Sometimes a great joke doesn’t land because of timing.
Other times, people use humor to deflect from an emotional situation.
Either way, before you tell a joke know your audience, and make sure jokes are appropriate.
Redditor Rimbaud-First-Blood encountered this very issue with their wife. So they turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.
“AITA for telling my wife that our dog had run away three years ago and I had replaced it with a look-alike?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“My wife and I were watching a movie earlier during which the protagonists had an emotional catharsis after getting things off their chest.”
“My wife turned and asked me if I had any confessions to make so that we could grow closer.”
“I said, ‘yes, 3 years ago our dog ran away and I bought a dog that looked identical to him so that you would never know.'”
“I was joking, of course, but when I revealed this to my wife she didn’t see the humor in it. In fact, she’s not 100% certain it was a joke. I am writing this from the guest room where I will be sleeping for the foreseeable future.”
Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Most Redditors agreed there are NAH (no a**holes here).
“NAH. It was a funny joke, and an even funnier punishment for telling it.”
“Keep thinking up those dog jokes while you’re in the dog house.” ~ JeepersCreepers74
“Oh, definitely the asshole… Family pets are always a highly sensitive subject. Even if OP was “just joking”, he just told her that the pet she loved so much is gone.”
“Sure, he was lying to her, but she’s grieving over a lost pet. And she’s upset that her partner would go so far to make an insensitive joke like that. He should know her better than to know that that joke definitely wasn’t funny.” ~ StutterMaple
“I have to admit, I don’t really see the funny side of the joke, maybe there was sarcasm involved somewhere that I didn’t pick up. Still agreed NTA/NAH.”
“Edit: because more and more people are pointing out either that I did miss the joke or that you can’t replace a dog:”
“Yes, I can totally see why you can’t replace a dog I’m used to fish and hamsters no need to insult my lack of understanding humor via text. Judging by the 300 upvotes others also agreed.” ~ Timemaster111
“I think tone and prior relationship does a lot of heavy lifting here. When I first read this I was very much ‘that’s not funny, why would you say something like that?'”
“But now I think about this this is exactly the kind of joke my partner would make at me and I’d find it amusing.”
“It’s just when it is in text form the tone is lost, and op is a stranger, so the trust that he wouldn’t do such a thing isn’t there.” ~ EmbarrassedFigure4
“I agree NAH and you were joking, but I am just putting it out there that maybe your wife was trying to connect with you emotionally and you made the (albeit funny) choice to deflect with humor. How would you feel if she did that to you?”
“Sometimes when two people watch something intense like that together it would make sense (especially in a long-term partnership or marriage) to springboard into some emotional intimacy after the fact.”
“If this is an unusual reaction for her, it could explain perhaps why she’s upset. Just some food for thought!” ~ romeodeficient
Others thought OP was TA.
“It was a bad joke. Incredibly uncreative, poorly timed.”
“Not very sympathetic towards the wife and the situation at hand. Everyone commenting that ‘it was worth it because the joke was hilarious’ comes off as one of those people who get married and call their wife ‘the old ball and chain’ or ‘the government’ and don’t actually seem happy to be married.”
“If all you can do in a marriage is joke, how much do you actually care? The wife wanted to have an intimate emotional moment (admittedly inspired by a movie scene) and was met with some stupid joke about her dog.”
“Also: it does not matter whether the joke was ‘believable’ or not! Anyone saying ‘she should have realizes that it was a joke because it’s so unrealistic’ are missing the point of why OP is an A.”
“It’s not the quality of the joke that matters. It’s apparent that the wife did/does not have the same sense of humor as OP, and OP should have known that.” ~ skullgot
“Oh, definitely the asshole… Family pets are always a highly sensitive subject.”
“Even if OP was ‘just joking,’ he just told her that the pet she loved so much is gone.”
“Sure, he was lying to her, but she’s grieving over a lost pet. And she’s upset that her partner would go so far to make an insensitive joke like that.”
“He should know her better than to know that that joke definitely wasn’t funny.” ~ StutterMaple
“I remember getting home one day from work and cuddling my dog and my roommate was like ‘okay, don’t be upset, but [dog] got off his harness when we were out with him, but nothing happened, etc!’ and I was holding him, and he was obviously fine, but I was still alarmed and shaken.”
“I understand the emotions she might have felt, even if the punishment might be a little far.” ~ tiredcustard
Some argued OP’s wife was TA.
“You’re making A LOT of assumptions here. ‘If all you can do in a marriage is joke?’ He told us about ONE joke. ‘The wife wanted to have an intimate emotional moment.'”
“OK, and he’s supposed to immediately acquiesce to something that sudden and intimate and (as he proved) potentially damaging to his marriage?”
“I ask my partner for much more benign intimate moments all the time and get non-serious answers back A LOT.”
“It doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about me, it just means that he’s not as romantically sappy as I am.”
“Also, I wouldn’t describe his joke as ‘incredibly uncreative’ by any stretch of the imagination. Nor would I call it poorly timed.”
“In fact, I’d say it was pretty perfectly timed, considering she was asking him for something she clearly wasn’t emotionally ready for. No matter how you slice it, she wasn’t ready to have that ‘honest’ conversation.”
“If she got this upset about his joke, she (A) wasn’t ready for a real confession and (B) isn’t someone I would want to trust with any type of vulnerability.” ~ WolfgangAddams
Jokes are all about good timing.