Seeing our loved ones when they are at their worst is a painful experience, but a necessary one. It takes a lot of strength to sit by someone we love who is sick and possibly not going to make it, knowing that these moments we spend with them may be their last.
Reddit user throwinitaway96 was spending such time with her mother, wondering if her mother was going to make it through a particularly bad episode, when her partner confronted her about the amount of time she was spending with her ill mom.
After standing up for herself, she had some questions about her behavior. Wanting validation for her choices, she went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for feedback.
“AITA for spending a lot of time at the hospital?”
Our original poster, or OP, let us know that both her life with her mom and with her partner have been a struggle.
“Obligatory apologies for formatting, am on mobile. Have been a lurker for quite sometime but find myself now posting – using throwaway because privacy.”
“For background: My (25F[emale]) partner (26M[ale]) and I have been together for 5 years this coming May and we’ve been living together for 4 1/2 of those years and our relationship is by no means perfect.”
“I am an only child and he is from a blended family; absent bio father; mum remarried (now divorced) when he was a baby and has three younger half-sisters.”
“Family is my number one priority whereas his familial relationships are all very strained and have been since I’ve known him. Moving on!”
OP’s mom is sick and in need of attention.
“My mum has been in hospital for just shy of 7 weeks with congestive heart failure, currently awaiting open heart surgery.”
“She has been sick my whole life so this is nothing new, but this is way more serious than usual. She has always been my best friend and I’m by her side every day of the week even if only for 1 hour – I do also work full time.”
But OP’s boyfriend is pretty dependent on her.
“My partner is very dependent on me to the point where he doesn’t eat if I don’t buy/cook for him.”
“I usually spend most of my days off at the hospital, taking care of my mum as my dad is an alcoholic who is barely around to help out, (although he does what he can).”
“Today was no exception to that, I came home around 10pm (which is admittedly really late) after leaving the hospital and stopping in at the grocery store to get my partner some things.”
OP’s boyfriend was very unhappy.
“I get home and he blows me up about never being home and how he feels like he doesn’t have a girlfriend anymore and that I don’t love him or care about him.”
“An argument ensues and I basically told him to suck it up because my mum is my number 1 priority until she’s home and he’s 26 so he should really start acting his age because I am not his mother.”
“He hasn’t spoken to me since and said that was really mean and uncalled for, he was just telling me how he feels. We are now sleeping in separate rooms.”
“So reddit, AITA here?”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors actually thought the problem was way deeper than just OP’s boyfriend demanding more time.
“NTA. Honey are you sure you are not with him because you are used to taking care of someone?”
“Because he is an adult who should be fully capable of taking care of himself in every single way without you.”
“The type of situation your Mom is literally at the life/death stage. You should be able to be with her as much as you need to be with a supportive partner at home.”
“This is also a huge red flag and you have had enough trouble in your life to keep seeking those type of relationships.”~lostlonelyworld
“I have some fairly serious health issues. I was just discharged from hospital Saturday afternoon after being admitted on Tuesday.”
“My husband and I have been married almost 13 years. When we got married, we were just barely seeing a tiny bit of the scope of what we’d end up dealing with in terms of my health.”
“He was supportive from the get go. We were dumb college kids but he sure as hell knew how to feed himself, clean our apartment, and help me and support me, and still get himself to class and work no problem.”
“We have four kids now and he is more than capable of taking care of them and himself and his career and the house etc the few tiles a year I end up hospitalized.”
“And when he’s needed surgery or been ill or overwhelmed, I’ve been there to help him and support him. You need a partnership, not another caretaking responsibility.”
“You’re dealing with something serious and hard. He should be getting the groceries and checking in on you.”
“You shouldn’t have to worry about a grown man being able to feed himself while sitting by your mother’s hospital bed.”
“You’re absolutely NTA and deserve better.”~thidwickthemoose
“I’m telling you right now that if he can’t see extended family as a priority than you and any kids you all may have together in the future will be secondary.”
“You will be the primary diaper-changer, picker-upper, cook, person who spends time with the children, etc.”
“Even if you don’t have kids, you want to know that he can cook for you and support you. It sounds like you are running yourself ragged trying to support everyone.”
“One job of a partner is to be your support too. NTA”~Water_Lilly_A
“NTA what kind of 26 year old man can’t figure out how to make a sandwich?! Please stop mothering him and continue being a good daughter, you’re doing great.”
“Hope your mum gets well soon and your partner/grown up son learns the word ‘supportive.'”~Wise_Date_5357
People are noting the unhealthy behavior of the relationship between OP’s boyfriend and herself.
“Well does he want a girlfriend or a mom? Do you want a boyfriend or a son?”
“If he doesn’t cook, that’s okay, (he should learn, imo, but whatever). He should, however, be able to order something.”
“When my mom was in the hospital with my grandpa me and my father took care of things around house. What we didn’t know we figured out.”
“Right now, my mom is having back problems and I’m doing all the cooking for the past couple of weeks. My dad has been taking care of cleaning.”
“That’s the very LEAST he should be doing for you. The way I see it, you and your mom should be his number 1 priority until she’s out of the hospital, not himself.”~Trootter
“He’s literally acting worse than a 4 year old.”
“My little granddaughter woke up one day before her dad did, and went to get herself a banana before turning on the tv and then waking her dad up (she offered him a bite of her half munched banana as well).”
“The situation with your mother is massively important – your so called partner isn’t supporting you in any kind of way, and he should be.”
“He needs to stop putting his wants ahead of your actual needs.. and honestly, he should be cooking for you. NTA.” ~singing_stream
“NTA for spending time at the hospital. Y – T – A for allowing that unfortunate level of codependency.”
“He should be displaying far more empathy; but when the partner has been infantilized, I am not really sure why you are expecting any other reaction.”
“You need to decide if you want a child or an adult as a partner and then COMMUNICATE your expectations, perspectives, and feelings from there.”
“All the best to your mum. I hope she has a quick, and complication free recovery.”~KatatonicRubies
“NTA Your partner doesn’t care about you. He only cares about what you do for him. He should be cooking and making sure there’s leftovers in the fridge for you.”
“He should be going to the grocery store. He should be supporting you while your mother is in the hospital, not treating you like a lazy maid/cook.”
“Think about it. If the roles were reversed, and it was his family member in the hospital, would you be upset that he wasn’t cooking you dinner? Or would you be doing everything you could to support him?”
“I’m guessing it’s the second one. His behavior is unacceptable. If one of your family members or close friends had a partner like him, would you encourage them to work harder to make him happy?”
“Or worry for them and their unhealthy relationship. I’m willing to bet that you know, somewhere, deep down, that your partner is awful and that you deserve better.”~QuixoticLogophile
OP gave an update about the situation with her boyfriend:
“Wow thank you for all the well wishes for mum and for the rewards! I’m slowly trawling through the replies (currently working from the hospital) and I thought I’d give a bit more info just from what I’ve read so far.”
- “My partner and I are both able-bodied people. I have diagnosed depression and insomnia, we think he may have undiagnosed OCD.”
- “He is the eldest child and had an extremely traumatic childhood so I can understand his mum wanting to take extra care of him but getting him out of that expectation has definitely proven to be a challenge.”
- “He also works full-time but has recently decided that the stress of 40 hours per week is too much and plans to reduce his hours.”
- “I realised earlier this year that I am definitely an enabler and I am working on setting more boundaries, promise!”
- “We have talked about having kids but this is the biggest ‘test’ of our relationship so far and I have to admit, it’s not going well.”
“I realise now that this is relationship is not healthy at all and I’m not confrontational in the slightest but I will talk to him tonight and settle this for hopefully the last time… whatever that means!”
This conversation could be instrumental in the way forward around OP and her boyfriend’s relationship.
Will that mean breaking up? Taking a huge step back? Or will nothing change at all and the cycle be doomed to repeat itself?
OP has a big choice to make now. We wish her all the best with it.