Content Warning: Food insecurity and eating disorders
None of us can deny the fact that our grandparents and parents went through some dark times, from the Great Depression to other recessions and more. This really impacted their mindset around personal possessions and food.
Because they raised us and we’ve had our fair share of tough times, a lot of us have struggled with similar mindsets, including food insecurities if not also eating disorders, confided the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Unique_Youth1201 didn’t know about her husband’s food insecurities until the past six months, but now his behaviors were impacting their household, especially her children.
When he prioritized himself ahead of her and her children, leaving her without a dinner to eat, the Original Poster (OP) decided enough was enough.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for not letting my husband eat the food I cooked?”
The OP’s husband’s issues with food insecurity were negatively impacting his family.
“My husband has food insecurity and over-eats even when he’s not hungry, out of fear of it all being eaten before he gets to taste it.”
“Every item of snacks and soda in this house that is bought is gone within a few days because he binges until it’s gone.”
“AND he has in the past told the kids they couldn’t have more dinner because there ‘wasn’t enough’ just so he could eat it later. I was at work when that happened, but the kids told me about it, and he confirmed it.”
“He’s also not in healthy shape. He was 180 pounds when we met, but he’s now five feet, ten inches, and over 250 pounds. He’s a big guy and not healthy.”
“Also, these are my kids and not his biological ones. I didn’t know he had these issues, and he only openly started showing these behaviors MAYBE six months ago. Before this (by his own admission), he was hiding food in his car so we couldn’t touch it because he was afraid we would eat it all.”
“I did make him get therapy, but it’s not doing much good because he doesn’t apply himself at all at home (he thinks it’s pointless and refuses to do the steps they provide).”
The OP’s husband went so far as to steal her dinner.
“Today I bought stuff for lasagna and bought myself a big salad because I can’t eat red sauce.”
“Within an hour of being home, he was already in the fridge asking if he could have my salad because he was starving.”
“I said no originally, but he kept prying and said, ‘C’mon, please? I will share it with you.'”
“I said, ‘What the f**k ever’ and walked off.”
“He left me THREE bites. I tossed it in the trash. This was not even 10 minutes before I started cooking.”
“He said multiple times, ‘I’m so full,’ ‘Now my belly hurts,’ and ‘I ate too much,’ which is common for him.”
“I was still salty about it honestly. So, I only made half a sheet pan of the lasagna, which would only feed the kids. My husband said he was ‘so full’ anyways.”
The OP refused to let him touch their kids’ dinner after that.
“I gave the kids their food 20 minutes later (I prep so cooking takes zero time at all). I told them they could finish the pan off.”
“Well, my husband came out and saw the lasagna and said, ‘Ooo, that’s what I’m talking about.'”
“I said, ‘Absolutely not. You just ate my dinner and you were full less than 30 minutes ago. This is the kids’ food.’ (I didn’t say this in front of the kids.)”
“He says I was a ‘royal b***h’ because he ‘needs’ the lasagna and it’s going to ‘send him backward’ because now I’m ‘withholding food from him.'”
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 clarified for the OP that her husband was not actually “doing” therapy at all.
“NTA. If he’s going to therapy and refusing to do the work, he’s not going to therapy. He’s just making therapy-adjacent hand motions.”
“You are right to be furious. However, being furious isn’t going to help in the long term. Your husband’s disordered eating is affecting the whole household. He wants to eat the children’s food, even though he ‘was full’ 20 minutes ago.”
“Not only is he modeling atrocious behavior to the children, but he is going to wind up sending them the same way: eating fast because somebody else is going to eat it if they don’t.”
“It is time to stop doing this. If he doesn’t want to change his disordered eating, he won’t. He’s getting everything he wants right now: all the food that anybody else needs is his.”
“Also, you said, ‘He says I’m a ‘royal b***h’ because he ‘needs’ the lasagna and it’s going to ‘send him backward’ because now I’m ‘withholding food from him.’ This is classic, CLASSIC addict behavior. He isn’t moving forward, so what is there to send him backward from?”
“”It is time to defend your children from their father.” – ThingsWithString
“That thing about ‘sending him backward’ by ‘withholding food from him’ is manipulative as f**k.”
“I get the dude has a problem, but he’s not even trying to correct it (because he doesn’t want to) and he just sounds horrible. He’s even prioritizing his food issue over his children.”
“OP, you’ve got some considering to do I think. NTA at all.” – WhyDoYouCrySmeagol
“It’s more than just food insecurity. People have been food insecure to the point of being traumatized for centuries but normal people don’t starve kids for it while overeating to the point they hurt.”
“I think it’s this dude’s way to show he has got control over everyone else and that’s why he isn’t interested in following up with his therapy.” – Antique-Extreme-5856
“I grew up with siblings who would race at the dinner table, and if you didn’t eat fast, you didn’t eat.”
“This is why I am incandescent with rage when my husband ‘just wants a bite’ or ‘just a sip’ from my plate. Or when I go to eat something I’ve saved and it’s gone.”
“It’s taken years of therapy to stop eating my feelings. You have to have a Come-To-Jesus talk with him about his problems and their effect on you and the kids.” – Liv-Julia
“It’s time for him to put in the work (and you support THAT) rather than have his disordered eating control the whole household and send the kids down the same path. Empathy is a wonderful thing but enabling unhealthy behavior is unhealthy for everyone.”
“Otherwise, you and your kids are out of there. I mean it, OP.” – AudreyB2023
Others encouraged the OP to do the tough thing and protect her children from this man.
“HE is the one withholding food. From his children AND OP. And he’s not being withheld anything if the fridge is right there and he’s got full freedom to cook himself something else.”
“He 100% only insisted on eating OP’s salad to control her and put her in her place. Recovering from bad treatment doesn’t require you to treat other people badly. This is about control.” – Antique-Extreme-5856
“He will give the kids an ED (eating disorder). He is going to cause their own issues with food if he refuses to address his. OP/Momma, this is bigger than you. This is about their mental health now, too.” – TheProfWife
“I grew up with a mother who lived in a postwar country. My siblings and I learned to eat food fast and without leaving any crumbs despite always having enough food. It took me a few years living alone to avoid overeating.”
“THAT is your children’s future if you stay with this man or don’t get this under control, OP.” – Supraspinator
“My dad grew up in poverty in a developing nation. He rarely got food. The way he talked about getting a Coca-Cola as a treat once when he was a kid brought tears to my eyes because the way he talked about it, you would have thought it was a bar of gold and not a soda.”
“He would have starved rather than deny me a second helping of dinner; I literally cannot fathom him doing what your husband did to your kids. He has a serious problem, and he needs to get a f**king grip before this behavior starts rubbing off on your children.” – juneXgloom
“I suspect it started as a food insecurity thing but that it has morphed into a control issue. He has weaponized his eating disorder. OP needs to tell his therapist.”
“I’d also give serious thought to telling him that if he doesn’t have his disorder under control (or under significantly better control) by X date, you will be filing for divorce; you will not tolerate taking food from your children. Then follow through. He’s being abusive.” – Intermountain-Gal
“My mother was so scared of being fat or having fat children. I had horrible eating habits and gained 50 pounds when I finally moved out.”
“Thankfully I haven’t passed this on to my daughter, who eats normally and is a healthy weight. My mother still has things to say about what I allow her to eat because she has no restrictions and I buy an array of food from fruit to potato chips.”
“It honestly takes a huge toll on me that she is like this.”
“My problem isn’t exactly the same as yours, but I think your kids will be haunted just like I am if things don’t change.” – Logical_Childhood733
“It is time for a divorce. He knows he doesn’t want to change, and he is very selfish. He is a self-entitled man who thinks only of himself.”
“OP, is this how you want to live the rest of your life? Is this how you want your children to live? Do you want them to learn his behaviors? Because if you stay with him, this is how it will be.” – renee30152
The subReddit was genuinely worried for the OP, but especially her children and what they were learning about living in a safe environment and food security by living with the OP’s husband.
It was clear that something needed to change, and if it didn’t, the OP would have to make some tough decisions to protect her children.