A UK woman has been staying with her boyfriend in his parent's home for a two week visit.
Things are fine between her and the parents, but things seem tense with the boyfriend.
That tension boiled over when he tried to dictate how she was allowed to drink her coffee "under his roof."
disapprove schitts creek GIF by CBCGiphy
So Redditor Schmezzles turned to the AITA (Am I The A$$hole?) subReddit for their thoughts.
Before diving into the story, there may be some abbreviations you'll need to know in order to understand some of the comments.
- AITA = Am I The A$$hole?
- NTA = Not The A$$hole
- OP = Original Poster
Here's her post:
"AITA for telling my boyfriend to go F himself for telling me to drink my coffee in a particular way 'under his roof'?"
"I take a long time to drink my coffee and as a result sometimes gets cold before I finish it. I don't mind cold coffee, so I drink it anyway. My boyfriend thinks this is disgusting (he doesn't like coffee anyway.) He told me that he doesn't want me to drink my coffee that way, because it disgusts him."
"I told him that it's me who's drinking it, so why should he care? He insisted that it is disgusting, and said "If I don't want you to drink a cup of coffee around the house, then you don't" because "my house, my rules"."
"He compared it to him not wanting guests to smoke in his house, or taking off shoes at the door. However, I told him that those examples are not comparable because secondhand smoke is still harmful and wearing dirty shoes in the house makes the floor dirty for everyone else's feet. How I drink a cup of coffee does neither. I lost my cool and told him to go F himself for being controlling."
"We are in a long distance relationship and this happened when I stayed with him in his parents house for 2 weeks. AITA?"
Reddit was pretty sure this was the most ridiculous mess they had heard in a while... and that's saying a lot because the AITA subReddit is a hot dumpster fire half the time.
"I was in a long distance relationship for several years and my ex pulled stuff like this. He was a completely different person in person than he was when we were apart."
"And it turned out that the person that he was when we were together: controlling, mentally and emotionally abusive, cold, and distant- was the person that he really was. I wouldn't say break up with him cause he's controlling about coffee but you should open your eyes a little and see what he's about in other ways."
"It's harder to hide the bad parts of you when you're in person rather than long distance. I hope that either he was just having a bad couple of days and things get better or that you walk away from his controlling tendencies." - SlayerAngelic
"Lockdown's got all the fools showing their true colors! After it's over, I wonder if there will suddenly be more housing available from all the breakups and newly single people moving back in with their families." - StillSwaying
"Lmao he pulled this sh*t in his parents house? Should have been like "lemme go check with your mom." 😂" - EmergencySht
"Okay here's my advice. Keep the long distance part, but drop the relationship part. I think that will help, and guarantee that he doesn't keep controlling and then gaslighting you. You deserve better." - Shtrake
"🚩🚩🚩🚩 Here. You dropped these. Trying to control how you DRINK YOUR COFFEE is a huge red flag. Definitely don't give in. But it'll only get worse from here. What you can and can't eat. What you can and can't wear. Who you can and can't see. Etc." - ImAMessica223
"NTA and DUMP HIM. He sounds like a controlling a$hole. Smoking in his house against his wishes would be disrespectful, damaging to his property and his health. Drinking your coffee slowly is not disrespectful, or damaging to him in any way. If he gets away with this, he will only become more demanding and controlling. Please protect yourself." - Username323232
She took Reddit's comments to heart so much so that she confronted her boyfriend with what people said.
That lead to a non-apology that left her more confused than ever ...
"I told him about the comments and he said "I am sorry that you found it as a controlling act. I said that because, not being used to coffee, I can smell its odour. So I don't want the odour to spread around the house."
"I told him it's not a matter of how I see it, his behaviour is unacceptable. He keeps asking me to explain why even though I feel like I've already explained a million times. I eventually said that I'm not interested in talking until he takes full responsibility."
"He just said: "I am deeply sorry. What I did was criticism over a "small thing" like drinking coffee, and I must have made you feel unaccepted and imperfect. Something like this should never become a constant dynamic in any relationship.I take full responsibility for what happened"."
"What do I do?"
But not Reddit.
Reddit knows gaslighting and manipulation when they see it and they were not, at all, afraid to call it out.
call out reality check GIF by OWN: Oprah Winfrey NetworkGiphy
"It's entirely up to you but I can promise you this will not be the first or last time he does this. His apology sounds like he's telling you what you want to hear so you'll drop it. He's sorry that you found his behavior controlling , he's not sorry for being controlling. There is a very clear difference." - Failedantidepressant
"How exactly is he taking full responsibility?"
"Honestly, it sounds like he's playing a slot machine and trying to figure out what combination will let him win the jackpot of getting you quiet/happy with him again rather than genuinely examining his behavior with an eye to not acting in a controlling fashion."
"Without knowing the overall pattern of your relationship, I can't really advise you as to what to do, but I will say that as apologies go, it's high on lip service and low on taking genuine responsibility."
"Let's unpack it a bit further. 'It was a small thing, but rather than acknowledge how you actually TOLD me you felt, I'll reinterpret it as how I say you felt (unaccepted and imperfect rather than annoyed at my being unnecessarily controlling)'."
"That's setting the stage potentially for in future, shifting blame to you - how easy would it be for him to go 'you're just so oversensitive, you can't take criticism' from there?"
" 'I take full responsibility' - great. How? Is he agreeing to examine himself for why, genuinely, this became such a big deal that he tried to pull 'my house, my rules', and lied (or at best, deflected) claiming that it was about the smell of the coffee?"
"Is he going to take steps to correct whatever underlying issue made it such a line in the sand for him that he literally tried to pull a 1950s dad act on you? And to avoid doing so again, be it over this or whatever trips his wires next time?"
"He's basically made this grandiose apology but all he's done is say he's taking responsibility. He's not showing any real reflection, even reinterpreting your own stated reactions as being about feeling "unaccepted and imperfect" instead of the perfectly reasonable issue of not wanting to drink *your* coffee at *his* speed."
"NTA. If this is at all a pattern of behavior with him... I don't think I'd want to be with a guy like that." - Soayherder
"He is gaslighting you. This coffee thing is a test. Please drop him like a hot potato and if you aren't already in therapy, please consider it. It can help give you the tools you need to not be manipulated by these types of people." - GunnyHunty
"Regarding your update: He's framing this as a matter of your opinion and pretending not to understand in order to avoid admitting what's obvious to everyone on this sub."
"This is because he already knows he's behaving badly, and is doing it on purpose, and wants to continue doing it, because it benefits him. Big, big, big red flags. Please get away from him.He's controlling and manipulative."
"He gets to control you. Maybe not on everything, but the longer you stay and the more controlling behavior you tolerate, the more will slip under the radar and the more you'll end up meeting his unreasonable demands. You'll decide--not even consciously--that you would rather do what he wants than fight him on some small issue."
"And then another small issue. And then a big one. And meanwhile, he will not be making efforts to please and accommodate you. You may even start to question yourself and internalize his viewpoint."
"It's never about cold coffee; it's about power. Manipulators and controlling people never start with 'be my 24/7 maid who I have sex with but who never gets off herself, who gives me children if I'm into that, who isn't allowed to have money or a job or talk to her friends and family and who lives miles or COUNTRIES away from anybody who might help her get out of this abusive relationship'."
"They don't start there; they start with 'you drink coffee the wrong way' and 'I'm so very sorry that YOU were irrational about my coffee request'."
"If you had pointed out how many people think he was an a$hole about the coffee, and he had gone "oh wow, yeah, I was being an a$hole, I'm sorry" and then not done it again, then that would be one thing. But what you posted about his response sent chills down my spine. That is not the response of a mostly-well-meaning guy. That is the response of a guy who will twist reality in knots to get what he wants." - StarryMotley
"Per your edit:
He keeps asking me to explain why, even though I feel like I have about a million times.
That's called 'sealioning', and is another red flag for emotional abuse." - MrShineTheDiamond
"'Dearest, you're X number of years old--use your words'. 'I don't like the smell of coffee' doesn't sound anything like, 'It's disgusting', 'It disgusts me', 'If I don't want you to drink a cup of coffee around the house, then you don't', or even, 'my house, my rules'."
"Since language seems to be an issue for you, let me explain a few things:"
"I am sorry you found it..."? That's a non-apology. Please look it up."
"I said that because..."? Apparently, there's that inability to use your words again. You want to work on that."
"You asking me more than once to explain? That's called a couple of things, but the most apropos is 'JAQing off' (Just Asking Questions). It's a common tactic by Internet bullies to try and deflect blame (doesn't work) or hide that they don't have a cogent argument (also doesn't work). Or it could just be your inability with language again. It's a crapshoot, really."
"Now, let me use my words: You are a controlling jerk. You seem to be under the mistaken impression that I'm on this planet to obey your orders. That would be wrong. You seem to only attempt to make a token non-apology when you're shamed into it by a bunch of strangers on the Internet."
"OP, you're NTA. Your boyfriend deserves a bucket of coffee dumped over his head (though that would be a dreadful waste)." - TacoInWaiting
So after this update and people's responses, we got a few more tidbits from OP sprinkled in the comments. Most of it is finding out (unsurprisingly) that boyfriend has a history of this sort of thing.
His particular favorite game was turning everything into a debate and then obstinately pretending he didn't understand her points and making her explain over and over again ad nauseum until she eventually gave up.
Sealioning at its best.
The original poster didn't give us any definitive update about the stats of their relationship, but she did disclose that she realizes now that she has a pattern of toxic relationships and is set to seek counseling as soon as the pandemic allows. Fortunately, she lives in the UK and has access to mental health professionals.
The book Psychopath Free: Recovering from Emotionally Abusive Relationships With Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Other Toxic People is available here.