Though we’re almost at the end of 2021, there are unfortunately still sexist stereotypes lurking around.
Sometimes our loved ones surprise us, in a bad way, when we discover they believe in antiquated ideas, admitted the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor YouCantPronounceIt was shocked when her husband began to demand that he sit at the head of the table since he was the head of the house.
But when she found out the reasoning behind it, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure if they could save their marriage.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for laughing at my husband over sitting at the head of the table?”
The OP recently returned from a trip.
“I (22 [Female]) work full-time and am the only person in the house who cooks (he claims he can not). We’ve been together 4 years and married 1.5.”
“My husband (24 [Male]) goes to school full time on the GI bill.”
“I was out of state and away from him for 5 weeks and got back yesterday. Tonight while he was napping, I cooked dinner and made dessert.”
“When he woke up, I asked him where he wanted to eat. The options were the couch, the game room (we have a couch in there), the bar in the kitchen, or the dining table.”
“He said wherever, so I set our plates at the dining table, which has six chairs (one at either end and 2 on each side).”
Their first meal back together did not go as planned.
“Since it’s the two of us, I put one plate at the head of the table and one at the right-hand seat.”
“I sat at the head of the table for no reason at all other than I got there first.”
“He came behind me and said, ‘You took my seat.'”
“I laughed and said, ‘What?'”
“To this, he replied that he’s the head of the family and he sits there.”
“I laughed, thinking he was joking, and said, ‘You have to be joking.'”
“He said no and tried to tickle me out of the chair.”
Neither of them would budge.
“I laughed and said sit down so we can eat.”
“He stood there and said if I didn’t move, he was eating on the couch.”
“I did not move and told him we were equals and that that notion is ridiculous.”
“He didn’t budge, and I told him if he went, I would actually be upset.”
“He ate on the couch, and so I told him I was upset.”
After only receiving a few comments, the OP shared her first update.
“Update 1: it’s been 20 minutes.”
“He came out to ask if I wanted to watch anything, and I told him we needed to have a conversation.”
“I told him about this post for transparency. I said what y’all recommended, asked if something happened to bring on this change.”
“He said it’s not a change, and he’s always sat at the head of the table (I told him that was by chance maybe).”
“I asked what his thoughts on our partnership were and if we were equals.”
“He said yes but it’s his spot and in his family, for generations, it’s a statement about the head of the family.”
“I told him this was not past generations, and I’m concerned about his views on our equality and that I am personally offended because I think it’s sexist and misogynist and degrading to me.”
“He said he doesn’t know what I want him to say.”
“I told him to take more time to think about it because I will die on this hill, and he stormed off.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some advised the OP to really look for the root of her husband’s beliefs.
“If it’s that out of the blue, it could be one of those things that get poured into your head when you’re a child.”
‘These things get filed in a back room under the heading of Accepted Facts, things that are just written as fact with no consideration or thought. If he can get out of his s**t long enough to consider why he just assumes that there even needs to be a ‘head’ of the family.”
“Maybe it’s just something he saw his whole life and never considered that in your family, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can choose to not have anyone be head of the household. Good luck!” – PomegranateReal3620
“I’d suggest asking him, ‘Why are you the head of OUR family?’ and see if he can even rationalize it beyond the (obviously) terrible ‘Because I’m the man’ or ‘That’s just how it is.’
“It definitely doesn’t sound like he does anything particularly in the vein of leadership here.” – boundlessvoid
“It certainly sounds like one of those things that have just been cemented into his head as ‘the way it is’ (his dad always saying they’re growing up, talked about being the ‘man of the house,’ etc).”
“If he isn’t great at dealing with change, and this has been drilled into his subconscious, his reaction makes (comparatively) more sense.”
“Of course, he’s wrong and should change his opinion, but this really doesn’t seem like a ‘kick the man to the curb’ kind of moment.” – Bob8372
Others made jokes about what the OP could do with the table.
“A cheaper solution could be to simply stop all use of either head of the table by anyone.”
“If we were doing this in our household, we’d probably permanently seat a mannequin or skeleton or something at the two ends and make some kind of elaborate joke out of that.”
“We don’t do this right now because… I was going to say, ‘because we’re not psychopaths,’ but that’s not fair. We are psychopaths.” – dfjdejulio
“I don’t mean to sound flippant, but I’d get a new dining table – a round one.”
“But definitely keep an eye out for other imbalances.” – PrideofCapestown
“Channel King Arthur: buy a round table.”
“Better yet, take a long careful look at everything you’ve experienced with him. I’d be surprised if there weren’t hints of this (sexist) belief before this.”
“Mostly, though I’m so impressed by OP’s maturity and handling of this. Thoughtful, respectful, careful communication. Good for her!” – Fiotes
After receiving more feedback, the OP posted their last two updates.
“Update 2: 1st, I’d like to say, I’m not just going to up and divorce him. I want to understand the origin of this.”
“We talked again and I asked why he felt he was the head, and he said because publicly he is seen that way. If we go out, that is what people see because he’s the guy, which he said is not necessarily his belief.”
“I told him that people didn’t come into our house and make that point and ask me to move, that was him.”
“He said that it’s not about being a guy, he’d feel that way even as a woman.”
“I said the thing is he’s not a woman, so his comparison isn’t good.”
“He said felt like the leader but not that I was inferior and we are able to lead in different aspects (he’s great at math and analysis. I’m artistic and creative).”
“I think that’s a good thing and we are closer to the bottom, and I know there was no malice behind it, but am still concerned.”
“But It was late and I have work. I asked him to think to about two things for us to talk about 1) why it’s an important role for him and why he wants to perpetuate it in our family. 2) how he thinks it makes me feel to be in this situation.”
“We’re gonna talk after I get home from work and I think we’ll reach a resolution.”
But it was the resolution the OP was expecting.
“Final update: Sorry y’all, the truth came out, he said it’s because he thinks he’s the more capable one.”
“Background: I pushed it, explaining I know it’s not a sexist thing and that’s why I’m giving him a chance to think more about it.”
“He said it wasn’t going to change and I said I just want to understand because I believe it can be something other than sexist.”
“He said he really didn’t want to tell me because I’ll be hurt. He said he thinks he’s more capable, there’s a lot I’m capable of that he’s not, but overall he’s better at a lot more than me and he’s the more capable one.”
“No more updates. Nothing more to say. Booked marriage counseling.”
The subReddit was shocked right along with the OP about her husband’s sudden insistence to sit at the head of the table, but the OP’s final update spoke volumes.
Though it seems the OP was willing to work on the situation so the couple could keep growing together, it sounds like her husband has some growing to do in regards to antiquated thinking.