Where do you draw the line?
On the popular “Am I The A**hole” subreddit, he explained that checking in and staying aware was something his wife was really good at, but something he struggled to maintain. He attributed part of it to what he called being “a fairly self-centered person.”
“I wish that weren't the case,” he wrote. “But in retrospect a lot of bad behavior on my part was not corrected and even enabled when I was young. By the time I realized this character flaw I was already well into adulthood and I have found that old habits die hard.”
And now, in adulthood, this man found himself “getting lost in his own stuff” and forgetting about his partners. So in an effort to be better, he started secretly making reminders in his calendar.
It was a strategy working “really well,” the man wrote.
That is, until his wife found out.
“She definitely found it weird and off-putting that I would need a system like that when she doesn't,” the OP lamented. “I kind of agree with her. It never felt like a deep dark secret, but on the other hand there's obviously a reason I never told her or anyone else I was doing it.”
“Still,” he concluded, “taking action to make sure I show consideration and concern for stuff that matters to her has to be better than continuing to forget, right?”
"Taking action has to be better than forgetting, right?"
People who read his story were inclined to agree.
“I think it's really sweet that you took the steps to help your wife feel valued,” one person wrote, suggesting that the situation might just need further communication. “I'd sit your wife down and let her know that this has helped you engage with her more and to learn more about how she's feeling.”
Quite a few noted that forgetfulness isn’t always something people can control, especially for those who are neurodivergent. So putting systems in place like calendar reminders isn’t actually a moral failing, but simply a different way of organizing important information.
“I’m married and have ADHD. I write EVERYTHING I can down bc I will not remember until it’s too late if I don’t…I would try to frame it as a tool you have used to try to better yourself for your relationship. Tell her you reflected on yourself and didn’t like what you saw. Then tried to do something to correct it so you could be a better partner,” one person commented.
One person even noted that they wished their partner did something like what the OP did.
“I'd love if my partner did something like this. We have had multiple arguments, because I remember everything, while he cannot remember the time he works the next day. So sometimes if I don't remind him, he will forget things, and it hurts,” they wrote.
Putting in the effort is never a bad thing!
All in all, folks agreed that this husband was not in the wrong (or “Not The A**hole, in Reddit speak) for his check-in reminders, and that it would probably just take another conversation for his wife to fully understand where he was coming from.
As one person put it: “I think we can all tell that your wife and your relationship means a lot to you, and I think it's great that you came up with something like that, and hopefully your wife will after this, too. It shows you care. Most people never develop systems for that, and their relationships deteriorate because of it.”
No two brains really think alike. And boy do we realize this in relationships. Even when we’re lucky enough to find that soul mate that seems to “get” us on a deeper level, there are still going to be ways our partners operate that seem completely foreign to us. But that isn’t nearly as important as whether or not a partner can take accountability, and put in the work to be the best partner they can be.