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Woman Berated For Buying Husband Sneakers That Weren’t On His Approved Shopping List

couple arguing
Karen Moskowitz/Getty Images

When it comes to couples managing their budget together, some are more efficient than others.

It takes work and communication in order to maintain finances, but things don’t always go so smoothly.

Redditor Campfire_byLake77 is a 29-year-old woman whose 36-year-old husband is the breadwinner of the family.

When she was tasked to handle the grocery shopping recently, she went off script and unilaterally did something she thought was a kind gesture.

But when it backfired in a major way, she visited the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit and asked:

“AITA for returning the shoes I got for my husband after he accused me of stealing from him?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained why the husband was so angry.

“My [29] husband [36] is the breadwinner of the family. I stay home with the kids who are preschool-age.”

“He pays for the mortgage, bills, household needs, food, kids’ needs, etc. he has set a monthly budget for each category and handles getting everything done.”

“Recently, he has become overwhelmed and told me to handle grocery shopping but before he let me, he asked me to write a list of all the stuff we need so he could calculate the total and also so he’d have an idea how much I’ll be spending when I take his credit card.”

“I didn’t have an issue with that because this way we’d watch our spending habits. However, he said I’m never allowed to get something that isn’t on the list unless I’m paying for it some other way.”

“On Friday, I was doing some grocery shopping as usual and saw that the store had some nice shoes on sale. The price was insanely low for this brand and so I decided to grab a pair for my husband thinking he’d be happy with them since he needed new sneakers anyway.”

“I bought them and when I showed them to him he flipped out on me saying I made a huge mistake by buying something that was not on the list. I agreed with him but I thought that since the shoes were for him then it’d be different, he said I screwed up and shouldn’t have bought those sneakers without even telling him.”

“But in my defense, I said that the price was low so it’s not like I spent $100 on shoes, and also I saw this as a great deal and wanted him to have those nice sneakers.”

“He plainly said that what I did is considered ‘stealing’ since he never consented to have those sneakers purchased and said that I’m being irresponsible with money that is why I no longer have an income and my spending habits need a ‘grib’.”

“I felt hurt by what he said. We argued about it for hours and he avoided speaking to me the rest of the day.”

“The next day I went and returned the sneakers and took the money back. He got home in the evening and lost it when he found out I returned them. He said he couldn’t believe how petty and childish I was to do actually do this.”

“I explained I was just correcting my ‘mistake’. He tried to contact the store and was told the sneakers were already sold.”

“He got even angrier with me but I told him that he accused me of stealing for him when I was just trying to do a nice gesture for him. He yelled that I had a lot of nerve calling what I did ‘nice gesture’ while using his money to do it.”

“I told him he had no right to yell at me after I corrected my ‘mistake’ and gave back the money he accused me of stealing.”

“He threw a fit then went out with his friends and came home late at night still not talking to me.”

“Did I mess up? Maybe I shouldn’t have purchased them knowing they weren’t on the list but I just wanted him to have those sneakers and thought I was doing a nice gesture.”

Strangers online were asked to declare one of the following:

  • NTA – Not the A**hole
  • YTA – You’re the A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everybody Sucks Here

Many Redditors thought the OP was not the a**hole here. In fact, they had bigger concerns.

“This is financial and emotional abuse and beyond Reddit’s pay grade.”

“You need an exit plan OP.” – MotherOfCrotchFruit

“The best advice I received when I was in a similar situation was, ‘You have three options. First, to make a decision to stay and make it work. Second, make a decision to stay for now while you consider your options, and third, make a decision to leave and start planning.'”

“It gave me back some semblance of control and made me feel like I was in the driver’s seat for the first time in ages. It’s so difficult to leave when you are being financially abused and so anxious all the time that you have to devote all of your energy to surviving your reality, especially when you have young children.”

“People don’t seem to realize that ‘just leaving’ is extremely difficult, especially when there is no physical abuse because people don’t believe you unless you are black and blue.”

“Even then, retaining custody of your children is so hard when you are not in a secure housing and financial situation. Honestly, this post made me feel sick. It’s obviously a PTSD response, but I just want to see OP and her kids safe. :(” – jennmullen37

“NTA but he sure is. Was a stay-at-home mom for years. It was never ‘his money’. It was ‘our’ money. If you weren’t looking after ‘his’ kids you’d both be paying for child care. He’s a controlling idiot. You need an exit plan.” – RedislandAbbyCat

“NTA- ‘his’ money? Charge him for cooking, cleaning, laundry, general housekeeping, and childcare then. If you are a SAHM he earns family money-this is financial abuse.”

“As for the argument that you ‘stole’ his money to buy him a gift, it is beyond f’ked up. If you decide to stay with him, surely you should stop buying him birthday and Christmas presents- by his own logic you are stealing from him.” – ShallWeStartThen

“This, so much.”

“My mum took some time off of work when my sister and I were very little and my dad worked.”

“I was talking to him about it the other day and he said ‘I may have been earning the money but there is no way I could have dedicated that much time to my job your mum hadn’t been doing too much at home. She earned it just as much as I did, we are a team.'”

“You’re supposed to be working together, OP. Ask yourself how often your husband acts like your on opposite sides. NTA.” – staticdragonfly

“And ask yourself how often he acts like you’re one of his children needing his discipline and guidance so you do everything right. Keep on taking it and in a few years you won’t even be able to make a spontaneous decision like buying him shoes on sale because you’ll be too afraid it might be the wrong thing, too afraid he’ll be mad.”

“He’ll make you feel like you can’t do anything right without his say and you won’t remember who you used to be, who you are right now.”

“Please do something, don’t let him reduce you like this, don’t let your children be raised in this dynamic.” – JonesinforJonesey

“NTA. This is both financial abuse and emotional abuse. Financial abuse involves the abuser controlling the victim’s ability to acquire, use and maintain financial resources, and it can be a precursor to physical abuse because if a victim has no financial resources, it’s much harder for them to leave.”

“The fact that you stay home with your kids does not mean that all of the family’s money is his. If you returned to work, both of you would have to pay a significant amount of money for childcare, so what you are doing is neither free nor worthless.”

“The money in your family’s bank account is every bit as much yours as it is his.”

“Again, his behavior is abusive. Please seek out help for yourself, as this abuse can very easily escalate.” – BeJane759


“I hate stuff like this. I’m the breadwinner in my family and would never never NEvEr tell my husband he’s stealing my money. Because it isn’t just mine. I am able to work the hours and way I do (12 hr shifts) because he watches the kids and takes care of my home. If it was mine, it would be a lot less because I’d be paying for childcare!”

“I almost wish SAHMs had a way of drawing up a contract w their breadwinner person sometimes because I see so many thinking it means ‘I work and get to control all the $ and they’re just lucky to exist in my house!!’”

“It says a lot that your husband freaked out both when you bought the shoes and when you tried to fix your ‘mistake.’”

“Which I’m sorry, wasn’t a mistake as you are an adult using your household’s money. He didn’t marry a child, he shouldn’t feel entitled to treat you like one.”

“You wouldn’t be TA even if the question was just over buying some shoes. This sounds like very financial abuse, to me. You’ll need to tell him this is BS and see if he’s going to continue this crap or if he was just stressed out or something.” – Preference-Prudent

Overall, Redditors believed the OP’s situation was an example of financial abuse, and they thought she had every right to spend her money on a thoughtful gesture.

It’s unfortunate, however, that the husband didn’t see it that way and defaulted to berating her for it.

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a Los Angeles based actor whose work has been spotted anywhere from Broadway stages to Saturday Night Live.
He received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese.
In addition to being a neophyte photographer, he is a huge Disney aficionado and is determined to conquer all Disney parks in the world to publish a photographic chronicle one day. Mickey goals.
Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1 Flickr: nyckmo