Marriage is - theoretically - a forever kind of thing. Not a lot of people go into it thinking it's something they'll do until they get bored and something else comes along. Having said that, forever is a really long time to spend with a person and divorce is all too common. That doesn't mean it's a must, though. Millennials have been blamed for "killing" divorce (umm, you're welcome?) but it's not like they're the first to be able to battle back from the edge.
One Reddit user asked:
Redditors who salvaged their marriage from the brink of divorce, what's your story and how's it going now?
A surprising number of brave people stepped up to talk about it - and what it mostly boils down to is that honesty and communication are a must. Oh, also maybe don't play so many video games and handle your mental health people!
The responses have been edited for language, but that's it. These are people's stories in their own words. Some are heartbreaking, some are kind of funny, but they're all honest and vulnerable.
Warcraft = War At Home
Husband played World of Warcraft. A lot. We had two kids. I was miserable and controlling.
I went to therapy for myself and got some emotional tools on how to deal with life. It was mind blowing. I also learned how to not let fear dictate my decisions. Husband noticed. I basically went from controlling and nagging and a mean sobbing mess to calm, independent and in some ways less caring. He got nervous and agreed to go to therapy.
He went for two sessions. Basically he got his view of reality called into question. I swear our therapist was like a non-evil Hannible Lecter. He was good at getting to the heart of things but both myself and my husband were desperate for change.
My husband stepped up. And I stepped down from trying to micromanage his life. I want him to enjoy video games. I do too. But he needs to be emotionally available. If I'm making dinner I'll tell him "Don't start a new game, dinner is almost ready" or he'll ask how much time he has ... Or wait to game after kids sleep.
It's the communication, the consideration and the priorities that need to be changed. If you're using gaming as a crutch for other issues, you'll just find a replacement if gaming is taken away.
So, yeah he still plays. But he plays because he enjoys it, not as a way to escape real life every second he can.
Life is good.
Re-Directed Emotional Energy
I caught my wife chatting with someone else online. When I called her on it, she said she knew I was talking to someone else too. We had been (emotionally) cheating on each other because we felt like we weren't getting what we needed from the marriage.
We realized that if we just took the effort that we were spending on the other people and spent it on each other, we'd be happy and getting what we needed. Now our marriage is really amazing.
Most of our problems came from his family full of awful, abusive, intrusive, boundary-stomping as$holes.
We moved 1000 miles away and no longer speak to them. We're happy now.
We Forgot To Be In Love
Go back 17 years ago, we had a young son. He was my dream child. I lost my focus on my husband and centered entirely on my son. My husband never said much.
I was so tired too. All I wanted to do after working 9-10 hours was sleep. He had a job he hated and works 10 hours a day too.
We forgot to be in love. Period. I nagged a lot and he just ignored me. I caught him telling our problems to a stranger on the Internet. I asked for a divorce.
It was around January. I said we would let my son finish the school year and I would leave in June.
After that, we coexisted as friends. We had been together for 16 years, so that wasn't hard. Our parents knew we were divorcing and they didn't understand because we were such good friends.
Around March we were bored. We wanted to go out to dinner and a movie. I asked my mom to babysit. It was just as friends. I actually took the time to get ready. He did too. We went to dinner and then the movie. By habit, I just grabbed his hand. He never said anything, but just stroked the back of my hand and never let go.
We got back into the car. It was late, so we let our son stay overnight.
I don't know what happened that night, but I felt something I had never felt before. I was holding on to my best friend and I wasn't going to let go.
We went home and just held each other. Divorce was never mentioned again. In my own head I realized that I had to put him first. He needed me too. I balanced my time and he learned to give me the reassurance that I needed to feel loved.
As I currently watch him sleep, with our young 7 year old between us, I know that our marriage is about as perfect as a marriage can be. We have both forgiven and accepted each other's faults.
My advice to you..
- Make one date a month. Make it special. 2 Every 3-4 months, plan to go out-of-town for a night. Act like teenagers. I can't tell you how much I need these nights. We go to concerts, ball games, casinos, or even just camping.
- Don't argue about something that won't matter in one month. If he didn't take out the trash, will that really matter?
- Learn to enjoy each other's bodies. I had gained weight and lost all self-esteem. Once I realized that he wasn't looking for perfection, just attention, things changed. I wasn't happy with what I looked like and o have slowly improved.
My oldest son is getting married. His soon-to-be wife told him he wanted marriage just like his parents had. That told me everything I needed to know. We had made it.
Boiled Down To Communication
After I had my kids I felt like I lost who I was. I was "mom" and that was it. I was permanently exhausted. All my energy was spent on the kids so by the end of the day I just wanted to get into bed and sleep. My husband would stay up late playing computer games. We spent no time together. I nagged him because I felt like I was doing all the work at home.
I also gained a lot of weight during my 2 pregnancies and I didn't lose it afterwards, which made me feel fat and unattractive. It didn't help that my husband seemed to completely lose interest in me. He stopped telling me I was beautiful. He stopped saying "I love you". He has never been a very expressive guy so when that stopped, and he wasn't being physically affectionate with me either, I truly believed that he didn't really love me anymore. It was a bit of a vicious cycle, because the more I felt that way, the more weight I gained and the more terrible I felt about myself. I would always be the one to initiate any intimacy. It completely blew my self-confidence.
While all this was happening I met somebody online (to clarify, it was not on any dating site or anything like that) who I used to chat to regularly. There was nothinginappropriate that happened. It was just sharing about what had happened during the week, getting advice on things, talk about parenting etc. This guy lived on a different continent. I never shared anything about my husband with him, never complained about him etc. He was more like a spiritual mentor. I realized though, that even though nothing inappropriate was going on, it was wrong because without realizing it, I was emotionally investing in somebody else when I should have been using that time and energy to invest in my relationship with my husband. Although I put an end to that, things still didn't improve. I felt like with every month that passed the gulf between us got wider and wider.
I caught my husband looking at porn a number of times, which at the time, was devastating to me. It made me feel even worse about myself...his sex drive was fine, it was just me he wasn't interested in. I took it very personally. He was completely withdrawn from me, and there was actually a point where I worried that he might be having an affair. I was absolutely miserable.
The tipping point came a few years ago, when my husband went snooping online and found some "anonymous" confessions I had made on Scary Mommy confessions (unlucky for me, even though I had never saved any of them, he worked his software engineer magic and knew which ones were mine). It was my place to vent about how crappy I felt about motherhood, about myself and about my marriage (and even about both our families).
When my husband saw them he was devastated. Because he's always had trouble expressing any emotions he wrote me a long letter telling me that he had gone snooping and found them. He told me how hurt he was and how he didn't realize that I had been so unhappy.
A very hard discussion followed, with lots of tears on both sides. Once everything was out in the open things got so much better. He made more of an effort to tell me he loved me and that I was beautiful. He encouraged me to go back to school and to follow my own dreams. I started seeing a personal trainer 3x a week. I also discovered that the reason he doesn't initiate sex very much is not because he doesn't want it, but because he never wants me to feel pressured to do it. Our sex life has been amazing since. We also spoke about love languages.
For us, fixing things really boiled down to communication. I think the key to any good marriage is good, open communication and not letting things build up until you're miserable and full of resentment.
Not Doing This Alone
We had two kids in diapers and we were working opposite schedules so that we could care for them without resorting to daycare.
He called me at work to say "We're both not happy. We should separate."
Without any emotional tears or anything I said
"I'm not f***ing doing this alone so get over yourself."
Then I hung up the phone.
Tomorrow is my 30th anniversary. The kids are grown and successful and we love each other more than we ever have.
We Got Therapy, We Grew Up
Marriage was a sh!t show. We were both still immature in several ways. Things got bad. There was lying, fighting, yelling, verbal and psychological abuse. Divorce was used as a threat, and so was custody of our kids. Husband was having an emotional affair with his ex wife. We reached a tipping point during an argument in which I was told my opinion was wrong, and I needed to change it or be gone within the week.
I left the next day.
We fought more, we both filed for divorce. We had one hearing where we talked about custody to the judge. Time passes, my lawyer had everything ready to finalize it and all it needed was my signature.
I opted not to have it filed and not to sign.
During the three years we were separated, we continued to talk on the phone. I let him see our kids as much as possible. We were hundreds of miles apart - twelve hours driving. My car would not have made the trip. His was in better condition. He may have been a sh!t husband, but he's always been a good dad. We talked, and talked. We both sought therapy individually. We grew up.
Eventually he moved back, and I moved back in. We've continued to work on our marriage so we never get to where we were.
As for right now? Things are okay. We're not perfect people, but we're making it through.
Workaholic Mama's Boy And The Emotional Affair
I did that cliche movie thing where my husband comes home from work and finds his wife (me) sitting at the kitchen table with a drink gesturing at the other chair like, "Have a seat, we need to talk."
I basically laid out everything that was wrong with our relationship and family life - and there was a lot. I had thought a lot about it all for literal years (married for 9 years at that point), but obviously the communication was so far deteriorated that I hadn't brought any of this up before. He took it very much in stride and said, "That's fixable! I'll fix it!" I was silent and looked down. He said, "Unless... you don't want it to be fixed. Are you telling me you want a separation?"
I had wanted a separation, but I couldn't bring myself to tell him that. This conversation was going differently than I expected. I thought he'd jump at the chance to leave me; I thought he hated me. So, I said, "Well, no." And we talked some more, and made plans to improve our relationship.
Several days after that, we were out having dinner and I was too distracted by my thoughts about our shitty marriage to have a good time. He noticed and asked what was wrong. I said, "You expect everything to improve overnight. Nothing is better. I feel the same." After a bit of angry back and forth, we got the check and stormed home (we live walking distance from the restaurant we were at, so we angrily power walked home, it must have been comedic to people who were watching).
Everything, everything came out that night. All the ways that he had wronged me, as far back as 10 years ago, that he had never apologized for or acknowledged, all the way up to the present. He said, "Why now? Why are you telling me this now? What has changed? Has [longtime friend of mine] pitted you against me for some reason??" And so the truth came out: I said, "I met someone else."
It was true, I'd met someone else and it was mainly an emotional affair, though we exchanged pictures and sexted. But what struck me was how differently they both treated me. I mean, long story short, it was like night and day. To put it very simply, the other guy respected my time and made me feel like I had value as a person separate from making him happy, whereas my husband did not make me feel like that.
I had not wanted to tell my husband about the affair. The other guy and I were not going to get together and were in fact starting to end our relationship, so telling my husband would be just pointless and hurtful. I mainly told him in order to clear my poor friend's name (he really thought she was trying to get me to divorce him) and to put the nail in the coffin of our relationship so I could just move the on.
That was actually the turning point of the evening. He told me that it didn't line up with who he knew me to be - which was a good, honest, faithful person. He said that I must have felt really backed into a corner to turn to infidelity, and that actually made him sit down and examine how he had been acting for the past ten years.
As for how he had been acting: he was a workaholic who had literally zero time for family life including fun interesting conversations about non-work related things. He never came with me to visit my family, hardly spent time with our son, expected me to do everything around the house - which I didn't really mind except he would complain terribly when it wasn't up to his standards instead of just fixing things to his liking without complaining. For example, he would complain to me about a sock being on the floor rather than just picking it up as he walked by.
He didn't listen to anything I said, and I had a running joke where if I wanted to end a conversation, all I had to do was talk longer than 30 seconds because at that point he became very dismissive and would literally walk away. Not in an overtly mean way, more like, "ahah well I've said everything I need to say, and now I'll get back to work" while backing away. Then after a while, whenever this happened, I'd say, "Hah see, this is what happens when I start talking!" and he'd say, "ahah no it isn't" over his shoulder as he was sitting back down at his desk. It didn't really feel like it had any malice behind it, but it was really upsetting anyway. He told me later that he was afraid to spend time on anything that wasn't work. The conversations were usually work related, so when I started talking, the usefulness of it would be over, as I usually expanded the conversation from work to other things often still related to work, but in a less direct way.
He would threaten me with divorce every time we had a fight - I eventually asked him to stop and he more or less did, but occasionally lapsed. His mother lived with us for years and she was incredibly emotionally abusive in ways that I cannot and will not ever forgive- but whenever I brought it up with my husband, he got very defensive, defended her, and said that I was wrong for feeling the way I did. Most hurtful was the fact that he didn't work for a year by choice and despite all of his free time, he did not spend a single day hanging out with me and our son. That was when I was convinced he didn't love me, and that's when I met the other guy, which spearheaded all of this.
After that initial big conversation, we did a LOT of soul searching. I went on a trip planned long in advance, to visit my family (it was one of those family trips that he never took with me, so he didn't have a ticket and therefore didn't come along). During our time apart, we thought a LOT about what we wanted from our marriage and each other and whether we were willing to work on things, whether we were able to come back from the hurt we'd caused each other. We spent a lot of time texting and on the phone. On the day I was supposed to come back, we were both pacing and debating whether we actually wanted to see each other again.
We decided to stay together and make it work. He has a better work life balance, and does things around the house. I speak up when things bother me. We have conversations about things that aren't work related. He values what I say. He apologized for the way his mom treated me, and for not acknowledging how hurtful it was - which made me feel like a huge load was lifted from my spirit. He said that he didn't even realize that's how he was acting all those years - that he was acting like a person he never wanted to be. I believe him. I always knew he had a good heart. I feel like his behavior now matches with who he is on the inside.
I didn't know our marriage could be as good as it is now; if I had, I definitely would have tried to have that conversation years ago, preferably without the infidelity.
A Breast Reduction Changed Everything
I had surgery. I know it sounds weird.
I'm a female, make the most money, work the most, etc. My husband also works but has very few skills and smokes weed a lot because of back pain, so any time he DOES get an interview for something better, they drug test and he doesn't get the job.
We also have a son with autism. We aren't having more kids. When my son turned 8 I got my tubes cut out so I couldn't. Every day is exhausting and honestly, neither of us were happy. I never wanted sex because I was tired, he wanted it all the time. He snapped about everything, I shut down about everything. We had our 10 year anniversary and I knew I wanted a divorce.
I has a breast reduction because of pain issues that were affecting my work. That surgery is serious stuff. I prepared myself for having to go at my recovery with no help. I was delusional. I was a mess afterwards. I didn't want to ask him for help at all.
He turned into a different person. He helped me in the bathroom, took me in the shower to help me, drove me to all of my appointments, made me food, checked on me every 20 mins. Never once did he get impatient with me.
4 weeks after my surgery I felt really lovely from my surgery. I was in a good mood, I liked how I looked in the mirror. I asked him if he liked how I looked. He looked like a dog staring at a treat. I told him I wanted sex.
Ever since then, things are TOTALLY different. I don't know exactly what happened. Maybe him realizing that attention to me matters and showing care, and I realized I needed to give up control. Now we make a little date time. We have sex 1-2 times a week (It had been about once a month before). We laugh with each other. I talk to him when I'm frustrated instead of trying to solve everything by myself. But it's pretty awesome.
Long story short, I was a very heavy drinker for 15+ years. Verbally abusive to my wife when drunk. Wife lost her father from cancer the same year we married. Lost her mother the following year due to unknown cause, possibly heart issue. We had a kid. June 2016, my wife's sister gave birth, then unexpectedly, her sister died a week later. I started drinking more heavily and ramped up my verbal abuse. My wife suppressed her feelings and said she was "used to death now."
End of August 2016, she says she wants a marriage break. I didn't want a break. Early September 2016 I decide to quit drinking cold turkey (average 15 drinks a day down to 0) and start working out. One week later, I find out she's having an affair. The affair continued for 6 months on and off, but I maintained my sobriety and tried to convince her I changed the whole time. She never believed me and expected me to revert back to my old ways. December 2016, we were headed for divorce. February 2017, the affair had ended a month prior, she's gone thru a lot of therapy at this point (she started going weekly in November 2016), and we decided to try and give our marriage another shot. We did marriage counseling bi weekly and started to get to know the new us, individually and as a couple. That April, I started school again after a 10 year hiatus.
Today, 9/27/18, I'm down to 170lbs from 220 (this weight was actually all lost in the first couple months after finding out about the affair), I'm 80% of the way done with my bachelor's degree, wife and I are more in love than we ever have been since knowing each other, and we're expecting our second child in one week! I'm still sober with no outside help. I did it in silence and I'm damn proud of myself! 2 years ago at this time, I wouldn't have believed this was possible, but I pushed thru and I'm making good decisions, finally!
I was a dick and didn't deserve the beautiful woman who put up with my daily drinking and verbal abuse for over 5 years. She shouldn't have cheated and maybe some think I should have cut my ties, but I made the choices I made and I stand by them. I love her. My Wife and I finally found our true selves and our marriage is stronger than it's every been. We were both in the wrong for different reasons, but we worked hard and fixed everything that we could.
Just wanted to get this off my chest because I feel accomplished. I'm finally happy with my life and where it's going for the first time since youth.
Keep your head up, most bullsh!t in life is just a phase unless you make it bigger than it should be. Stay focused.
Some people typically don't like being told what to do because they think they already know what they're doing.
That is until they stumble and land on their face.
It turns out what they were resistant to accepting in the first place was accurate all along.
If only they listened.
Curious to hear of other people's growing pains, Redditor TinyUnderstanding948 asked:
"What lesson did you have to learn the hard way?"
You can protect yourself with these reminders.
Leave A Paper Trail
"Any monetary or business agreement needs to be in writing!"
Observing The Fine Print
"Read the contract."
Generally speaking, business relationships and friendships are mutually exclusive.
"Not everyone you work with is your friend."
What Venting Led To
"My grandmother learned that the hard way a few years ago. Had been in the same industry since the 90s, was being paid less than she was worth honestly. On a break at work, she was venting to a coworker she thought she was friends with, about someone who worked in the same place as them."
"Word got back to the boss pretty fast and they used it as an excuse to stop giving her work and forced her out; they preferred a younger workforce that they could pay less. She had to retire without much savings, had to sell her house and move in with my aunt, and now has to live off of social security benefits. She probably would have never retired if she hadn't been forced to; because of her age, she wasn't able to get hired anywhere else."
"I work with someone who will laugh with you and pretend to be your buddy but as soon as you turn your back, she's already b*tched about you to 20 people and whined about you asking for her help with some small tasks (even though she offered her support)."
"The worst part is she is part of the HR team and she has a documented history of exploding at people, harassment and bullying, and not doing her job (because she spends most of her time crying and complaining). She is the stereotypical HR representative."
Consumers who were previously taken advantage of have the following advice to pass along.
Splurge On Good Quality
"Buy it nice or buy it twice."
"This is 100% accurate but needs a disclaimer: expensive does not always equate to nice."
The relationships we have with people are complex, but you may want to keep these in mind.
Extending A Lifeline
"You can’t always help people. You can show them you care and point them toward help, but it’s up to them to get better. And if you fail, it’s not your fault."
"You can't have a relationship with someone's potential."
Achieve Mutual Adoration
"Loving someone doesn't mean they will keep loving you."
And when it comes to your health, listen up.
"Drink plenty of water."
"It's hard to know when you're dehydrated sometimes. Felt terrible and didn't know why. Never felt thirsty. Had skin issues, lack of sleep, irritability, lack of concentration, dizzy spells, could not function at work, among other things."
"Ended up at the ICU with an IV drip for severe dehydration."
"DRINK YOUR WATER!"
While advice from the people we care about comes from a good place, they are not always appreciated.
Sometimes, we have to make our own mistakes in order to fully comprehend why we should apply certain standards to the way we go about our lives.
At least for me, I've found that picking myself up and dusting myself off was most effective.
As patients, we rely on the expertise of medical professionals to be able to identify whatever ailments we're suffering through.
We brace ourselves if we fear the worst, but oftentimes, we end up being comforted by a minor diagnosis.
But all the medical degrees and years of education can't teach doctors to practice empathetic, yet professional, doctor-to-patient interaction on a basic human level.
That has to come naturally.
Curious to hear from patients who have had disappointing or distressing interactions with their physicians, Redditor TheSpasticSheep asked:
"What’s the most out of line thing a doctor has every said to you?"
It's horrifying when even doctors don't have a clue about your condition and, even worse, they gaslight you.
"A gentleman I worked with showed up to work one day looking extremely sick. He was incredibly feverish, had muscle and joint aches, very lethargic and was looking very jaundiced."
"we insisted that he go to the doctor, as he looks like he is on deaths door. He told us that he had been to 2 separate doctors and the ER, letting them know that he has Malaria, and can they please give him some anti malarials. Both doctors and the ER insisted that it 'was impossible to have malaria, as Australia doesn't have malaria,' and that he probably just had the flu, or some other viral infection. And they are correct. We don't have malaria here. But, what they failed to grasp was that this gentleman was an expat who worked in Africa for a number of years, and has had malaria 5 times already. So not only is he an expert in what malaria 'feels' like, but he is also at risk of developing malaria again, even if he hasn't been to Africa in a few years."
"He ended up having to go back to the ER, and basically force them to run a test for Malaria, after which they were like 'oh wow, you do have malaria.' And he was like 'no sh*t, i told you that 2 days ago.'"
Not Going Mental
"I had smashed my face on my steering wheel during a bad car accident and was experiencing intense pain. I teared up when he put the scope in my nose and was told I obviously have psychological problems and if I went on medication it might not help my pain, but I wouldn't care as much."
"Finally found a good doctor and surgery removed the chunk of nose bone that was stabbing into a nerve in my face."
The wrong treatment after a misdiagnosis can be a doctor's serious mistake.
"I had a growth on my scalp a few years ago and went to see a skin cancer specialist. Who said it was a malenoma and I was going to need most of my scalp removed. Without even having a biopsy. He starts telling me to prepare myself for this surgery that will disfigure me. I was about 19 at the time with long hair. He started saying ill need to wear a wig and my hair may not grow back and the skin above my eyes will need to be removed."
"I was petrified. Went home in tears and absolutely petrified."
"Then my dad took me to his doctor, who took a biopsy."
"It was just a random skin growth and she cut it off then and there."
"Years ago, one of the sexual health nurses at my work told me she just saw a woman who very clearly had a scabies infestation around her genitals. She said the treatment was simple and that a cream was applied with almost instant relief. She said what upset her about that patient was that almost a year earlier she’d been to a doctor about the infestation, the doctor didn’t even inspect her and just prescribed her antidepressants. I was horrified and still am over 7 years later. So much medical gaslighting."
"Too Young" For Cancer
"Not one, but two doctors to my dad- 'you’re too young to have prostate cancer, no need for a biopsy, it’s just a bladder problem.'”
"He died 15 months later from an aggressive prostate cancer that spread to create tumors all over his body."
The "Sad" Pill
""While teaching abroad in Vietnam I was struggling with depression. The doc diagnosed me with homesickness and prescribed a box of 160 hydrocodone to take 'when I feel sad.'"
"I was 21 and this was 2007, way before pill use was talked about mainstream. Subsequent boxes were $12 each at a walk up pharmacy, no script needed. I became addicted for 6 years."
"Edit, as I have many people stating that pill use has been discussed forever: I’m talking about the point we got to where most people knew about the dangers of opioids, what the main ones were, the fact that they were being overprescribed etc. Had I heard the word hydrocodone and been exposed to the world and media like I have over the last decade with the spotlight on the opioid crisis, I would never have taken them. That’s the main point I was attempting to make."
It's even more unsettling when someone you entrust your life to crosses a line.
Assessment Or Pick-Up Line?
"Mental health doctor told my daughter, 'You're too pretty to be depressed.'"
A NSFW Observation
"Not a doctor, but a dentist. When I was like 13 or 14 he commented on my lack of gag reflex, telling me that I’m going to be 'very popular with the boys.' It took me a few years to realize what he meant by that."
Mom To The Rescue
"I was the opposite. My dentist said, 'If you always gag like that, you're never going to find a good husband!'"
"I didn't understand why my mom yanked me out of the dentist's chair, but I'm proud of her for that. I think I was 6 or 7 years old."
The Gynocologist's Love Advice
"Mentioned that my sex drive was abnormally low to my gyno, and she said my husband just needed to be more forceful when initiating and I’d get into it. Immediately switched doctors and never looked back!"
The Gyno Who Jumped To Conclusions
"Mine was the opposite. Moved and went to a new gyno that several women raved about. I expressed concern over my low sex drive (especially since I was only 25). The next thing I know she is giving speeches and pamphlets and trying to give me info on women’s shelters. I was so confused."
"She just jumped to the conclusion I must be a battered woman. No matter what I said, she was convinced I was being abused. I tried to reassure her no, my husband was definitely NOT the problem and he was actually quite good in bed and extremely attentive to my needs. It was clearly a physical problem."
"Never went back. She even called several times to 'check' on me. I get that some women may need this, but I mean there was literally no red flags, quite the opposite. It was weird."
Going to the doctor's office for any reason can cause a lot of anxiety.
Patients should never have their stresses exacerbated by an unqualified doctor giving them a false analysis or downplaying their concerns.
Hopefully, you're in good hands with a physician who is professional, as well as compassionate.
Growing up, I had zero idea that the food I ate daily was "cultural."
It didn't occur to me until I was a kid when my mother had to gently explain to me that not everyone ate rice & beans.
She had to explain it because we were about to eat at a white friend's house for the first time.
I've always been weird about food tastes and textures and mom needed to warn me that the beans I could expect would be nothing like what I knew.
They would be sweet, have big chunks of chewy pork (which would also be sweet), and would NOT be served with rice.
"What do you mean there's no rice with the beans? Did they run out? Should we bring some?"
"No, they just don't eat rice and beans."
"So what do they eat with their chicharron de pollo?"
"They don't eat that. They do fried chicken a little different and they tend to eat things like rotisserie chicken instead."
Y'all should have seen my face.
It's been thirty years and I still struggle with the idea of not eating rice and beans all the time. I've come to understand that not everyone grew up in a Caribbean cultural household, though, and most Americans ate from a whole other menu.
Reddit user remyleboi00 asked:
"Non-Americans, what is the best 'American' food?"
Even as someone born in America, it took a while before I got familiar with American food.
So if it's just not your comfort zone - let Reddit guide you to the can't miss dishes.
"Cajun food. Definitely the most unique American food"
"As an American I 100% agree with you. Cajun food is heaven sent"
"That's because of it's native American roots, fun fact Cajun peppers are named after the south American tribe that influenced the Spanish/French who brought it to Louisiana. Maque Choux is also a very native American dish that can be found in Mexico as Calabasitas."
They Are Fundesperate housewives eating GIFGiphy
"Curly fries 👌"
"Recently came across Carl’s jr for the first time in Istanbul airport and the curly fries were just the best"
"the fun thing about curly fries is that they are basically the same everywhere. I'm pretty sure it's one company supplying all the different fast food places"
"I hate to sound like an ignorant foreigner but a made from scratch Mac & Cheese with at least 3 different cheeses plus a crispy breadcrumb crust on top is one of my favorite American dishes"
"Mac & Cheese is such a favorite of family get-togethers that if you volunteer to cook it, your Mac & Cheese needs references."
"It’s especially good with some pulled pork and caramelized onions mixed in. And some insulin."
"Solid choice. We Americans LOVE cheese."
"No need to apologize. One of our favorites too."
Thankful For Thanksgiving.I Love You Cooking GIF by Bob's BurgersGiphy
"I'm from Mexico and we get spoiled with our traditional cuisine but I found the thanksgiving dinner experience in the US incredible."
"Love everything, the turkey (dark meat :) ), cranberry sauce, the stuffing (oh the stuffing), mashed potatoes, salads and the delicious pays that follow for dessert. That whole combination plus the red wine and good company is an incredible experience hard to match."
"We also get spoiled with your traditional cuisine."
"I usually get a food coma on Thanksgiving"
"As an American who loves the Thanksgiving and other holiday classics this warms my heart to hear from someone whose cultural cuisine is considered a full on cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO."
"A nicely done, quality turkey with proper attention paid to all the sides, and good friends and/family is such a great experience."
"Same with the ham or prime rib dinner at Christmas. And all the pies. God I love pumpkin pie."
"Anything smoked: brisket, pork shoulder, chicken, turkey. I've even had smoked burgers. If seasoned well you don't even need BBQ sauce and it is so tender and juicy."
"I smoke meatloaf, can't go back to oven baked ever again."
"This tread has me wanting to smoke a brisket sooner rather than later."
"I love smoked brisket. I agree with you about the sauce. Taste the brisket before dunking in another flavor."
"Native Texan here. Agreed. The general rule here is that you never sauce beef. Let the flavor of the meat stand for itself. Hell, there are some places in Texas (particularly in Lockhart) that will ask you to leave their establishment if you ask for BBQ sauce."
"Now, pork and chicken, whatever else... Go nuts... Just leave beef alone."
"I had smoked mac and cheese once, it was heavenly."
Risk It Allhungry bart simpson GIFGiphy
"This is probably a recipe for disaster but I'm British and growing up visiting Florida I would love eating raw cookie dough from the refrigerator section"
"Cookie dough is so good that, given the option between not eating it, or getting food poisoning, nearly everyone will pick the cookie dough."
"It’s one of the few foods in the country where everyone knows the risk of food poisoning, and everyone makes the conscious, willing, and eager decision to not give a f*ck."
"All of us here in the U.S. know that eating the cookie dough is the best part of making homemade chocolate chip cookies. I have a recipe for brownies with a cookie dough topping. Cookie dough ice cream is also extremely common (it’s vanilla ice cream with cookie dough bits mixed in)."
The Holy Pudding
"I can’t find someone who’s listed it so"
"That shit is LIFE CHANGING"
"Gotta have the Nilla wafers or it isn't right."
"Ah, finally! A person of culture. Banana pudding is the closest food can come to a religious experience."
Cornbread!cornbread cooking GIF by emibobGiphy
"Oddly enough, no one seems to have mentioned it…but cornbread . Yeah , as a guy who moved here , Americans have got cornbread down to a T . Combined with some soul food ? Makes me smile on the inside . Gives me high blood pressure , but smile on the inside too"
"A nice warm cornbread muffin with some butter and a little drizzle of honey is amazing."
"Cornbread with a nice bowl of chili is such a nice comfort food."
"And the spicier the chili the nicer the sweet, buttery cornbread is with it."
"Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, at first i thought it was a disgusting combo, but when i tried i loved it"
"Interesting, most people in America are introduced to pb&j before we're even old enough to remember"
"Farmer’s market jam is the way."
"That was my most frequent meal in elementary school. I didn't realize it was an American thing until recently."
"It's easily top 3 greatest sandwich ever."
As American As It Getspulp fiction breakfast GIF by MIRAMAXGiphy
"I may be a simpleton, but an average diner with bottomless filter coffee, pancakes, bacon and syrup was my favourite part of the day. Although I did put on about 10-15kg after a month in Texas"
"I missed this sooooo much when I lived in the UK (grew up in New Jersey, land of diners). They simply do not do American diner breakfasts in Europe."
"My wife is German, I am American but we live in Germany. We took her parents to the states with us one summer on vacation and one of the things they insisted we do was go to a diner where they pour your coffee at the table, like in movies and tv shows."
"Took them to my favorite little spot, they loved the waitress filling up their cups unprompted."
Now that youve heard Reddit, it's my turn.
So remember how I said that I wasn't really exposed to American food until I was a bit older, even though I was born and raised in America?
I was 22 before I had meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
FAM. Fam. Faaaaaaaaaaam.
There is no greater meal for after a night of drinking than a good meatloaf and a nice herb and garlic mashed potato.
Keep your greasy pizza, amateurs. It's potato time over here.
Have you ever been caught in a conversation you didn't want to be in? Or start talking to someone only to realize you want to stop? Perhaps you were talking to a friend when the conversation took a turn for the uncomfortable.
Whatever the case, we've all been in those situations where we want the conversation to stop, but don't want to be rude.
When I was in third grade, I asked if I voted on American Idol that week. I said yes, since everyone seemed to, but of course I didn't know what American Idol was. Being pop culture challenged, I thought it was a ship. Needless to say everyone was confused when I was asked who I voted for and I replied, "What do you mean? I voted for American Idol!"
It didn't take me long to realize something was amiss, and I probably would've very rudely excused myself from the conversation (fueled by my embarrassment) if my teacher hadn't called us to attention at that very moment.
Luckily, the people of Reddit were willing to share their methods to politely end a conversation when Redditor Spritti33asked:
"How does someone politely end a conversation with a person who won't stop talking?"
Extricate Yourself Immediately
"When they draw a breath, politely say:"
""On that note, I must be on my way.""
Then, simply leave."
Couldn't Get Him To Shut Up
"Yea I worked with a dude who needed to talk. I just talked to him to be polite and not awkward. And I remember him saying "at least you're not one of those people who are silent all day". In my head I'm like, "FUCK, I wish I could be silent all day but now that you said that it would be even more awkward."
"At some point, I just mentally said f**k it and started giving him one-word replies. I think he got the hint because he started talking to me less. Eventually, he quit after a couple of months so it's all good!"
"But some people just need to talk for whatever reason. I need my freaking silence."
Put It In Writing
"I once worked with a man that managed to say nothing, despite talking nonstop. He would explain an issue to me over the span of 5 min. I would say "OK, so the issue you're having is x?" and he would say "No" then launch into a 5 min monologue about something completely different. One time, after half an hour talking with him I still had no idea what the problem was, so I said "put all the issues in an email so I can put it in the queue" and just left. Never got a coherent email either but at least a rambling incoherent email is easier to walk away from and less time-consuming."
Put Them (Back) To Work
"If you're in an office building with someone (or any location the person you're talking to has a desk), one trick you can try is walking them back to their desk, say something like "well, I'll let you get back to it!", then turn around and leave."
Taking Care Of Each Other
"My workplace has someone like this and it’s pretty much become a part of our culture to monitor who is trapped talking to her, for how long they’ve been stuck, and to rescue them after an appropriate amount of time has passed. She doesn’t get it, and probably never will."
Talk To The Door
"My husband worked with a woman who would not stop talking. Just wouldn't. So you'd gather your stuff, while she monologued. You'd say goodbye to everyone else, while she monologued. You'd walk to the door as she followed you and shut the door in her face while she monologued. You could hear her still talking to you behind the closed door while you walked away."
Take Your Turn
"I learned a trick. Most excessive talkers hate listening. So I simply participate and tell my own stories. After one or two stories they are usually ready to leave themselves to seek their next victim."
Create A Deadline
"My entire dad's side of the family are the type that never stop talking."
"The key to getting a word in is to just respond to whatever you wanted to add to even if they are still talking. It might feel rude but most people who are like that were raised in environments where that's the norm or in the case of people with disorders like ADHD and Autism, they most likely know they have the tendency and will roll with it."
"Best way I've found to get end a conversation with ramblers is to set a deadline as early as possible in the conversation (ex: I have to leave at 6pm to get to ______ on time). If you do this you can do the "I'm sorry I really have to go" and immediately leave without offending them because you've already set the expectation that you would be leaving at a certain time."
"This is why I hate taking Lyft/Uber alone, I seem to always get the folks who just want to talk the entire time. My boyfriend tells me to just not engage but when you’re in a car with someone it’s kinda hard not to. The ONE time I just wore headphones the whole time, the driver at the end said “maybe you’ll actually talk next time”"
No Need To Feel Bad
"People who are like this expect folks to just walk away from them while they are talking because that’s the only way the conversation ends. It’s not rude to them, it’s normal. So, it’s entirely okay to say, “all right this has been great, see you later,” and then just walk away smiling."
Sometimes it's hard to get out of a conversation you never wanted to be in, and sometimes it's equally as hard to keep your temper in check.
However, if you remember some of these tips and tricks, you may be able to successfully get yourself out of an unpleasant or unceremoniously long conversation in the future!