One of life’s and entertainment’s golden rules is always leave the comedy to the comedians.
You really have to know how to land a joke and you really, really should know your audience.
You would think couples in long term relationships would be able to handle this issue. But alas…
Case in point…
Our Redditor throwaway11212021 wanted to discuss his story for some feedback. So naturally he came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.
“AITA for requesting a paternity test after my wife, joked out of the blue, about our child’s paternity?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“We’ve been together 3 years, been married 1 year, and have an infant.”
“Relationship has been the best of my life and relatively smooth throughout – no red flags. Our child is healthy and happy.”
“We’re in a pretty great familial situation currently. We are blessed to really have no real stresses or anxieties.”
“We were at the grocery store and my wife asked me not to purchase something because of potential BPA in the item (a chemical which can leach into food and impact fertility).”
“I joked that I clearly didn’t have issues with fertility (since we had a kid as soon as we started trying), and I’ve been consuming that item regularly.”
“Then she joked, ‘well maybe our kid’s not yours.'”
“It took me a second to really process what she said, but once I did, I got very sad and upset.”
“I initially told her, ‘don’t joke about that,’ and ‘why would you say something like that?'” And I stopped talking the rest of the time at the grocery store.”
“But once we got to the car, the idea had built up enough in my head that I told her I’m going to getting a paternity test immediately (I’m shopping on Amazon for one as I write this).”
“She pushed back and started going down a number of defensive vectors, from ‘why don’t you trust me?’ to ‘is your reaction saying something about you I should be worried about?'”
“To which, I replied, heatedly, ‘I understand the idea is ludicrous, but you suggested it, completely out of the blue, and now it’s out there. And there’s no way to put this question away ever again except to actually get a test.'”
“After a few rounds of this, she acquiesced and left me to go look for a test.”
“I trust my wife, she’s a fantastic person, a successful professional, a great mother, etc.”
“But I had never even fathomed that our child wasn’t mine until she made what was, in all likelihood, the worst joke and retort in history.”
“Am I overreacting?”
Redditors had no issue sharing their thoughts on this matter by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Most Redditors felt our OP and his wife were the AH.
So we might be looking at a ESH situation, but everyone had some caveats and wide ranging thoughts on the matter.
“Sounds like a joke. But everyone has a threshold for what is funny. If it will ease your concerns have the test.”
“Then stop joking about it.” ~Brody141
“I don’t think it’s as simple as taking the test to ease concerns.”
“If he goes through with it, his wife will always remember that he didn’t trust her and needed physical proof of fidelity over a single joke.”
“At best, she will always be more guarded around him and less willing to make jokes or even openly communicate.”
“At worst, she could decide she doesn’t want to be with someone who doesn’t trust her.”
“OP needs to consider to ramifications of the test beyond just the results.” ~ a_regular_bi-angle
“My husband and I both make casual jokes about paternity/maternity to each other any time kid does something that is against the others personality.”
“Kid doesn’t like X, ‘sorry you had to find out this way.'”
“But I also let him know when we were just dating that he could 100% get a paternity test any point in the future and I’d support that and still do. Because f**k yeah science.”
“I think paternity jokes being a major line for you is reasonable.”
“I don’t think the joke she made was out of the blue or intended to mean she messed with someone else.”
“When we make the jokes, the idea is more ‘swapped at birth/got knocked up by.a toilet seat/ immaculate conception’ type logics.” ~ k9centipede
“Are you the kind of couple that makes each other the butt of the joke?”
“Because if so, dude you totally set yourself up for the joke. You basically started it by joking about your own fertility.”
“You’re not really an a**hole for stressing yourself out over this, but I think if you take a step back and recognize the sequence of events: wife asking you to not purchase a product with possible negative affects on your fertility (implying she wants to have another child with you), to you joking that it’s obviously not a problem you need to worry about, to her joking about the paternity you’ll see it was a pretty logical line of riffing off of each other.”
“I understand this hasn’t been a specific joke for you before but if you have a general playfully-giving-each-other-crap relationship I think you’ll recognize it wasn’t that deep.”
“Either that or you don’t actually trust your wife and you should probably try and work through that with her.” ~ literaryworlds
“The escalation here is really fast to me.”
“She makes a joke at the cash register and by the time you get to the car it’s a major issue.”
“That doesn’t seem like you trust your wife especially since you started this joking interaction with the joke about your own fertility.”
“Her joking retort seems completely normal to me. Your response, to ask for a dna test within maybe twenty minutes is not at all normal to me and may damage this supposedly fabulous relationship.”
“Edit: I’m surprised by how much attention this comment has gotten.”
“I didn’t original put a judgement for a variety of reasons, but I’ll add one now. Soft YTA.”
“Take some time to reflect on your reaction and communicate with your wife. You both need to have a conversation about this.” ~ Born_Ad8420
“YTA. From the title I was prepared to be on your side but nope.”
“She made an obviously sarcastic joke (you’ve said she likes to make those kind of jokes) and you turned it into something serious.”
“It honestly feels like you just don’t trust your wife and you’re using her little joke as an excuse to get the paternity test you might have already been thinking of getting.”
“How little must you trust your wife for one joke to be enough to make you question if your child is yours?” ~ RunThroughTheWoods
“NAH. She made a bad joke and has stoked a bout of insecurity within you.”
“The test is not harmful to anyone and will set your mind at ease.”
“I find it strange that so many are saying wanting the test is a red flag.”
“Why is men wanting to confirm paternity so hard for people to understand?”
“At this point it should be a standard thing instead of some taboo issue that only ”untrustworthy” men ask for.” ~ Darthkhydaeus
Remember rule number one!
Know your audience. Jokes and emotions backfire way too often.
Hopefully these two can get past this guffaw.