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Guy uses home security cameras to expose GF 'gaslighting' him about chores. 'AITA?'

Guy uses home security cameras to expose GF 'gaslighting' him about chores. 'AITA?'


"AITA for using home security cameras to expose my girlfriend’s gaslighting?"

Here's the story:

My GF Anne (25F) and I (25M) have been dating the past 5 years, since college. After graduation, we were semi-long distance, living close enough that we alternately visited almost every weekend. In 2018, Anne got a job in my city, and we found a place and moved in together.

Now’s a good time to mention the security cameras in our house: break-ins are unfortunately common where we live. We thus got some motion activated cameras, one of which has a view of our kitchen (to monitor the back door). The cameras only record when there’s motion so they can retain footage for a very long time. Anne of course knows this.

About a year ago, Anne started complaining I wasn’t contributing equally to chores. I’ve been obsessive about chores my whole life; growing up, not doing the dishes meant no videogames for a week. When I lived with roommates, I was always the chore guy, making damn sure we all stuck to our chore wheel. Anne is just as fastidious about chores, so we just naturally alternated who did what.

I’d just been brushing her remarks off, but over the last few months they’ve become much more aggressive, e.g. I was vacuuming and Anne said “look at you finally cleaning up around here!” I replied that we alternated vacuuming, to which she retorted “no, you’ve vacuumed maybe twice since I moved in.”

Exchanges like this have been happening so frequently that I began to doubt my own recollection; am I not as clean as I thought? Finally, she exploded at me last week. She said that having to stay home constantly over the past weeks exposed how little I do around the house, and that she didn’t move in just to be my maid.

Questioning my own sanity, I spent a few hours going through the entire 1.5 year archive of security camera footage, and tallied the exact number of times the kitchen cam caught each of us doing dishes. Our cleaning supplies (vacuum/mop/etc.) are in the kitchen pantry, so I also tallied up how many times we grabbed cleaning stuff.

To my vindication, the tally showed that we indeed split chores equally. She vacuumed/mopped ~5 more times than I did; I did dishes ~20 more times than she did. Given that we vacuum/mop at least once a week and do dishes at least every day, these are insignificant differences over the year and a half we’ve lived together.

When I confronted Anne, she shrugged off her behavior as “remembering things differently,” but the real sin here was what I did, which she called an “unforgivable violation of her privacy,” akin to abusive stalking. She has broken up with me and is trying to move out.

I’m totally heartbroken - Anne was the love of my life and I can’t believe she destroyed our relationship like this. To make matters worse, she told many of our friends, who are mostly siding with her! They’ve been texting me that what I did was creepy, abusive, controlling, invasive, etc. I’m at a loss; I’m beginning to think I’m the one who’s off base here.

Here's what top commenters had to say about the situation:

RealSteveIrwin said:

NTA she has been accusing you of not pulling your weight and you pulled hard proof that you were. She knew about the cameras so it’s not an invasion of privacy I would argue and honestly, it sounds like you’ll need some time to get over her but it’s for the best

[deleted] said:

NTA. You didn't do anything wrong. I think she's been wanting to break up for awhile and she just used this as a excuse. Many people will do this so they wont look like the bad guy. Anyone supporting her should go pound pavement.

danidoki said:

NTA, abusive and controlling? Because you counted how many times she mopped or did the dishes? She was the one being abusive and just upset you outed her, and I wouldn't be surprised if she emotionally manipulated her friends to side with her just like she emotionally manipulated you.

RoamingAmber said:

NTA. If Anne wasn’t aware the cameras were there, sure, I could see her having a point. But if you know you’re being recorded, you know the person you’re living with has access to those recordings, (while it may be out of the ordinary) it’s certainly not a$&h@le behavior for your partner to actually go over said recordings. My guess is this relationship was on the rocks and this is all Anne needed to justify leaving.

ScienceNotKids said:

NTA. She was wrong, she's embarrassed, so she's leaving. This isn't on you.

allcatsarethebestcat said:

As long as she knew about the cameras (which you made it seem like she did) then NTA. To me it looks like she was already looking for a way out and she thought she could pin it in you not helping around the house, which is a pretty common complaint against male partners.

She was trying to find a reason to get mad at you, possibly make you get mad at her, and have that be a "legitimate" reason for one of you to end the relationship. Easier to end a relationship with someone you're mad at. It's a super immature, but I would say decently common, tactic for someone who wants out of an otherwise fine relationship to initiate a breakup.

_maude_lebowski_ said:

Info: Did you have a real sit-down convo about division of labor? ETA Unless you're a detective trying to solve a crime, reviewing years of video to prove anything is v creep

M0506 said:

INFO: is it possible that Anne does a lot of chores that you aren't even aware need to be done, and her resentment over this is contributing to the "you've vacuumed twice" hyperbole?

When I read, "I spent a few hours going through the entire 1.5 year archive of security camera footage," I heard it as Neil Patrick Harris's character in "Gone Girl." Having said that, I'm wondering if maybe you two are both annoyingly fastidious and this isn't really about "gaslighting" at all.

Chores are a complex issue in a lot of relationships. Clearly, commenters are divided about whether this guy's behavior was "creepy" or justified. What do you think?

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