Every now and again we come across a story so bizarre on Reddit that it’s hard to believe that someone could write it, and not already know that they are a giant arsehole, without having to ask strangers on the internet. Even more mind-boggling is the fact that since they are sharing their story online in such a public forum, they actually think that they are in the right, and expect confirmation of this! Such is the case with one guy whose stay-at-home wife requested help in the form of a cleaner. Feeling that paying someone to clean their home wasn’t justified, the man decided to enlist the help of his assistant to prove that his wife had ample time to take care of the domestic chores herself.
A little back story. My wife and I met at 21. We’ve been very happy together every since. We got married at 28 when she was pregnant with our daughter. I work full time in a very high stress but lucrative field. My wife stays home to take care of our little girl and the household. We are both 33.
Lately we have been fighting a lot, mostly about her “workload”. I’ve tried to be understanding, I now leave work 30 minutes early every day to pick up our daughter from school. A few weeks ago my wife really went off and kept ranting about hiring a cleaning lady so she wasn’t always so stressed. Red flags started going off in my head but I kept my concerns to myself. Our house is only 2700sqft and it’s only the 3 humans and 2 dogs. Not exactly a huge load responsibility wise. I figured she’d cool off and calm down in a few days. Nope. She started demanding I let her know what wage I’d be willing to pay! She wants to put out ads! I told her I’d take care of it. Instead I grabbed my assistant at work and sat him at my laptop for the week with the password to my home security. She’s averaging around two hours of activity a day.
Yes, that’s right. He got his assistant to watch their home security cameras for a whole week, and document his wife’s activities!!! How revolting?
7am : Wake up and get our daughter ready for the bus 8:15 : Back to bed, dogs left unwalked and unfed 11:10 – 2pm : Wake up again, let the dogs out back for nowhere near long enough, throw food in the bowls for them. Order breakfast and coffee, text message me about the ridiculous amount of dishes breakfast for her and my daughter created ( a single bowl and a single spoon in reality). Lounge around and watch TV and scroll on her phone.
2-3:30 : Very minimalistic cleaning, mostly things that are glaringly obvious. Texts me while doing so vastly inflating the difficulty level and level of actual dirt.
3:30 – I pull in after picking up my daughter.
This was all of last week and most of the week before. I confronted her on Friday. Told her I wouldn’t be hiring anyone and that she really needs to pull it together, she’s contributing almost nothing and is complaining and lying about the little she does do. That obviously didn’t go over well. She lost the plot and just continues to lie about her work load.
Am I the asshole here?
Does he really need to ask? Commenters were quick to point out that pretty much EVERYONE in this situation sucks, and that the marriage was clearly not a very healthy one.
I’ve said it more than once on this forum, I’ll say it again – once you resort to spying or surreptitiously monitoring your spouse, the relationship is over. We could spend a lot of time deliberating the finer points of assholery here (mostly OP but girl you gotta feed those dogs!) but it’s more or less moot. The minute OP decided to task his admin with spying on and logging her activities, the relationship was doomed. – nachtkaese
Other people pointed out that instead of being annoyed at his wife, her actions might be signs that she is struggling with her mental health.
Sounds like it could be depression, which can look an awful lot like laziness from the outside. It makes “doing things” (even seemingly simple things) feel incredibly onerous.
If it is depression or similar, it is totally possible that 1) OP’s wife is truly overwhelmed (mentally/emotionally) by the prospect of getting out of bed let alone performing tasks, and 2) even those these are brief and simple tasks, OP is being truthful when she says she’s giving real effort and needs help.
Whether or not there is a mental health explanation, isn’t it still better to have approached your partner with some grace and compassion, giving her the benefit of the doubt instead of immediately jumping to impugning her character by accusing her of laziness and dishonesty? If it is mental health related, you’ll have shamed and insulted her for no good reason. Even if it isn’t mental health related and she truly is just taking advantage, you still lose nothing by starting with grace and concern.
OP, you aren’t T A for wanting to feel like you and your partner are contributing more equally to the household. YTA for spying on her for a week (and dragging your employee into it!) and immediately jumping to the most shaming, insulting approach when raising the issue with her. – kagzig
Other people expressed sympathy for the assistant tasked with the job of spying.
Sometimes you need evidence to show you’re being taken advantage of. It’s the same as hiring a private investigator.
The fucked up part isn’t the cameras, it’s forcing the assistant to sit through it all. What happens if the wife decided to have herself a menage a moi in sight of one of the cameras? At least a P.I is paid for this stuff, and they have some discretion.
I was expecting OP to say something like “I had my assistant do my work for the week while I documented her activities.”. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect the reverse to happen. – IraqiWalker
Exactly! That is so unethical to use your power as a boss to force someone to spy on your wife. If you’re that suspicious, hire a PI. Or better yet, get a divorce! – Lola-the-showgirl
YTA for how you talk about your wife, operate in bad faith, and waste your employee’s time by making him spy on your wife. Absolutely ridiculous and immoral behavior.
Instead of immediately dismissing and then spying on your wife, did you ever consider having some empathy and concern? If her responsibilities are really so minimal, why is she stressing out? Untreated PPD? Depression? Burnout? Give an actual damn about your wife.
Approach your wife with reason and care and maybe you can resolve this. It would be nice if you acted like you liked her.
And if you don’t, then get divorced so you can both be happy. – Wooster182
It was unanimously decided that he is indeed an arsehole – no surprises there! But the jury is still out on whether his wife is bone idol or unwell.
What would you do if you found out your partner had spied on you like this?