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Wife Balks After Spouse Calls Her Out For Refusing To Learn How To Wash Dishes Properly

Woman washing dishes
Zak Kendal/Getty Images

Sharing responsibilities with the people we live with can be one of the harder things to navigate.

Arguments about who will do the dishes or take out the trash have a way of hurting relationships and friendships, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor throwawaynosusman was thoroughly fed up with how their wife did her portion of the chores, which they essentially had to redo for her.

But when she started crying after they explained how to properly wash the dishes, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if they were being too harsh.

They asked the sub:

“AITA for telling my wife to wash the dishes properly?”

The OP was tired of their wife not cleaning things properly.

“My wife is so neglectful when it comes to chores and does a half-a**ed job.”

“Today was the third time this week I found a glob of residue on my plate, and I lost it.”

“I grabbed the plate and brought my wife over to the sink and demonstrated to her how to properly scrub the entire plate.”

“She just zoned out and stared into space.”

The OP called her out on not paying attention.

“I told her to stop being disrespectful and watch my demonstration because she clearly doesn’t understand how to wash the dishes properly (or maybe now that I think about it, she is just pretending to be incompetent at it).”

“She started crying when I said this and told me to leave her alone, and she ran to the bathroom.”

“Now I feel bad for making her cry, but I am sick of her not doing a proper job.”


After receiving feedback, the OP clarified some points they saw in the comments.

“Okay, so most people are making GIANT assumptions about the distribution of labor in our relationship. I do the dishes and all other chores HALF THE TIME. And I do a proper job, without being reminded beforehand.”

“Meanwhile, my wife has to be constantly reminded and begged to do her turn of chores, whether that be dishes or mopping.”

“And she whines and complains when I remind her to do it, and will do a half-a**ed job and rush through so she can get back to whatever else she is doing.”

“I take my household responsibilities seriously because I respect the value of living in a clean home, while my wife acts incompetent at doing chores to get out of doing them or because she doesn’t feel like it.”

“Also, I told her the first two times this week when she left dirty plates, I asked if she could be more thorough while cleaning the dishes because it’s gross to find residue on them. She just rolled her eyes and said, ‘Yeah, yeah,’ and blew me off.”

The OP further clarified their wife’s disinterest in chores.

“Now people are telling me to just let her do different chores, but y’all don’t understand this is her attitude toward all household responsibilities.”

“Her laziness for chores isn’t just when it comes to dishes.”

“She does all the laundry under the same settings because ‘it’s too hard to remember’ which settings to use for each type of clothing when I literally made a list guide for her so she could remember each type.”

“When it comes to vacuuming, she tries to finish as fast as she can so the rooms are left with giant patches and streaks of dust.”

“It’s her overall attitude of neglect that is bothering me. Because she expects me to do a proper job when it’s my turn so she knows she can get away with acting incompetent.”

“And I know she’s not incompetent at doing these chores because whenever we have guests that she cares about coming over, she’ll somehow muster up the energy and knowledge to properly clean stuff and take cleaning seriously.”

The OP also clarified what happened when they brought their wife to the kitchen sink.

“I left the table with my plate, went to the sink, and in a normal volume but annoyed tone, asked my wife to come over.”

“She said, ‘Seriously?’ annoyedly but then agreed to come over.”

“I said she needs to scrub off all the residue, and demonstrated. She paid no attention, so I said, ‘Can you stop being disrespectful’ in a NORMAL VOLUME.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Based on the edits, some thought the OP was right to be upset about the chores.

“Surprise, women use weaponized incompetence, as well.”

“As a nurse, I’ve seen my fair share of both genders doing it. Be it the elderly man refusing to prepare the bread for his own dinner (‘my wife does this at home, I can’t do that’) or an elderly woman not helping a bit while getting dressed (‘my daughter does this all for me, why should I do it?’).”

“And yes, they were perfectly physically and mentally capable of doing it. It’s a means of control.” – Alittlebitmorbid

“Maybe she has ADHD? Maybe she’s waging a passive-aggressive war for more use of their dishwasher?”

“But right now, it just looks like she is doing a sloppy job. It’s possible she doesn’t care, just like it’s possible that she’s hoping OP will just take over. Weaponized incompetence can go both ways.”

“NTA. I think you should ask her why though. Figure out if it’s an ‘I just don’t notice’ or an ‘I want to start running the dishwasher at night so I don’t think it matters’ situation.” – HellaShelle

“NTA. My boyfriend was the same… we split the chores 50/50. He was always complaining about it, didn’t want to wash the dishes, and was always doing a poor job with that.”

“One day I said it was enough. Do you know what I did? I served his dinner on a half-cleaned plate. Haha, he was disgusted as f**k. I said I was tired of his bulls**t, and if he doesn’t put enough effort, me either.”

“I stood firm in my decision. And the next day when I came from work the kitchen was sparkling. Of course after that, we both apologized but I made a point there.” – care2much7589

“My OCD could never. I’m going to go against the grain here and say NTA. Is it s**tty that you talked down to her like a child? Kind of, but when it’s the third time in one week, I’d be having a full-blown panic attack.”

“I’m the one who does all the housework because I’m a SAHM and I’ve gotten so angry at my partner for not cleaning things properly in the kitchen before that I’ve screamed at him to stay out unless he does it right.”

“(I was pregnant and a similar situation had happened where I grabbed a bowl and it had sticky residue on it. It caused me to violently projectile vomit.)”

“Health and safety are important and she’s a grown-up.” – Seashed_

“I’ll probably be downvoted into oblivion, but based on your edits, NTA. If you guys split the chores and she consistently has to be reminded to do them and then does a half-a**ed job, I can’t blame you for cracking.”

“And let’s face it, if the genders were reversed, all the YTAs would be NTA.” – Thats_Rough_Buddy4280

But others still were not convinced and thought the OP was the AH. 

“Grabbed the plate, brought her over to the sink, told her to stop being disrespectful, watch my demonstration… there’s a way to communicate something and this isn’t it.”

“Don’t wait till the third glob of residue and then explode. Kindly discuss with her that cleanliness is important to you and it’s disturbing to find old food on your plates. Apologize. Take a step back. Have a conversation, not a scolding.” – AnyBioMedGeek

“When we tell you that you should be washing the dishes, it isn’t because we think you aren’t doing your share of the dishwashing, it’s because you are acting like a crazed lune and abusing your wife when her dishwashing isn’t up to your standards.”

“If it means so much to you, YOU need to do the dishes, all the time, Your Perfect Highness.” – Due_Laugh_3852

“When the OP wrote, ‘I lost it. I grabbed my wife and brought my wife over to the sink and demonstrated,’ I’m sorry, but I imagined someone grabbing their dog, dragging them over to a mess they made in the house, and shoving their nose in it.”

“I don’t blame her for zoning out. You were being extremely disrespectful and yeah, YTA.” – Swirlyflurry

“‘Telling her,’ ‘lost it,’ ‘bought my wife to the sink’ [how, exactly, do you ‘bring’ an adult anywhere physically?], ‘properly,’ ‘told her to stop being disrespectful,’ ‘watch my demonstration, ‘she clearly doesn’t understand,’ ‘pretending to be incompetent,’ ‘she started crying,’ ‘she ran to the bathroom,’ ‘not doing a proper job,’ etc.

“You are terrorizing your wife.”

“And apparently, you are getting paid every time you use the word ‘properly’ because it’s even in your comments.”

“And here’s a tip: bet that isn’t food crusted on your dishes.” – SolarPerfume

“If I have to read you reply with, ‘I DO THEM HALF THE TIME!’ on another post my eyes will roll so back into my head they may never come back.”

“YTA. You’re so angry over the littlest thing. You’re spending so much energy and time on something that won’t matter tomorrow. Your blood pressure must be through the roof.”

“She doesn’t like doing ‘chores,’ so what?” – LithiumBarbie420

The subReddit wasn’t sure what to think of the OP’s word choice when talking about their wife and how they addressed her, but they understood why the OP was frustrated. Having an equal distribution of labor in the home is important, and a person only sort of doing their share can create a whole new host of issues.

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.