Successfully managing a healthy marriage or partnership is a thing most couples strive for. However, a good relationship doesn’t just happen—it takes a lot of hard work, patience and learning from failure. Yet, reaching this goal is quite difficult if your partner is constantly criticizing and nitpicking every single thing you do.

One Reddit user, Millie Barnes, knows this feeling all too well. The woman created a post on r/MaliciousCompliance telling about her now ex-husband and how he demanded that she cook the dinner only he wanted, the way he wanted it.

The author decided to follow his request to the letter, which led to completely ruining their brand-new Teflon pot. Her story was a real conversation starter—hundreds of people started sharing their own experiences about how their spouses revealed their true selves only after saying "I do". We collected some of the best answers from the thread, so check them out below.

Reddit user Millie Barnes created a thread about her ex-husband and his irrational demands

Image credits: milliebarnes

Her story went viral and many users started sharing similar experiences

#1

30 Times People Criticized Their Partners And Had A Price To Pay I got married in 1979 and have the opposite story! On our first morning as a married couple, I got up early and made a nice breakfast for both of us, just as my mom made for my dad every day. My husband ate it politely and then told me he didn't actually eat breakfast and I certainly didn't need to cook it for him.

We've been married 42 years now.

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Dwight k schrute.
Community Member
4 months ago

I like this one

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We reached out to the author of this post to talk about her experience and discuss how bullying and criticism can ruin a marriage. Millie Barnes said that she was really surprised at the amount of attention her story received. 

"One of the replies that really stood out to me was a young woman in her thirties who told me that the same issues are still present in relationships, and that really shocked me. I guess we haven't come so far after all," she told Bored Panda

The incident took place a long time ago, in 1971, to be exact, but the user decided to share it only now. The reason is simply that she has gotten more active on Reddit recently. Millie has been looking and reading others’ stories for years, so she figured to post one of her own and "see what people's response was."

#2

30 Times People Criticized Their Partners And Had A Price To Pay My parents got married in the late 1960's, and my mother began running the office side of his (their) business. Early on, she asked what her monthly allowance would be. He looked at her like she was crazy and said "we're partners, the money is ours, spend what you need to". They drove each other crazy and loved each other fiercely for over 40 years. It was a great marriage..

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Fat Harry
Community Member
4 months ago

It's so nice having stories like this to balance out the horrible stories about controlling and abusive partners. Actually, it's a shame they're not all like this.

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#3

30 Times People Criticized Their Partners And Had A Price To Pay My old college friend married up to an intelligent, kind, lovely woman. They were both teachers. Sincere young people. But not long after the wedding, knowing chili was one of his favorite meals, she made it as a surprise for him for dinner.

Dumb sh*t that he was, he spent the entire meal telling her how to make it better. They've been married for more than 40 years and have two beautiful adult daughters, but when he wants chili, he has to make it himself, because she has never made it since.

gadousti , flickr Report

Lord Mysticlaw
Community Member
4 months ago

Tbh I wouldn't either of I were her

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It seems that many found the thread relevant because only in a few days it has gone viral. It reached 17.7K upvotes and more than 1.3K comments where people started writing about their past and present experiences. Thinking about her own story, Millie remembers that it was a time when she was very young, "We hadn't even heard of the Equal Rights Amendment yet and my parents didn't care to hear what I was going through."

"They, along with a lot of other people, just simply said that I was married now and it was my job to be a good wife," the author told us that she didn’t agree with them and felt sick and tired of how she was being treated. "We did date for two and a half years but this was the late sixties and I was in high school, and there weren't that many things to fight about."

#4

30 Times People Criticized Their Partners And Had A Price To Pay I asked my new husband how come I always have to make the bed!!? He sweetly said, well when I get up you are still sleeping in it. I hadn't thought that one through.

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Mohsie Supposie
Community Member
4 months ago

Last one up makes the bed!

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#5

30 Times People Criticized Their Partners And Had A Price To Pay I had to laugh at this. When I got married my wife became a stay at home and I was insistent that my laundry be done a certain way. Well guess who’s been doing his own laundry for the last 11 years. Still married and still get the occasional opportunity to apologize for it, but damn I wish I could send a letter to my younger self that simply says, “say thank you and shut up”!

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lenka
Community Member
4 months ago

lol. My husband now does all the laundry for the same reason. He tried telling me all the ways I was doing it wrong. I agreed wholeheartedly and left him to it. We are happily married 12 years and counting but that wasn't one of his brighter moments.

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However, at the beginning of the relationship, she and her ex-husband didn’t fight and he didn’t seem that controlling at first. But some spouses wait until the wedding band is on to let their true selves come out. Millie said that the morning after they got married, he decided that he was the man of the house and was going to make requests and tell her what to do. 

"That didn't fly with me. It wasn't so much criticism … as a power struggle," since Millie felt she was an equal partner in their relationship, but he didn’t see it that way. "I got pregnant within a month after the marriage even though by that time I was very unhappy. But when my daughter was born I knew I was going to leave. I left when she was 6 months old."

#6

30 Times People Criticized Their Partners And Had A Price To Pay I had to chuckle when I read this post. I too married in 1971 and my marriage also lasted only a year and a half. Ex was a misogynistic ex marine and I was naive while still learning my own life boundaries. He showed me how to fold all his clothes ”properly” including his underwear and t-shirts and exactly how they were to be placed in the drawers. He also wouldn’t ”let me” advance my nursing practice with more education. Yep…dumped his controlling a*s. UGH

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Jo Choto
Community Member
4 months ago

Nowadays, I think a lot of us would say, "Well, if it's that important to you, dear, you had better do it yourself."

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#7

30 Times People Criticized Their Partners And Had A Price To Pay On a related note, does anybody else think it is wrong when the person who never actually DOES a chore criticizes or refuses any attempts to make said chore easier?

I often tell of my dad's grandpa who had a Category 5 melt down when my dad bought his grandma a washing machine. She was SEVENTY years old and still doing laundry twice a week IN THE BATHTUB. It took HOURS and physical strength she clearly no longer had. The reason he was losing his sh*t? The "expensive" laundry soap the machine would need. THE SAME DAMN LAUNDRY SOAP she was already using in the bathtub for the last 30 years.

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Jo Choto
Community Member
4 months ago

This is the reason we should all be really, really glad that divorce is now acceptable, because back in the day, women had no freedom and no escape.

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When asked to share her thoughts on what a happy marriage should look like, Millie mentioned that respect is one of the most important components in a healthy coupledom. Often we seem to forget that "there are two people in a marriage and one doesn't get to tell the other one what to do."

"What I have discovered over the years is the vast majority of relationships in our culture are based on codependency. I've run my own business for 35 years and even the people I dated along the way either wanted to become a part of my business or tell me how to run it."

#8

30 Times People Criticized Their Partners And Had A Price To Pay My ex used to tell me in the morning what he wanted for dinner that night, then he would come home and start screaming at me for cooking it because he had changed his mind about what he wanted over the course of the day (but couldn't be bothered to call me and tell me). Then he would storm out of the house and go have dinner at a restaurant or at his parents' house. AFTER having thrown away whatever I was cooking so I couldn't eat it. He would tell me that I wasn't allowed to eat supper because I'd messed it up for him. Of course after he left I would order a pizza or run out to McDonald's or Subway and get myself something and make sure he didn't find out.

I only found out years later that he was using it as an excuse to spend his evenings with other women rather than at home with me. He had to make me feel like it was my fault that he wasn't at home in the evenings. And his parents knew he was doing it and covered up for him for years.

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Buren
Community Member
4 months ago

It's so good to read the word 'EX'

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#9

30 Times People Criticized Their Partners And Had A Price To Pay Same year, 1971 my dad told my mum to put the dinner in the oven as he was out drinking. It was salad - he beat her badly for it and she said it was worth every punch. Obviously divorced shortly after!

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Rachknits
Community Member
4 months ago

Wow thats awful. I'm glad she was able to leave

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Needless to say, the author of this post does not have time for such nonsense: "I'm a very strong person who considers herself an autonomous being who doesn't need to live with a partner in order to be happy. I have had two very very long-term relationships in my life but we never live together." And she thinks that the reason they have continued for so long is that the personal boundaries stayed intact. 

Millie Barnes mentioned that she is now much better at recognizing red flags at the beginning of the relationship and ending it before it’s too late, or in her words, "when there is no emotional intimacy or the other person has no ability to effectively negotiate or reach compromises."

#10

30 Times People Criticized Their Partners And Had A Price To Pay My wife demanded I don't dig the knife into the butter but scrape across the top. Marriage lasted 1 month. Funny thing is it was her idea to separate. She said she couldn't be with someone who wouldn't agree to her way of doing things. Also I think she may have been cheating on me

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Jo Choto
Community Member
4 months ago

If the marriage lasted around 30 days, chances are you knew you shouldn't be getting married in the first place.

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#11

30 Times People Criticized Their Partners And Had A Price To Pay Reminds me of a story about my parents. My mom is from Missouri, dad from California. Shortly after they got married, my dad said he wanted some avocados. Mom has never even seen one before, and asked my dad how to prepare it. Dad was a smart a*s, so he just said to bake it, thinking my mom was joking. Mom split an avocado in half, baked it until basically charcoal, and when dad started laughing at her, she threw it on his plate and said if he didn't eat it, the next thing he tasted would be the pan she had in her hand. My dad ate it, and never again in almost 50 yrs of marriage specifically requested avocado.

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Caro Caro
Community Member
4 months ago

Her reaction Haaahaha. Ready to shove the pan down his gullet.

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#12

30 Times People Criticized Their Partners And Had A Price To Pay I know a couple that divorced because their washer broke. She was a sahm, and he did coal mining. When she'd been trying to wash the coal dust out of his clothes in the bathtub for a month, she got upset. The last straw was him getting a bonus and buying a new tv instead of a washer.

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Iris
Community Member
4 months ago

Had to look up what a sahm was.. ("stay at home mom" for those who are also wondering

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#13

30 Times People Criticized Their Partners And Had A Price To Pay My father was one of these people. We had to do everything according to his desires. As an example he made my brothers and I mow the lawn with clippers instead of using a lawn mower. And there are many more examples that I won’t bore you with. It was ridiculous. All of our friends made fun of us.

After that childhood, no one was ever going to rule my life again. I ran away at 16 and never looked back. Now everyone in my life knows that I do things my own way and have no expectations that anyone ever do anything ‘my’ way. What an exhausting way to live.

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Mary Rose Kent
Community Member
4 months ago

Walking the walk...NICE!

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#14

My husband showed me how he prefers to fold shirts and couple pairs of socks. I basically told him, that’s nice! And kept doing it my own way. He can fold how he wants and I’ll fold how I want.

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Caro Caro
Community Member
4 months ago

Problem solved.

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#15

30 Times People Criticized Their Partners And Had A Price To Pay Oh boy. I got married in 2017. He knew beforehand I didnt want kids but apparently after we got married, he thought that would change for some reason. He told me he wouldnt allow me to change my birth control out(implant in the arm) so we could have kids. I left him a few months later. Insane.

Have an amazing boyfriend now. Although, scared to get married so he's okay waiting for a while

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De Gueb
Community Member
4 months ago

I had the opposite, My GF and I moved in when I was 40 and she was 36. She said that she never wanted kids, happy to be a aunty. We had a great few years together until she started to want kids because all her friends & family where popping kids out like hot buns. I loved her and eventfully gave in and decided to try buy thank god she couldn't get pregnant. It destroyed are relationship and I had to split up with her.

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#16

30 Times People Criticized Their Partners And Had A Price To Pay My mother told the story of my father pestering her to make stuffed peppers when they were first married.

She finally relented and made them.

He ate the filling and left the peppers.

That was the only time in her life that she made stuffed peppers.

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Caro Caro
Community Member
4 months ago

Do this, do that. These stories are starting to piss me off. I know what I would have done with those uneaten peppers ....

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#17

30 Times People Criticized Their Partners And Had A Price To Pay A coworker told me the "hilarious" story of his honeymoon, during which he caught a fish and demanded his new wife prepare and cook it for their dinner.

His wife, who he knew full well hated both cooking and fish, who had no idea how to gut and prepare one, was upset by this. He insisted she had no choice but to do it, and he hung it on a line to be prepared later and went off to shower.

As his wife enjoyed a nice cup of tea and pondered (presumably?) why she decided to marry such a prick, a goanna snuck up to the fish and nipped it off the line in one whole piece. New hubby heard laughter and ran outside just in time to see the goanna shuffling off with his tasty prize as wife collapsed in delighted giggles

She could easily have chased the goanna off, but karma is a bitch

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Nugua
Community Member
4 months ago (edited)

Goannas are a family of carnivorous lizards, species ranging between 20cm to 2,50m, living in Australia and South East Asia. Just sharing my Google results for my fellow Europeans (and perhaps Americans).

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#18

30 Times People Criticized Their Partners And Had A Price To Pay My ex would wake up and demand I give him a blow job and that I walk down to a local Taco Joe's and get him some breakfast. That marriage didn't last long, either. They wait until the wedding ring is on, then their true selves come out.

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Susie Elle
Community Member
4 months ago

Buy him a Dyson with his money and tell him to stick that on his peepee, then leave.

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#19

My ex-FIL nearly had a stroke when my then husband cheerfully volunteered to change our newborn's diaper. I think he was trying to impress his mom. Anyway, the FIL angrily told him "No!! You've got to teach her that men don't do women's work, or you'll be stuck doing everything forever." I filed for divorce when our baby was 18 months old. I'm not cleaning up after a grown a*s adult. He would put all his trash on top of the refrigerator. I opened the freezer and empty Sprite cans and cigarette packets rained down on me.

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Ines Olabarria-Smith
Community Member
4 months ago

My father was “old school” but always tidy and polite. This guy was awful.

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#20

30 Times People Criticized Their Partners And Had A Price To Pay Sounds a lot like my dad when he told me that I should "stop giving a sh*t" once I got married. Nowadays hes blocked on everything and divorced. Had "family therapy" where he claimed everything he did to my mother was fine because it was "what adults do." Some people are f*cked up

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Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
4 months ago

Imagine the therapist’s reaction to THAT bullshit remark.

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#21

30 Times People Criticized Their Partners And Had A Price To Pay The wife of a couple i know was married once before. He ex was a real prick and would get drunk and beat her. One day she cooked him a stroganoff from a jar. What she didn't realise was the jar had been opened and the sauce gave him food poisoning and put him in hospital for four days. The next time he beat her, she went and bought a jar, opened the lid and put it back in the cupboard.

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Demi Zwaan
Community Member
4 months ago

Why is there a "next time"? Don't do petty revenge, leave his ass after the first time he lays his hands on you! Glad it's now an ex, but I hope she didn't wait too long.

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#22

My friend's husband and sons used to make fun of her cooking. After a while, she refused to cook.

Her husband is an excellent cook.

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Bobby
Community Member
4 months ago

...the neanderthal encouraged his children to ridicule his partner? Sorry, but even Anthony Bourdain's culinary skills wouldn't inspire me to stay in that relationship.

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#23

My wife one day got pissy about how I was doing the dishes, while doing them. I stopped, poured a beer and went to watch TV without saying a word.

She hated doing the dishes the next week but she apologized eventually

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Jo Choto
Community Member
4 months ago

A lesson we could all learn is, don't criticize your partner for doing things differently from you. If it's a real problem (dishes not actually clean), it's okay to point it out after the fact and ask them to be a bit more fastidious. But if you want to share responsibilities, you have to accept that you may have different methodologies.

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#24

This reminds me of a story my mom tells me about when her and my dad got married.

She was raised on a farm and got used to her mother making all meals from scratch, including homemade chicken soup.

She decided that night that they would have homemade chicken soup. She got everything together the way that her mother would and cook the soup just the way that my grandmother would. But she did not know that you are supposed to skim the fat off of the top of the soup and remove the skin after it's done.

Like you said, it was a different time back then. Dad came home and did not think twice about the soup. He had learned how to cook from his mother so he would have known better, if he had thought to check. But in those days the husbands expected their wives to know how to cook and what needed to be done in the kitchen.

They both got very sick from the heavy amount of fat they consumed. They also decided to check after each other from that day forward to make sure everything turned out good.

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Nugua
Community Member
4 months ago

I regularly make chicken soup by scratch, I never skim any fat off. There isn't much fat in an old hen anyways. And these few drops definitely don't get anyone sick.

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#25

There's a GREAT story about the beginnings of a marriage and now the tone was set.

A woman in the Midwest got married some time in the nineteen-forties, guessing from the context. After the wedding, the bride took her new husband's hand and said, "We are married. I am your wife. There are some things I won't put up with."

"If you ever raise a hand to me, one night when you are sleeping I will sew you* into the sheets and beat you to death with a frying pan."

The rest of the story is this, told by a grandchild: "Grampa was always the kindlest, gentlest man I ever knew."

*The asterisk is to tell you I recognize that this is a slightly archaic activity and you may not have heard of it. It has to do with creating clothing out of cloth.

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Tess the ferret
Community Member
4 months ago

Haha the sewing explanation 🤣

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#26

My brother got married in 1971. He was miserable with his b*itchy narcissistic wife. They produced two kids. He kept himself extremely busy with working 2-3 jobs, and attending meetings most evenings.

He refuses to divorce her. But both of their kids got married, and soon after, divorced. He was puzzled as to why. I told him they never learned how to be married because he was never home.

Duhhh

They both got remarried. One is divorced again.

Kudos to you for getting out of a bad marriage, and not allowing your ego to keep you there.

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Jo Choto
Community Member
4 months ago

Our relationships styles and expectations are so heavily influenced by what we grow up with in our own home. If you grow up with no example of a healthy adult relationship, it's going to be very, very hard for you to participate in one yourself.

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#27

My ex and I lived together for a couple months before we got married. She wanted to be a homemaker, so that's what she did: Quit her job a week before we got married. Okay, I'll try that. Get home from work, expecting a filling meal, and what did she prepare? A can of soup. One single can of tomato soup! This was supposed to feed Me, her, and her 3-year-old daughter???

I didn't yell or hit her. I just stood up, put together a couple grilled cheese sandwiches, gave one to the little girl, and kept one for myself. She asked where hers was, and I replied, "Well, since you think a bowl of soup is a meal, that's what you get."

Afterwards, I explained to her that I eat light during the day so I don't get weighed down by the food: when I get home from work, I'm starving. Likewise, a three year old needs more than just a small bowl of soup because she's growing and needs the extra variety. From then on, we generally had a 3 course meal for supper: Meat, Potatoes, and a veggie. (it was a bear trying to get her to buy fresh fruits and veggies: she only knew how to cook from a can)

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Lord Mysticlaw
Community Member
4 months ago (edited)

So what was she feeding the kid for 3 years? Also not sure why he said he didn't yell or hit her like that's some kind of accomplishment.

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#28

I cook in my relation ship (cisM [me] married to a cisF [spouse]), the arrangement is I cook, she cleans. It is my responsibility to be mindful of how many dishes I make, and she tells me if the food sucks.

She had her grandmother's pierogi recipe that she want to to make for turkey day and it makes like 8 dozen wrappers, but only 4 dozen fillings. She got very upset when I asked about making a different filling to put some variety in them. I mean I felt like I was just trying to be creative with my solution to the problem but apparently I really hit a bad nerve.

I guess my point is, you need to know what your place in the dynamic is. Know when to push back, and know when to accommodate. But it should never feel one sided.

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Fat Harry
Community Member
4 months ago

Why not just "M" and "F"? The CIS part is surely irrelevant? In fact, even the M and F are irrelevant, now I come to think about it.

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#29

When I was first married, in 1974, we were sort of hippies. My husband had the trappings but underneath was a straight catholic boy. Always willing to help out domestically, as he was brought up by a widow in the 50's/60's and knew a woman's lot was hard.

One day he comes out with the phrase 'Husband Time" I just looked at him and said I only have one kind of time, "My name, Time". I nipped that sucker in the bud.

Flash forward, married for 47 years. He still thinks about husband time, I can tell, but wouldn't dare mention it...LOL.

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Demi Zwaan
Community Member
4 months ago

So, what exactly is husband time? I mean, didn't he just want a little 'me time', just like you?

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#30

30 Times People Criticized Their Partners And Had A Price To Pay In honor of the Holidays, imma share my story. I had worked 12 hour shifts all week, decorated the house, bought stupid toys the kids wanted and spent all day cooking festive meal (Turkey, sides, desserts, blah blah blah…) I was tiiiiiired. When I told my then husband I was tired, he said “I don’t know why you even bothered. Me and the kids would have been happy with grilled cheese sandwiches.”

A beautiful snow globe of a light bulb went off above my head. I gazed at him in wonder, and replied “For once, you are right. I don’t know why I bother either.” After that day, I packed up whatever sh!t I could fit in my car, took the kids and left. Fast forward 20 years and I still dislike Christmas.

Sincerely, Mrs. Grinch

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Jo Choto
Community Member
4 months ago

Wow. That's an overreaction and a half. You put yourself through all that stress and misery and your partner told you that you didn't need to. So you left the marriage? If you are exhausted because you are making yourself do things that nobody else cares about, then maybe it's time to ask yourself why you are stressing yourself out.

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