The decision to move in together with a significant other shouldn’t be taken lightly.
And if people do decide to cahabitate with their significant other, it’s a good idea to always have an exit strategy.
If it turns out they’re incompatible living under one roof, no one should be forced to stay in a toxic situation. But what constitutes toxic?
After a disagreement with their girlfriend over her morning alarm, a person came to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
The Redditor asked:
“AITA for asking my girlfriend to change her alarm tone because it made me feel infantilised?”
The original poster (OP) explained:
“I (nonbinary, 23) am autistic. I was diagnosed at seven years old, and after that, my family always treated me like I was several years younger than I was.”
“I was deemed incapable of looking after myself, never allowed to walk or take the bus to school or go out on my own (to the shopping centre, for example) without my parents in the same building. My mother in particular insisted on singing a lullaby to me every night for eleven years.”
“I moved out as soon as I hit 18, and had to miss out on the chance to go to university so that I could work full time to support myself (most of my family, including my parents, cut me off for being ‘ungrateful’).”
“I have been in therapy to help me process these issues, but they are very deep-seated. I met my girlfriend (F24) two years ago at the local library. She asked for my number and we hit it off right away. I have told her about my issues, but not in great depth.”
“Three weeks ago, the lease on her apartment was up and we decided to rent a place together. We went half on everything, the deposit, the utilities and the rent.”
“We also share a bed. I get up for work at 8 AM every week day, because my boss supports me in my newd for routine so my shifts always start at the same time.”
“My girlfriend has odd shifts, and can wake up between 5:30 and 9 AM. I have no issue with this, I would just roll over and go back to sleep, but her alarm tone is what I don’t like.”
“It’s a lullaby. Not the same one my mother sang, but it makes me uncomfortable with how similar it is.”
“Four times so far, her alarm has gone off before mine, and I couldn’t go back to sleep because I was emotionally upset. Yesterday, I had a meltdown after she left the house, and had to call off work.”
“This evening, when I was calmer and she hadn’t had a day of work that would maybe make her too tired for an important conversation, I brought up that I’d like her to change her alarm tone, because it makes me feel infantilised again.”
“She sighed, and said that she liked it because it was the same song as her grandma’s music box and woke her up gently. I tried to explain why I disliked it so much, but I was rapidly losing my composure.”
“I stuttered for a bit, then she got angry and told me ‘If you don’t want to feel infantilised you should man up’ (I am nonbinary, but assigned male at birth) ‘and get over it, it’s just an alarm. Grow up’.”
“She went to stay with her mother for the night. I still love her, and don’t want to break up, but I told my sister who I still have contact with, and she said it was a stupid thing to fight over, and I should have just left it alone.”
The OP added:
“She plays this music at other times too, sometimes in the evening, and I have no issue, if I’m uncomfortable I can go to a different room.”
“It’s just in the mornings as soon as I wake up, when i can’t emotionally regulate as well.”
The OP summed up their situation.
“I might be the a**hole because I caused an argument over a very minor aspect of our lives, and because of that, my girlfriend felt she couldn’t stay in our flat for the night.”
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors weren’t unsympathetic, but still felt the OP was the a**hole (YTA) or both parties were (ESH).
“She’s expressed her frustration badly, but she’s not exactly wrong.”
“Why should she change her alarm simply because it’s the same genre of music that your mother used to sing you asleep? It’s been a part of her routine for as long as she’s needed it.”
“She has fond memories of lullabies. It makes waking up easier for her, and her sleep schedule is irregular so it’s already more difficult for her to wake up at different times.”
“And what if you have kids in the future? Will you ban all lullabies from your household forever? You will not allow your kids to be sung to sleep by any lullaby simply because you have bad associations with 1 singular song?”
“No one should ‘man up’ or subscribe to sexist terms. But yes you’re wrong for banning an entire genre of music from being played by your girlfriend simply because you have bad associations with 1 singular song of that genre.”
“It’s not the same song, it’s just the same genre of music. You have to learn that one song is not representative of an entire genre and that other people can have positive associations with a genre you’ve had a bad experience with.” ~ Calm_Brick_6608
“YTA. This is a YOU problem. If the lullaby bothers you, then discuss it in therapy and work on it.”
“She should not have to change something that helps her because you don’t like it. She doesn’t need to change anything. You were way too demanding and unreasonable.” ~ JMarie113
“How is this not an ESH situation? She told him to ‘man up’. That’s absolutely a**hole behaviour.” ~ IndustryAcceptable35
“Yeah this is a clear ESH; you don’t talk that way to your partner, let alone one who is nonbinary. There is nothing that warrants that kind of response.” ~ LoveItOrLickItSnurb
“YTA. I’m sorry but your issues with lullabies are exactly that, your issue. It’s not even that your issue is with a single lullaby but all lullabies.”
“It may be fair to ask her to change her alarm temporarily while you sort this out through therapy or other means, but not permanently. Your girlfriend’s alarm has sentimental meaning to her.”
“Also, if you admit you can barely keep your composure in a conversation about a lullaby alarm then that’s just more reason to deal with your trauma. This seems to be really triggering for you so I wish you the best in working this out.” ~ Randomz1918
“Soft ESH. This reads as an immature argument over a non-issue.”
“The lullaby is triggering for you and you need to deal with it.”
“Should she have been more compassionate? Absolutely. Does she need to understand more about autism? 100%. Is it actually her problem? Not really.”
“When I had a miscarriage, all I saw everywhere were babies. My friends were all announcing their bundles of joy and the whole thing was very triggering for me. I had to sit down and deal with them. I got upset. That’s okay!”
“One of the things I’m most grateful to my parents for is their attitude of ‘the world isn’t going to change so you need to deal with it’ towards my disabilities and autism. It’s harsh but ultimately, realistic. You get the disability aids. You rearrange your schedule. You make a plan for when you’re overwhelmed and you get on with it.”
“As harsh as my post may sound, I truly wish you the best of luck! You are doing wonderfully well to be independent at such a young age and I’m sure you’ll get there with your girlfriend.” ~ Ivetafox
However some felt the OP did nothing wrong (NTA).
“I just want to say that the whole ‘man up’ comment makes your partner an AH. Next to keeping up the whole ‘tough masculinity’ trope, saying such a thing to someone that is already having difficulties with not feeling true to one’s AMAB gender is a major AH move.”
“I hope you don’t feel like you have to man up—your emotions and triggers are valid and working through them is a slow and sensitive process. It sounds like your partner doesn’t seem to understand the severity of your trauma’s and doesn’t care much to seek a middle ground.”
“I hope you know keeping guard over your triggers and communicating your needs and when something becomes too much is completely fine and healthy. Healing is more important than new relationships, and if your partner is not on that same page, it might be better to move on.”
“I think you’re NTA here.” ~ AlchemicalMystery
“If I found myself in this situation with a partner, I don’t think I’d mind changing my alarm.”
“It just doesn’t feel like a hill to die on.. phones have tons of alarms on them! Pick a different one.” ~ unled_horse
“If my alarm gave my partner a rough start to their morning, I’d like to hope I’d notice without being told.”
“Because I care. Because I pay attention to the world around me. especially if I have a partner who I KNOW DAMN WELL is atypical and communicates poorly.”
“A deciding factor here is that OP is autistic. That means you CAN’T always communicate properly.”
“So I’m not gonna pile into OP when I know they’re doing something hard by speaking up at all. It’s up to the woman who claims to love them to do the loving thing and find another answer.”
“I can’t judge OP, but the GF is TA.”
“It’s a freaking song. It’s a lot harder for OP to erase a childhood full of trauma than it is for the GF to SELECT SOMETHING ELSE TO WAKE UP TO.”
“On the one hand you’re talking years of therapy. On the other, you have someone tapping a phone a few times.”
“Let’s just say that under the circumstances if the morning music is traumatizing someone she supposedly loved, I would expect the GF to QUICKLY agree to try something else. I know I would!” ~ Reddit
“An easy compromise would be changing the alarm on days she has to be awake earlier than OP.” ~ FileDoesntExist
“I agree. Seems like such a small ask, too. There are other gentle songs to wake up to.” ~ SoMuchMoreEagle
The OP didn’t provide an update about their relationship status, but they did say they were working with their therapist to address their triggers.
Hopefully things work out well for them.