Despite the popular misconception, relationships are not 50/50.
The ratio of work can swing with the day or even the hour.
The trouble comes when one side of the relationship consistently has more pushed on them than the other, with no relief in sight.
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) stephydeez when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for asking my boyfriend to help take care of his mom on his days off?”
OP started with some background.
“My (26 female) boyfriend (27 male) recently moved in with his mother who has MS to take care of her.”
“She is paralyzed from the waist down.”
“I’m now a SAHM and full-time caretaker for her.”
“I do all the work and take care of my daughter and his daughter when she’s here.”
“They are both 5.”
OP admitted that this was a difficult change.
“This SAHM thing is new territory for me. I’ve worked since I was 14.”
“I’ve been struggling with anxiety and depression for a while, but it’s only heightened with our new situation.”
“She is fairly easy to take care of, only about an hour and a half of work every day.”
“But on top of everything else I have to do, I get overwhelmed easily.”
“He knows this and I’m trying my best to work on time management and organizing things around the house every day so I’m not as overwhelmed when it comes time to clean or cook dinner.”
“We had an aide come in twice a week to give me a break, but she got a new job, so we no longer have one.”
“This morning, I brought this up to him and said, ‘would you be willing to help me on your days off?'”
“He kind of threw a fit about it and said, ‘why can’t we just hire someone else? I’m out there working, I don’t wanna do that on my days off.”’
“For me, I don’t want to hire someone right away because we are trying to build up our savings and that’s money we could hold onto.”
“I feel like he is taking me for granted; I feel like he doesn’t value me or what I’ve given up for him to be here and be with his mother.”
“He gets to sleep in on his days off, I never get to sleep in.”
“He argues he shouldn’t have to help clean on his days off as well. I always cook.”
“I always clean, and again, I’m always taking care of his mom.”
“I feel hurt and unsure of the future.”
“I grew up with a dad who came home and sat on his a*s until he fell asleep for the night. My mom did every single thing.”
“I don’t want to fall into that trap and I’m terrified.”
OP was left wondering.
“I do appreciate him and what he does, but I don’t know why he’s so against helping me on his days off.”
“So AITA here?”
Having explained the issue, 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: NTA
Some acknowledged OP’s hard work.
“You don’t want to burn yourself out.”
“He is an adult, this is his family we are talking about.”
“He should absolutely pitch in. Just because you’re a SAHM does not mean that is not a demanding full-time job in itself.” ~ InAnotherLife1812
Others shared personal stories.
“My ex used to do this when I’d have an appointment or leave for the day to run errands.”
“I usually watched his kid as he wasn’t really the best dad, and took care of his mom when he and his dad were at work (she was also paralyzed from mid-chest down).”
“He’d dump his 4-year-old in his mom’s room and lock himself in his room for 4 hours, completely ignore his kid and turn his phone off so his mom couldn’t reach him.”
“Mom was bedridden and by the time I’d get back his daughter was starving, mom hadn’t eaten either, she needed to be changed/cleaned etc nothing had been done to care for them.”
“I’d be furious and he was nowhere to be found. OP’s post reminds me so much of those days.” ~ FilthyMublood
“I found myself in a similar situation.”
“I had a nonverbal 5-year-old with ASD and a 2-year-old.”
“I cooked. I cleaned. The family member of my husband who moved in with us was to the point where someone needed to clean her up after every accident.”
“She no longer felt bowel movements and cleaning up those was a daily occurrence. I told my husband I wouldn’t do it.”
“The tension in our home was explosive.”
“He didn’t want to do it either but I flat-out refused.”
“It was me bringing her food, scrubbing her dogs pee out of the carpets, helping lift her into and out of bed, trying to keep my 5-year-old from jumping on her while relatives constantly asked me to talk to her or my husband about something.”
“The tension and stress weren’t alleviated until that family member passed away.”
“It has taken months for my husband and me to feel love and respect towards each other without strings attached.”
“I’m not saying this is your experience, but be careful.”
“Listen to your gut.”
“Listen to your feelings. No one is meant to carry this kind of burden all by themselves, let alone raise children and maintain a household at the same time.” ~ nikkid2013
Commenters warned of the situation possibly worsening.
“OP, I hate to say it but you have already fallen into the trap.”
“Please, please don’t be your mom (and my mom, who worked herself to literal death while my dad sat on his @ss after work).”
“Get counseling, or read books about what a healthy relationship looks like, or watch YouTube videos.”
“You can still get out of this trap.” ~ the_39th_doctor
“OP, you have met this man in your past.”
“You did not want him in your future.”
“Unfortunately, he is in your present.”
“You need to decide if are willing to spend a lifetime with things the way they are or if you are going to move on to new chapters life’s that give you the potential to find what really want.” ~ Educational-Split372
Responses were quite blunt.
“HE IS USING YOU.”
“Someone to take care of his kid AND his mom. Girl, RUN” ~ AboveTheCrest
“He gets it.”
“He certainly knows he wants to steer clear of it.” ~ Ornery-Ticket834
“He talked you into this, didn’t he?”
“You’re already in that trap, my dear.”
“You’re giving him free childcare and free eldercare for people you’re not even related to, and he won’t even help out so you can have a break?”
“It’s HIS mother, for God’s sakes.”
“Your entire value in that relationship will = Free Labor for as long as you’re in it.”
“Contact social services to ensure the mother gets full access to her benefits (which may include a new medicare/insurance-funded aide), and then nope on out.” ~ OkHistory3944
Self-protection also came up.
“Aside from the obvious issues of his unwillingness to lift a finger to help his own family:”
“Please consider what a vulnerable position he has you in.”
“If you have no independent income, you are completely reliant on him for finances for yourself and your daughter.”
“Since you’re not married, you likely don’t have legal or financial protections if (or, if things continue as they are, when) the relationship breaks down no matter what promises he makes.”
“No matter what you decide to do going forward, make sure you protect yourself financially.” ~ fayalit
“Friend, you are reducing your lifetime potential earnings, your career growth and potential raises, and (if you are American) your retirement funds.”
“Especially as Social Security is based on your taxes paid in during your working life. All for a relationship that affords you no legal protections for dividing assets if you split up.” ~ MdmeLibrarian
“Also, you are in an incredibly vulnerable financial position as a result, OP.”
“You’re working MORE than full time, for free.”
“You’re not married, so if you break up he doesn’t owe you ANY financial support or remuneration for your labour.”
“Plus when you do go back to work there’ll be a big gap in your work record which will make it harder for you to get employed/if you’re pursuing a career you’ll have lost some crucial career development years/pension investment.”
“I really, really hope you have savings that you are keeping SEPARATE from this man.”
“He’s put you in a position where you’re completely financially dependent upon him and now he doesn’t have to treat you decently in the slightest, because you’re trapped in it.”
“Please, please, protect yourself.” ~ annawhowasmad
Relationships are seldom 50/50.
Partners dance back and forth, sharing the burdens and joys of their lives as they choose.
Sharing doesn’t just mean giving each other joy, it means leaning on each other in difficulty and frustration.