Having a healthy work-life balance is important to all of us, and it can also be helpful to our relationships.
But what happens when two people need a different balance, asked the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit, even if it’s only for one day.
Redditor CE-JKMMHJ was unable to answer this question after his wife needed more from him emotionally at the end of a hard day.
After seeing her reaction, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he was wrong.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my wife that I do not miss her?”
The OP spoke to his wife throughout her difficult day.
“My wife and I have a great relationship, generally. We work together but today she wasn’t in the office because she was at an all-day social gathering with a person who sometimes causes her anxiety.”
“Based on my call log, my wife called me at 9:28 a.m. and we talked for 2-and-a-half minutes. She called at 10:56 a.m. and we talked for less than a minute. She called at 11:50 a.m. and we talked for 12 minutes.”
“Then she called at 12:31 p.m. and we talked for 21 minutes. She called at 1:39 p.m. and we talked less than a minute. She called at 2:01 p.m. and we talked less than a minute.”
“Then she called at 3:49 p.m. and we talked less than a minute, and she called at 6:20 p.m. and we talked for 34 minutes. During this final call, she was driving to the office.”
The OP’s wife wanted to know if he missed her.
“We hung up once she was in the office with me. She walked over and hugged me and said, ‘Did you miss me?'”
“I hesitated, ‘Uhhhh…sure, I guess.'”
“She got angry, ‘You didn’t miss me?'”
“‘Well, baby,’ I said, ‘I’ve talked to you more than I’ve talked to anyone else today.'”
“‘No, you didn’t,’ she said. I pulled out my call log and showed her.”
“She said, ‘Well, I’m going to find a man who appreciates my calls!'”
The couple couldn’t reconcile their disagreement.
“‘I didn’t say I don’t appreciate your calls,’ I said. ‘It’s just not logical to be talking to someone all day and then ask them if they missed you.'”
“That got me nowhere. I was probably using too much logic (EDIT: being emotionally insensitive). She was clearly seeking comfort because she was in an uncomfortable situation all day.”
“When she returned to me, she was probably looking for a little celebration and support, since she made it through today’s emotional difficulties.”
“I didn’t give it to her, thereby making me the a**hole.”
“Now she’s in her office talking to someone else on the phone. And I’m in my office justifying myself on Reddit.”
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 said the OP’s girlfriend needed help.
“If my SO legitimately asked me if I missed them an hour after the last time we talked, I’d be concerned. In my experience, the question would be a joke, not a serious question.” – GardaPojk
“That sounds needy and exhausting as h**l. If my partner can’t be alone for five minutes without throwing some kind of fit, I’d be rethinking my relationship ASAP.” – ThrowAway280796
“The insistence I kept in constant contact with a previous partner was one of the nails in that relationship’s coffin. We even spoke about healthy ways to communicate, but they just spammed my phone constantly, then got mad when I didn’t spend my entire day replying to non-essential calls and texts because I obviously don’t love them. It’s exhausting.”
“I think OP and his wife need to have a chat to get to the bottom of why she felt the need to interrupt his work constantly when she was meant to be at an event. If she was uncomfortable they could have made a plan. I’ll call you on my break, you call me for a chat at lunchtime, etc.”
“Constant communication doesn’t equal quality communication. It sounds like she needed some kind of moral support and he was unaware of this. Crossed wires. NTA here.” – _Yalan
Others said the OP could have just said something nice.
“I think here the context is important – if she’s doing this all the time or is generally this needy and seeking validation, then that’s a huge problem and something she needs to handle ASAP.”
“But here, OP didn’t seem to indicate that was necessarily the case. As they said initially and in the edit as well – his wife had a particularly uncomfortable and less than ideal day. Her ‘cup’ so to speak was in need of being refilled after she felt spent being around someone that causes her anxiety all day.”
“He even said she likely wanted to celebrate and enjoy his company and time together and her ‘did you miss me’ was a bit of a throwaway and it doesn’t hurt to play along every once in a while. That’s how a relationship works – if your partner needs some gassing up and you have the fuel, you should. The reverse is true too .” – MountainBean3479
“You apparently missed chapter 3 of the Unspoken Marriage Rules book: When a spouse asks if you missed them, you answer yes. Automatically. Logic and facts have nothing to do with the question.”
“The question being asked is: Do you care about me? – just using alternate words.” – dustypinksun
“When your partner throws out a bid for affection the worst thing you can do is throw it back in their face. What a way to make them feel unwanted.” – merlinshairyballs
A few questioned the wife’s reaction.
“Yeah, seriously, wtf? I mean, I get it, she’s trying to get him to regret what he said, but either their relationship is on shaky ground or she’s really immature.” – maybelle180
“Talking to someone every hour doesn’t give me enough time away to miss them!”
“Also, can we talk about how the wife’s reaction when he said no was to tell him that she’ll just go and find somebody else? F**king yikes.” – coffee_cats_books
“Idk (I don’t know) though, his wife is kinda TA for ‘I’m gonna go find a man who appreciates my calls.'”
“As if mentioning the frequency of the day’s communication in a relevant conversation, be it the reaction she wanted or not, is grounds to insinuate infidelity? An emotional affair at best? That’s textbook emotional manipulation.” – billwood92
The subReddit was divided on how to navigate the conversation the OP had.
On the one hand, the OP could have responded in a slightly kinder way to his wife after the emotionally-taxing day she probably had.
But on the other hand, emotionally-taxing day or not, the subReddit couldn’t help but wonder how often the OP’s wife needed reassurances like this, whether on the phone or otherwise.