We talk about boundaries most often as something we put in place to protect ourselves from other people.
I don’t like being hugged or please don’t call me that name.
Sometimes, though, the boundary is about protecting us from ourselves.
What happens when someone wants to violate one of your boundaries and gets upset when you refuse?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Dancingelves when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for being upset that my wife wanted to work out with a homewrecker?”
OP began with some background.
My (male, 44) wife (female, 43) has a colleague from work ‘Joe’, and Joe split from his wife a year ago.”
“Joe also runs a home-based business as a fitness instructor.”
“The way I understand it, he has his basement and backyard full of equipment and people pay him in either groups or as individuals for training in his basement.”
“My wife took part as part of a group this summer, the sessions were at 7:30 am, and she told me one day that as she was arriving, a different colleague of hers (female, middle-aged, also a client of his) came walking out of his Kitchen having a coffee, clearly having spent the night.”
“The thing is, this woman just split with her husband 4 weeks earlier.”
“Now I don’t have evidence, but it seems to me that due to only 4 weeks passing and she is already announcing to colleagues that they are sleeping together, they very likely had something before she split with her husband and it very likely was a contributing factor in her split from her family”
“(Hence the term homewrecker).”
Everything was fine, until…
“Fast forward 4 weeks, my wife tells me she wants to go with a friend 2 evenings per week to this guys place to work out with him in his basement.”
“At first I said that I was not going to say no, but after thinking about it for a couple days I told my wife I didn’t like it and I wasn’t comfortable with it.”
“Well she goes ahead and signs up anyway (after I told her I wasn’t comfortable with it), she doesn’t tell me until an hour before the first session.”
“Well I was quite pissed and we had a fight.”
“She ended up canceling the workout sessions but only did it because I basically told her to.”
“She doesn’t think anything is wrong with it and thinks I’m wrong here.”
“It’s been 2 weeks and we have been cold and distant ever since.”
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: NTA
Many pointed out that there seemed to be deeper issues.
“I think what’s most telling about this is when you asked your wife how she’d feel if the genders were flipped.”
“To which she didn’t answer.”
“That, to me, means she knows she would not be okay with it, and is struggling with the hypocrisy in her own actions that she’s now aware of.”
“If she wouldn’t be comfortable with you doing this, then it’s fine for you to not feel comfortable with her doing so.” ~ RecommendsMalazan
“Moreover the fact that she’s just gonna do it anyway, despite knowing how uncomfortable it makes him, shows a real lack of consideration and respect on a personal level.”
“Idc if OP trusts her; I don’t.”
“To me this reads like she’s already having an affair.”
“NTA, but even if she’s not sleeping with gym guy, this relationship has some underlying problems. ~ Ippus_21
“If she’s not listening to her husband about his boundaries within their own relationship, and is disregarding his feelings for the sake of her ‘friendship’ with another dude (who clearly cannot be trusted), she is showing massive red flags.”
“Trust in a relationship is built on mutual respect, not just blindly believing ‘oh, they won’t hurt me. They love me.”‘
“She’s not showing him that respect, and thus should not be trusted until she can have an adult conversation where she’s willing to compromise in some way.” ~ jamieh800
The situation itself seemed to untrustworthy.
“Honestly, the whole thing might be legit, but is highly sus, even without the homewrecking being added.”
“Guy has a gym at his house, like, is he licensed?”
“Does he have insurance?”
“What about the installations? Are the ‘members’ supposed to go home stinking of sweat or they shower in the house shower?”
“And then saying she’s going to exercise at evening… Not saying the wife will cheat, but taken at face value, I don’t blame OP for being hella uncomfortable with the whole thing.” ~ SparkAxolotl
“I’m surprised the wife isn’t more uncomfortable — this coworker/trainer doesn’t seem to have good boundaries, which makes an uncomfortable situation when working out at his home sound very likely.” ~ calling_water
“Not to mention the danger.”
“Obviously very fit man, inviting women to his basement to work out, obvious he has slept with clients.”
“Not only unprofessional but since this guy thinks it’s okay to sleep with clients regardless of their marital status, what happens if he makes a pass at OP’s wife?”
“OP trusts his wife so let’s assume she rebukes him.”
“What if this guy doesn’t take it kindly?”
“What if this happens when they’re alone in this guy’s basement on a 1 on 1 session? I can see how the situation could get very bad very quickly.”
“OP is NTA. His wife is refusing to acknowledge all the red flags.” ~ radioaktvt
For some, gender really played a large role.
“I agree wholeheartedly that if the roles were reversed everyone would be attacking the man and saying to leave him.”
“I understand you being uncomfortable with the situation, and it having nothing to do with your trust in your wife.”
“Whether we like it or not, we are who we surround ourselves with and involve ourselves with.”
“That is how people on the outside begin to see you, is by who you align yourself with.”
“If you’re hanging around someone others view as a ‘homewrecker’ it might not build the greatest reputation for you.”
“I choose to surround myself with people who bring good energy and share the same morals and values as I do, personally. So, NTA for me.” ~ yellowmustardmeow
“NTA – It is obvious, if the story was reversed, she would not like it.”
“And, while I may get hammered for saying this… If SHE were here making this post, many of the people here claiming that YOU are TA would be singing a different tune.”
“I would be saying the same thing as you.”
“Going to some guy’s basement to exercise? Really?”
“That seems like a good idea when you are married?”
“Leave out the fact of the guy seeming to have an affair with someone married. It’s STILL a bad idea.”
“Your wife wouldn’t like it if you were doing this with a woman in exercise clothes in HER basement.”
“Edit: Wow – Thanks for the awards! Never had this popular of a post. I appreciate it.”
“Edit 2 – Wow, thanks again for the additional rewards!” ~ LeftAlbatross2546
“We all know exactly how it would go:”
“A female trainer that makes a habit of sleeping with her married customers doing ‘training’ in her home gym?”
“It would be a mix between he’s hitting that / girl divorce him / he’s got a sugar baby / etc. The only surprise here is that aita recognized how much it hates men in this thread.”
“As for OP: mate, even if she ain’t hitting that… she’s thinking about it.”
“Maybe as a backup plan, maybe soon, maybe already.”
“The fact that she couldn’t say she would be comfortable with a gender-swapped version tells you everything you need to know.”
“Nobody in a relationship should be engaging in behavior they wouldn’t be happy if their partner did.”
“The best case is she’s keeping her options open.” ~ xasdfxx
Others pointed out that boundaries are always crucial.
“It’s best not to put yourself in a situation where things can happen. Healthy boundaries are important in every relationship!” ~ Professional_End5908
“This is so important, right here.”
“Very few cheaters plan to cheat, but they rarely have the maturity and forethought to avoid situations where cheating (or developing feelings for someone else) can occur.”
“Even if OP’s wife doesn’t plan to cheat, I’m sure there are a lot of other professional trainers at actual gyms full of other clients where she could get the help she wants.”
“Her husband has made his feelings known, and a good partner wouldn’t want to make their spouse feel insecure or uncomfortable.” ~ Hagbard_Shaftoe
OP did return to fill in some missing information.
“EDIT for more info.”
“I asked my wife if she thinks thw guy was moving on the woman while she was still married and she agrees it’s likely.”
“I also asked my wife if the roles were reversed and I was working out with a female colleague, in her basement and it was assumed she slept with a married guy at my work contributing to a divorce if she would be comfortable with it.”
“And she wouldn’t say either way.”
“Again, while I understand it doesn’t come off that way, I trust my wife, I don’t trust the guy and just didn’t like the situation.”
It is important to clarify that boundaries are not control.
Control is about ownership, boundaries are about safety.
Whether it’s deciding what cookies can be in the house or whether your husband should go partying with the girl who clearly has a crush on him, the important distinction is why the decision is being made.
And whether the person you want to protect consents to that protection.