Sometimes people get into relationships—be it friendships or romantic relationships—where one of the partners has some sort of grudge against the others’ interests.
It’s unclear why anybody would take someone else’s interests and quirks that personally, but it happens.
Reddit user ilikedmysocks found herself in that very situation. She went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for perspective on how she handled the situation.
“AITA for expecting my boyfriend to replace all my socks, the exact same ones as I had before?”
Our original poster, or OP, told us about her and her boyfriend’s conflict over socks.
“This might seem silly. I (24F[emale]) like wearing cheerful socks, since my uniform is all white (currently working as an phlebotomist), it usually cheers up the patients too.”
“I’ve spent a few years collecting strange socks, ones with sushi, pizza, corgis, cats, Nick Cage, etc. I think I had about 30 pairs.”
“My boyfriend (29M[ale]) has always hated them, and thinks they’re childish. So I agreed to only wear them to work, and never on dates or around his friends/family. I thought that was fair.”
After Christmas, OP and family were chatting socks.
“On boxing day his parents came over for coffee and gifts (just the 4 of us, which is allowed where I live, and keeping a solid 3 meters apart).”
“I accidentally put on a pair of ‘childish’ socks, and his mother made a comment about it. I explained that I wear them to work to cheer people up, and she liked that. My boyfriend didn’t.”
The following day, OP found her socks missing.
“The next day all my socks were gone, and the drawer was filled with plain black socks. I asked my boyfriend, and he told me he threw them away and purchased some more ‘appropriate’ socks, so I won’t embarrass him in front of his parents again.”
OP was upset.
“I told him that that’s insane, they were mine and he had no right to throw them away. Not to mention that I spent quite some time collecting them.”
“So I made a list of the ones I remembered I had, and told him that I expect the same ones as a replacement.”
“He told me that’s completely unreasonable, and that it would take a lot of time/effort/money for him to find those specific pairs. I haven’t changed my mind yet, they cost me a lot of time and effort to find too.”
And now OP wants to know who is in the wrong.
“I think he’s being controlling, he thinks I’m being unreasonable and demanding.”
“I think I might be an a**hole for asking for the exact same pairs, I know that’ll take a lot of effort to find.”
Redditors helped OP discern guilt belongs by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors can’t even believe that OP has to ask who the AH is here. It’s clearly her boyfriend.
“Holy sh*t. NTA. Honestly this is breakup-worthy behavior on his part. He stole your personal property.”
“He’s trying to force you to stop doing something you enjoy because he doesn’t like it, even though it doesn’t impact him at all. He sounds like a huge controlling a**hole.”~badb-crow
“This story is almost unbelievable. Low-stakes, deeply superficial concern on his part, wildly disproportionate response to low-stakes concern, theft, refusal to take perfectly reasonable steps to rectify the egregious behaviour.”
“What the everloving eff is OP doing hanging around? I’d have left the day he did it. NTA.”~TreeShapedHeart
“It’s a test of power by the boyfriend. If you tell the story just the right way it will sound like the OP is being dramatic. I mean it’s just socks, who gets upset over socks? The boyfriend knows exactly what he’s doing.”
“OP get out of this relationship. Not just because he stole from you but because you are not compatible with this person.”
“You had a very truly simple thing that brought you joy. This thing did not cost a huge amount of money, didn’t interfere with any relationships in your life, didn’t take tons of time from him.”
“Yet he said that you are not allowed to do this thing. You under his rules as a grown adult are not allowed to dress yourself. That is absolutely batsh*t insane.”
“Normal boyfriend would have been like SCORE easy cheap gift for every occasion. Maybe asked you not to wear them on formal occasions but otherwise just let your enjoy a simple pleasure.”~MotherofJackals
“This is abuse, full stop. This is how it starts. Small things at first, small enough to make you think it’s not that big of a deal.”
“Then they slowly titrate up the dosage of abusive behaviors until you find yourself in a hole that’s much harder to get out of.”
“He stole her clothes and replaced them all with clothes that *he likes* so that ‘you won’t embarrass me in front of my parents again.'”
“When you objected, I’m guessing he got really calm suddenly. Whoa. Why are you being so unreasonable and demanding?? They’re JUST socks.”
“This is a SLIPPERY slope, OP. The only option I see here is to leave him immediately. This is not normal behavior, and will soon escalate faster than you know what to do with.”
“First it’s your socks, then he will start to eliminate friends and family, next it’s dictating what kinds of jobs you can work and who you’re allowed to speak to.”
“This may sound alarmist, but as a therapist I’ve seen this more than a few times.”
“He’s destroying your physical property now and he won’t stop until your mental health is destroyed, and by that time it will be much, much harder to leave. Get out.”~Therapizemecaptain
People are also warning OP: do not ignore this red flag.
“NTA, and this is such a huge RED FLAG!!! He’s being unreasonably controlling over SOCKS for gods sake.”
“I don’t know how long you’ve been dating or if he’s exhibited other controlling behavior but typically these types of behaviors only get worse with time.”
“First is socks, next is your entire wardrobe and then what you eat, how you do your hair. He can use ‘that would embarrass me’ as the reason for controlling literally anything you do, except it’s a bs reason and he had no right to throw away your belongings like that.”~sour_lemons
“I read a study once where they interviewed abusers. They were well aware of what they were doing because it’s a big game of control to them.”
“When asked how long they waited before beginning the abuse, the average answer was 9 months. By then, they’ve got you hooked so little things feel little and the good still outweighs the bad.”
“They gaslight endlessly so by the time you start to notice the abuse, you’re also so gaslighted into thinking maybe you’re just crazy. What your boyfriend did is just a taste of what’s to come.”
“I promise you, as a 37 year old woman who has dated a handful of narcissists, this sock thing is just the tip of the iceberg.”
“He will absolutely try to make this situation go away by over compensating with sweet gestures and dashes of gaslighting.”
“You are worth more. He’s trash. There are really wonderful men out there. Don’t settle and move on before he gets dangerous. Edited to add: NTA x 1000″~foundyour2cents
“NTA. He’s been hiding this controlling aspect of his personality, but not very well.”
“The mask slipped a little every time he mentioned how much he hated the socks. However the fact that you wore them in front of his parents drove him straight over the edge into abusive AH mode.”
“The mask is off completely now. Run for the hills because that guy is just going to get worse.”~EmergencyOverall248
“It might be the first time he’s actually stolen from you and thrown something of yours away, but it isn’t the first time he’s tried to control your appearance.”
“This has been going on all along, he’s just taken it to a new level.”
“Given that you’ve been together for a relatively short amount of time, I’d be concerned how much further it will go.”
“Controlling behavior usually starts out with simple things that you can brush off as being small quirks. Once you’ve shown you’ll give in to small demands, they begin to escalate.”
“Soon your other clothes become inappropriate, your hobbies become childish, he doesn’t like your friends, and on and on.”
“Either you stand your ground now, which has two outcomes he either stops the controlling behavior or he refuses and you end the relationship.”
“Otherwise you risk going down a slippery slope of him making larger demands and limiting your decision making even further, and then you face the same decisions years from now when your lives are even more intertwined and ending a relationship has more serious consequences.”
And others talked about their spouses, who treat annoying habits with love:
“NTA. For perspective, my husband can’t stand when I wear stuff like that either, and rolls his eyes when I wear them.”
“And yet, I ended up with 12 pairs of Harry Potter socks because he knows I like them, and my feet are always cold.”
“Get yourself a man like that, and ditch the prick!”~Flibbertigibbet123
“NTA- I dislike that my bf wears Nike/ running shoes with jeans and collared shirt to work. Where is he going to run in jeans? The chafing, man.”
“Plus he gets them in the brightest colors he can find. However, it doesn’t impact my life and I love him.”
“So I help him design the most neon pairs of Nike all the time. It’s his thing, I don’t like it but whatever. He got another gift card this year from me to design his technicolor dream shoe.”~swan_wolf
“NTA. You’re right to take this as a huge red flag. This is controlling and concerning behavior. It is not right for him to police what you wear at all.”
“It’s even more concerning he tried to take measures into his own hands when you didn’t comply. This would be relationship ending behavior for me.”~RemarkableCranberry7
“NTA My husband also has a large collection of eccentric socks (some of the same patterns that you mentioned). And he’s 42 years old.”
“First of all, those socks are awesome and they do make me smile. Second of all, it would never in a million years occur to me to get rid of someone else’s possessions — even if they’re “just socks” — behind their back.”
“It’s a small act, but it has big time implications. Your bf’s reaction (embarrassed by socks?) and actions (getting rid of your socks and being the gatekeeper of “appropriate” socks?!) is a sign that you shouldn’t ignore.”~soytufavorita1
OP updated to say:
“Thanks everyone for replying, I’ve realised that this might not be a ‘normal’ fight and am evaluating the relationship.”
Reddit would probably agree this is wise.
Plenty of guys with love for little idiosyncrasies exist in the world. Why settle for the ones who will treat yours with contempt?