As hard as they can be to uphold, we all have boundaries we should be able to maintain around other people.
But occasionally, there might be a reason to bend our boundaries, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Helpwithlunch was running late for work and repeatedly asked his wife for help so he could leave on time.
But the Original Poster (OP) was shocked when his wife said it wasn’t her job to help him.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for getting angry at my wife for not packing me a lunch for work?”
The OP woke up late for work.
“The other day I (29 Male) overslept for work. It was completely my fault; I’d stayed up too late binging a series and slept through my alarm.”
“I’d woken up about 30 minutes later than I should have. There is almost no worse feeling than realizing that you’ve overslept, so I woke up in a panic.”
“I almost immediately called my boss to let him know that I was running late and then began a frantic effort to get ready for work as quickly as possible.”
He tried to ask his wife for help.
“My wife (28 female) doesn’t always remember day to day when I have to be at work since my starting time varies by a few hours, so she didn’t necessarily know that I was running late until I called up to her and told her.”
“As I was about to jump in the shower, I yelled up to her and asked her, ‘Hon, I’m running late. I really need you to quickly throw a lunch together for me. Just a sandwich and some fruit and chips and a couple of bottles of pop.'”
His wife refused.
“She called down, ‘No.'”
“I yelled back up, ‘Please? Just this once help me out?'”
“Here’s the thing; my wife has some weird hangup about packing lunches for me.”
“She grew up in a family where her father always expected her mother to pack his lunch for him and according to her he was kind of entitled about it, so while my wife doesn’t mind cooking dinner for me or doing my laundry (not that I always expect it) she just has a problem with packing a lunch for me as it makes her feel like too much of a servant.”
“I don’t totally get it, but it’s her thing and it’s never been a big deal before the other day. I just always pack my own lunch.”
The OP was surprised at how resistant she was to help him out.
“However, even after asking this one time, when I came upstairs, I found that my lunch cooler was empty.”
“I looked over at my wife who was just sitting on the couch on her phone and said, ‘Really? Were you too busy?'”
“She answered, ‘Pack your own lunch. It’s not my job.'”
“She only works part-time and it absolutely beyond p**sed me off to watch her sitting there leisurely scrolling through her phone while she knew I was stressed and scrambling.”
“I just left without lunch and had to buy food from the vending machine to get me through the day.”
The OP updated the post with a few details about his home life.
“1. We both do housework. I won’t say it’s completely split down the middle; she probably does more laundry, cooking, and dishes than I do, but I do that stuff fairly often as well and we both clean at about equal rates. I also do more yard work.”
“2. People think my wife may have some childhood ‘trauma’ about this. I probably didn’t explain it well, but it’s not nearly to that level. Her father is a decent guy; she’d tell you that herself. It just kind of got under her skin watching her mom always pack his lunch and him not seem to appreciate it much.”
“3. I could technically have food delivered there, but given the location and where I am in the building, it’s just more of a pain than it’s worth.”
“4. Finally, I understand that it was my fault that I overslept. I’m not blaming anyone else. It’s very rare for me, but this one time I just let myself get too caught up in what I was watching.”
“What upset me, though, is that if my wife overslept and was stressed and frantic, I would have helped her out in any way possible to get her out the door as fast as possible, even if it would have just saved her two minutes.”
“I wouldn’t have sat with my feet up playing video games and just watched her struggle. That’s my side of it, while her’s is that she’s just not going to ever pack me a lunch and I know that and that’s that.”
The OP wasn’t over it when he got home from work.
“When I got home I was still p**sed and we got into a huge fight.”
“She told me that I knew her boundary about packing a lunch for me.”
“I told her that she could have put her hangup aside that one time to help me out.”
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 said this was one instance where the wife should have helped her husband.
“Gonna go against the curve and say NAH, it was one lunch when you were running late and each of us has been late at some point.”
“Marriage should be a partnership helping one another and this was a situation where some help would have been nice.” – puffalump212
“The key word is partnership. If this was a trend where OP is constantly late and making his wife make him lunch, then 100% OP is the AH.”
“But only one time he asked for her to make the lunch and she just sat and browsed her phone. That doesn’t sit right with me.” – halfStackScratchDev
“AITA isn’t about what you have to do, it’s about whether doing or not doing something makes you an a**hole.”
“Refusing to make your husband a simple lunch, he just asked for a sandwich, on a rare occasion he’s scrambling in a rush?”
“Definite a**hole move. She’s not obligated, but it does for sure make her the a**hole.” – Yukimor
“To the OP’s wife, If you have this kind of resentment and disdain about helping a partner who made a mistake by sleeping through their alarm… you should probably just break up.”
“Not giving a s**t that your partner is in distress or that they might go hungry without your intervention is just not compassionate. If you can’t have compassion for your partner, then why are you wasting your time?” – funandvibey
Others also thought the husband wasn’t exactly bossing his wife around, either.
“She was just flat ‘no.’ It wouldn’t have mattered if he asked more nicely (I say ‘more nicely’ because he didn’t ask rudely either), apparently packing a lunch for her husband ever is beneath her.”
“I don’t see this as ordering her around. It sounds like a rushed ask, and when she said no, he begged. She didn’t give a shit. Because she doesn’t treat their marriage like a partnership.” – Yukimor
“The OP didn’t say it as an order either, and frankly if my husband is rushed and stressed, I don’t see it as a big deal if he’s a little curt. It’s not like he’s doing it at me, he’s just stressed and frustrated and this is how it’s coming out.”
“It doesn’t mean he suddenly stopped respecting me, it’s not a red flag or a sign of abuse, he’s a human guy having a bad day as we all do sometimes.”
“If it happens on the regular, yea, I can see this being a problem, but one time? No biggie.” – YoFrom540
“My SO (significant other) has severe anxiety, and one of his ‘triggers’ is also running late. Sometimes he’s shorter with me when he’s trying to rush, and I understand. Marriage/relationships are about having patience for the other person, too.”
“Now, my SO isn’t constantly late, but when he is, I have extra patience for him. I understand he’s not thinking as clearly as he could be, and sometimes things won’t sound ‘right.'”
“I can’t understand how people can be in relationships and have zero empathy for their partner.” – swanlakepirate423
“People also have significant trouble differentiating direct speaking with ‘being a jerk.'”
“In a crisis, there isn’t always time to preface your entire request with, ‘Hey, I just wanted to say that I totally appreciate your agency here in this situation, and recognize that you may have certain barriers that make this a rather challenging request, and I fully support and respect your sense of self, but I was wondering if, you might, just this one time, help me out by taking care of that zombie that’s now munching on my throat.'”
“No, you’d say, ‘Kill the zombie! Kill it!!'”
“‘BuT hE oRdErEd Me To Do Itttttttt.'”
“Well, enjoy being eaten by Zombie then, Tone Brigade.”
“It’s just so unrealistic that people think that everyone is going to speak with white gloves at all times, for every situation. And because of that lack of ability to contextualize, we get a HOST of communications-related issues.” – DilbertedOttawa
After receiving feedback, the OP shared an update.
“Thanks again to everyone who took the time to comment. I’ve read all of your comments and have considered all of them.”
“I’m still just so angry at my wife for not helping me out the one time I really needed her and had begged for her help and I am having a really hard time getting over it.
“I’m not sure where I go from here. I still feel angry every time I look at her.”
The subReddit felt bad for how the incident played out, especially since it was a tough situation for all involved.
The OP clearly needed help, and it would have been kind for his wife to help out. But at the same time, the wife clearly had a boundary she didn’t want to see crossed.