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'AITA for asking my husband to let me use fake candles even though he has a fire phobia?' UPDATED

'AITA for asking my husband to let me use fake candles even though he has a fire phobia?' UPDATED


"AITA for asking my husband to let me use fake candles?"

My husband (35 m) and I (30 f) just bought a house and received housewarming gifts—including two very nice (and expensive) fake candles that look realistic and have timers so they will turn on and off at certain times.

My mom bought us the candles because she knows how much I love real candles, but she also knows my husband won't let me use real candles because he is concerned about fire safety for our house and our dog.

Last night, I turned the candles on for the first time and he immediately asked me to turn them off or move them. His reasoning - they look too much like real candles and they were making him anxious. I relented and we moved the candles out of his line of sight. Later that night before bed, he turned the candles off. I didn't notice because he went to bed after me.

The next day after work he told me he turned the candles off. I asked him why, and I explained to him that he messed up my timer. He explained that he doesn't like seeing them on when I'm not in the room because he thinks it's a fire.

At this point, I asked him if he realized that his stance on these fake candles was a little extreme and he said he didn't think so. I pushed back saying that I gave up using real candles for him, why can't I have fake candles?

He pushed back and said that I can use the fake candles, but he doesn't want them to be set on a timer because it makes him too nervous. I pushed back and reminded him that he grew up never using candles and just needs time to get used to them. And I reminded him that a real fire would look and feel and smell different than these two fake candles my mom gave us.

We reached an impasse in our discussion, and once again I asked him if he at least realized that his position was extreme. He disagreed and said he thinks the use of fake candles isn't a necessity in life, so why do I need them? I explained that life is a dumpster fire in a flood, and sometimes it's just nice to have nice things... like pretty candles on timers.

He also explained to me that fire safety is very important, our new house is in a town that only has a volunteer fire department and no fire hydrants. I agreed but reminded him again... that these are FAKE candles I'm asking to use on a timer.

In the end, I asked him if he thought that strangers would side with him or me. He thinks you all will agree with him that prohibiting the use of real candles and limiting the use of fake candles is a reasonable ask. I think you all will agree with me, that what he's asking me to do is extreme. What do you think?

What do you think? AITA? This is what top commenters had to say:


NTA. Prohibiting the use of real candles is unreasonable ... prohibiting the use of fake candles is downright crazy. Tell him it's time to put on his big boy pants or get into therapy.


NTA Tell him you'll stop using the fake candles if he also accepts that he can't use light bulbs either because fake candles are effectively just small light bulbs


Unless your husband has a serious fire related trauma that you have left out, NTA. Are you allowed to use anything else with a battery? Because if his worry is something shorting in the fake candle and causing a fire then I would hate for him to learn about clocks, or watches, or kids toys. Also, what about electricity? Does he know about ovens? Toasters? Microwave? Hair dryer?


"I asked him if he at least realized that his position was extreme. He disagreed." You are correct, OP. NTA.

And said:

NTA - his level of anxiety about a glowing electronic light is higher than is average and/or healthy IMO. You have made accommodations and he seemingly is not willing to make any.

Even without a timer… how much of a fire hazard is that type of candle? Does he unplug everything else electronic overnight? What if there’s a power surge in your rural neighborhood?! Jk because life is life and his emotional response seems to be exclusively to the pretend candles.

Commenters overwhelmingly agreed that the husband was being unreasonable and OP is NTA. And OP also clarified that her husband does not have fire-related trauma.

After reading the comments and sharing them with her husband, OP shared this update:

He read through the comments (two hours ago so he hasn't seen all of them, but I think he got the gist.) He laughed for a long time reading these comments because he genuinely found it funny until I point-blank asked him not to laugh and to take it more seriously.

He said that reading the comments he can see how, yes, he was totally in the wrong, but he didn't think he was being controlling, he just thought he needed more time to get used to the idea of the fake candles. I proceeded to call him out on that BS and we had an hour-long discussion. There was a lot we covered that went beyond just the candle issue.

But specifically, re: candles, I asked him if he serisouly had some kind of trauma with fire. He said it's probably partially a Japanese thing, because his parents are Japanese and in Japan people are more strict with fire because of earthquakes, so growing up his parents didn't allow candles.

But then, he also admitted to me that he doesn't like the smell of candles and so that plus the combination of fire safety has made him adamant that I not use candles. He said he didn't think he was controlling and didn't want to be and said he would get over the fear of real candles but does want me to be in the room for them.

Then for the fake candles, he said he was just being dumb and I can do whatever I want with them. I asked him why it took hundreds of strangers on the internet to get him to admit he was being ridiculous.

Because this is not the first time he has disagreed with me and refused to entertain an idea or desire I had, only to be convinced days or weeks later by things he read on the internet or conversations he's had with co-workers: (example, we moved into the house and had a problem with our well right away, and I said it was a major problem we should get fixed.

He disagreed and said it was a minor problem that could wait and the conversation went dead. A month later he brought our well problems up to his coworkers and they convinced him that the well was a priority. Then I called the well company and the dude chewed me out on the phone for not calling sooner. And I said to my husband, why didn't you believe me when I told you this was a problem?

Why do you believe your co-workers over me.) I reminded my husband of the well issue as another time it took the power of a group of other people to convince him—and he told me that the issue is that I don't explain things in a way that makes sense to him and/or sometimes it just does take him time to get used to ideas when they are not his own.

He wants me to be more accepting of him being reluctant to new ideas and wants me to take more initiative (i.e. do what I want even if he disagrees). That is a challenge for me so it's something I can work on.

We talked about larger issues in our communication then. And one of my failings has been not noticing the effort that he does put into our relationship. I countered that I do, but our mis-communications sometimes overshadow the good things. He then asked me what he wasn't doing, and why I still get so upset with him over small things.

And I said to him, you know what I want—I want you to better understand me when I tell you things. I don't want to have to convince you to change your mind by asking the hivemind for advice. If I want to do something or something is important to me, try to understand why. Because I can only explain so much. I am only one person. He said, okay, he will work on that.

So that's where we're at. I can use candles now (and maybe real ones??) and he won't lecture me. And for sure my fake candles are on in the living room! It's not really about the candles though—I just want to not have disagreements and fights over stupid sh*t.

Maybe if I have more confidence in my own decisions and he has more empathy for my point of view we'll get better. Thank you to everyone for your responses!

Sources: Reddit
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