Is it OK to hide things from your spouse?
What if the thing you’re hiding is about your shared offspring?
Reddit user Responsible_Fudge_62 recently had a pretty significant disagreement with his wife over their son, and turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit to see if he really was the one being unreasonable.
He asked Redditors:
“AITA for hiding from my wife the reason why our son got kicked out of a restaurant?”
The Original Poster (OP) began with an explanation of the situation leading to the argument.
“Our son told me the truth but did not tell her because he was afraid of his mom’s reaction. Ordinarily I would have told my wife but the situation ultimately was a misunderstanding and something I was able to quickly resolve with the restaurant owner.”
“He and his friends had gone out to eat at this place, and apparently my son decided to make a joke and hit on their waitress. Others said things too but his was the one that upset her and resulting in her telling the owner.”
“It wasn’t a bad joke or what I’d consider sexist, but it was in poor taste. When she told the owner, he got upset and asked the boys to leave.”
“They were all embarrassed and told us that they left because they weren’t feeling well instead of the real reason. At least at first.”
“My son told me what really happened, and one of his friends ended up also telling his mom the truth after she questioned his story.”
“By the time he confessed, I’d already talked with my son and the owner of the restaurant and worked things out. My son and the rest of the boys aren’t banned from the restaurant and everything is fine now.”
“I saw no need to involve my wife in this because she would have escalated this when our son was already embarrassed and had learned his lesson. There wasn’t anything else to say or do.”
OP’s wife took great exception to being left out of the whole situation, and with the way that OP handled things.
“My wife disagrees and thinks I am the a**hole for hiding the truth from her and for enabling our son’s sexism, as she puts it.”
“She doesn’t think I’ve actually done anything except teach him that he can say and do what he wants without consequences.”
“This is because I didn’t punish him and convinced the restaurant owner to ‘look the other way.’ In this case I didn’t feel more needed to be said or done because what he said wasn’t that bad and he seemed sorry.”
“Now that the other parents know what happened everyone is split. Most of the dads agree with me and have similar views while the moms are taking the same view as my wife.”
“So am I the a**hole?”
The OP then revealed the nature of the son’s joke.
“Since some are asking for the joke, the waitress they had was Indian, so my son said that he no longer felt like he was in the mood for Italian and wanted [Indian] instead.”
“He then asked her if she could help him with that.”
“I know that some of the other boys made comments too, but I don’t know what they said exactly. Her main complaint was about my son’s comments.”
“I don’t think they were technically banned in the sense of being asked never to come back. I just confirmed and made sure with the restaurant owner that they could [come back] since my wife and I also eat there with our kids.”
“A few of the moms have made their boys go back and apologize. I didn’t.”
OP’s fellow Redditors were then asked to judge who’s in the wrong based on the following categories:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors were firmly of the opinion that OP was definitely the a**hole in this situation.
“You’re raising the guy that none of us want to date. If they were asked to leave, then I promise you it wasn’t ‘not that bad’.”
“Great. Yet another contribution of a guy that has no respect for women and sees us only a sex object. YTA” –kindlefan12
“YTA. Sexual harassment is determined by how the victim perceives it, not how the comment was intended.”
“If the waitress was bothered, then it was bad enough, and it certainly seems like you are enabling by ‘smoothing things over’. The owner may suck too if he agreed without ensuring his employee would be ok with it, but we can’t know if he did that.”
“You should have let your wife be involved in what should have been an important life lesson for your son.”
“In this context, the perception of the waitress was absolutely critical. And after OP edited his post to include the comment, that stands. Perhaps that could have been worded a bit better, so that part is on me.”
“To those that have commented that something like a wave could be harassment, no, it would not. See the section on what a ‘reasonable person’ would perceive.”
“Yes, anyone can claim to be offended by anything, but saying hello would not get you fired, or banned from a restaurant. Making a comment like OP’s son definitely fits.” –LAKingsofMetal
Many also pointed out that OP’s son was very definitely in the wrong for his sexist and racist attempt at a joke.
“So your son went out and harassed some waitress at her job to the point that the manager banned him and his friend’s from the restaurant. When you find out your response is to talk to the owner and convince them that your son should be allowed back into the restaurant making ‘everything fine now’.”
“You didn’t mention an apology to the waitress. You leave out your son’s joke, which given that it was bad enough to get him banned probably was extremely sexist, disrespectful and gross and then you hid it from your wife.”
“You don’t think it was sexist but all the women in your life agree it is, the waitress they harassed thinks it is too. So you’re compounding your son’s sexism by covering it up and dismissing your wife’s feelings.”
“I see OP added the joke and all I can say is wow! I knew it would be bad but that’s just gross and sexist and racist and I feel so bad for the poor waitress.”
“That sh*t is embarrassing and humiliating not to mention scary because you never know if the harassment will escalate.”
“pro-tip OP raising children doesn’t mean we protect them from the very much deserved consequences of their actions. Sometimes they need to learn the hard way.”
“You’re teaching your son to be a sexist creep, listen to your wife.” –9for9
“YTA – Are you f**king kidding me? What your son said was ‘that bad.’ It was sexist and, to an extent, also racist.”
“He was sorry because what he did had consequences. But thanks to you, that’s a thing of the past now.
“So WTF makes you think he learned his lesson? Your wife is right.”
“All you taught him was that he can act like an a**hole without consequences and that you even condone this kind of behavior. I’m thoroughly disgusted.” –FeedThePug
“YTA. You and your son both know the reason why you didn’t want to tell your wife what happened, and it’s glaringly obvious it’s not because she’s overbearing, but that you don’t want to hear the truth and accept when you’re wrong.”
“Way to teach your son not only to harass women (especially a waitress who’s job forces her to deal with men like your son, ffs), but to also show that even you can’t respect your own wife.”
“Your wife is right. You didn’t give your son a punishment and he certainly has NOT learned his lesson. Maybe forcing him to give an apology to the waitress and educating him to not be a sexist a** like his father will help.” –2done4this
“As a waiter, I’ve got to say, advances towards the waitstaff is never appropriate. We’re in a really delicate position, trying to do our job, and like this is gross and inappropriate.”
“Also, in my 12-ish years in the business, if it was just that one joke in poor taste, it seems rather unlikely that this is all that happened if it got them [kicked out of] the restaurant. The sexual harrassment they must have subjected this woman to must have been pretty damned bad if that’s the outcome.”
“YTA. You knew in your heart that your wife would see it as very problematic, because to some extent you know it is too.”
“Sh*t like this is why people in the business have such high levels of mental duress at work. Jesus f’k you’d think ‘don’t sexually harrass folks’ is a fairly self-evident statement.” –el_pobbster
In the comments, the OP eventually saw the error of his ways.
“One of my take aways from this is that maybe I also have some work to do and need to better educate myself if everyone is mostly unanimous on how badly I messed up here and echoing what my wife said.”
“None of the women I know agreed with how I handled it.”
“I don’t think [our son’s] going to be doing any joking if we follow through on what my wife wants to do. At a minimum:”
“Apology to the lady he insulted. Doing reading to help him learn more about sexism and racism and having him write a long essay after outlining why his actions were unacceptable (I think she has more resources beyond this she expects him to read/watch).”
“Depending on what he says there may be more work. Grounded for at least a month.”
“Not allowed to hang out with that group without us present for indefinite amount of time. Finding him some volunteer work that’s appropriate for the situation.”
“And there could be more. That’s just her minimum.”
“I am realizing now that I was wrong to… try to minimize what he said.”
“I accept that I need to listen to my wife on this and have made mistakes in how I handled this. I’ve messed up with how I’ve handled this so I think I’m going to step aside and support her in what she proposes.”
“I’m not sure if I am in a position to say more at this point when I think I have my own blindspots I need help with. That might be something we could work through together.”
While dad’s initial response to his son’s
behavior was universally panned, it appears he accepted his judgment and decided to do better. And that’s the goal in these situations, right?
It’s best if these things don’t happen at all, but when they do, accept wrongdoing, make amends if possible, then do better.