Redditor AITA_Throwawayaccoun has a girlfriend who suffers from a health condition in which she is inconvenienced every time after coughing or laughing.
During the early stages of their relationship, he didn’t have a problem.
But when things progressively worsened, he made a suggestion to her that made her feel infantilized.
Wanting input from strangers on the internet, he visited the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit and asked:
“AITA for asking my girlfriend to wear diapers in certain situations?”
“Okay, first of all, throwaway account because I’ve got a couple of IRL friends who know the name of my reddit account. Now, let’s get to it.”
The Original Poster (OP) described his girlfriend’s ailment.
“My girlfriend (23 F[emale]) has a condition usually called ‘Giggle incontinence.’ The short explanation is that she loses control of her bladder when she laughes, sneezes, coughs etc.”
“As far as I know she’s always had this problem and I never had any issue with it. The problem is that it got worse over the last couple of months.”
“Before, she usually ‘lost’ a couple of drops when she sneezed and actually peed herself only once or twice since I’ve known her when she had an extreme laughing fit.”
“However, for the last couple of months she peed herself quite often when she sneezed or coughed. She already went to three different urologists, but all of them told her more or less that there is nothing she can do about it except training her pelvic floor muscles and hoping that it helps to lessen the amount of urine she loses.”
“So for now it seems that the problem stays. Due to the increasing number of times she peed herself after sneezing I asked her to wear diapers in some situations.”
“For example, she already peed twice on the passenger seat of our car and it was a nightmare to clean and dry both times. She also peed on the seat in the cinema when she had to cough at the end of a movie.”
“When she had a cold last week, she wet our bed three times within five days. The morning after the third time I sat down to talk to her.”
“I asked her if she would wear diapers in some situations like during longer car rides and similar situations.”
“I also asked her to wear diapers to bed while she’s still ill because it’s not the best experience to wake up because your girlfriend just wet the bed.”
“However, when I talked to her she started screaming at me and told me how much of an a**hole I am for treating her like a baby and things like this. I tried to explain to her that it would be a lot better for both of us and that it would save both of us a lot of work and her a lot of embarrassment. She didn’t respond to that at all and just took her bag, told me she had to get to work on time and left the house.”
In an edit, the OP clarified a few points.
“My girlfriend already wears incontinence pads due to her condition but they don’t always ‘hold up’ so she leaks when she loses alot of urine.”
“Also I’m no native speaker. I didn’t use the word ‘diaper’ when I talked to her, I used the word ‘Inkontinenzhosen,’ but I didn’t find the english counterpart for this word so I used the word ‘diaper’ for this post.”
“So, now the important question: Am I the a**hole for telling my girlfriend to wear diapers in some situations?”
Anonymous strangers on the internet answered by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Ultimately most Redditors opted for NAH.
“NAH. I developed similar issues after age 45, so I sympathize.”
“Your suggestion is helpful, but your young girlfriend is understandably upset about her socially embarrassing condition.”
“I don’t know what products are available in your country, but in the USA there are overnight pads that are longer and will trap more urine. I’ve had a coughing fit when I had a cold and basically emptied my bladder without any leaks.”
“But pads shift, bunch, etc… so I finally opted for incontinence underwear (adult diapers). There are ones available in the USA that end up being less bulky and far more comfortable than any pad I tried. They’re designed to look like regular women’s underwear. I’ve had several accidents where I coughed repeatedly and emptied my bladder while trying to get to a bathroom and I’ve never had any leaks.”
“Having wet pants to hide in public or pee running down my leg while I’m in a nice dress or skirt or leaving wet spots on someone’s furniture was 100x worse than wearing something that’s categorized as medical equipment.”
“I wear my bifocals without shame or guilt because they let me function. I wear my incontinence pads and underwear the same way.”
“I’d explain to your girlfriend that you want her to have a happy, active life and your suggestion was only to help with that. Tell her if her eyesight was poor or her hearing impaired, you’d suggest glasses, contacts, hearing aids…. This suggestion was meant to be just like those suggestions.”
“Then suggest she find an online group she can chat with of women with the same issues. We’d offer her a sympathetic ear, no judgment and good advice.” ~ LakotaGrl
“NAH, but there are certainly alternatives to diapers. There are sanitary pads for incontinence that hold more liquid than period pads and are far more discreet than an adult diaper.”
“I can understand her not wanting to wear a diaper unless absolutely necessary.” – Meretneith
The OP noted:
“She already wears incontinence pads due to the issue, but there are times when they ‘overflow’.”
The answer made a difference for this Redditor.
“Oh, I see. Hm, that makes it trickier, because diapers can be less discrete and I guess they may be less comfortable, but come on, if I was wetting the bed I’d be willing to wear a full-body diaper to avoid the idea of my husband ever getting into contact with my ‘overflow.'” – Meretneith
“And how is wearing a diaper too baby-like but wetting the bed isn’t? And outside or in public seats, she needs to think about other people, the next person in her seat is going to be in a puddle, how is that fair for them?” – Avistew
“I’m 8 months pregnant and it’s been on my mind a lot that when I get closer to my due date, I might get like, a puppy pad to sleep on or start sleeping in adult diapers in case my water breaks in bed. We have a nice mattress and I don’t want to get bodily fluids all over it, plus I don’t want my husband to wake up in a puddle.”
“I don’t find the idea remotely embarrassing or infantilizing. It’s a natural body process that I can’t control, why would it be embarrassing to take adult steps to keep myself clean?”
“Honestly? As bub gets bigger, it’s almost tempting to wear adult diapers anyway because sometimes he’ll wiggle or kick me right in the bladder and there have been several times I’ve almost peed myself. Especially at work when I’m on the opposite end of the building from the bathroom.”
“I’m super lucky (or maybe I just have adequate pelvic floor muscles? Idk) in that I haven’t wet myself during this pregnancy, but I’ve felt like I might several times.”
“I’d WAY rather wear a diaper than wet myself in public or accidentally pee all over my husband. I’d be much more embarrassed to wet the bed than I would be to wear a protective garment if I needed it.” – LurkNoMore201
People recommended certain products that would benefit the couple in their situation.
“You could get a plastic mattress protector that goes under the fitted sheet instead!” – devilsrollthedice
“It’s saved our mattress a handful of times already with our newest baby. The odd throw up and diaper blowout while hanging out on our bed. Simple laundry trip as opposed to trying to stop nasty substances from soaking into the mattress forever.” – TheChap656
“There are disposable absorbent liners for chairs and beds available. In English they’re often called incontinence pads – which is a bit confusing since that’s also what the wearable ones are called – and it looks like in Germany they may be called something like underpads? Though that’s still in English…”
“It’s a convenient option to protect your car seats and bed sheets, if you can find them.” – ampersandator
Some Redditors felt the OP was NTA (not the a**hole), but his girlfriend was one which is the difference between NAH and NTA.
“NTA if someone knows that, despite their current efforts, their urine will end up on other things beyond their underwear, they need to put on whatever it takes to stop it from happening.”
“I’d rather be ashamed of wearing a diaper than being the AH that pisses on things.” – phalseprofits
“Absolutely NTA because of this. She is inconveniencing everyone and forcing you to out up with unsanitary conditions because she is acting like a child rather than being an adult and taking control of her condition.”
“Whatever pads she is using, they aren’t good enough – OP is waaaaay NTA, especially when she is expecting him to share a bed with her.” – Love_From_Gallifrey
“Can she get a referral to a women’s health or continence physio? They can assess her pelvic floor tone, and prescribe appropriate exercises/ management strategies.”
“Incontinence is not something one should have to live with, I wish you both all the best.” – ebonylevin
The OP responded to the above comment by saying he plans to apprise his girlfriend about getting a referral to a proper specialist.