Seeing a loved one struggle can be challenging.
We want to help, but we aren’t sure how so we start throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks.
The problem is that sometimes in an effort to help, we end up doing more damage.
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Sporkwind when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA? I talked to my wife’s boss about her being overworked. Now my wife is yelling at me about never trusting me again.”
OP began by setting the scene.
“My wife has been putting in 10-14 hour days chained to her computer for the past 2-3 weeks through weekends as well.”
“(EDIT- to clarify the last 2-3 weeks have been 100+ hour weeks, the whole year has been bad with lots of lost weekends and working over vacations).”
“Wasn’t able to take any days off for the holidays either.”
“She’s been screaming obscenities about her job, how she wants to quit, how it’s ridiculous she’s working so hard without any break.”
“There have been multiple tear-filled days.”
He explained the effect the situation has had on him.
“I have been walking on eggshells doing everything I can to help around the house and get her anything she wants. But I am on edge constantly watching for an explosion.”
“Today (working through the weekend again) she was screaming about other people she worked with screwing her up, and I just couldn’t take it anymore.”
Then he took steps.
“I texted her boss. We work at the same company, and I’m semi-friendly with him already.”
“I said 1) there are limits for human beings, 2) this kind of thing can’t happen again next year.”
“He agreed and said he’d try to help.”
“Either way, he did a crap job of keeping me out of his conversation with her about limits today.”
“So she found out I’d messaged him ASAP. (EDIT- yep that’s me complaining about getting caught red-handed.)”
“Now she’s telling me it was extremely misogynistic to message her boss to say she can’t handle her job (which I didn’t say) and it’s going to set her career back years.”
“Says she can’t ever trust me anymore to talk about work or how she’s feeling. Generally threw me in the doghouse.”
OP was left to wonder,
“I honestly don’t know. I can’t stand to see her that strung out by work, but did I cross the line too far?”
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: YTA
Some felt this was a sign of a systemic issue.
“Man, American work culture is wild” ~ sleepykittypur
“Our only reason for existing is to be ‘productive’ in service of some a**hole like Charlie Munger who can profit from our work.”
“In America, the conversation you never, ever hear is: ‘should we do X because it’s right? Or because it helps people?’ The policy is based on business and ‘productivity.”‘ ~ SeveralPrinciple5
“The problem is that most of them don’t realize that it’s American work culture.”
“The only reason I know how drastically different the workers’ rights are in Europe is that my husband works for a German company.”
“So they just think THIS is how work is for everyone.” ~ LimitlessMegan
Others were more focused on the logic of it all.
“‘I pinged her boss and said 1) there are limits for human beings, 2) this kind of thing can’t happen again next year.”‘
“OP seems to have a massive amount of undue audacity.”
“The fact that he felt that his input in a working dynamic that had zero to do with him would hold any weight – let alone more weight than his wife – is just delusional and dismissive.”
“I’m sure if OP’s wife had inserted herself into OP’s career, OP would be rightfully livid. This is a massive breach of trust.” ~ Electrical-Date-3951
“OP is f*cking terrible at triangulation, thinking undermining his wife to her boss would somehow not be immediately traced directly back to him 🙃”
“And honestly it’s the least the boss could do to let the wife know OP is out here trying to ruin her career.”
“I am super curious how that convo went between the wife and the boss -“
“On the one hand, they told the wife about OPs BS move, and on the other hand they should not have taken OPs call at all if OP is not their subordinate themselves, or even entertained discussing the wife’s work performance with someone not relayed to her work.” ~ Satannista
Commenters tried to put this into perspective for OP.
“YTA, just imagine how you would feel if you were given a big project with the potential for promotion and a huge raise, and then after half-killing yourself to do a good job.”
“You were called into the manager’s office and told ‘We’re taking you off the project because your wife/ mother called and said it’s too much for you.”‘
“Would you feel ridiculous? Undermined? Cheated because you didn’t get to prove your worth?”
“If your wife is being difficult at home, talk to her about her behavior at home, don’t try to sabotage her job behind her back.” ~ DrunkOnRedCordial
“There is a difference between venting and asking for help.”
“There is a difference between helping and totally undercutting her.”
“There is a difference between undercutting and stepping in, without her knowledge let alone agreement let alone at her request, and humiliating her and taking over her life.”
“She was venting. You went way way way over the line.” ~ tropicaldiver
Some suspected ulterior motives.
“I don’t believe for a moment he didn’t know what he was doing.”
“Wife had probably been working too many hours and can’t give him his foot massages, this is his way of bringing her down.”
“That’s why he thought the boss would keep it secret.”
“He KNEW it was wrong, and the impact it could have.”
“He just wanted it to happen in her workplace in secret.”
“And when she came home wondering where her next promotion went, he’ll be there to comfort her, of course.”
‘”Oh sweetie, I’m sorry you didn’t work hard enough. But look at how stressed you are. Maybe back off the hours, it isn’t worth it.”‘ ~ Magus_Corgo
“‘That’s why he thought the boss would keep it secret. He KNEW it was wrong, and the impact it could have. He just wanted it to happen in her workplace in secret.”
“You are ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.”
“Why would he ever expect the boss to stfu about their interaction, IF HE DIDN’T KNOW IT WAS WRONG IN THE FIRST PLACE??”
“I was willing to give OP the benefit of the doubt, but you opened my eyes x1000!!” ~ HungryBluebird7059
For some, it was a question of boundaries.
“Do you also think it’s appropriate for you to go along to her job interviews? Are you an umbrella husband?”
“Your wife is an adult. It is her job. You just stuck your nose in another adults’ job.”
“Your job is to be supportive and encourage her to go to her boss if she is overworked. I don’t blame her for not trusting you.” ~ OverRice2524
“The 1950s called and they need you back.”
“How could you possibly think this is okay?”
“Not only are you an AH, but you also violated your wife’s trust and sacred confidence. Things aren’t looking good for you here.”
“You could cost her her job at the worst and any future promotions or raises for the future.”
“Wow.” ~ tatersprout
Not everyone felt that OP was alone in the blame.
“If your wife is routinely screaming obscenities about her job, she needs to draw a boundary or find a better coping mechanism.”
“Or a new job.”
“Or tell her boss herself that this can not continue and get a firm end date for when this insane push will be over.”
“You don’t deserve to be subjected to that.”
“But you taking it upon yourself to intercede on her behalf is horrible and completely out of line with work norms and makes her look incompetent and you look paternalistic.”
“And you compounded your error by trying to hide it from her.”
“Apologize and ask how you can support her in drawing a firm line about what she will or will not tolerate.”
“Also have a serious discussion about whether this is the career path that she wants long term if this kind of thing is going to be a possibility.”
“You should also mention that you have been “walking on eggshells.” Nobody should live that way in their own house.” ~ MyCatPostsForMe
OP did return with some final thoughts.
“I’m the a**hole.”
“There’s more detail in the comments, but I realized almost as soon as I posted how much of an a*s I am.”
“Reddit is good for perspective even if it’s sometimes harsh. Let’s be honest, I needed the harsh this time.”
“I talked to my wife this morning, apologized, and she asked me to apologize to her boss and never speak to him again.”
“Her boss was cool about the moment of weakness, said he understood, and that he would not let it affect how he treated my wife at work.”
“All is certainly not forgiven, but we’ll work through it one step at a time.”
Helping others is a noble idea, but sometimes it can do more harm than good.