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Man splashes coffee on wife at fancy restaurant for family date night, 'he was cracking up.' AITA?

Man splashes coffee on wife at fancy restaurant for family date night, 'he was cracking up.' AITA?


"AITA for being upset my hubs splashed coffee on me on purpose?"

Since he decided to check in with his co-workers and bring it up at dinner the last 3 nights, I thought I would check in here. This seems so silly to me to keep bringing up. We went to a nice dinner out Saturday night before another event. Nice restaurant, tablecloths etc. We were laughing and enjoying dinner. Really a great evening. My hubs, myself, and our two teens.

At the end of dinner, we all ordered a cappuccino with dessert. The kids added a ton of sugar to theirs and with permission, I reached my spoon over to my daughter’s cappuccino to taste hers. As I was carefully bringing the spoon back to my mouth and he intentionally, as a joke, when the spoon of coffee got close to my face he grabbed my arm and shook it. Splashing it on my face, shirt, and the table. Not a huge mess but took two little cocktail napkins to clean up.

I didn’t laugh - he was cracking up. It hurt my feelings and embarrassed me. My eyes started to well up, but determined not to ruin the night. I just cleaned up. The kids were not impressed with his antics which (speculating here) was probably why he apologized. I accepted his “I’m sorry but I was just messing with you” apology.

When he noticed my eyes were welling up he said very loudly “oh my god are you freaking crying” to which I replied “no I’m not.” Then went back to enjoying the night and the after-dinner event. Determined not to let it mess up our family date night. I thought it was over. The last 2 nights at family dinner he has made of jabs every time someone mentions really anything he will say “at least I didn’t cry and ruin dinner” over and over again.

Mind you. A single tear never fell. Mascara was not compromised. Not an eye was dabbed except to get coffee drops off of my face. When even the kids were like okay getting old he said that sometimes he forgets he can’t rough house with me like the guys.

So I said okay - name one time where you have thrown food at one of your guy friends or coworkers. He could not. I said even with your best friend - when have you as an adult in your late 30s or early 40s been out and been like “eff it I’m gonna splash this drink to be funny” he couldn’t. Still not fighting about it, just making a point. Like it’s not normal behavior.

So then today, for the 3rd day at dinner - he comes to tell a story about a how his co-worker was out at a nice restaurant and had an intrusive thought and flung mashed potatoes on his wife’s face. Now I have met this coworker and I just said “I doubt that happened, I will for sure ask about it next time I see him."

And then he said “can you guess how it came up?” And I said obviously you are still talking about the coffee incident from Saturday. Anyways AITA for being upset but not making any big deal about it - simply not laughing at my own expense?

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

Particular_Title42 said:

NTA. And it irks me to no end that people flip out on you for having a controlled emotional reaction. OMG are you crying? Like that's a choice?! Your husband is a massive turd. You should splash coffee on him the next time you're out. He can handle a little roughhousing.

BeardManMichael said:

I don't get it. Nothing he said or did was funny. I'm sorry you are married to such a toddler. Yikes. NTA.

blanketstatement5 said:

Honestly this feels like abuse disguised as a prank, especially because of how insensitive he was and how he tried to make you into the bad guy for being upset about this. It's not wrong to be upset by the fact that the person who you're supposed to love and trust most thinks that humiliating you for a laugh is funny.

MissionReasonable327 said:

NTA. It’s not a joke. He’s disrespectful to you, mocks you relentlessly, is making a point of letting you know he’s bitching about you behind your back. Unacceptable. Your kids are seeing the disrespect and disdain from him, and his attitude that he’s the only one whose feelings matter.

Once disdain gets your relationship, things are headed to a point of no return. I hope you’re protecting yourself financially and give some serious thought if this is the kind of partnership you want for the rest of your life, with someone who doesn’t have your back and has such a crap attitude towards you.

I think you should read "Why Does He Do That?” and see if some of the behavioral patterns seem familiar. I doubt this is the only time he’s had an extended tantrum and expected you to apologize to him even when he’s clearly in the wrong.

Hungry_Composer644 said:

This IS abuse disguised as a prank, as someone else here said. Anything designed to humiliate or embarrass is never done with any sort of good intention. Your husband knows what he did was wrong and why. But rather than be an adult and apologize, he blames you for “not having a thick skin,” “not having a sense of humor,” “not being able to take a joke,” etc. Because him having to do the right thing, and admit he was cruel to you for his amusement, and apologize to you, would humiliate HIM.

He’s so sure he was wrong that he’s stretching it for days, trying to find anything and anyone to prove all men do this to their wives. They don’t. Only a certain kind of person does this — to anyone, let alone someone they’re supposed to love and support. No, you are NTA.

birdiebosoms said:

NTA You "cried and ruined" HIS dinner, because he spent the rest of the evening feeling guilty for his own actions. Now he has to put it on you, because if it's your fault for crying, then he didn't do anything wrong, meaning he doesn't have to feel guilty anymore.

But he DID do something wrong. Intentionally spilling food on someone isn't a joke unless you're both in on a food fight, especially before a special event that you're dressed up for. He just doesn't want to have to deal with the consequences of being rude to his wife. I would almost call it a power move, or a testing of boundaries. Reminds me of how people will f%ck with chihuahuas bc they're too small to fight back.

Later, OP answered some questions in the comments:

Wow, thank you all for your input. My first post on here and had no idea when I got going this morning this would be the response. I think I have read every response here and I am truly appreciative of all of the thoughtful insight. Much of it is hard to read.

So many questions to answer - To my recollection, he has never intentionally spilled coffee on me but this sort of interaction and subsequent not dropping it if I react in any way other than laughter is a recurrent theme. At least for the last 7-8 years? Give or take. When we were in our 20s or dating in highscool this could be something that happened between him and a friend. Someone would go to dip a chip in salsa and another guy would smash his hand down into the dip. Dumb kids stuff.

I have always wondered if it was abusive? Narcissistic? Gaslighting? Something else. But then felt silly labeling it as such because surely it must be that I am being over the top and sensitive. Same with other “pranks.”

In the moment I didn’t have this much lucid thought about how my non-reaction and forced grace in the situation other than “man we were all looking forward to this thing tonight and I’m not going to ruin it” I didn’t think it was a negative impact on the kids. Looking back I think I was trying to be well-mannered and demonstrate that. But I agree as the majority here pointed out - I should have stood up for myself more. At our home dinner table on the repeat nights, I have simply been repeating “I didn’t cry. My feelings were hurt and I was embarrassed."

It’s hard to read that many feel that he doesn’t like me/hates me etc. a few years back I asked him that. And for probably 2 years after that it was “remember that time you decided to sit me down and ….” On repeat. Like it was the dumbest thing I could have thought. Usually out of nowhere- like we are having a seemingly great time and out of know where “remember that time."

He brought the coffee up multiple times again last night after dinner, “hey remember when you ruined dinner by crying?” we were alone (kids upstairs in their game room) so I said “what is the deal here? I didn’t make a big deal about it. I haven’t brought it up again after that - what is it that you are looking for in this interaction. I didn’t actually cry, I continued on to have a pleasant night despite it” and his response was silence or subject change.

I grabbed the kindle book of recommended - Why Does He Do That. I’m a little afraid to read it. Someone said I’m the AH for using the word “hubs” - just shorthand - not a part of my vocabulary per se. Just lots of typing on a little screen.

Someone pointed out I wanted to vent, yes that is true although I didn’t feel the need until the mashed potatoes story came up. I may see that couple this weekend so I can ask. Additionally though, I honestly wanted as close as I could get somewhat unbiased opinions. At least as unbiased as I could get trying to tell the story. I often turn to the internet to read stories that are similar to what I have experienced and see if feeling hurt of something small or angry over something small is the way it made someone else feel.

As far as retaliation, like spilling coffee on him etc. I felt like that would be a poor example for my kids and would just feel like I was being a bully back. Two wrongs don’t make a right and all of that. I thought taking the high road was better. I am fairly certain he would escalate it further, ie if I had splashed back at him the whole cup would be in my lap. I think that covers all the Qs in some general way. Thank you all again for your insight and kindness.

Everyone was on OP's side for this one. What's your advice for this couple?

Sources: Reddit
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