Part of any successful relationship is accepting each other's idiosyncrasies, but everyone has their limits, especially when the habit is new.
For one woman on Reddit, who goes by the name smallslicedskin, that limit turned out to be literally acting like a toddler in a grocery store.
So, the Original Poster (OP) took her dilemma to the "Am I The A**hole" (AITA) subReddit to see whether or not she was overreacting.
"AITA for leaving my husband in the grocery store because he started acting like a toddler?"
OP explained the situation with her husband:
"We all go through phases and pick up annoying habits, and sometimes we just need our loved ones to gently tell us if we've picked up a particularly egregious habit."
"Sometime in the last year, my husband has picked up a habit where he talks like a baby. At first it was funny, but passed into embarrassing, cringeworthy behavior quickly."
"Examples: doggo, pupper, woofer/subwoofer, pibble, hooty-boy, peepo, birb, meowmeow, sammy, sammiches, sammywhammy, chicky nuggies, chicky tendies, adding a toddleresque "lisp" to words, and the ones that really get gross are childish euphemisms for genitalia or sex."
"I cannot emphasize this enough: it is not endearing or sexy to have my husband talk about my 'boobies' and his 'weiner' and 'weenie' and 'wee wee', 'hoohas' and 'bajingos' (Nostalgia for Scrubs be damned). We have not had sex for six months because he cannot stop talking about my 'boobies' and it makes me sick."
"Just before the pandemic hit, we were out at a restaurant with some friends, he actually ordered a 'chicky sammy' like, said that exact phrase. Chicky. Sammy."
"Look, it's totally fine that he ordered the chicken sandwich. That's not the issue."
"Our friends noticed the baby talk, because he insisted on continuing the 'joke' and even started talking with this god awful toddler... lilt? Accent?"
"After that, I just couldn't stomach the idea of going out with him to adult places. I'd go out to the brewery with friends, but god forbid he join me and say 'Me wanty 'nother beer!' or something."
"I don't know where it came from. I don't know why he's doing this."
"I finally hit my limit when we were grocery shopping and everything seemed normal and fine until he gasped like a kid, ran to the ice cream section and jumped up and down yelling 'ICE CWEAM ICE CWEAM! I WANT CHOCWIT!'"
"I was MORTIFIED. People were staring at him and me."
"He kept going and kept saying 'CAN WE GET POPSICOOOS?' and I just said 'Either talk to me like an adult or I'm leaving'."
"He started saying OOOOOO YOU MUST BE FUN AT PARTIES and LIGHTEN UP, WILL YOU? And sh*t like that. I just said fu*k it, and left the store, leaving him to walk home (like a mile, it was fine) because I couldn't even look at him."
"Since then, things have been very tense, and he keeps telling me that he wants an apology for embarrassing him by leaving him in the store. I told him that people don't get to demand apologies, if someone wants to apologize, it's up to them, and I am absolutely not going to apologize for saving myself the embarrassment of a 35 year old man with a mortgage and retirement account asking for 'CHOCWIT ICE CWEAM.'"
"He got his fu*king Mom involved, no joke. She keeps telling me it's just a phase and that he's probably bored and I should be happy this is his midlife crisis, rather than him fu*king 19 year olds at the local bar."
"I'm going crazy. AITA?
"Do I really just need to let my husband continuously embarrass me like this?"
OP returned to give more background information after several readers understandably had A LOT of questions.
"Sorry, there was only so much space. I have talked to him. Multiple times.
"Especially about the sexual comments. I've made it extremely, abundantly clear that him using terms like 'boobies' and 'wee wee' are absolutely repulsive to me, among other things he says."
"INFO: Does he have a job? Yes, and he acts completely normal as far as I know. He worked from home for a while during lockdown, and I never heard him talk like this to anyone he worked with."
"Does he do it with friends? Sometimes, and it's generally meant to annoy them or gross them out, but he stops. He has friends where they think its 'cute' to embarrass each other."
"Is this a kink/fetish?: If so, I'm absolutely done (because it was offensive)"
"Has he seen a doctor?: No, but I've asked him if he needed to talk to someone because he was acting strange, and he accused me of being stuck up and judgmental."
"Given that he doesn't act like this with his coworkers, or his family, and only jokes around with his friends, I'm willing to bet that this is an indication that he's trying to force this fetish on me nonconsensually, or trying to get me to leave."
"Is it a tumor?: I don't know. Like I said above, I asked him if he needed to see someone."
"I can't force him (even if I want to, just find out if there's any way we can salvage this), but after this post closes I will try to get him to. Maybe his sister can encourage him, even though he acts completely normal around them."
"Does he have childhood trauma?: As far as I know, and I'm relatively close to his family and would likely know, the most traumatic thing he had happen was a minor car accident when he was around 13 years old."
"No injuries, no death, etc. He hasn't been in a car accident in the past two years or anything like that, and I haven't, and AFAIK no one else in his family has been, etc."
OP's fellow Redditors were then asked to judge who was in the wrong based on the following categories:
- NTA - Not The A**hole
- YTA - You're The A**hole
- ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH - No A**holes Here
Understandably, OP's fellow Redditors had a lot to say about this one, but one comment in particular resonated with nearly everyone.
"NTA- I'd sit him down and have a serious heart to heart. I did not marry a toddler. I married an adult partner to build a life with. I have told you repeatedly that this is not a joke, I find it annoying (and whatever other adjectives you'd like), and it has caused me to lose all sexual attraction to you and not having sex for 6 months is a problem."
"And instead of modifying your behavior and trying to respect my feelings you bring in your mother to our relationship ship to justify your actions. If you are truly a little boy who wants his mommy you can pack up your stuff and live with her."
"If you are interested in saving this marriage, you will not only go to a regular doctor for a check up to make sure there isn't some underlying medical condition for this change in behavior you will start marriage counseling with me immediately."
"So if this behavior is in response to some subconscious need you are not having met, we can figure it out together. These are your options. Fight for our marriage as an adult or be a child that's not old enough for any sort of meaningful relationship and go live with your mother." --Befub14435
And a consensus quickly emerged on who was to blame in this situation.
"...You are NTA. Your partner is doing something unexpected and odd that is making you uncomfortable. You have told him repeatedly to stop, you have lost sexual interest in him, and he still continues. He absolutely needs to go to both a normal doctor and a therapist. If he won't and insists everything is fine, then he can prove it by acting like an adult and taking your concerns seriously..." --whofu*kingknows2020
"After this sit down conversation, completely punish the behavior by giving it absolutely zero air. If he does the baby talk, the only response should be to completely drop the conversation and exit the room-or as you did, building. That was completely the right response. I would see a therapist about this, alone. Good luck." --
"I'm not a fan of ultimatums either, but it seems to me that your husband has cornered you in with his own ultimatum by bringing in his mommy to defend himself since he clearly has no reasonable defense for acting like a four year old in a public place." --
"...you're NTA. There's a general 'rule' in the healthcare community that if someone speaks like a child something happened to them when they were a child. Doesn't excuse his behavior and I'd be thoroughly, profoundly disturbed if my husband suddenly did this to me. So I back up the people who say see a doctor, see a psychiatrist, and see a counselor. In that order." --Imayno2
"Encourage him to go to the doctor. With the sudden change in his behavior you're continuing talks to him about it and six months without sex and he still hasn't admitted there's a problem. he needs checked out there might be something serious medically going on." --Captain_no_legs
"It sounds voluntary. My guess is that her husband's been watching some kinky porn and has discovered the big/little world. And if that's his kink, it's fine. But that requires consent, which he clearly doesn't have." --QuixoticLogophile
"I'm so embarrassed I feel like I just called the teacher 'mum' in front of the whole class... NTA" --Binky_kitty
"I'm cringing so hard that I'm afraid the wind will change and my face will stay like this."
"OP, you are right to get upset at this infantilising nonsense. It's embarrassing and a turn off. He needs therapy. I would have left him at the supermarket too." --Here_for_tea_
"Nta, I'd show up to his work with diapers and demand to change him for going poopoo and see how he handles that." --IchigoKakarot
Never has the phrase "grow up" carried such weight. Hopefully the OP can get some kind of answers and resolution from her husband or the support she needs to leave if he refuses to consider her feelings.