It’s important for every member of a household to carry their own weight when it comes to chores.
Even though not everyone enjoys cleaning or doing the dishes, the cleanliness of a household should never fall solely on one person.
Redditor throwawayxaita was becoming frustrated when her wife wasn’t putting in much effort into keeping their home tidy, and finally had to call her out on it.
But after leaving her wife in tears, the original poster (OP), took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole”, (AITA), asking fellow Redditors:
“AITA for telling my wife that if she was a roommate, I would have moved out by now?”
The OP began by saying she and her wife each came from rather different upbringings, resulting in some markedly different views on household responsibilities.
“My wife (24 F[emale]) “Mary” and I (23 F[emale]) have been together for 3 years; living together for 2.5, married for 1.5.”
“I am the oldest of 5 in my family, and my mom was a single mom, so I was expected to help out a lot.”
“Cooking, cleaning, caring, etc.”
“Mary’s mom is a stay-at-home-mom (sahm) who did all the chores, and Mary said she was never taught how.”
“I asked her mom about it once, and her mom said that Mary used to pretend to not know how to do things to get out of doing them.”
“Mary said it’s just something she did as a kid, but she doesn’t do it anymore.”
While it initially seemed that Mary had indeed outgrown her old ways, as time wore on the OP began to notice the things Mary’s mother had warned her about more and more.
“When we first moved in together, I was happy to fill the role of the caregiver – stocking groceries, doing dishes, laundry, etc.”
“After covid started, I realized how much energy it takes to maintain a clean apt with two adults being home 24/7.”
“So I asked Mary for help with maintaining housework.”
“She was super understanding and agreed that it is her responsibility too.”
“But, she would only clean if I asked her to.”
“I was patient, and asked for her help when I needed it, and eventually she caught on.”
“I have noticed that her ‘helping’ isn’t very helpful.”
“For example, I mentioned that it would be nice to get some help with the laundry, so she said she would do some.”
“She said it was an ’emergency load’ of underwear and asked if I needed anything else washed.”
“I said ‘some leggings & sweatshirts would be nice, thanks’.”
“The next day, I folded the load of laundry & saw she washed 10 pairs of her underwear, a bunch of her sweatshirts & leggings, 1 pair of my leggings and 3 pairs of my underwear.”
“Example 2: She cleaned out the litter box, but didn’t fill it back up afterward.”
“I heard her comment ‘oh I need to fill up the litter box’ and I acknowledged, but the next day it still was empty.”
“I got pissed at her and told her that it was unfair to the cats, and she should have filled it up when she noticed it was empty.”
“She said that she forgot to.”
“Example 3: when it was her turn to wash the dishes, she washed all of them except for our cats dishes (they are admittedly gross bc crusty dried wet food).”
“I confronted her about leaving them so I would have to do them, and she said that I misunderstood her intentions.”
“She was just doing the dishes that she had the energy for, and ‘putting out one of the fires.'”
It wasn’t too long before the OP lost her patience at Mary and her lack of help in maintaining their home.
“To me, we have a list of chores to do, and we can’t consider them ‘done’ until the whole thing is done.”
“I told her that she can’t ‘half-ass’ the jobs in the house because it’s making more work for me in the long run to clean up her messes.”
“I told her that if she was a roommate, I would have moved out by now.”
“And if I was her manager at a job, I would have fired her for making more work for me.”
“She started crying and told me to leave her alone.”
“I feel like a total a**hole for saying those things.”
“I feel like maybe I was being too hard on her, that maybe the chores are a lot for her to handle.”
“But on the other hand, we have been living together for a long time and she is old enough to know how to clean up after herself.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
The Reddit community unanimously agreed that the OP was not at the a**hole in this scenario, feeling that she had every right to call her wife out.
Many felt that Mary was manipulating the OP into getting out of her chores, something the OP had to put an end to sooner rather than later.
“She’s deliberately acting incompetent so that you’ll do the work instead.”
“She’s hoping if she does it badly enough she won’t have to do it at all- it’s weaponized incompetence.”-Sleepy_felines.
“NTA – Mary is displaying weaponized incompetence at a master level.”
“Mary is the AH here.”
“You are married, it’s a partnership, she should willingly do these tasks.”
“God forbid you ever have a child with this woman.”
“Will she forget to wash the child’s clothes or forget to change a diaper?”
“She should shape up or ship out.”-MissyBee63.
“Basic household chores are NOT too much to handle for adults with no disabilities.”
“You’ve been an AH to yourself for years by letting her coast and get away with it.”-steveholtismymother.
“I know there are going to be more people claiming ADHD as an excuse here beyond what I’ve already seen, but as someone who actually has ADHD I’m telling you straight out that’s likely a bullshit excuse.”
“Does she have the energy to do the things she wants to do?”
“I assure you executive dysfunction doesn’t discriminate between desirable and undesirable activities.”
“Your statement to her was simple honesty.”
“If she were a roommate, you would make other living arrangements and no one would blame you in the least.”
“Why should you have to suffer through it in your marriage?”-thimbleabyss.
At least one Redditor shared how they handled a similar situation.
“You seem like a very responsible person and honestly, as a girl myself, I have been with someone whose mom did everything for him up until he was 24 or something.”
“I literally had to teach him from scratch how to do basic laundry since his mom would pick it up and drop it off at his condo when he was in his early 20s.”
“To me, this was embarrassing and I couldn’t believe an adult didn’t know how to do laundry or make a basic meal.”
“We have been together for sooo long now but let me tell you, it’s been 13 years together and it took A LONG time for me to slowly teach him things, it was like teaching a child things from the beginning.”
“I get very impatient and it would irritate me all the time that he didn’t help out until I asked.”
“For me, if I walk into my kitchen and see like dishes sitting there or something is dirty, I immediately clean it up and move on with my life.”
“For him, he needs to be told this instead of being like oh look, dirty dish let me do it.”
“This seems like what is happening in your case.”
“It’s honestly a turn off but here I am married to this person because it wasn’t a deal breaker, I had to slowly teach him and be like hey, it makes me SO happy when I don’t have to tell you do to the laundry instead of being like omg I can’t believe you didn’t do the laundry.”
“Idk, you can call it psychological tactics or whatever.”
“I found it to be effective that when he did something nice, I would say WOW, you did this?”
“Amazing, thank you so much! “
“And noticed that he would do it more and more bc it would raise his ego and make him feel better about himself.”
“Essentially like dealing with a child, but you have to figure out a way to make it work.”
“It’s kinda sad that I had to go about it this way, but fast forward to today I’ll come home from work and he literally washed all my laundry and folded it neatly and I am just in awe.”
“He has come a long way from never being able to do laundry.”
“I would say, NTA, just be patient and sit down with her and say hey listen, I am aware we are not on the same page in terms of cleaning up and doing chores, but I will help you with anything and give you tips so that your life is easier.”
“Don’t do this for me, do it for yourself.”
“Make it look like this will make her develop better as a person rather than her doing chores for you, get what i mean?”
Maybe that little bit of encouragement might be all Mary needs to step up, and contribute more towards cleaning the house?
Either way, here’s hoping that Mary will begin to carry her weight a bit more going forward, putting less strain on her marriage to the OP.