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Man calls GF 'selfish' for refusing to learn sign language for his mute daughter.

Man calls GF 'selfish' for refusing to learn sign language for his mute daughter.


Raising a child with disabilities is difficult in a world that routinely overlooks much-needed accommodations, and marginalizes disabled people through routine othering, both systemic and social.

Having a solid support system through family, friends, and a partner, can help make your child feel less singled out while giving you an understanding space to process all the difficulties you face in parenting.

However, because we live in an ableist world, it's often expected that disabled people will adjust to others, and not the other way around. These assumptions can show themselves in pretty disappointing ways.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a man asked if he's wrong for calling his girlfriend selfish because she refuses to learn sign language for his daughter.

He wrote:

AITA calling my girlfriend selfish for refusing to learn sign-language for my daughter?

My daughter Ruby was born mute. She can understand words, but we use sign language to communicate. While she can use her phone or write, obviously she prefers to sign. The issue is my girlfriend, Amanda.

We've been dating for around 9 months, and introduced our children around 3 months ago. They don't know sign language so communication with Ruby was awkward at first, she hates having to write or use her phone at home.

So I taught Amanda some basic signs beforehand, and I've continued teaching her and Mia more in this time. Mia is getting a lot better actually. But Amanda has apparently decided it's too hard and refuses to learn anymore.

She says that it's 'unnecessary' since Ruby can understand her and communicate other ways. While Ruby is usually willing to do that for them, she doesn't enjoy it and finds it frustrating. I told Amanda she's being selfish and lazy.

That it's not fair to put all effort on Ruby. It's one thing if she doesn't get it after years, but it's only been months. It's just ridiculous. We got into a fight over it and she basically called me an a**hole and said it's not her fault she struggles with it.

But that doesn't mean just give up. If she wants to be in our life it's the bare minimum effort to put in. I clearly think she's just being selfish, while she thinks I'm an a**hole and unfair. I vented to my brother and he agreed with Amanda.

That I can't force her to learn and not everyone is good with language. And that Ruby doesn't 'need' it and I'm 'coddling her.'

I'm honestly still pissed off but I do love Amanda. She's normally thoughtful and kind, and I guess it's possible it's just me being overprotective of Ruby. I think it's a reasonable expectation, but I'm starting to doubt myself.

The jury of internet commenters was quick to bring their verdict to the thread.

Pepper-90210 wrote:

NTA. This should be a dealbreaker for you.

sharp-Yarn wrote:

NTA, do you see a future with a woman who point blank refuses to speak to your daughter?

CanyonCoyote wrote:

NAH. She met your children three months ago and struggles to pick up sign language. While you have a right to choose a partner who will meet your daughter on her level, three months is hardly a lot of time.

I think you could have an honest discussion and say: “I really love you but I will never propose to and marry someone who won’t learn sign language given my daughter. I understand that our relationship is still fairly new and it’s a lot to ask but I won’t move forward unless that is something you are willing to do.”

This will set clear expectations and open an honest dialogue. Amanda will have to make her own decision and you can proceed accordingly. I suspect you’ll have your answer within a few months.

If I were to guess you will break up but if not that means she stepped up. Good luck!

pacazpac wrote:

I’m actually gonna go against the grain and say NAH. This is your girlfriend, not your fiancée. It’s only been 9 months. Learning a new language - including sign language - is hard and time consuming.

It is, in fact, a lot to ask of someone who doesn’t have a solid and enduring relationship with the person they’re expected to learn for. If y’all were getting married?

Absolutely she’s the a**hole. But at this point, if she’s overwhelmed by trying to learn, I think that’s fair. You want somebody who is going to make communicating with your daughter a priority now.

That’s also fair! It just means you guys may be incompatible.

Weekend_Breakfast wrote:

NTA. You're being a good father.

'And that Ruby doesn't 'need' it and I'm 'coddling her'.'

It's her language! If she spoke Polish, you'd want Amanda to learn Polish. Especially since Ruby CANNOT speak English. Amanda and your brother are the AHs here.

Clearly, people are divided on this one, it's really all about what angle you approach it from. What seems clear is that OP and Amanda need to come to a mutual agreement if they want the relationship to last.

Sources: Reddit
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