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Man threatens divorce after wife reacts HORRIBLY to 'home invasion'; 'I can't be married to someone who behaves this way.' AITA? UPDATED 2X

Man threatens divorce after wife reacts HORRIBLY to 'home invasion'; 'I can't be married to someone who behaves this way.' AITA? UPDATED 2X


When this man is horrified by his wife's behavior during what she thought was a home invasion, he asks the internet:

"I called out my wife for being 'weak' during what she thought was a home invasion. AITA?"

My (34M) wife (42F) is a stay at home mom. Last week when I was at work, and my two oldest were at school, (5M and 3M) my wife was sitting at the dining room table when she saw a man walking down the drive way and going to the front door.

He had, what she thought was a hammer. She went to the front door and the guy was trying to get in. The guy saw her and waived, and tried to get in. She fled the house and ran out the back door. She left her cell phone and Apple Watch.

She also left our twin girls, (8 months old). They were sleeping in their cribs. She ran through the neighborhood looking for someone to help her call police. Eventually she found someone and they called the police. The police responded and cleared the house.

Turns out, it was a repair guy who was supposed to go to our neighbors house and had been told that no one would be home and to just come in.

She is mad at me for not being more supportive of her. I was stunned when she told me and was surprised when she said she left the girls.

She is always yelling at me about how I don’t do enough for the kids, unlike her who “sacrifices constantly.” I don’t think that is accurate but it is beside the point. We have been having major issues in our marriage for a long time apart from this.

She is acting like this is one of the most traumatic events of her life. Which is making me madder and madder.

I am having a real hard time putting this one behind me. If this guy had been a bad guy she would have abandoned our girls to him all so she could save herself. Our house isn’t that big, and people in the neighborhood and online know we have two little girls. I honestly don’t know what to do.

Edit: this happened about a week ago. I spent about an hour in the phone with her that day trying to console her. I tried again that night, and have been trying to take care of the kids and do all the chores at home.

She has been focusing on what I think is a work from home job, but that she is lying to me about and trying to hide from me. Other than that she is going out with her friends to bars.

She does not believe in therapy and is refusing to go to marriage counseling that I set up for us online after the kids go to sleep.

A big issue I am having is the double standard that if I had done this she would have never forgiven me and probably divorced me. We had a fight because when we moved to a new house my side of the bed was on the far side from the door and that I needed to be able to stop an attacker.

I have been yelled at for abandoning my daughters when I take a shower in the morning before work and they begin crying, or if she is sleeping in and one begins crying while I’m changing the others diaper and it takes me a minute to finish.

I totally understand this is fight or flight and I’m not trying to Monday morning quarterback. I have not critiqued let alone criticized her. The closest was when I was surprised when she told me she left the girls.

Other than that call or when I came home and she was annoyed that we don’t have security cameras, we haven’t really talked about it.

Second edit: she has a phone that worked. I texted her to check in and she told me to call her, and that’s when I found out about this. When the kids are sleeping she usually has it.

It’s a one story house. It’s an L shape. The doors are at one end of the L and the kids are at the other end.

I don’t know how long it took for her to get help. It was in the work day and most of our neighbors work. It’s a walkable neighborhood, not in the country somewhere.

I am currently in therapy. She has mocked me in the past for going to therapy and uses that as a way to invalidate my opinions, “what do you know, you’re just a depression case.” So there is no way she will see a therapist.

The police had a a social worker with them who gave her a card for a therapist. I don't know if I can be with her after this. AITA?

Before we give you OP's update, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

feeest writes:

YTA? I think you're reading to much into it. It was probably the most appropriate action to take (though probably wasn't thinking this way at the time). If he was a bad guy, he either wanted your wife or what was in your house.

HIGHLY unlikely, but not impossible, that a random home invader would harm infants alone in a crib. However, if your wife ran up into their room, the invader would have likely chased her up there and then bad things would have happened.

What was in her head? Probably just 'I NEED HELP' and let me go find some. I wouldn't call it abandoning her children. Please don't fault her for a reaction she couldn't help have. No one knows how they'll react in crazy situations.

This could have been a bonding time for all. Console her, comfort her, talk about safety, what to do in these situations, getting some camera... tell her how you can't bare the thought of losing her or the kids and what you both can do in the future.

knoocwcha writes:

YTA. I get why you’re upset, and why you feel like she abandoned them at that moment. But I also think you’re being a little callous about the whole thing.

Just out of curiosity - If that had been someone breaking into the house with malicious intent, what would you have expected your wife to do with 2 infants? What if she couldn’t have escaped while trying to run with both of them in her arms?

Your wife was in flight or fight, regardless of whether you think the situation was serious enough for that type of response. And it’s not like she ran and hid somewhere, she ran for help.

Does she ingest a lot of horror or true crime? That could absolutely make her more panicky in situations like this. If she does, I’d recommend she step back from that for a while.

muddapt writes:

ESH. From your comments, it sounds like she might have PPD. This isn't a "well I don't want to go to therapy" situation if she's depressed, lying, and having issues. Call her doctor and talk to them.

You have a right to be mad. You feel that your wife should have acted differently. That's valid. In the moment, she made what she thought was the best decision. You don't know how you'll react in a situation until you are in it.

This should be a learning opportunity for you both. Come up with a plan and practice it. Idk if you've ever worked a job that has done active shooter training, but that's what they tell you. Practice it until it's muscle memory.

It's an uncomfortable and unfortunate thing to talk about, but having a plan will help her be prepared.

feega writes:

NTA. I'm sure I'll get downvoted but here goes anyways: the avoidance of any kind of therapy is a huge red flag. Another is that she goes to bars (regularly?) with her girlfriends (@42 w/ kids at home? Seriously?).

I'd be hard pressed to forgive my wife if she behaved in such a manner, but I could PROBABLY do it. Maybe.

Of course, and perhaps it's more obvious to me simply due to my own personal background in my countries militaries and as a firearms instructor, but it does seem to me that, in a stable...

healthy relationship consisting of two stable and healthy adults, that a readily accessible firearm of some kind would do wonders in evening the odds of a perceived threat and defending not only the home, but also the children within it far better than... well, your wife's response.

jada0 writes:

NTA. How did she not know it was the repairman? Does she do drugs? Serious question. If a repairman was to come to my house I'm pretty sure I'd know considering something has to be broken to be repaired.

And maybe she was afraid she didn't have time to get the girls and get help. Maybe in her mind she could rush out and call the cops and come back. But you said she left her phone and watch?

That's weird. Why not call on the cell? and considering they're so young a little they would've slept and the “intruder” wouldn't have known or bothered to know if kids were in the house. Idk but no joke is she in drugs or does she have a past with drug use? Bc that sounds like rational paranoia to think the repairman was an intruder

snooorabb writes:

NTA. There are plenty of comments about her fleeing the home so will leave that and move on to…

You are in an emotionally abusive relationship. Full stop. Please take this for what it’s worth, but you may not know what happens at home while you are away.

Your wife may have postpartum depression or a sense of overwhelm or even resentment that she’s either unaware or unwilling to address. You have a right to be upset or disappointed with the situation. Also, there is no excuse for the criticism, yelling, and the way that she invalidates you. She is not ok.

Every time you do the work to build yourself up in therapy, your wife knocks you down. The abuse will erode you. If you struggle to put your mental health first there will come a time when you will need to decide to value a healthy or safe environment for your children above all else.

This is your job as their father.

frezzzsd writes:

NTA! OP - Divorce is your ONLY option here. She refuses therapy and then mocks you and treats you poorly for YOU trying to better your mental health for her and your children.

For everyone saying “You won’t know what you’d do in a situation.” She HAS A CELLPHONE AND AN APPLE WATCH. She went out the BACK DOOR. Not a window, the front door, or off the roof.

So she had BRAINS enough at the time to go out the back door and not a window? The panic response excuse is BULLSHIT. I’m not a parent but I RAISED my brothers EVERYDAY from the moment they were born because my mother worked all day and night as a single parent.

I’ve been robbed before, I’ve been held at knife and gunpoint, there were fires in the house, gas leaks, and flooding from PIPES bursting. I never ever ever took off running to save myself. And they were my brothers, not children I CARRIED for a minimum of 9 months and gave birth to.

I wrangled HEAVY, fussy children and a mentally disabled child and got them OUT of that house. And at the time I didn’t own a cellphone!!!! I had a HOUSE PHONE that didn’t work when it flooded or when the power cut off.

You NEVER leave children behind. And the fact that they were sleeping 8 month olds is even less of an excuse for her. Instead of her apologizing for her “natural reaction “ (which is SLIGHTLY UNDERSTANDABLE), she’s mad at him for not having cameras? What will cameras do? Nothing.

All it will do is let her see who is at the door like she did FROM THE WINDOW. She will RUN AWAY AGAIN. She’s unsupportive and she doesn’t even like you. And she’s mad you can’t support her “get rich fast” dreams. She doesn’t care about you and she doesn’t care about your children. Please leave and protect your children.

And now, OP's update:

I wanted to thank everyone for all their comments and advice. I wanted to provide an update. Long story short, things are not going well. I feel like I am an airplane pilot, who is trying to land a plane while it is disintegrating around me, and that the time is now for me to bail out.

I am also realizing how much I have normalized these issues, and that my good days would be at best marginal days for other marriages, but more likely would be awful.

Since that post, I have really tried to do what I can to support her. I think I had been doing what I could to support her in the past. Anytime she wants to leave, she can. I do the lion's share of the chores at home, that means laundry, cooking, groceries, and morning and bedtime routines for the boys, (who are school age).

We do an informal system for dishes and with the girls for the baths. It's close to 50/50 on that one. I also pay all the bills, and handle all of the extra curriculars.

One comment that people made was that she just gave brith 8 months ago, and that I should be more sympatheitic. I totally get that.

But since she gave birth, she has done 4 10k races, a marathon relay, and goes to a run group and dinner afterwards twice a week. She has also gone to networking events for her business that she is working on.

Since that post we have had numerous issues. We have had more days with screaming matches than Here is a list of issues since the post.

She woke up early on Saturday, but didnt wake me or my son up for his early practice. (I slept through my alarm.) Didnt do anything to help us get ready. Her only question when we came back was how late were we.

The moment I came home, she went back to bed. I had all 4 kids by myself, which is fine. I took the kids to the store to run errands. As soon as I came back in, she got in a shower and left, and refused to take any kids despite their cries. She refused to tell us where she was going.

Sunday, she refused to go to anyone's hockey practice because she had to clean the house. While I am going to park at the rink, with my kids crying, she calls me because she had hired a person to clean out our garage, and wanted to know were we were going to move things.

This was the first time I had heard of this. The woman did a good job of cleaning the garage, but she threw everything in the dumpster, including like unopened dress shirts.

We had a thermonuclear fight on Monday. My eldest was screaming at me to get a second helping of dinner ready. I tried bluffing to send him to bed without the second helping. He goes straight to her, and she overrules me.

Once they leave the room, I explain what I was doing, and she spiked her laptop on the bed, and jumps up and starts screaming at me. Proceeds to follow me out of the room and is screaming infront of all 4 kids that I am a whiney bitch and not a real man and that I am trying to starve her kids.

Funnily enough, this was just before our marriage counseling session. I kept it, and while I was in the waiting room she continued screaming at me and attacking my character. When the sessions started she refused to join. She was puttering around and started blending something.

I tried to be as objective as possible, and the counselor said that she was impressed with that. In the last 5 minutes I tried to just bring my laptop to her. When I did she collapesed into the room she was in like superman seeing kryptonite. She refused to do it.

After that, I went to bed, and she woke me up and wanted me to set up our printer. (We changed routers and I hadn't had the chance to set it up yet.) The lack of anger caught me off guard, and so I did it. She stood over my shoulder the whole time, silently, and refused to let me see anything.

We had a couple of other fights along the same lane. But yesterday, thanksgiving we had a decent day. Not that it was overly affectionate. We just didnt fight. She slept in until 12:50 in the afternoon, and was snippy because I didnt have everyone ready yet. She wanted the girls in the carseats.

She then began a 90 minute shower and makeup routine, and helped with the kids for maybe 20 minutes. We ended up an hour late for Thanksgiving dinner. But for us, that was a good day.

Yeah there was no affection or anything, and we didn't speak in the car, but yeah, my mind forgot all the issues we had been having, and I wanted to make it work.

That night, I woke up an attended to one of the girls who is very sick. That is the one thing that she has done exclusively, is attend to the kids when they wake up. She has taken kids from me when I do get up before her. (She says that it is because I am working).

One fight we had in September she screamed at me as being selfish for taking my daughter and sitting with her. I had said that I didnt mind and that I was up anyway. And that became somehow me keeping her up because I couldn't sleep.

The problem is that this has become a trump card in every argument. But, anyway I was with my daughter from 4:00 to 5:00, and she slept in.

This morning, I woke up at 9:00, the latest I have slept in that I can remember. I started making the kids breakfast and finishing the laundry. She was working on her laptop already. She snapped that I shouldn't bother cleaning the house because she has hired someone.

I tired very very hard, and refused to escalate, but told her that we cant really afford a cleaning lady, and that Ive got it. She proceeded to call me a little bitch and scream at me in my face infront of my kids.

One of my boys ran and hid, and the other sat and read on the couch, but he was not happy. She blamed me for not having time to clean and not having money and that I couldn't clean or do laundry to "her standards" and that she wasn't a cleaner. It was about an hour of just constant abuse.

So I spent today cleaning the house, doing laundry and taking care of all 4 kids. My sons did more cleaning than she has for a month.

What has really disturbed me is not the abuse towards me. I have normalized that and I am used to it. And honestly, if she kept it behind closed doors, I was prepared to wait out the next 17 years and leave once my kids were out of the house.

But my eldest son is clearly mirroring her behaviors and internalizing the stress. It doesn't help that she constantly wants me to ask him "who is his favorite," "who yells more," and "who is the better parent." When I refuse to do that, I am "scared of what he might say,"

I guess Reddit, that I don't know what to do. I am trying to fix this. I am keeping an appointment scheduled with a counselor. But beyond that, other than talking to a lawyer, I dont know what I should do. She honeslty doesn't see any issues with how she treats me.

Her refrain is that "I am a diamond, and if you leave me you'll only be dating pebbles."

Besides the fact that I dont want a divorce, and she spent the last 6 years threatening a divorce, I dont know I can show anyone who is that out of touch with reality, or seemingly so closed off from recognizing that they have a role in causing and fixing the problems with the marriage.

Update 2:

I have been trying to not judge her at all and to support her. I have not been critical to her.

She doesn’t believe in therapy and is refusing to go to a marriage counseling session I set up on Monday. We have been having huge issues for a long time and fight constantly over trivial things.

She is constant threatening divorce in an argument and uses that as a trump card. We have had the usual major fights since then. Otherwise it is icy. She is also spending her time working from home in a job that she is denying that she has.

She is not remorseful, but has obliquely blamed me for it because we don’t have security cameras at home.

I think that a big issue for me is that the only reason I’m staying is because of the kids. I do almost all the chores and child care in the morning and evening because she insists on doing the nighttime stuff.

So this has shaken the one thing that is keeping me in, plus the fact that she would never forgive me if I did this, and would tell the kids that I abandoned the girls. She has told them other things I have done wrong in her eyes.

Readers continued to weigh in on OP's updates:

finsta5 writes:

So two parts to this. First, consider that your wofe may not be entirely wrong. Consider the idea that if this guy had broken in and attacked her, there was likely little she could do to stop him. I assume she is not trained in self defense, and the guy could be, or maybe he had a weapon.

If he was determined to get in, he may also hurt her and what good would she have been in getting the babies to safety.

Of course, the babies would not be the target or in the way of thus guy getting what he wanted, so he likely wouldn't hurt them. Instead, she did the best thing to protect them and find a place to safely call 911. I'm not sure if this is the best solution, but this reasoning makes her response reasonable at the least.

Second, the reason you are mad isn't because of what your wife did, but because you feel this proves her wrong or evens the playing field in terms of who cares fir the kids more. I'm not sure it does.

But it's clear you have some deep resentment towards your wife and this is a point of contention. I would consider looking into counseling for you individually and as a couple to resolve that.

You have this need to be proven right, and that is a terrible approach to this. The only thing you should be doing is empathizing with your wife because to her this was traumatic, and then discussing a plan for this type of event in the future.

taij writes:

I don’t think you are in the wrong at all… your wife is in the wrong for running out of the house without her babies. That would go against every instinct that any parent has to protect their children.

I think that as a father you are feeling that deeply and very upset that she chose herself over innocent, helpless babies. Anyone saying “you don’t know what you would do” is being ridiculous.

I DO know what I would do! I would take a bullet for my kids and definitely NEVER leave them alone in the house with a man who has a hammer, especially when they were babies.

knowncamel writes:

Having 4 kids including a pair of twins under 1 sound exhausting!! It could also be that your wife is experiencing all kind of mama brain, exhaustion symptoms. She could be depressed and trying to deal with it and still be there for her family!! She may have anxiety.

A lot of stay at home parents with multiple kids and little babies experience all kind of psychotic syndromes… During that time she panicked and did what she did… Thankfully everyone is safe and sound and it taught everyone a lesson!!

What do YOU make of OP's story? Any advice for him?

Sources: Reddit
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