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Woman Upset After Being Told To ‘Get Therapy’ For Her ‘Ridiculous’ Phobia Of Cold Things

Woman bundled up in the cold
Paulo Amorim/Getty Images

All of us have a phobia of one kind or another.

Ranging from the common, such as snakes, spiders or rodents, to the more unusual, such as leaves, paper, or ice cream.

In some cases, these phobias tend to be fairly minor, and even if we wish we weren’t, we can at least tolerate seeing, or even being in the same room, with the things which terrify us.

Some people are less lucky however, and even the very mention of the thing they’re afraid of can send them into a full blown panic attack.

Such was sadly the case for the girlfriend of Redditor Better-Bad, who had a crippling fear of something which was nearly impossible to avoid.

As a result, this phobia began to affect her life in a possibly damaging manner, leading the original poster (OP) to intervene.

Something his girlfriend did not appreciate one bit.

Worried he overstepped, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for telling my girlfriend that her phobia is ridiculous and she needs treatment?”

The OP explained how he felt that his girlfriend’s phobia had finally gotten to a point where measures needed to be taken.

“My (20) girlfriend (21) has a very severe phobia of cold things.”

“We live in England, so this is an issue for like, half of the year.”

“She refuses to touch anything that might be cold, including the floor with her feet in winter, door handles, walls, cold water, absolutely anything.”

“She has to run a full bath of very hot water before she has a shower to ‘make sure the floor isn’t cold’.”

“She also will not eat cold food or drink cold drinks at any time of year.”

“This means that she drinks almost entirely tea and coffee, with the occasional hot juice, meaning she’s always anxious because of the sheer volume of caffeine she takes in.”

“It’s winter in the UK right now, so her phobia is in full swing.”

“It’s getting ridiculous to see her refusing to do literally anything because she might have to touch something cold.”

“On Thursday, she left her slipper boots on the other side of the bedroom, she had socks on, but took them off when she got in bed, so she called in sick to work and stayed in bed all day.”

“When I got back from work, I work 8-4, she woke up at about 11, so she waited about 5 and a half hours, she was desperate for the toilet, really hungry, and distressed.”

“Why didn’t she call someone to help her?”

“Her phone was on the window ledge so it would be cold.”

“I told her that her this situation is ‘ridiculous’, and she needs to ‘get some therapy’ because she can’t live like this, and it’s really impractical for her to literally not go to work because of this.”

“It’s super annoying and I don’t know how she intends to get through life like this.”

“She was extremely upset and told me that I’m an a**hole for not taking her seriously, she said she realizes this is ridiculous but she can’t help it.”

“I told her she could help it if she tried to get some help.”

“Just to add, she is okay going outside in the cold air, but as usual won’t touch anything cold.”

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 generally agreed that the OP was not the a**Hole for urging their girlfriend to seek professional help.

Just about everyone agreed that the OP’s girlfriend’s fear of all things cold was completely irrational, and if she didn’t seek help sooner rather than later, it likely will only get worse.


“If this phobia is affecting her ability to work, maintain social relationships, and even go to the toilet, she needs help.”

“You sound very very patient here.”- screwedforgp

“She needs a psychiatrist.”

“Pronto.”- chlorthalidone1


“You did take her seriously, that’s why you said she needs help.”- SConn5


“You ARE taking her seriously.”

“That’s why you’re saying she needs therapy.”

“If you weren’t taking her seriously you’d be doing what I imagine a lot of people would do and just leave her to her own self-destructive devices.”- badgerbane


“This isn’t normal or functional.”

“She needs professional help.”- 7__________36


“Phobias are, by their nature, ridiculous.”

“They’re defined as irrational.”

“Luckily, phobias are one of the most ‘curable’ conditions, and usually pretty easily so.”

“Find help for her.”

“Call whatever and book her an appt with a psychologist with experience dealing with phobias.”

“Not for nothing, but your gf also lacks problem-solving skills.”

“Take the warm blankets, reverse them and toss them on the floor so you’re standing on the warm part was just against you, and walk them over to your slippers.”- Bobbob34

“NTA sounds like a sensory issue has evolved into a more obsessive type issue.”

“If it’s effecting her life to this point she could use some help.”- icd10

There were others, however, who felt the OP could have been a bit more diplomatic and sensitive in how they handled things, with others urging them to proceed with caution.

“NAH, but calling her phobia ‘ridiculous’ was insensitive, especially considering that’s virtually the definition of a phobia, as opposed to a rational fear.”

“It’s more than ‘super annoying’, it’s significantly disabling.”

“Approach this like an illness, and not an annoying habit.”- WebbieVanderquack

“NTA, but dont become one.”

“My SO has/had thermophobia, it’s an extreme fear of anything hot, warm, or things that cause burns.”

“It just came on suddenly one day after she had a random panic attack, nothing caused it, something just clicked.”

“She ended up having CPD, Cognitive behavioral therapy, which really did help.”

“I’m sure it’s been suggested somewhere in these comments.”

“At the height of her fear she couldn’t be in the same room as a candle, couldn’t take warm baths, have ANY sort of warm meal.”

“We worked through it together, used a thermometer to work up the temperature on her baths to what would be considered normal, she’d do light cooking jobs near the oven, pour the kettle, etc.”

“She’s nearly past it all now, she does her own cooking, runs her own baths, she’s basically back to how she was before it all clicked and I’m super proud of her.”

“OP you should have an honest talk with your partner about it and seek some help together.”

“Don’t take anything she does personally, if she needs to work at it herself then let her.”

“But let her know you’re there when she needs you.”

“If you need to talk about anything hit me up in a message.”

“Just don’t become the a**hole, your girlfriend can’t control how she feels and needs to learn how to control it again.”

“The brain is a funny thing.”- Talton1

“NTA for telling her to get a treatment.”

“YTA for telling her that it is ridiculous.”

“If a phobia influences your life so badly, then she really should seek help.”-Feroc


“Your girlfriend’s phobia seems to be debilitating and I can see where you are coming from.”

“Thought I also understand how the way you worded it could have come across as unsympathetic and dismissive.”- imatuesdayperson


“And it sounds like you were taking her seriously by suggesting therapy.”

“If it js seriously negatively impacting her life then yes, she needs to get help.”- scarypigeon

“As someone with OCD, I know that I have patterns of thinking and behaving that are irrational and illogical.”

“But I genuinely cannot help it. It would be incredibly hurtful for someone to tell me that I was being ridiculous, because even though I understand how illogical my behaviors and thought processes are, it feels like they are truly out of my control.”

“Like I am subject to them against my will.”

“So I can understand why your girlfriend feels hurt by what you said.”

“I vote NTA because your heart is in the right place, and your girlfriend really does need professional help.”

‘But I think terms like debilitating or severe instead of ridiculous would feel less hurtful and make your concern come across to her as more genuine.”

“As someone who does go to therapy for cognitive behavioral strategies, I can seriously say that it works.”

“I hope for the best for her!”

“And OP, thanks for sticking with her.”

“Not many would.”- dalupa


“But please be gentle.”

“She actually sounds really really really unwell.”

“This sounds like a form of OCD.”

“Please consider calling her GP to see about treatment.”- bakeryfiend

The OP’s frustrations are certainly understandable, as their girlfriend’s fear of all things cold are worrisome, to say the least.

However, the fears of the OP’s girlfriend are serious enough that the OP needs to handle it with the utmost care if they want her to. make any progress.

One can only hope she’ll eventually be willing to get the help she needs.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.