I should do the same.'”
The family was divided about what happened.
“Everyone went quiet. My partner and his dad both got upset, saying that I was incredibly rude and that I embarrassed them in front of their family instead of politely telling them that I knew those things already (which obviously does not work).”
“My partner’s mother is on their side, saying that it was rude of me.”
“But his sisters say that both their brother and their dad have been asking for it for years.”
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 were frustrated about what the OP was going through with her partner and his family.
“What you fail to realize is that OP is a LADY and exists to bolster the ego of the gentlemen in her life. It was almost unforgivably rude for her not to allow them to continue to explain and be grateful for the time and attention they deign to lavish her with. (sarcastic comment)” – brownricegirafferye
“NTA. But the OP pointed out, ‘He says he doesn’t realize he does it and he does not try to offend me. He says he just feels like he needs to prove that he knows things.'”
“If this is the case, then he also will do this equally with other men, and at risk of making assumptions I’m willing to put money on him and his father not doing that.” – WillWatsof
“I’m reasonably sure the vast majority of mansplainers aren’t consciously thinking, ‘This person is a woman, therefore I will boost my ego by explaining things she already knows at her.'”
“What happens is more that the person has a host of unconscious biases that cause him to underestimate how knowledgeable women are compared to him (and likely people younger than him as compared to him, etc.).”
“This leads to the person explaining the thing their brain is telling them their conversation partner doesn’t know, and, especially if they grew up with a social pattern of men explaining things to women, not paying enough attention to the conversation partner to notice she deviated from the (for them) established conversation pattern.”
“Which is in a way, almost more infuriating.” – owl_duc
“Women don’t want to be taught stuff all the time. Save it for your kids or your students.”
“My husband is the best husband in many dimensions but he can’t help himself… I have actually told him several times, ‘Yes, we actually went to the same college and studied the same career, remember?’ And he will still go on to explain stupid sh*t!”
“NTA, OP.” – FishEvery6002
“I can see a connection between his father doing it and him feeling the need to ‘prove’ his worth. Even if his dad never did it to him as a kid (could go either way), kids pick up a lot from how their parents treat the people around them without ever having to be directly told ‘don’t be like those people.'”
“Unlearning that insidious kind of s**t can be a tough process, but people still manage to pull it off all the time.” – vanishinghitchhiker
Others confirmed the OP had done nothing wrong in calling them out.
“I’d say his sisters are right and these two mansplainers had it coming.”
“You weren’t rude, they’re just having the natural cognitive dissonance that happens when you’ve been called out: when someone knows they’re in the wrong, but the mind cannot accept that fact. So the other person MUST be the rude AH because it certainly couldn’t be ME.”
“NTA.” – Fangehulmesteren
“The fun part is the little ‘gotcha’ moment of ‘I thought you said you knew this,’ which means they didn’t just miss her response, they were fully aware and just flat out didn’t believe her!”
“Rude!” – impishimpi
“The downtrodden have risen, and the women of the family who have been talked over and talked at all their lives are well past ready for it to stop.”
“Maybe Hubs and FIL needed that jolt so they can learn how to have actual give-and-take conversations with others, with listening involved. Because I guarantee scores of people think they’re bores and avoid them when possible.”
“I’m yawning just imagining an evening in that living room.” – Organized_Khaos
“Keep doing it. Every time they do this, act like that. They will stop it eventually.”
“You are trying to disrupt the behavioral loop they get stuck on.”
“Disrespect would have been calling them out and starting an argument during a family event.”
“Let them know you will always respond like this because it kindly and respectfully addresses the problem.”
“If they don’t want to experience that, they have it in their power to change their behavior, self-correct any time they want.” – No_Appointment_7232
“When he starts mansplaining to you in the future, that’s the part where you stop feeding the conversation and point blank say to him, ‘You’re mansplaining again after you agreed to stop doing that.'”
“And for his father, you say, ‘I don’t need you to explain to me things I already know.'” – KinkyKitty24
“Apart from the incident, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”
“Apart from belittling you and acting like you don’t know anything about anything, and treating you like an idiot in front of your family, he’s a great guy!”
“I think you can do better, OP. If he’s really working at it, he would apologize, feel terrible, and try to fix this in the future. If he’s p**sed at you, he’s not sorry.” – ErikLovemonger
Mansplaining is an incredibly common issue that far too many people, especially women, have been targeted for, to the point of being absolutely sick of it. The subReddit understood the OP’s frustrations, especially since this was coming from someone she otherwise enjoyed dating, as well as some of his other family members.
Fortunately for the OP, the subReddit also felt that she had done the right thing by acting surprised by their information, rather than simply calling out the “mansplaining.” By demonstrating it instead of strictly calling them out, it was more of a frustratingly teachable moment than an accusatory incident that the boyfriend could even learn something from.