Something nobody tells you about living with a significant other is the potential for arguments surrounding the shared responsibilities of the home.
But sometimes it’s not even the responsibility itself, but how it’s done, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Previous-boss-1999 was used to doing the cooking for the home, but they were becoming increasingly frustrated with how their partner approached putting her lunches from the leftovers together.
Because she dug into their dinner to put her lunch together before even sitting down at the dinner table, the Original Poster (OP) felt deeply disrespected.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for getting upset when my partner packs her lunch for the next day before we’ve even had a chance to eat our dinner?”
The OP did the cooking in their home.
“Normally, I’m the one who cooks because I enjoy it and I’m the better cook.”
“When my partner gets home from work, the meal is usually ready or close to ready.”
“She sets the table (it’s just us, no kids) and usually, she will wash her lunch box and immediately pack her lunch for tomorrow straight from the stove.”
“This is done before we’ve even had a chance to sit down and eat the meal I’ve cooked.”
The OP did not appreciate their partner’s approach to packing her lunch.
“I don’t know why exactly but this behavior really annoys me.”
“She says it’s because she’s tired after eating and doesn’t want to do it then.”
“I’ve pointed out that she can pack her lunch after she has washed the dinner plates and while I am putting the leftovers into Tupperware containers.”
“This has also happened once or twice when we’ve had guests for dinner.”
“To me, making her lunch plate before anyone else has a chance to eat the food feels like self-serving behavior.”
“She’s literally serving herself first. Maybe it’s petty, but it bothers me and when I mentioned it to her, she got defensive and said that I was creating a fake problem.”
It was growing to be a serious problem for the OP.
“While it’s not a big issue, it is an action that makes me feel not good and she has the ability to change her behavior but refuses to.”
“Also, I don’t think she can be worried about there being enough food left for her lunches, because I cook with her lunches in mind, and there’s always enough food.”
“I am always the one who serves the plates, usually bringing both plates to the table at the same time.”
“AITA and this is not a thing, or should she wait until after we eat to pack her lunch?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some agreed with the OP and felt that they would be upset about this, too.
“I would be miffed, too. After all that hard work of cooking, she doesn’t even dish it up for dinner but instead starts packing it away for lunch? Nah, I’d be like, hey, let’s eat before we pack anything. I’m with you, OP.” – browneyedredhead1968
“NTA. I’d feel insulted, too, especially if I had explained why I felt weird about it: the first priority should be enjoying dinner that you made together, not her parceling off lunch for tomorrow before anybody’s eaten a bite of hot food. Super weird for her to do this when there are guests.” – elpislazuli
“She’s serving herself and packaging her ‘leftovers’ for lunch before either of you have actually eaten the meal you worked to prepare. It’s even tackier if she does it when you have guests over limiting the quantity that is actually served to your guests.”
“But also, I wonder if there’s also a connection component to your conflict here. She’s viewing it as being practical. I get that. I wonder if this also feels hurtful for you because maybe you feel like she’s prioritizing getting her next day’s lunch ready over sitting down and connecting with you over the dinner you made for her first. I know for me personally, this would make me feel upset and like a personal chef.”
“Even if y’all disagree here, you told her it was hurtful and she’s being dismissive of your feelings. That’s AH behavior in and of itself.”
“NTA.” – pacazpac
“I think it’s rude when someone has cooked you a meal, and then expressed a preference to sit down together with it, to ignore their perfectly reasonable request and dig in separately for a future meal. Lacks manners and is selfish. NTA.” – HRHArgyll
“NTA. This would seriously piss me off too! It’s rude to the person who has cooked not to allow them to choose whom to serve first and let’s be frank, the first couple of spoonfuls of a dish are generally the nicest ones!”
“To save yourself the aggravation, though, why don’t you simply put a portion away for yourself or onto your plate first? That way you’re not the one feeling resentful all the time.” – Apprehensive-Web3355
“NTA. I realize most people think this guy is an AH, but I sure don’t.”
“This woman doesn’t cook, but she helps herself to the food BEFORE they do as a couple, to make sure she gets at least her fair share.”
“This is similar to a guest at Thanksgiving who shows up empty-handed but makes sure to take the majority of the leftovers.”
“She’s rude and entitled. I really think that.”
“Good manners are they you only box up food for later AFTER the meal.” – ElmLane62
“As the person who cooks the majority of the time, can’t they pack up leftovers together instead of someone taking their share first?”
“I’m not sure if there’s a different dynamic going on outside of just dinner and lunches, but maybe OP just wants to feel appreciated for his efforts in providing home-cooked meals. I don’t think waiting till after dinner to pack your lunch is a big ask, especially if you didn’t even cook it.”
“The annoyances build and resentment follows. OP is her partner, not her mother. And if OP was her mother, and if my mom said, ‘Pack your lunch after we all eat,’ there would be no argument there, so why can’t OP’s partner compromise?”
“NTA.” – Ok_Cycle936
But others rated the OP as the AH and felt this was more of an issue of control.
“YTA because you get upset without a reason.”
“Your wife likes your cooking enough to be sure she’ll like them without even tasting them first. That’s a compliment of awesome proportions.”
“To make sure that everyone can eat their heart out, her lunch portion is already put aside so there’s no fuss about that either.”
“She could pack a lunch at a million different times, but she chooses this one. And you can’t even say what’s bothering you about it.”
“BUT There’s something a bit alarming and I hope I’m wrong:”
“You said, ‘To me, making her lunch plate before anyone else has a chance to eat the food feels like self-serving behavior. She’s literally serving herself first.'”
“Combine that with: ‘(it’s just us, no kids).'”
“Are you that insulted that she serves herself before you? (You’re the only other person.)” – Frustrated_Froggie
“Ok, so food insecurity isn’t the issue, and it’s only the two of you. She comes home, still in work mode, and wants the work of the day done so she can relax. And this bothers you.”
“The only thing I see you taking umbrage to is her serving herself… when there’s only two of you… so she can mark her work day over.”
“And you are choosing to go down this path? You honestly have chosen this to be upset over? Really? Think about this one, long and hard, and if you are still annoyed, you didn’t think enough.”
“YTA.” – Mindless-Locksmith76
“He wants to control her behavior and is angry he can’t.”
“Sure, he doesn’t like it, but he isn’t approaching this as this hurts me and I’m trying to find a compromise- it’s ’this is annoying because I don’t like it and can’t control her behavior.’”
“She also has an extremely valid reason, by the time dinner is over she doesn’t have the spoons to also meal prep. If this ‘favor’ of cooking his partner a meal is so conditional on her enjoying it the expressway he decides, how much of a favor is it really?”
“YTA, OP.” – mnunn44
“YTA. She is being efficient and you are taking this as a personal slight for literally no reason. If you really wanted a solution to this non-problem, you would offer to pack her lunch as you put away the leftovers that evening.”
“But instead of doing this, you’ve decided to put your foot down and insist that she wait until after dinner to pack her lunch. Why try to force her to do this? You’ve stated in the comments that there is always enough food left over, so it’s not a matter of her eating food intended solely for dinner.”
“You have a right to your irrational feelings of annoyance, but you absolutely do not have the right to make your feelings an ongoing issue for her.”
“So what if she ‘serves herself first.’ Who gets to be first? You? This line of thinking is irrational.”
“To de-escalate this, just offer to pack her lunch for her, since you are the person who puts away the leftovers anyway. That way, you both get what you want. It’s called a compromise.”
“I get that spouses do annoying things. But not everything that annoys you is their fault or something that they need to stop doing. It’s just annoying.” – Unfair_Finger5531
“YTA. There is enough food to go around. You say that she’s ‘serving herself,’ but it’s usually just the two of you. Is there a concrete reason this upsets you, aside from her not following your preferences?”
“If the meal was prepped with the intention of saving some for leftovers, packaging it before serving is the much better way of doing it. It’s easier to cut/portion neatly, you don’t take too much OR not leave enough because you know exactly how much food there is, and it starts cooling much more quickly for safe refrigeration.”
“You need to examine why you’re assigning so much intent to a seemingly innocuous disagreement; if it’s just an “agree to disagree” petty annoyance you need to drop it.”
“Edited to add: Apparently, a lot of people think people who pre-portion immediately stick it in the fridge while it’s still piping hot, so here’s how I do it:”
“1. Portion into Pyrex or other microwave-safe container.”
“2. Leave on the counter while eating with the lid loosely set on top, so bugs/debris can’t get in but steam can escape. This will cool faster than if you leave the intended portion in the cooking/serving dishes while eating.”
“3. When done eating, it will have cooled enough to be safely stored. Wipe any excess moisture off the lid, then seal and place in the fridge. Proceed with cleaning the kitchen.”
“This balances the need for the food to properly cool so it doesn’t get mushy or raise the temperature of the fridge while minimizing the time the food is left in the ‘danger zone.'”
“I do all the cooking in our house, and we cook our weeknight meals for leftovers because separate lunch fixings… in this economy? No way. Most dishes need to ‘rest’ for a few minutes after cooking anyway, that’s plenty of time to prep your containers so it’s only an additional 30 seconds of time when you’re already plating.” – suffragette_citizen
After receiving feedback, the OP shared a quick update.
“We had a chat about it and agreed that when I cook, I will box her lunch as I plate our dinners, that way her lunch gets packed and put away and I don’t get annoyed at her for swooping in on my hard work.”
This sounds like one of those situations where a couple has been together for a while, and one of the people starts to do something that annoys the other, and the feelings build over time.
Hopefully the couple’s new plan after the update would work for them. Since food scarcity wasn’t the problem, it was clear disrespect was, and that can ruin relationships.