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Wife's husband creepily admits, 'Your houseplants are dead because of me.' AITA? UPDATED.

Wife's husband creepily admits, 'Your houseplants are dead because of me.' AITA? UPDATED.


When this woman is freaked out by her husband's weird confession, she asks Reddit:

"My (31f) husband (32m) has been tampering with my plants. What do I do?"

I have many many houseplants and even some that were quite expensive and were gifts from my sister. Within the last 6 months at least a third of my plants have died. I have had houseplants my whole life due to my late mother's own love of houseplants and I know a lot about plants.

The death of the plants didn't seem related to lack of light, or inconsistent watering, or lack of nutrients, or even root rot! They just died very suddenly. I tried to not let it upset me too much because plants die and it was not any of the expensive ones, until now.

My sister gave me a 5 leaf monstera Albo rooted plant for my birthday two months ago. It was beautiful.

This morning I was crying pretty hard about it as I unpotted it and took a look at the roots and I was looking HARD at this plant and roots to see if it's death was pest related and that's when I noticed a smell.

I sniffed my potting mix and I smelled bleach. The only other adult person in my home with unlimited and unobserved access to my plants is my husband.

I wasnt able to talk to him for several hours, but when I could speak to him I very calmly but very directly asked if he had done something to my plants. He denied it at first. I said I smelled bleach in the potting mix of the Albo my sister had gotten me and that the only person that could have put it there was him and he caved.

He said he was putting small amounts of bleach into the fertilizer water jugs I prepare. I started crying. I asked him why, why would you do this? You know I love these plants why would you destroy them? He didn't really answer nor did he really apologize.

The trust I had in him is absolutely gone. I think maybe counseling can help us, but he is the one that did this, but I'm the one that would have to set up the counseling. The angry part of me just wants to be done with the relationship. I know that might seem overboard, as we are married and share a child, but I feel now that I'm not safe around my husband.

trayez writes:

Be careful. This is abuse. He is sabotaging something that makes you happy. He is doing it in a way that makes you self conscious as well, basically a subtle form of physical gaslighting. This is done with the exclusive goal of making you less happy and weaker in general.

Your partner wants you to be upset. And if he is getting something out of that it will inevitably escalate.

Press him for an answer and don't let him wriggle out. Put emphasis on the impact on you, the simple premise: 'The only possible outcome of those actions is hurting me. So why are you choosing to hurt me, your wife?

And given you are choosing to hurt me, what possible action can I take but to leave given you appear to want to be a danger to me and my things?'

winterblue writes:

In my country, the deliberate and malicious destruction of beloved items (secretly or otherwise) is part of how we define family violence. That’s because it’s a form of coercive control.

What he has done here is an act of coercive control. People who don’t like something of their partners talk to them about it rather than quietly controlling the situation to their desire by committing destruction of property and hurting the other person emotionally. The initial denial is gaslighting too.

As others are saying, in most cases this shit escalates. A man who relates to you via coercive control does not see you as a person but as an object or a possession. This dehumanisation takes many forms and often ends fatally.

I strongly recommend you see an individual therapist and talk to support services to plan your exit from this relationship.

There is no point in couples counselling where active coercive control is occurring - it will actually only make things worse, it is contraindicated for your scenario so don’t put yourself further at risk of emotional and psychological damage by engaging in it.

writergeek writes:

This is change the locks while he’s at work level of disturbing. He deliberately killed multiple living things that you loved and that helped you to feel more connected to your sister and to your mother’s memory.

There’s a deep dark pit of evil where this man’s heart is supposed to be. If your child starts showing even the mildest signs of some sort of health problem, please get them to the pediatrician right away. He’s already proven he’s willing to kill something you love.

futureevil writes:

Your husband is evil. You need to kick him out. Counselling is pointless with someone who is this passive aggressive and sneaky.

I had a 13 year relationship with a man like this. He drilled holes in my car’s engine so I wouldn’t be able to drive. He would hide my medications when I started to get better.

Half the time I wasn’t even aware he was mad- he’d be fg with my belongings and my life. Purposely bleaching or throwing out my favourite clothes. I was the only person in his life who put up with him, who defended him.

I did everything for him and I was so STUPIDLY demonstrative and giving to him. Anytime I tried to draw a boundary and stand up for myself, my health, our kids, human decency- he would simmer with rage and the strange bad luck would begin.

educationplea writes:

I don’t understand this situation as to why he would do such a thing. Is he just a cold person? Evil, sadistic? Does he hate plants? Did he get jealous that the plants were getting attention or something? Like I have so many questions I want answered lol.

But seriously, that’s effed up and I’m glad you are aware of how effed up it is. He killed living plants, YOUR living plants, on purpose, knowing you’d be upset about it. THEN he denied it!

And THENN the final kicker was when you obviously and understandably were, according to you he never apologized nor explained himself! That’s sick. If it was somehow a mistake or there was remorse, then maybe maaaaybe there could be some forgiveness, but clearly that’s not the case.

I’d worry about what else this man is doing and wouldn’t feel trusting or safe with him anymore. I would divorce and get custody of the child, and try and make his ass go to therapy because he clearly needs it.

There’s something not all the way right there. Try to think of if this is super out of the blue or if there’s been signs or weird and abnormal behavior before this, because that might shed some light into what mental issues or disorder this man has. I’m so sorry about your plants and best of luck to you and the child.

mrlizardbiz writes:

Well, I'm not a forensic psychologist, but I'd say either he's jealous of your plants and feels threatened by the way you love and care for them, or he just wanted to destroy something you love and watch you suffer for entertainment.

Either way, this is not good, OP. Yes, it's "just plants" but you are in no way over reacting. If anything I think you're under reacting, honestly.

He destroyed something you love, something you nurture and care for, something that has emotional weight and meaning for you... just, casually. No reason given, not even a passable lie he could come up with.

WTF.... like, if it had been anything else I'd be saying the same thing- you don't destroy an artist's portraits or a fan's collection or a musician's instrument. You don't mess with someone's pets or plants or car.

When you love something enough, it becomes a piece of you. When your partner doesn't respect it, or worse, mistreats it, they're really tangentially just showing you how little they care about you.

bananaleaftea writes:

The only reason I can imagine someone would do this is because the soil is attracting and breeding insects. Did he ever complain about that to you before and maybe you brushed off his concerns or didn't address them?

I say that because we have a little citrus tree that for YEARS kept getting infested with spider mites. I was terrified that the infection would spread to my other house plants.

I would have just tossed it out tbh but it's my husband's favourite tree of the bunch. I should add I'm the real plant-phile in the relationship and fought him to have any plants in the home at all.

After hiring a company to come and treat it failed, I tried every tincture I could on that stupid tree lol from vingar, to neem tree oil, to dish soap, to windex. I started out treating the leaves and branches but when the critters returned every year I started "treating the soil," aka pouring harsh chemicals and soaps into its pot.

I admit it got intense towards the end but something worked!! It's happy and healthy today, thank God. No infestations for the past couple of years. It's currently fruiting.I'd also like to clarify that I was NOT ever trying to kill the plant. But I will admit to being at my wit's end with the damned thing.

Do you think he was trying to do something similar and is just too worried about your response to fully own up?

slibneb writes:

Devils advocate here. Obviously this is very weird behaviour and could be the sign of incredibly toxic/childish emotions from your spouse.

BUT! You seem to get a lot of plants as gifts. Clearly buy your own as well. And instead of measuring by number (i.e. saying 'at least 2 of my plants') you say 'a third'. You talk about how they are a connection to your mother because of her love of them. It sounds like you have a LOT of plants. Like A LOT, a lot.

Is the house FILLED with plants? Would an average person think you have too many?

And more importantly - has your spouse tried to express before that he doesn't like how many you have, to which you have responded via emotionally guilting him - playing on the connection to your late mother, etc? Is there any chance this is him at his wits end?

OP responds with this update:

I thank everyone for giving advice. The townhome we live in is mine and my sister's, our inheritance from my mother. My husband has an office/den/gaming room that is his personal space and there are no plants there.

There are also no plants in the kitchen. I'm not a plant hoarder. Like he has a room for himself, I also have a sunroom and that is where the concentration of plants live. He has no reason to go in there.

It's not access to our backyard or anything. I saw some people saying maybe he's sick of bugs, but I do not have a fungus gnat problem. I did see one person ask why did I not smell the bleach when I was watering?

And I can only say my nose wasn't all up in there maybe? I also usually use a natural systemic in my fertilizer water called sns-209 that smells heavily of rosemary, but I ran out last month and haven't replaced yet.

After our convo yesterday I needed space. He went to his office and I spent the night in my daughter's room on a trundle bed. I. am going to text my husband today. He usually communicates easier and opens up more via text, rather than face to face. I am going to ask for a reason and I'll see what he says.

What is YOUR take on OP's dilemma? Should she leave her husband or is their relationship salvageable?

Sources: Reddit
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