Commenters were quick to call out one man after his partner revealed his hyper-critical behavior in a popular internet forum.
In a viral post published on Reddit’s r/AmITheA**hole, an anonymous Redditor assured that she is a “pretty great cook,” but detailed recent complaints she received from her 29-year-old partner about meals she has prepared. Titled, “AITA for banning my partner from cooking?,” the Reddit post has received nearly 10,000 votes and more than 1,100 comments in the last day.
Writing that she and her partner had been snowed in for three days, the viral post’s author said she decided to prepare a traditional Mexican dish with ingredients the couple had on hand. Adding that the dish was something her grandmother made frequently, the Redditor said she thought it tasted good, until her partner tried it.
“My partner comes over to have a taste and, I kid you not, goes ‘this tastes like dirt,'” she wrote.
Explaining that he had already criticized a coffee cake she made earlier in the day by saying that it was “too dense,” and that his mother “makes a better one,” the Redditor said she confronted her partner about the harsh criticism.
“I mention how weird it is that it tastes like dirt and wonder aloud how I can fix it,” she wrote. “They get frustrated and lash out at me, [saying] ‘I must just be making it up then, it’s f*****g fine, I’ll eat it.'”
“We went back and forth for a second before I tell them they shouldn’t eat what I made then, and to just order food,” she added. “But now they’re making a big stink about how I can’t ‘take criticism.'”
Communication and accountability are hallmarks of strong relationships. Overwhelming criticism serves as the exact opposite.
In a 2018 interview with Elite Daily, Dr. Gary Brown said that “constant criticism can be a possible red flag that [a] relationship has become toxic.”
Brown, a prominent relationship therapist, also said that constant criticism from a partner is grounds for separation.
“If all your partner tells you is an endless cycle of ‘you’re not good at this’ or ‘you shouldn’t have done that,'” Brown told Elite Daily. “Maybe you’ve heard all there is to hear.”
Differing from constructive feedback, “criticism is the most destructive behavior in relationships,” according to Psychology Today.
Resulting from a critical partner’s need to defend their ego, “criticism in close relationships starts out, in most cases, on a low key and escalates over time, forming a downward spiral.” And while criticism can result in short-term gains for one partner, Psychology Today reported that overwhelming criticism can only lead to a growing sense of resentment within the other.
In her viral Reddit post, the anonymous user said her partner usually liked the meals she prepared, and expressed her confusion with how one meal tasted “like dirt” all of a sudden.
“This is something I’ve made before, and they’ve really liked [it] before,” she wrote. “It just somehow ‘tastes like dirt’ today.”
“I probably cook at least 5/7 days of the week and they never complain about the food,” she added.
The Redditor’s description, combined with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention‘s guidance that loss of taste is a potential symptom of COVID-19, prompted many commenters to wonder whether her partner had recently contracted the coronavirus.
In the post’s top comment, which has received 13,700 votes, Redditor u/mr_mini_doxie asked the Redditor if her partner was struggling to taste other foods.
“I hate to be the one to bring it up, but is your partner having trouble tasting other things?” they questioned. “Is there any chance they could be sick?”
Many Redditors echoed similar sentiments, and said the 29-year-old should be tested for COVID-19.
Others, however, took aim at his critical behavior.
Redditor u/JQMuggins, whose comment has received 5,500 votes, said the Redditor’s boyfriend should prepare his own food and labeled his behavior insulting.
“If he doesn’t like the meal you are preparing, he can feel free to make something for himself or order take away,” they commented.
“Telling someone a meal they are preparing ‘tastes like dirt’ is an insult,” they added.