Communication is one of the greatest abilities we have.
We can solve problems or repair relationships with something as simple as words.
The trouble is that words aren’t always helpful, especially when you use the same ones often.
So, what happens when someone tries to communicate and only finds the situation worse off?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Hot-Purple-4907 when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for telling my husband he was cleaning the toilet wrong?”
Right to the problem.
“I (30F[female]) asked my husband (31 M[ale]) to clean the toilet because I’m pregnant and throwing up often.”
“For a variety of reasons that are equally our fault, the toilet in our master bathroom has gotten quite gross though we have kept the guest bathroom cleaned.”
“I was frustrated that he didn’t do it yesterday like he said he would (I’ve thrown up in a gross toilet twice since he said he’d clean it), so I nagged him to do it today.”
“I’m in our room, so I’m like 10 ft from the bathroom and hear him immediately start scraping the bowl with a pumice stone.”
“I interrupted him and told him he needs to scrub it with the toilet brush first to get like the gunk off first and that the stone is for stains.”
“Kind of like how you would wipe crumbs off a counter before scrubbing any gunk with a scouring pad.”
“He got annoyed and said, ‘I know how to clean a toilet.'”
“I told him with how dirty it is going right in with the pumice is gonna get it all nasty and that he should do toilet brush first, then the stone.”
“I often find that he doesn’t seem to know basic housekeeping skills, but instead of taking my advice, he insists he knows what he is doing.”
“For example sweeping the kitchen before wiping off the counters or doing the stove before the microwave and the microwave bits getting on the clean stove.”
“He uses the wrong settings on the washer or dryer and frequently forgets to clean the lint trap.”
“I dont judge him for not automatically knowing these things. We all had to learn at some point.”
“But he gets so defensive when I suggest there are better/cleaner/more efficient/safer ways to do certain household chores.”
“Mind you, these had been primarily my responsibility since he works more (I am not currently employed, and before that, he contributed more to the household financially even when I did work).”
“But he is having to pick up some slack because this pregnancy is kicking my a*s.”
“I feel like maybe I can be too harsh, but I also was very explicitly taught how to clean (I had a rotating chore list of about 2-3 hours of daily chores including everything from sweeping, mopping, bathrooms, laundry, kitchen deep clean, etc) and he was not.”
“I wish he would defer to my expertise instead of just doing it wrong and insisting it’s fine and he knows what he is doing.”
OP had more to say.
“Yes the toilet was dirty but not to the point of the pumice being necessary, IMO cleaner and a scrub brush would have sufficed.”
“Kind of my point to my husband that he should have used a scrub brush first.”
“For those curious about why a pumice stone would ever be necessary we have very hard water that can stain the porcelain around the water line of the bowl, not stains from the toilet being dirty per se.”
“Never had to edit twice but pregnancy brain jumbles my thoughts:”
“Overuse of a pumice stone on porcelain causes damage.”
“Using it gently to spot clean the water ring stain is fundamentally different from using it to clean the whole bowl.”
“I didn’t make that clear and should have because a trend I’m seeing in comments is people asserting it is an issue of personal preference.”
OP was left to wonder,
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NAH
A pumice stone? Really?
“I’m 28 and thought a pumice stone was for feet 💀💀💀” ~ PlentyPrice2493
“To be fair it sounds like neither of you know how to clean a toilet.”
“A pumice stone? Are there barnacles or something??? What on earth are you guys pooping?”
“NAH” ~ fast-and-ugly
“I’m 38 years old but was today years old when I learned that some people scrub their toilet with a pumice stone… mind blown” ~ Unlucky-Sweet4026
“You should not need to spend 2-3 hours each day to maintain a clean house.”
“That and the fact that you think a toilet requires a pumice stone makes me believe you were raised in an OCD household and don’t realize it.”
“NAH.” ~ DJ_HouseShoes
“2 to 3 hours a day???”
“What in the f**k needs to be cleaned for that many hours in a day every day…. “
“That’s insane and ridiculously demanding for both of you…. And you don’t work or have a kid yet…. Sounds like you are bored or have OCD”
“That’s super demanding of his time as well if he’s working and supporting you and then comes home to be shouted at for doing chores ‘wrong.'” ~ insomniacinsanity
“I have to go soft YTA here only because I feel like this sounds like a pattern on your behalf that would get really annoying to live with.”
“Having preferences on how things should be cleaned does not mean your way is ‘correct”’.
I’d need more information to be sure but… things like picking the ‘wrong’ setting on the washer… is it actually ‘wrong’ or do you just not like the setting??”
“My (recently diagnosed OCD) mother is the same way.”
“She has very particular preferences about cleaning, about anything really, that always made it really hard to contribute when I lived with her.”
“You put the dirty dishes on the ‘wrong’ side of the sink or you put the spices away in the ‘wrong’ cupboard etc etc (you see how these are actually preferences, not something that could be objectively correct or incorrect?).”
“You think you’re being helpful and responsible cleaning up after yourself and contributing to the household and then someone lectures you about doing it ‘wrong'”.
“When in reality, ‘clean’ is relative, and there’s honestly no wrong way to clean outside of mixing the wrong chemicals and accidentally creating a toxic gas.”
“Now I’m not a doctor, but it sounds like you either have compulsive cleaning issues, OR you’re just on some weird power trip about him not ‘differing to your expertise'”.
“Either way, let the guy figure it out on his own as long as nothing he’s doing is genuinely dangerous (I’ll give you the one about the lint trap for this reason.)”
“Learning by doing is a lot more effective than being lectured by your wife like she’s your mother.” ~ hetheysamwinchester
“ESH I’d just say let him figure out when he’s doing it wrong (he is) and only help when he asks.”
“You were raised in an OCD household, and some of that has rubbed off on you. Don’t make YOUR place an OCD household as well.”
“Just because you’re right doesn’t mean you have to win.” ~ anna_ihilator
“There isn’t a ‘correct’ way to clean, there’s simply your PREFERENCE for how you like things done.”
“My husband is super picky about how things are cleaned to the point where he does 90% of the cleaning because I’m tired of being told how I’m ‘supposed’ to do it.”
“(Never mind that I was in my thirties living alone when we met and had been cleaning since I was a literal teenager, never living in filth).”
“Is the end result a clean (insert whatever is being cleaned here)?”
“Then who cares how it’s getting that way? It’s controlling and irritating to have someone looking over your shoulder to dictate how you do things.”
“Stop it.” ~ lezlers
“Right – it seems like a huge portion of this is that he pulled the wrong tool out of the toolbox.”
“Making his life slightly harder (or easier) by cleaning by a different method or chronology is NOT the same as taking an impact drill to something that only needs a screwdriver.”
“To reiterate if not clear:”
“Not a sign he’s the worst, but highlighting an area of communication and specific language that will help you understand each other.”
“It’s not coddling to have these conversations about standards and preferred delivery.”
“But you’ve both got to approach that less emotionally and without the shame of feeling ‘caught doing it wrong, or any defensiveness.”
“Y’all might be just fine, but learn to assume the best intentions of each other if you want the relationship to survive/thrive.”
“If he’s open to it, maybe couples therapy could be a catalyst for better communication patterns.”
“After initial indignation, a lot of people come to appreciate the accessibility of nonjudgemental, moderated spaces created by (good) therapists.” ~ ProctologyAndGambler
Communication isn’t always about what you say but how you say it.
And sometimes, it’s just better not to say anything at all.