As we all know, although the holidays are supposedly a time set aside for joy and family connection, they often just stress us right out.
One Redditor’s recent post on the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit illustrated, sometimes you don’t even have to host for everything to feel chaotic.
The Original Poster (OP), who later deleted his account, touched on the source of the drama in the post’s title:
“AITA for trying to dissuade my girlfriend from bringing a LOT of food to my family’s Christmas?”
As OP explained early, timing was everything.
“As the title suggests this is about as stupid and surface-level as it gets as far as arguments to have with a significant other but it’s potentially boiling over into an almost holiday-ruiner.”
“First off, my girlfriend of three years and I have a pretty solid relationship, we mostly communicate very well and can generally compromise as needed when it comes to a conflict.”
“Unfortunately, holidays seem bring out the worst in both of us, we get easily stressed out and it becomes more difficult to see eye to eye on even the small things.”
This past Thanksgiving offered a case in point.
“Thanksgiving this year ushered in quite the argument between us.”
“My aunt was hosting dinner at her house and to be gracious my girlfriend wanted to bring some food with us.”
“I texted my aunt a few days ahead of time what she would like us to bring. Her response was ‘don’t worry, we don’t have much room but bring your favorite side dish if you want.’ “
“My girlfriend then made up a menu of about seven or eight dishes (mostly appetizers) that she was wanted to bring, a bit more than that single side dish that was initially OK’ed by my aunt.”
OP found himself caught in the middle.
“I texted my aunt the list and she responded, ‘please don’t bring all of that, etc.’ and reiterated that they didn’t have that much room/there were some duplicate dishes.”
“I voiced this to my girlfriend, who still insisted on wanting to bring four or five dishes which was the beginning of my being-annoyed.”
“I said multiple times that she’s specifically requesting that we not bring all this food and that it wasn’t a ‘don’t trouble yourself, dear’ decline than it was a ‘please don’t bring all of that, we don’t have the room’ decline.”
But OP’s protests fell on deaf ears.
“So of course we run late to my aunt’s because a dish was taking too long to finish, have an all out screaming match on the drive there…”
“…and needless to say when we got there my aunt was pretty annoyed when we got there and needed multiple trips back to my car to grab all the sh** she asked us not to bring, let alone dig out space on the table/counter/TV tray.”
“It was stressful and obnoxious.”
That left OP spooked when Christmas rolled around.
“We put the argument to rest and managed to have a decent day altogether and put it behind us…at least until now.”
“Last night my girlfriend said that she wanted us to do our best to not fight on Christmas like we did on Thanksgiving.”
“I agreed but immediately said that if my aunt (who is hosting again) asks us to only bring one dish then we are bringing ONE dish.”
But apparently, the Thanksgiving calamity didn’t clarify much.
“That just kicked off the same argument once again. I said that this is both disrespectful to my aunt and to me that she’s pleading for us not to bring all this food and that my girlfriend intends to not respect that.”
“She loves cooking, is great at it, and is truly a thoughtful person but thinks I’m being out of line when I’m raising a fuss that this scenario has now transcended from ‘nice and thoughtful’ into ‘obnoxious and rude’ territory given the circumstances.”
Not long after, OP shared an edit to the original post with additional details.
“EDIT: I’ve spoken to my aunt about it since I again asked ‘is there anything we can bring, etc.’ her response was ‘don’t worry about it.’ ”
“I said that I would try to keep my girlfriend from bringing a second dinner over again to which she laughed and insisted that she wasn’t bothered by thanksgiving and that my girlfriend is a sweetheart…”
“…which if she’s being truthful leaves only me being the really annoyed one here. Well, I guess me and now my very pissed off girlfriend since I’ve decided to pick this battle.”
Nonetheless, OP felt clear on his stance.
“I still don’t want to drop my initial point here that my issue is her disregarding an attempt of mine to set a boundary on account that the boundary is drawn around something so stupidly surface-level.”
“But on the same token, I don’t know if I have it in me to ruin a holiday and send our relationship in a darker direction if I’m really the only annoyed one here.”
Things developed even further from there.
“Edit 2: we’re both drunk and started yelling at each other again. Can’t say I’m proud of what I said but she said she’s done.”
“I reiterated my points and I don’t want to make declarative statements about the end of our relationship but I can’t say I’ve been nice either.”
“I’m at a loss for words and she wants out. I’m trying to refrain from unloading further But I guess what’s done is done. So fu**ing stupid.”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Most Redditors took OP’s side.
“NTA I don’t see how this is even an argument. You’re a guest to someone’s party, go along with the host’s request.”
“It’s very clear and your girlfriend has directly said she doesn’t want to fight and then does the thing that starts the fight. What is her justification for not abiding by your aunt’s rules?”
“TBH, I wouldn’t even take her.” — HortenseDaigle
“NTA – But it sounds like your gf is super needy for attention about her cooking. Maybe you guys can host a dinner night at your house and turn her loose. But she shouldn’t be monopolizing someone else’s house with her needs.” — BookReader1328
“NTA- Sincerely asking: what is her end game in this? Is she trying to impress your aunt? Does she not trust that there will be food that’s tasty enough, varied enough, portioned enough…?”
“Is she trying to like, show people who her beautiful soul is through her food? Does she have a need to feel necessary or needed? From her point of view, is this her genuine gesture of love and respect?”
“I ask, because if she has a particular goal in mind, she may not realize there’s more than one way to attain it. If she’s trying to extend love to your aunt and your extended family, she will unintentionally, but assertively fail.” — askingforafriendzone
Others agreed, but proposed some possible solutions.
“NTA Your girlfriend doesn’t have respect for other people. It’s your aunt’s house, and all her extra food is just getting in the way. She’s not cooking for other people, she’s doing it for herself.”
“If your girlfriend wants to cook, suggest she host a dinner party. Invite the family for New Year’s, or National Rubber Duckie Day, or Elvis Presley’s birthday.” — Usrname52
“NTA: But the only question that you need to keep boiling it down to (I think) is: ‘Why are you insisting on being rude to my Aunt, the host of the dinner?’ “
“At some point she values something over the social impact of that rudeness. Until the two of you sort out what it is, and sort it out, it’s never going to end.” — Once-and-Future
“If cooking is her tether to the holidays, maybe she could help your aunt in preparing the meal, instead of making and transporting seven dishes (or even one if the boundary is respected). May be something you both could speak to your aunt about?” — WorkingSlice8852
That advice turned out to be quite helpful, as a OP’s final edit explained.
“Edit 3: don’t ever address your problems drunk but we somehow hashed that out civilly (at least towards the end).”
“Her big thing (as suspected accurately by some of you was that cooking was one of her only tether to the holidays at home (she loves cooking and was her family’s chief cook during the holidays at home).”
“I jumped down her throat not giving her a decent chance to explain herself of that feeling versus my reactive campaign to defend boundaries (which long long long story short a previous relationship left me with a skewed sense and lack of an ability to really set forth one.”
Here’s hoping OP and his partner learned enough from this year’s spat that future holiday seasons will be a bit lower key.