As much as we might love our significant others, we can accept the fact that they are not totally perfect.
We might even admit that they have a flaw we could definitely live without if given the chance.
But if we ever wanted to talk to our partner about improving this quality, we’d have to choose our words carefully, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor ThrowRAup_over345 had known for a long time that his wife was pessimistic, to the point that her outlook sometimes bothered him.
When her coworkers began to express the same feelings he had, the Original Poster (OP) thought it would be a good time to talk to his wife about her attitude.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my wife that I agree with her coworkers?”
The OP recognized that his wife was chronically pessimistic.
“My wife ‘Lexi’ (28 Female), and I (30 Male) have been together for five years.”
“Lexi and I have always had a pretty solid relationship. We do have our issues just like any other couple, but we always work through it in the end.”
“One reoccurring issue that has been causing some drama lately is Lexi’s coworkers.”
“About six months ago, Lexi got a new job at a local supermarket. Roughly three months into it, she started complaining about how her coworkers don’t like her and that she can’t stand them. She kept going on and on about how annoying they are and that her coworkers claim the reason why they don’t like her is because she’s a ‘constant downer.'”
“I wouldn’t say anything during these discussions, but I would find myself secretly agreeing with Lexi’s coworkers.”
“I love Lexi, but one trait that has always been an issue is her pessimism. Lexi has a bad habit of thinking negatively, assuming the worst in other people, and generally has a defeated attitude. She’s basically a ‘Debby Downer.'”
The OP wanted to see for himself what Lexi’s relationship with her coworkers was like.
“After months of her going on and on about how awful her coworkers are, I decided to take a look for myself.”
“A couple of days ago, I had the day off, so I went to Lexi’s place of work and observed her interacting with her coworkers. Lexi knew that I would be there and insisted that she would prove to me that she was being ‘unfairly targeted.'”
“During several interactions, Lexi would endlessly complain about having to be at work, she would say nasty things about customers, etc.”
“She also had very bad body language. She would roll her eyes and obnoxiously sigh when customers left her registry. It wasn’t comfortable to watch.”
“I was there for about two hours when I decided to leave and go back home.”
The follow-up conversation did not go at all how Lexi had expected.
“After Lexi came home from work, she immediately started complaining about her coworkers and how ‘cold they were towards her for no reason.'”
“She felt vindicated and said, ‘So, do you believe me now? Now do you understand why I have to b***h all the time? Maybe now you can understand how I feel.'”
“I explained to her that, based on what I observed, I actually agree with her coworkers.”
“Lexi exploded on me! She yelled that I’m just like everyone else and that I’m a ‘slimy weasel’ for siding with her coworkers.”
“She stormed out of the house and is currently staying with her mom.”
“I’m trying my best to understand where she’s coming from, but I don’t know what else I can do.”
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 couldn’t get past the image of the OP creeping around his wife’s place of work.
“It’s f**king bizarre that you showed up at your wife’s place of work and observed her and her coworkers for hours.” – 0biterdicta
“What was he DOING for two hours? Did he hang around Lexi’s register? I can’t imagine how the other workers felt about that.”
“Still NTA, OP. Lexi needs to know so she can change her behavior, but her mindset will be harder to change.” – taleeta2411
“Imagine being one of her coworkers. You’re just trying to make it through your s**tty work day and some guy is just standing around the place watching you.”
“Your wet mop of a coworker is b***hing about customers, and you’re like, ‘That’s amazing, Lexi, but have you not noticed the weirdo staring at us this whole time?'” – Season_ofthe_B***h
“How did he even pull this off?! Was he waiting in their lunchroom? Pretending to be a shopper and following them along the aisles? Parked outside and assumed words were said by their body language?”
“Maybe a combo of all three? It all sounds ridiculously hilarious.” – gremgremlyn
“He was just standing off to the side holding an old newspaper with eye holes cut out.”
“Pretending to read a candy bar wrapper for 20 minutes while his wife complains about the wonky scanner on her register for the third time to her increasingly nervous coworker who has definitely texted her friend about the creeper that’s just been hanging around.” – Season_ofthe_B***h
“Three raccoons in a trenchcoat!” – NoTreacle143
On a more serious note, some reassured the OP that he was on the right track.
“NTA. You did the right thing. She’ll either take it to heart and start taking steps to change, or your marriage will gradually deteriorate, and you’ll move on with your life and hopefully find someone with a better disposition.” – Content-Plenty-268
“Your wife sounds like she could benefit from working with a mental health professional. A situation doesn’t force her to be negative. Her personality and free choice have led to her acting this way. She can change if she wants to.”
“NTA. Your wife is. She asked you to look at the situation because she was sure that you would agree with her. She asked for the truth, but she can’t handle the truth.” – JazzyKnowsBest13
“NTA. Sometimes you have to tell your partners the truth and have them confront their flaws. She didn’t marry a Yes Man who would coddle her.”
“She needs to take a good hard look at herself and work on things, and maybe go through some therapy.” – Okay-Arachnid890
“NTA. Your wife likely doesn’t realize just how negative she’s being. I worked with a friend for six months, and one day after listening to her complain for hours on end, I started marking a tally.”
“She was shocked when I told her that she said, ‘I hate this, I want to die, 53 times in one eight-hour shift.”
“It is really hard to be positive or even a good coworker when you’re combating that negativity. She thought we were commiserating together, but wasn’t paying attention to the fact that I wasn’t interested in joining in.”
“And if your wife is more positive outside of work, maybe have a discussion about a career or job change.” – fatbabyangelface
“Honestly, it’s weird that people are slamming you for going to see for yourself. Even though you have enough experience with her to know her outlook, you actually bothered to validate her in order to be fair. Come on. If you hadn’t, they would come down on you for that.”
“Anyhow. She really needs to figure something out. I honestly could not live with someone like that.”
“Have you considered doing something like a gratitude journal and maybe working on them together? You could require her to find a positive every day at work, too, to see if that helps her change her outlook when there?”
“Realistically she probably needs therapy. There is something lacking in her self-awareness.” – OLAZ3000
But others thought that the OP’s approach to talking to his wife was questionable at best.
“This is… delicate. It’s hard to approach, but I think you owe your wife a conversation about her general disposition and how she comes across as negative. Obviously, be gentle with your words. Like, ‘Hey, I don’t think you mean to sound this way, but… let’s work on how we can both be more positive every day.'”
“Start gratitude journals together. Say three things you love about each other every day. It might be hard at first, but it will get easier, and it changes the thought process throughout the day.”
“This is an ESH for me, because I get it that she’s a Debbie downer, but she’s your wife, man. You owe her more than taking her coworkers’ side.” – Sea_Concert_4844
“ESH. She obviously sucks, she’s a downer that annoys her coworkers and you. But if this is something that bothers you, just tell her. You don’t need to observe her at her place of work or side with the coworkers that she dislikes.” – AdPotential2749
“ESH, except for her co-workers. You married a ‘Debbie Downer,’ and now you complain about her complaining. Then you two, very creepily, decide to have you come to observe them.”
“The proper thing to do with your wife would be to suggest maybe customer service is not her thing, suggest that she look elsewhere for work, and see a therapist. You probably should go, too, since you think it is okay for you to go observe her co-workers.”
“Visiting a spouse or SO (significant other) at work usually means sitting somewhere occupied doing other things until they are available, then leaving, not watching the staff.” – holisarcasm
“Where in the heck does she work that you’re able to sneak in and watch her act around her co-workers? Also, is she that pessimistic at home, and have you ever talked to her about it?”
“If she’s this reactive to the situation, then she clearly has no idea how she comes across to everyone, including you. Heck, it might even be the first time someone she cares about told her the truth about the situation.”
“NTA and maybe a little ESH.” – delifte
“I’m gonna say ESH.”
“First of all, your wife is the biggest AH of the whole situation. She clearly has a bad attitude that she has no intention of working on. I think she probably needs some serious therapy to start being a more positive person to interact with. Though from what you’re saying, it sounds like she’s not exactly the self-introspection type.”
“That being said, she clearly wasn’t looking for a discussion about it. She turned to you as her partner to tell her she isn’t a bad person. No matter how valid her coworkers’ opinions are, she wanted to feel better about when people were saying things she felt were hurtful. You really should’ve read the room there, buddy, and that’s why I think you were an AH here, too.”
“And I just gotta say, watching your wife and her coworkers for a couple of hours is pretty weird. There could have been plenty of ways to determine that your wife probably needs to improve her attitude at work and plenty of ways to address it that didn’t involve spying on her and then telling her that her coworkers are right about why they think she’s terrible.” – ChiefWolfy
The subReddit could empathize with the OP about how hard it must be to be around a negative attitude like this frequently, but they wondered if the OP’s approach had been the best one. It was obviously time for the couple to have a tough conversation about Lexi’s outlook, but maybe not as a result of awkwardly lingering among a group of unsuspecting coworkers for hours at a time.