Writers use pen names for various reasons.
Sometimes they may share a name with an already established author, so they’ll use a pen name to differentiate themselves.
Other times, they might want to dip their toes in an alternate genre to what they’re most known for and use a pen name to be taken seriously.
Then there are the rare examples of writers who might not want to be associated with certain work and use a pen name to keep their anonymity and prevent any possible embarrassment.
Redditor Ok_West_9375 was fascinated to learn that his girlfriend made her living writing in a niche fiction market under a pen name, and became determined to read her work.
Unfortunately for the original poster (OP), his girlfriend refused to reveal her pen name, which didn’t stop him from trying to figure it out.
After being scolded for his persistence, the original poster (OP) took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for demanding my girlfriend tells me her author’s pen name?”
The OP shared how when his girlfriend refused to reveal her pen name, he wasn’t willing to take no for an answer.
“I’ve (32 M[ale]) been dating Siobhan (32 F[emale]) for 6 months now.”
“She’s always been very vague about what she does for a living (sati things like writing and working from home writing) but recently, one of her friends mentioned something and I finally dragged it out of her.”
“She’s an author, she writes and self publishes romance and erotica stories and novels, and while not rich, she’s able to make a living out of it.”
“I googled her name and couldn’t find anything, so I confronted her about this.”
“She said she’s writing under a pen name, so I demanded she gives it to me so I know what she does.”
“She refuses to say she doesn’t want it to be leaked even by accident and no one knows.”
“I accused her of not trusting me, and she still refused, which was really annoying.”
“I tried nicer approach and told her that I want to know her fantasies so I can try it out with her, and she told me that what she writes aren’t her fantasies but her readers and she’s still not going to tell me.”
“At night, I tried to check her laptop for her pen name, but she changed her password before bed.”
‘I was annoyed and told her she clearly doesn’t trust me and it’s not fair because I have a right to know what she writes especially since it’s a sensitive topic and I don’t know her if I don’t know her pen name.”
“She was furious I tried to look on her laptop, and she told me to go home.”
“Before leaving, I told her when she calls to apologize, I expect to get her pen name with the apology.”
“She called me an a**hole on my way out.”
“I thought she’d call by now, but she hasn’t.”
“My sister told me I was the a**hole, and I should apologize but I just don’t see it and need a second opinion.”
“Was I the a**hole?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
The Reddit community agreed with the OP’s sister that he was indeed the a**hole for pestering his girlfriend for her pen name.
In addition to agreeing that he seriously crossed a line by trying to log on to her laptop, everyone also agreed that the OP was in no way entitled to know this information, having been only dating for 6 months.
“Sounds like she was right not to trust you.”
“YTA, for sure.”- VastPainter
“You realize you’re posting here on Reddit using a pen name, right?”
“Do your friends know it?”
“See where we’re going with this….?”- Odd-Ranger-2913
“YTA several times over.”
“First, you started with a ‘demand’ as if you had any f**king right to this information, especially after only six months.”
“Then you tried a ‘nicer approach,’ which wasn’t actually nicer. It was you pretending to be nice to get the information a different way, which makes you an a**hole and a lying liar.”
“Then you tried to access her personal laptop for the information, which makes you an a**hole and a snoop and burglar-adjacent.”
“AND THEN while she was throwing you out, you said she better have an apology when you hear from her next, which are the last words of countless a**holes throughout history when thrown out on their a**es.”
“Did you add a ‘you can’t throw me out because I’m leaving!’ to show her how strong and confident you are?”
“You dipsh*t.”- DJ_HouseShoes
“You are not entitled to anything.”
“She has a very logical reasoning as to why she doesn’t want you to know, even though a simple ‘no’ should have sufficed.”
“And that is, she just doesn’t want erotica and romance tied to her real name.”
“So, instead of accepting no, you continue to pester her and accuse her of not trusting you.”
“Then you lie about wanting to know her fantasies (the ‘nicer’ approach) and still get annoyed when she says no, DESPITE HER ALREADY GIVING YOU HER REASONING.”
“And then (shocked face emoji) you attempt to go through her laptop at night?”
“Invading her privacy?”
“’Smh, she just doesn’t trust me, bro. Lemme look through her laptop without permission. 100% trustworthy behavior.’”
“Then you want HER to apologize?”
“You expect it?”
“After you snooped through her things and demanded to know private information (it’s a pen name for a reason)?”
“What would she even apologize for?”
“You don’t ‘have a right’ to know.”
“What part of the law says ‘Siobhan must relay any piece of private information to Ok_West_9375’.”
“Looking through your language, even your own account, doesn’t do you justice:”
“’Confronted. Accused. Demanded’.”
“All sound very hostile.”
“Major YTA.”- Awildgoosling
“You have been dating for 6 months.”
“Erotica writers can face horrible situations if they are recognized by fans or by people who disagree with what they write.”
“Also, if she’s making a living this way and you were to find out she writes something you don’t like, would you start pressuring her to stop?”
“That’s a bridge she’s not ready to cross with you.”
“Respect her boundaries and keep your hands OFF her work equipment.”- MimosaVendetta
“I can’t believe she doesn’t trust me, he said, as he attempted to break into her laptop.”-OkeyDokey234
“YTA, and I hope she doesn’t ever call you again.”
“She has very good reasons to not trust you.”
“You were manipulative when you tried to lie about wanting to try out her fantasies.”
“You then tried to violate her privacy by looking in her laptop.”
“And you are definitely judgy about what she does.”
“And the piece de resistance?”
“You think she’s going to be sorry that you left.”
“She’s probably grateful, not sorry.”- Fatigue-Error
“You are absolutely not entitled to any of her information, and the fact that you think otherwise is frightening.”
“You tried to manipulate her, and thankfully, she didn’t fall for it.”
“You should expect to be dumped.”
“Again, YTA.”- Islahb23
“Man, I write fanfics which aren’t nearly as much of an issue as actual published books, and my pen name is being dragged out of my cold dead corpse.”
“I don’t know how you wrote this entire post and didn’t realize it.”
“You started by demanding, not asking, for her pen name.”
“You’ve only been dating for six months, and she told you she isn’t comfortable sharing yet.”
“And instead of understanding and giving her time you reacted angrily.”
“Then you tried a manipulative approach, feigning interest in her fantasies to get it out of her.”
“This is doubly bad since you assumed without asking that what she does professionally is a personal kink for her?”
“She said no again, so you ignored her boundaries and went behind her back to try and find out yourself.”
“This is also a breach of privacy.”
“You assumed you had a right to know something she wasn’t ready to share even after you proved yourself untrustworthy.”
“And to top it all off, you left saying you expected an apology like you’re some kind of victim when she did nothing wrong.”- khelpi
“Congrats on being single soon, OP!”
“You got mad your GF wouldn’t tell you something and tried to ferret it out.”
“I wish I could’ve seen your face when you realized she changed her password.”
“You don’t have a right to know, so I would suggest accepting that.”- masseffectnerd30
One can’t help but notice how ironic the OP’s accusations of his girlfriend not trusting him are after he actually tried to break into her laptop.
And yet he still thinks she is the one who needs to apologize.
The OP should consider himself lucky if his girlfriend ever discloses her pen name.
He should consider himself even luckier if she decides to keep their relationship going.