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Marine Biologist Livid After Husband Keeps Introducing Her As An ‘Aquarium Tour Guide’

woman at aquarium looking at fish
galitskaya / Getty Images

Attending college can be a long and grueling process, especially since some careers require multiple advanced degrees to even begin working in the field.

Those with a doctorate degree demand to be called a doctor for a reason, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor TropicalOctopuss was incredibly proud of herself to have completed her degree in Marine Biology and to now be doing work she loved and that she felt was making a difference.

But when her husband seemed to undermine her title at every turn, the Original Poster (OP) struggled to understand what his problem was.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for asking my husband to use my correct job title?”

The OP was proud to have earned her degree in Marine Biology.

“I (36 Female) have been married to my husband (38 Male) for 10 years, and have recently had a massive career change. My husband is an engineer.”

“My first degree at university was nursing, but I have been really struggling over the past few years with everything that happened, so I have gone back and done a degree in marine biology.”

“Marine biology has always, always interested me, and I was so pleased to finally start enjoying my job again. I have started working for a turtle rehabilitation center, and I could not be more fulfilled.”

The OP’s husband did not seem to be so excited, however. 

“He said that he will always support my dreams when I brought up the idea, and he would help more around the house so I had time for classes.”

“He was also quite proud when I graduated, but now it seems to have flipped a bit.”

“He doesn’t seem to like my job very much and has told me that I should have focused more on helping people instead of helping the fish.”

The husband was even interacting with the OP differently in public.

“The challenge comes in that my husband continuously introduces me as a tour guide in an aquarium. He thinks it is very funny and says that it is easier to explain to people.”

“No disrespect to those that work in aquariums, but I worked so hard to go back to school and have a job that I love. I was doing the degree part-time while still working as a nurse, and my husband saw how much I struggled.”

“When I was nursing, my husband never used to do this. I was always introduced as a nurse, but now he just can’t/won’t get it right. People always look at me with such pity when he says, ‘She was a nurse, but now she works at [local aquarium].'”

“Just for clarity, he doesn’t start the conversation with, ‘This is my wife, and she is a tour guide.’ It is just that it is an inevitable question when making small talk with people.”

“Often the question will be directed at me once I have been introduced, but he always jumps in with the tour guide story, which frustrates me. It isn’t even just that he has the tour guide shtick, it is also that he stops me from answering the question myself.”

The OP’s husband did not like it when she stood up for her title.

“I have started correcting him when he introduces me to new people, which he says undermines him and makes him look like a fool in front of others.”

“I have said he wouldn’t look like a fool if he told people what I actually do, but he says he can’t remember all the details and the fake job title is funny.”

“Recently I refused to go to an event with him unless he promised to introduce me correctly, and he said that I was massively overreacting.”

“I didn’t end up going, and my husband was really frustrated especially when people who knew me at the event asked him why I hadn’t gone.”

“I am at an impasse, but he insists I am the one making a mountain out of a molehill. Am I overreacting to a joke?”

“Am I being an AH by asking him to use my actual job title?”

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 were concerned by how the husband was stepping on the OP’s credentials.

“So he’s not only giving out a completely different job description but actively stopping you from talking about it.”

“I think he didn’t have an issue with NURSE because in his mind it was a lot less prestigious and possibly expected that women are nurses and omg, it’s so cute of her (not my opinion! Just I know people who think small like this).”

“But now saying MARINE BIOLOGIST and he’s trying to make what you do seem small to make himself feel bigger somehow.”

“Your husband is being an insecure a**. NTA.” – cornicusdelight

“So he interrupts you to stop you from giving the correct answer (which he can’t give because he ‘can’t remember’) but he says that you’re undermining him if you correct him? It’s hard to see that as anything other than deliberately undermining you. You’re not overreacting, this issue needs addressing. NTA.” – lemlemsx

“So he’s not forgetting, he’s intentionally calling you a tour guide because he thinks it funny or something. Keep correcting him, immediately and loudly.”

“I’d follow it up with a very clear ‘I asked you to stop lying about my job.’ Embarrass him in front of people. Maybe he’ll learn to knock it off.” – shibaspots

“When he says ‘tour guide’ and launches into his tour guide shtick, give him an exaggerated frown and your most condescending smile. Pat his arm to momentarily break his yapping and jokingly tell your company, ‘I’m actually a marine biologist, Ted here doesn’t like big words.'”

“Keep embarrassing him like that once or twice and he’ll learn. It’s funny when the joke demeans you, but, suddenly, isn’t funny when he’s on the receiving end.”

“I’m sure he’ll explode once it’s just the two of you. Then just say, ‘I already told you I don’t like it, but you keep doing it. Why, do you enjoy belittling me?'”

“‘It’s just a joke!'”

“‘I already told you it’s not funny and insulting. Can we now agree to stop with the insulting jokes? Because I can tell jokes, too.'”

“And please tell your husband he’s a massive AH.” – peregrine_throw

“You are on your second impressive-as-f**k career, and he should appreciate your abilities and efforts. His complaints that you make him look bad/undermine him just so that he is the kind of person who feels good by belittling others, and he is making himself look bad.”

“He interrupts you to come out with his cutesy little routine even ‘though you’ve told him that you’d rather he not be so disrespectful. It’s likely that when you meet people, they go away thinking your husband is an AH.”

“If he can’t remember your job title, how did he manage to get a degree in engineering? How does he manage to put his shoes on after his socks, for that matter, or does he regularly get that wrong? For f**k’s sake.” – No-Morning-9018

“I kinda feel like you’re not making a big enough deal about this, frankly.”

“Why is he talking over you about you? Why is it important to him that you don’t speak and that new people don’t know your accomplishments and look down on you?”

“Why is it important to him to belittle you and make sure you know HE looks down on you? Why does he want you to feel like all your effort, your knowledge, and your joy in this new career make you pitiable?”

“I can tell you with 100% certainty that he’s NOT interrupting you to lie about you because he ‘can’t remember your job title.’ If he actually forgot, he’d just let you answer the question yourself. The fact that he jumps in to drown out your voice and paper over your skills and intelligence with a blatant lie is deeply problematic.”

“I think you might need couple’s counseling. He’s lying about you, and he’s lying TO you about why he’s lying about you. Then he’s dismissed your valid and understandable feelings of frustration when you’ve tried to call him out on this behavior.” – Kathrynlena

Others assumed the husband was insulted in some way by the OP’s new work.

“He is insecure and feels threatened by his wife’s new qualification and job.” – SignificantAd3761

“It isn’t empathy that’s the issue here. The husband is actively trying to belittle OP.”

“My read: when OP was a nurse, people wouldn’t ask follow-up questions because everyone knows what a nurse does. Now that OP is a marine biologist, everyone will ask about it. I mean seriously, can you imagine meeting a marine biologist and not asking follow-up questions?”

“The husband hates this, because now his wife outshines him, and so he degrades her to strangers so he can still be the one in power/center of attention.”

“All the jokes about the husband are entertaining, but they aren’t going to get to the root cause. OP, you need to figure out how to talk this through, maybe with couples therapy, because you have a MASSIVE husband problem.” – PerturbedHamster

“Maybe it’s a bit of a reach, but we’ve seen it on here too many times before. ‘Nurse’ is stereotypically (and simplistically) seen as a feminine/caregiving profession. ‘Marine biology’ is a hard science, ‘a manly masculine men’s job! Much too hard for a sweet little lady brain!'”

“It seems to me like the engineer feels emasculated or is a liar or doesn’t understand that medicine is also a hard science or is a bad husband.” – Kathrynlena

“OP, I would sincerely harp on this. Start questioning his mental faculties.”

“‘Are you seriously having trouble remembering my role? Should we seek out a neurologist? Are you experiencing early-onset dementia? I am worried about you. My role is not that hard to remember, especially after years of me working toward it. If you sincerely can’t remember, I think we should seek out medical attention.'”

“Either you actually should be worried for his mental faculties and this might lead to him getting much-needed medical care, or he will realize what an absolute AH he’s being pretending he can’t remember something so incredibly simple.” – theresbeans

“He hates that she’s ‘on his level,’ if not passed it in others’ eyes, career-wise. He has a fragile ego basically. Sad. The dude needs to grow up.”

“My boyfriend is a carpenter and builds all kinds of really nice things and I go out of my way to BRAG about it. Haha. He should be bragging about how hard his wife worked to get her degree and the cool job she has now.” – getyoursqueakon

The subReddit was worried about the OP and the husband problem that had developed right in front of her while she was busy completing her coursework to become a Marine Biologist. Whether it was because of her new title or her income, the OP’s husband was clearly feeling insecure about his job title in comparison to hers, and he was clearly willing to do anything to keep her in her place.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.