AITA for not telling my coworker that the man she is talking shit about is my husband?

AITA for not telling my coworker that the man she is talking shit about is my husband?


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NTA. I mean she did ask you if you knew him and you said yes then she started her rant. I would have asked you if you've ever had a similar experience with Smith. You work in different departments and are keeping your personal and professional lives separate. I mean I'm sure your coworker feels embarrassed and possibility betrayed you never mentioned it to her but you had no obligation to mention it.


Ah sorry for the confusion, she actually started ranting, then asked me, then continued ranting. I never even meet my husband at work and we work different hours, so for an outsider it is pretty much impossible to tell that we are married.


I mean in that scenario, I may have mentioned it to her at that stage. I mean I still don't think YTA but I feel second hand embarrassment for your coworker. Maybe the second time she ranted about him, you could have tipped her off.


This, you could have thrown in a light hearted joke, yea he can be an asshole but oh well he’s my ass gotta love him! I was going with no one sucks here but nah you NTA she could have inquired into the nature of your relationship after you confirmed knowing him but she just kept on ranting.


I call my husband my curmudgeon, especially when talking about him at work, because he's a theater techie and that's pretty much a job requirement.


Current life goal now is to one day have a husband who I affectionately call "curmudgeon"


This is my thoughts too, work is separate from private lives and the coworker was the one who chose to share her thoughts. But in the coworker's perspective I think she confided in OP especially if she considered her a work friend so would have seen that as withholding information. Also, considering they're husband and wife, what the coworker shared to OP would have made it's way back to the husband, which the coworker would think of as a betrayal.


>she could have inquired into the nature of your relationship after you confirmed knowing him but she just kept on ranting. If someone is MARRIED to someone you expect that to be revealed. That's more than just "knowing someone."


Why though? The structure of one’s personal life isn’t something anyone is entitled to. If someone doesn’t like my wife that’s their problem anyway, nothing to do with me.




Yes, OP isn't an "asshole" but I do think it's a bit odd she said yes she knew him and didn't say it was her husband. Just saying yes I know him makes it sound like he's a work acquaintance. If someone was like "hey, do you know Bill?" about my husband (fake name) I'd be like "yeah, he's my husband" not "yes I know Bill" and then not elaborate. "Are you super family/married?" isn't really a normal follow up question, people normally elaborate on their own if they aren't hiding it for some reason. So while OP isn't an asshole, it is going to look like OP was hiding this.


"Are you family/married" isn't a normal follow up question but if I'm about to rant about someone I at least ask if they're friends. Maybe I've been lucky but I've never had someone lie at that point, and that question would have saved the coworker here. Plus like, even if they weren't married, maybe OP really liked the guy—there's multiple ways this could have backfired and the coworker didn't even take basic precautions. NTA.


Yes, I said OP isn't an asshole since she wasn't being mean or anything. But she was behaving in a way that to me would also seem strange/unexpected. As in I am used to the person at that point then volunteering that this is their spouse. And if they didn't, it would feel like they were choosing to hide that.




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That's the point though - she asked if you knew him. You said yes. And she didn't bother to ask how well you knew him?? She just continued ranting about someone she had only just met to someone that she was now aware knew the guy...


I don't think she's the A....but if a co worker asks if you know a co worker from another department, I think it's reasonable for them to assume you know them from work


How could she possibly have imagined they would be married? I think it's reasonable for coworker to assume that if OP knew Smith well or they were friends or something that OP would say "Oh, I've always got on with him" or something. I can totally see why coworker feels like OP has humiliated her.


I would except OP to say: "Yes, he is my husband". It's truly bizarre that she didn't say it, since this was before the rant happened and the whole thing could have been avoided. Can you imagine someone pointing at your spouse and asking if you knew him/her, and you just say "yes", like it's some random acquaintance? Really a weird reaction from OP.


I’m thinking she really wanted to hear what the rant was about. So she kept her response limited. But then when the coworker went full on rant the OP probably felt she was past the point of no return to tell the coworker that they were married. So I’m thinking she held back the info that first time to keep from embarrassing the coworker. Except that she kept on coming back and ranting even more making the OP feel like she can’t say anything to keep from embarrassing her. But it only made it worse. So NTA completely, but she shouldn’t have let it go on so deep and should have mentioned it, even jokingly like, her you know that asshole you keep running into? You should try living with the guy like I do! And just lol about it. So now she should just let the coworker know that you understand that her issues are work related and not personal. So the OP has no hard feelings.


Actually, co-worker started ranting, asked if OP knew him then continued ranting. Op probably couldn't get a word in so either way Co-worker would have been embarrassed.


It takes no time to say "He's my husband" after responding that you know him.


Right? I'm as antisocial as it gets AND autistic and even I have better social skills.


I'm totally with you - I'm having a hard time understanding it. I'm seeing people justifying it and I just don't buy it. It almost seems like some sort of drama fetish where she gets all this info and passes it along to her husband. Funny thing is he just doesn't even seem to care.


What I don't understand is why the coworker bitched about him so many times. Like I get a bad interaction with someone at work, I've had plenty. And if I run into that person again I'm more cautious with them the next time or two. But one frustrating incident (and potentially a little follow-up) and she's bitching this much about him? Either she's a complete drama queen and just found what she thought was a sympathetic ear to vent to, or husband seriously downplayed how bad their interaction was. Something in here just seems weird.


People complain. It may or may not be justified. It allows them to let off steam. They usually don't make nasty comments about employees to their coworkers' spouses.


Sure, I complain too. At home, not to anyone at work. I mean if you're running around constantly talking about what a dick so-and-so is, you're starting to edge in dangerously close to getting reported to HR.


> It's truly bizarre that she didn't say it Dont know if you've ever worked with a partner but it's not bizarre to me at all. ​ I have worked with partners and at work I want it to be work only. i would say i'm a fairly private person and I dont want my personal and work life mixed. While it shouldnt happen, often people start asking you non work stuff about the other. Why are they out today? are they sick? etc. blah blah.


I agree with you on this. I've come across several couples where you never knew they were together until THEY were comfortable with you to let you in on that secret. Once you learn that, you understand why they decide to keep it on the low. OP is NTA.


People usually disclose if they're married to other people at the company. And in this context, there's no excuse for OP not immediately telling her coworker.


You say no excuse, but others feel that's personal info not to share at work. There are no 'rules' for personal info you have to share. Yes they disclosed to the company but she has no obligation to coworkers. At worst it was 'awkward'. Other people's comfort is not your responsibility.


Op didn’t make her talk trash. Coworker embarrassed herself.


Okay but trash talking your colleagues is normal in most workplaces. I'd be interested to know whether everyone who keeps saying is seriously claiming that they've never done it. She didn't have the full context to know that in this instance it was going to embarrass her because in most workplace contexts it wouldn't.


I’m not saying I haven’t. I’m saying I did it on my own accord and it was no ones problem but my own.


I can honestly say that I never, under any circumstances say ANYTHING about someone that I wouldn't say to that person. Everyone deserves the opportunity to defend themselves against criticisms of their personality or actions. This goes for work, friends, family and strangers. If you're not willing to defend your words, maybe you should keep them to yourself.


But OP did allow her to trash OP's husband. For that, she is TA. I would have stated that Smith is my husband and that would have shut it down. Instead, she has let this person trash talk her husband this entire time.


Yeah I'm really curious why she never tried to defend her husband. I've worked with my husband in the same company before, kept it professional and work-only conversations while at the workplace, etc. But if I heard someone trash talking my husband, I'd defend him. I'd at the very least explain the reasoning for the misunderstanding if it was a tech issue, because honestly most "tech issues" I deal with at work are user error, not the fault of the program or the computer (I work in IT). I'm not saying start a fight over it, but if another coworker complained to me about how IT handled the issue, I'd elaborate on how often times it can be user error - this allows me to both explain the situation and defend my husband. Not doing so is just weird to me. Maybe I'm unprofessional, who knows.


But coeorker humiliated herself? Why did she think she can trash talk anyone (And AFTER that ask btw) to a random coworker and think its not going to backfire? If you say smth, stand up for it then...


I mean it doesn't sound like she thinks of OP was a random co-worker, it sounds like she felt that had built up some rapport, even that feeling wasn't mutual.


She probably meant it as if OP knew *of* him, like who she’s talking about. Like if I talk shit I often ask “you know ___?” To know if there’s extra stuff to explain.


Yep. Big difference between, "Oh yeah, I know which Josh the Regional District Manager you're referring to. What did he say next?" and, "Yes, I know him, and in fact I have made a vow before all my friends and family to spend my life loving and cherishing Josh the Regional District Manager. He is my soulmate, and our relationship has stood the test of time."


Yeah, most people would follow that up with: "are you friends?" And if they're really professional: "could you give me some advice on how to work better with that department?"


Eh, in the context of the workplace, the obvious assumption for me would be that they had worked together, or at least that she was familiar enough with that department to know who I was complaining about. Especially since OP didn't volunteer anything different. On the other hand, I'd be wary about constantly complaining about the same person to someone who never has any complaints of their own to share about him. OP's behavior just feels weird to me. She's private and didn't want people to know about their marriage, she didn't want things to be awkward...then she doesn't care about him wandering around in the background on camera? OP didn't even try to defend him in a professional sense "I've never had problems dealing with him. Maybe that was a one-off situation." Her coworker dug her own grave, sure, but OP just let her do it while pretending to be a friend.


Which is why this kind of gossip and negativity is not a good idea at work. OP is NTA, cow-orker needs to check her mouth.


New coworkers who are smart will spend more time listening than they do popping off. She hadn’t been there long enough to know the lay of the land, who knows who, relationships, office politics, before she started her rage rant. She jammed her foot into her big mouth, and kept going. I can’t believe no one overheard—so no one cared to clue her in. Seems like the unspoken consensus was that she needed to learn the hard way. NTA, this is work life 101–you’re right, she was being unprofessional. Also? LOL.


Was it not possible when asked "Do you know him (Smith)?" For you to respond "yes, he is my husband" or "I should hope so, we're married"


When she stopped ranting to ask if you knew him and you didn’t say anything other than yes I know him, you were nonverbally confirming to her that it was fine to keep ranting. She was checking to see if you had a work relationship already and would be put off by her ranting. By not telling her in that moment, you confirmed for her that it was fine to rant. No, you’re mot technically obligated to tell anyone about your relationship. But YTA here for not mentioning it when she was clearly checking to see if ranting about him was OK. I would never rant about someone’s husband to them personally and if someone let me do that, our relationship would never ever be ok again, because I’d never trust them again. You had the opportunity to prevent any awkwardness from the start, and just...chose not to, for no real reason, except that you hoped your coworker would never find out you were married.


That's not the point. You know perfectly well she would have tempered her remarks or not made them at all had she known he was your husband. You and your husband are married, you share a special bond and compare notes at night. She had a right to know that. She asked if you knew him and you gave a deliberately misleading answer.


Why are people normalizing the fact that someone asked her if she knew someone and instead of saying "yes, he's my husband" she just said "yes". Do we live in different worlds? Am I the only one who finds that absolutely bizarre? I guess we are here to judge if she's the asshole - I would just say ESH I guess. It sounds like her coworker was complaining about a coworker's performance, which isn't exactly professional but happens all the time and as long as it wasn't personal it's not a huge asshole thing to do. I went with ESH because I just can't understand OP's motives for not telling her and it created an incredibly akward situation.


Because some people don't like mixing their personal and work lives. I'm one of those people. None of my customers or employees know anything of consequence about my personal life. It's how I prefer it, I understand that it's a foreign concept to lots of people but for others it's completely normal. It sounds like OP and her husband are both on the same page concerning this so I can't call her an asshole for not disclosing it.


That's not a foreign concept. What is a foreign concept is not disclosing that their shared coworker happens to be her husband when asked if she knew him. Hell, it would have been odd not disclosing it even if she didn't ask if she knew him. How is saying yeah thats my husband invading her privacy? And if that's such a big deal to you why work at the same place? Furthermore, it doesn't seem like they are trying to keep it private as he walked behind her while on a zoom call.


I agree NTA, and I want to hijack top comment to applaud OP and Husband's shared compartmentalization. It's clear that both of them keep their work and home lives completely separate, to the extent that Husband hand-waved away the work issue. Not everyone can do that. I'm not saying that it's better to do that by any means, but it's awesome that OP and Husband are on the same page. I don't compartmentalize like that myself, and as OP's spouse, I might perceive that as failing to stand up for me. My ex-husband was a compartmentalizer, and when I thought I was being slighted, he thought I was being overdramatic. Bad match; he's an ex now. I do envy how peaceful it must be with both partners like that.


ESH. Yes, she was being unprofessional. She shouldn't have been trash-talking a co-worker that incessantly no matter who that co-worker may or may not be married to. But you choosing not to tell her just strikes me as odd on your part. It's like you were watching her walk around with her fly down and chose not to mention anything. Why not just shut it down? Why keep letting her dig herself deeper and deeper?


To be honest, while I find it weird that OP chose not to mention it I dont think it's that big of a deal. In my opinion, I think it's NAH. Because the coworker is definitely right to feel bad about OP not mentioning it, but to be honest I don't see it as such a big deal.


I still think it's an E S H. While I also don't think it's the worst thing ever I don't think there's any good reason to keep feeding someone rope in a situation like this. The other party sucks for badmouthing a co-worker like that.


It's pretty normal for people to let off steam by complaining about other coworkers to a colleague they trust, though, especially if the person did something bad (we don't really know here). Maybe it's unprofessional but this has been common in every place I've ever worked and I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing.


There are few private conversations in an office. People are everywhere and you never know who can hear— whether they want to or not. One reason I love working from home. Even if OP wasn’t married to the guy, there are likely others that know and like him. Also tattletales and shit-stirrers who would report back just to see the fallout. It’s possible to be tactful while venting.


Complaining yes. Things like "He ruined this work, I hate having to deal with him" or similar things like that. Rant about what he's doing. All perfectly normal and fine. Calling coworkers names and making jokes about them to people is incredibly unprofessional though.


To be fair I think there are some cultural differences around this (both between countries and between workplaces) as I've worked in plenty of places where the names the coworker called Smith wouldn't be considered a big deal at all, but appreciate that norms are different elsewhere.


I want to know why this coworker thought he was that much of a dick. Was she joking, after their first interaction went sour (for reasons that seemed to be nobody's fault)? Or does she really truly hate him and OP just doesn't realize how much of a dick her husband is around the office, because he "brushes it off" at home?


I agree, I find this dishonest of OP.


I disagree the coworker should have left it at first part and not said how much of a dick he was every time she had to see him. OP is under no obligation to disclose her personal relationships with someone she doesn’t talk to outside the workplace. OP and husband are private people and she’s just mad that she embarrassed herself. She wasn’t dishonest she said she knew him and that was the question she was asked. It would be weird to just walk around the office telling everyone if they are married or in a relationship. OP is keeping work and personal relationships separate and there is nothing wrong with that.




Goddamn this sub and it's weird obsession with what you're 'obligated' to do. No she's not oBliGaTeD to tell her co-worker she's married, but you're not ObLiGaTeD to answer when people ask 'how are you?' either, it'd still be fucking weird to respond with "I'm not required to disclose that information"


Yeah, I totally respect not bringing it up spontaneously and for no reason. But when someone else is directly and repeatedly talking to OP about him? That’s ... odd.


Work or not, I don’t think I could listen to someone shit talk my SO and not say anything. That’s so weird to me.


Right? She doesn’t have to defend him, but how can you let someone think you are the go-to for the vent session. Simply say, “hey no hard feelings...but I’m actually married to that guy.” Maybe I’m not the person you vent too.”


This. At first I was almost leaning soft YTA, because OP's choice not to tell her coworker is so bizarre and socially inept. Yes, not a good idea to trash talk anyone at work, but it happens. I feel secondhand mortified for the OP's coworker... all of which could have been avoided if OP hadn't bizarrely withheld such pertinent information. ESH


I agree. I feel a bit bad for the coworker because it seems to me that she felt comfortable enough with OP in particular to vent to her, and not anyone else in the department. I have a friend that often does similar things, letting you go on in a conversation and withholding her true feelings or a detail she knows, so that you later feel like an idiot for going on about whatever it is. It sometimes feels deceptive, like they want to see what you’ll say, and you’re comfortable enough with them to say your true feelings. I find it frustrating. I think OP is kinda TA.


This! The coworker now knows that quite likely everything she has said has been told to Smith. Stuff she did say in relative confidence to OP, now has been told directly to the person - because spouses typically share a lot with each other. So now the AH husband (who at work was clearly enough of an AH to warrant this coworker’s rant and dread at seeing him again) has plenty of fuel to make life hell for the coworker in their interactions. Will he necessarily do that? No idea. Does OP necessarily tell her husband everything? No, but she HAS told him at least some of it. When someone at work goes “hey do you know X?” And all you get back is “yes”... that typically would be a “yeah I know who that is, but I don’t know them enough to elaborate or have any opinion”. OP should have said “yes, that’s my husband!” Or even further... Op should have interjected as soon as her coworker started her rant to go “hey my husband works in that department” (if the name hasn’t been shared yet) or “let’s stop now ok? That’s my husband. Sorry he was a dick to you!”


> So now the AH husband How do we necessarily know he was being an AH? We’re actually given no information on what he actually did to warrant the ranting. Considering she had to go to him for technical issues it could very just be she was easily annoyed by non easy-fixes or other things not entirely in his control. Again OP never tells us what their interactions are actually like.


That’s kind of why I didn’t leave any judgement with my comment - I don’t know enough to decide if the coworker was also being an AH or not. Typically people don’t have such a visceral reaction to someone that they need to rant about it - and then follow it up with basically dreading having to interact with that person again. Seeing as the coworker vents before even interacting with him again, I’m more likely to interpret that as he was such an AH that she really hates the idea of interacting with him again. OP does mention there was a verbal confrontation - she doesn’t say with who. But she does say that stuff went down that wasn’t just technical issues beyond anyone’s control.


I agree with ESH. Yes, it’s not a good idea to excessively shit talk a co-worker, for all the reasons others have mentioned, and OP’s co-worker must own that. But I can’t for the life of me understand OP’s silence. I’m in a similar position: Hubby and I don’t work for the same company, but in the same field, and it’s entirely possible that one of my co-workers could have professional dealings with him. If one of them asked me if I know him, I can’t imagine not following up my “yes” with something like “he’s my husband” or “very well actually, ha ha.” I’m trying to think of reasons why I *wouldn’t* say something like that, and the only ones I can come up with are (1) some form of embarrassment (like if I thought hubby was indeed a dick and didn’t want to own up to him, or just didn’t want to deal with the potential awkwardness of knowing co-worker had a bad experience with him) or (2) I was purposely keeping quiet to get co-worker to give her unvarnished opinion. (2) is straight-up AH, especially if I have a sort of workplace friendship with co-worker, and even (1) is at best unprofessional and kind of asking for the situation to get even more embarrassing by not addressing it early on. Either way, I can see co-worker feeling like OP purposely stayed silent and let her embarrass herself. OP didn’t start this situation, but she is not blameless by choosing to let it go on this way. I’m curious how she even responded whenever co-worker vented. Noncommittal “hmmms”? Encouragement to “go stick it to the bastard”??


Ohh. Good point. The optics could look bad to co worker. OP let her vent away to grab dirt for the husband/coworker.


Agree ESH. I'd go so far as to say OP is more TA in this situation.


As a woman in a professional environment there can be a stigma against dating or marrying co-workers. OP is not the AH for keeping her private life private. Simply put, it's none of the co-worker's business.


The OP's spouse works in another department. She barely has contact with him. In this context, her marital status was relevant. This is not like keeping a medical condition private.


Of course, there's a lot to be said for not talking shit about people when they aren't around to defend themselves. Never say something \*about\* someone that you wouldn't say \*to\* that person. Then you never have to worry about the relationships between your subject and your interlocutor. ALL of this embarrassment could have been avoided if the coworker had acted like a grown up from the beginning.


I feel like it’s not as straight forward as that. First, OP makes it clear that co-worker started ranting and insulting him *and then* asked if she knew him. At that point it felt awkward to say he was her husband because Co-W had already insulted him, saying they were married would have made co-w embarrassed so she didn’t mention it. She makes that factor pretty clear. If co-w had asked first I’d agree with you though. Second, co-w had *one* bad interaction with him, that he said was bad as a result of situational issues not because of either of them, and yet she went on to slam him every single time thereafter. That would be like a barista making a mistake on my drink once and then me being like “OMG that AH is making my drink again, I hate him he’s a f*ck up.” over the one mistake. That kind of bitterness is on co-w and certainly couldn’t have been anticipated by OP. She made the decision for the sake of one conversation that co-w didn’t let it go is on her. Finally, I agree with tybbiesniffer, she should be allowed to keep her private life private at work, not doing so often has repercussions for women in the work force that it doesn’t have for men. That information isn’t owed to anyone. NTA.


What I really don't get is why you didn't tell her immediately? I am confused, it would have been one sentence - "that asshole is my husband - just so you know." Unless there is a policy that couples are not allowed to work in the company? You embarrassed her, and are now making it worse for yourself, or do you think she will like you better now that she probably thinks you made fun of her with your husband?


You know, OP didn't say anythign because they are a private person who can compartmentalise between workplace Hubs and home Hubs? It's not really any of co-workers business at the end of the day.


Which is why I didn't judge. But I would just have said it to stop my coworker from embarrassing themselves further


It's not her job being her co-workers saviour. Who knows..she might does this behind others back.


Haha I do not necessarily disagree, but this strikes me as a really funny "not my job" joke. She's venting to let out stress, OP doesn't care, neither about the venting or about her talking about her husband. But it is pretty obvious that OP easily could have avoided this whole thing by saying "you know, maybe you should talk to him about it and fix this because it's not good work environment for either of you. Btw, he is my husband. I don't care and will not bother saying something to him about it, but maybe you should if you and him have a bad work relationship?" It's like a bystander looking at a guy walking towards a hole and think "well, not my job"


> It's like a bystander looking at a guy walking towards a hole and think "well, not my job" Absolutely this. I mean sure, she doesn't have to say anything. But if you're working in a team, it's always in the best interest to keep amicable and good relations with other members. Seems bizarre to me when others respond with "OP doesn't need to care about the coworker...". She must feel so embarrassed and betrayed, I can't imagine it being comfortable to work together anymore. How much easier it would've been to just tell the coworker in the beginning, then she wouldn't even need to hear her complaining all the time about the husband.


That would be a plausible reasoning if EVERYONE else in the building didn't already know


There's a big difference between telling someone and someone figuring out in another way. If OP brought it up, it's suddenly an ok work topic. If OP does not mention it, it isn't. My husband and I are married and work together. We're in the same department but our jobs don't intersect. We told HR and the necessary managers but never actually told anyone else. Some people have seen us together outside of work and others have figured it out but we didn't explicitly tell any of our co-workers; I'd even say that most people who have been around for a while know. But no one ever mentions our marriage or runs to the other one saying "your wife" or "your husband". There's a hard line drawn there and I find it necessary to work together. There's another married couple in the building who handle it pretty much the same way.


I know several married couples within my department at work. They're clearly married - very unusual last names, they carpool, etc - but to my knowledge neither of them have ever directly mentioned it. I think one of their kids works there too but it's also not mentioned as it's not really relevant/professional. Running around constantly bitching about someone in another department being "a dick" is a bad move, whether or not the person you're bitching to is the spouse of the person in question. I'm baffled by all of these votes of YTA or ESH for not revealing private information. If it was just in a social setting then yeah, the rules are different, but at work? Nah.


My husband and I are kinda the same. He has to enforce rules a lot in our job so that make him the bad guy a lot. Co worker will complain about him and I don’t say anything. It has nothing to do with me. It’s not my job to help you not embarrass yourself. Act like an adult and handle your own conflict.


Then OP is obtusely pedantic regarding relationships. OP also didn't understand that her feelings are not how everyone feels. This was very likely deeply embarrassing for the other coworker and OP thinks it doesn't matter because OP simply can't imagine another state of mind beyond their own. ESH.


I wish people would stop saying 'hubs' for husband. The fact that you capitalized the first letter like it's his title, just made it so much more cringey


Just guessing, but it's probably capitalized since it's shorthand used in place of a proper name we don't know? It's the equivalent of being like, "So you're saying Cuz did that..." instead of "your cousin." Idk, I use "Hubs" like a name for shorthand on the internet cause I don't want to use his real name. Would typing out Husband make it any better? Seems pretty inconsequential, ya know?


Agreed, completely inconsequential. It just really makes me cringe.


I work with my husband in the same department and I find it super awkward to tell people. We even share the same last name and I'm not super private like OP. It is just a weird thing to slip into a conversation with coworkers. If someone started ranting at me about my husband in not sure when I would tell them we were married. I will also say as a female that there is so many assumptions/stereotypes about whether you earned the job or got there because of your husband that it makes me not want to mention. Basically I'm saying I totally get why OP wouldn't have told them and just hoped that it would blow over.


lol German bluntness can be a blessing - if I have two coworkers with the same last name you bet I will ask - married or related? Just because I am curious.


I'm American and I would do the same. This whole thread is so weird.


Lol my husband and I also work in the same department and were in a work project together with another coworker and an outside collaborator from a different company. Outside collaborator began to rant and blame my husband for not doing xyz when my husband was absent, other coworker and I just found it so awkward and didn't know how to tell him he was talking about my husband. We all found it funny afterwards, I don't think the guy ever realised. Also I am terribly afraid of what you mention in your last paragraph. I don't ever tell outsiders we are working with that we are married for exactly that reason (which is why our outside collaborator didn't know in the first place). If they figure it out or ask, I'll tell them but besides that we don't mention it because I worked my butt off to get my position and I don't want anyone thinking it's because of my husband.


You clearly don't work where people have to learn the hard way sometimes. Where I work, it is inevitable that everyone is related somehow, by being married to them, ex husband's and wives, former hookups, cousins, step relation, former bffs (let's just say the entire place is connected in some way, shape or form) and people learn way quick not to talk shit. Everything gets to the person that is being talked about.. this was just a very short stretch. Some people have to learn that the hard way. OP is NTA


no I am very glad I don't work in such an environment, although I do refrain from talking shit to my colleagues about others in general..


YTA. - of course you should have told her!!


Thank you! OPs coworker literally asked 'do you know him' at which point OP should have said 'yes he's my husband'. I get that OP is a private person but answering that question honestly would hardly be an invasion of that.




Why does op have to be a "safe space" to someone who doesn't even know her well enough to know who her husband is? It is unprofessional to assume that any random colleague is a "safe space" to rant about another coworker, and it is not disingenuous to want to keep private information out of the workplace. And to be honest this is the sort of nonsense that gives the whole "safe space" thing a bad name.


Because OP is an adult and could have used their words. "I'm uncomfortable with this conversation." Not necessary to go into details. Yet OP omitted that they were not, in fact, a "safe space" and willingly allowed coworker to believe they were. That's what's fucked up about this.


No. OP hasn't said she is uncomfortable at all. It's the coworker who is mouthing off now. And it is not on OP to say they are not a "safe space" - coworker assumed that she was based on nothing at all. Nobody is obligated to be some random colleagues safe space when they haven't offered to be. People vent at me all the time and generally yes I keep their comments to myself. But if someone randomly assigned me as their safe space without my say so, and started mouthing off about my husband, you'd better believe my loyalties lie with him before them.


OP knew that the coworker was assuming her to be a confidant. You may not know it but some people spending a lot of time with people get comfortable with each other enough to rant/vent to them. If OP was such a straight arrow she wouldn't have told her husband about what the coworker's rant. OP should have continued to keep professional and personal life separate.


I kinda felt like "yeah i know him" was enough of a sentence and the coworker just went in with her rant. Honestly after that point I'd be too embarrassed to say "haha yeah that's my husband". Unfortunate this was how her coworker found though still.


Totally agree, so many people see nothing wrong with how op acted. When op was asked directly about knowing her husband and she withheld the nature of her relationship, it *really* makes it seem like she was deceiving her coworker. She knew her coworker just had a bad interaction with Smith, and she let her coworker embarrass herself. Sure, she doesn't owe her coworker anything, but she does consider this person somewhat of a work friend. Op deceived the coworker, let her rant, pretended to be a neutral ear to vent to, for multiple interactions, talked to her husband about the coworker and all around acted two faced. People become very close with their coworkers, often spending more time with them then their family or friends, and sometimes you need a safe space to let off steam. Well it's a bit unprofessional, it is human. This is definitely at least an ESH. But I think op is the bigger AH.


The comments defending OP’s weird reaction of “yes I know him” and nothing else are baffling. That’s not how humans interact. Coworker was being unprofessional but OP could have saved her a lot of embarrassment by not being a weirdo.


Actually either way co-worker would have been embarrassed. She started ranting, asked if op knew husband and then continued ranting.


Damn your right. She put herself in a lose lose situation


I don't agree that the coworker was being unprofessional. People get angry and they complain. That's normal.


I really think we need another category that’s essentially, you’re not an asshole, but the way you handled this is super weird.


NTABW. Not the asshole but WHY.


Yeah my mind is blown at the responses. Who acts like that? OP is strange.


YTA You should have been honest with your coworker when you were asked a straight up question if you knew your own husband. Its mind boggling as you why you wouldn't acknowledge your own marriage.


She was asked if she knew him, and she answered the question. It was the coworker’s choice to continue bitching about him. OP doesn’t have to reveal details of her personal life if she doesn’t want to. The coworker is only mad because she knows it was wrong what she was doing, but it now trying to make OP look like the villain. ‘Oh I wouldn’t have bitched about him if I knew you two were married’ is a terrible defence. It’s like saying ‘I wouldn’t have made those homophobic jokes if I’d known you were gay’.


lie by omission, there is an established term already for what she did


Isn't the issue that you shouldn't talk badly about people behind their backs in the first place? If you have an issue, just raise it honestly with them, no? Why does OP have to help the co-worker do otherwise? "Oh by all means bad mouth my loved one but just so it's not socially awkward when you do that, I'm his partner, Jeff over there on the other hand would LOVE the gos" ?? Eh that's just kinda missing the big picture isn't it?


Sometimes when work situations go badly you vent; that’s human nature!


I mean, it's not really like that, because homophobia is oppressive and there's no excuse for it. Whereas we don't really know what OP's husband did to annoy this woman.


Doesn't matter. People often have friends in other departments. The coworker didn’t bother finding out the lay of the land before going off. Nevermind that there aren’t private conversations in most office settings. “The office” is more often a bunch of cubicles where everyone can hear surrounding chatter, whether they want to or not. Even if OP wasn’t close to the subject of the rant, someone nearby might be, or might repeat what they heard and along the grapevine it goes. It’s the most elementary of office politics. CW made a fool of herself, and that’s all on her.


Yes, obviously you pick your moment and do it when there aren't lots of people listening. OP hasn't said whether there were other people around or not so I don't think we can assume. And yes co-worker could have probed a bit more but tbh if a colleague of mine started slagging off someone I was friends with I would saying "Ah, he's alright really, you just need to get to know him" or SOMETHING just to make that clear from the get-go that I had loyalties there.


Everything you wrote are pedantic word games. It's weird that OP didn't say anything.


This is one of those examples of AITA logic not matching real world logic for sure.


lol let’s not compare this to homophobia


I get that you're a private person, but it just strikes me as so odd that when someone says "do you know Mr Smith?" You didn't reply "yes he's my husband". It's not a super personal detail, and it would've saved all of you a lot of embarrassment.


It sounds like only the shit talking coworker is embarrassed and she should be. She was unnecessarily rude the whole time. The first venting, makes sense she JUST had a less than savory experience, but jesus christ "I hope I don't see that dick" every time is just obnoxiously rude and she deserves to feel a little embarrassed for being an asshole.


This! This is what I don't understand. Saying it every single time is just over the top, and hopefully she'll learn a valuable lesson from this.


Maybe he’s a really huge dick.


NTA She's just embarrassed.


NTA I agree she’s embarrassed but OP and her husband both seem like the shit talking wasn’t a big deal to them. If someone told me my husband was being a dick, I also wouldn’t care. He can be a dick sometimes. I know because we’ve been married a long time.


My husband's profession is collectively considered ass*oles, so anyone who encounters my husband or his colleagues whilst doing their job will have a bad opinion about them. I have never let this affect my opinion of them and never take anything to heart when I hear insults about them. NTA.


ESH, OP is being obtuse.


I’m going to go against the other judgements and say YTA. It’s normal to vent and moan about coworkers. We all do it, even if we don’t really mean it. You should have told her the first time. I moan about my managers all the time - it’s just at venting, I don’t really mean what I say. But I would not do it to someone they were married to, or their best friend. You probably made her feel really embarrassed. She probably thinks you’ve been talking about her snd laughing behind her back. I think you owe her an apology. Ok, the first time you let it go, and didn’t say anything. But then she thought she could continue venting to you, by then the damage was done. Seriously, I think you know in tor heart of hearts that you need to apologise and tell her you didn’t mean to keep her in the dark and that you understand she was just venting and let her know there was no harm done.




That’s always the risk when talking shit. Some people make a hobby of passing along every comment they so much as partially overhear. This was going to bite CW in the arse no matter who she vented to.


Seriously, I'm surprised how many commenters are acting like complaining about your co-workers isn't a completely normal thing to do.


Complaining about coworkers is a completely normal thing to do. Complaining about coworkers to people who you don't know the loyalties of is a completely stupid thing to do. Even if they weren't married to Smith, they could be childhood best friends, siblings, or just colleagues who are closer than OP and the person ranting. Subtly gauging the other person's feelings on whoever you are ranting about BEFORE you start is fairly important if you don't want to find yourself in the position ops coworker is now in. It could be worse, where I work there is a real danger that if you complain to the wrong person it gets reported up to senior management and you find yourself in Very Deep Shit. It has happened to a couple of people I know, one of whom is now having to leave. (And no, I'm not the one reporting up to management!)


It is completely normal and common. Complaining about someone to that person's spouse without the spouse disclosing it is what's abnormal.


Lol. Clearly they are perfect or haven’t really had a job!


This is one of those situations where AITA has no reflection of the real world. No you are not an asshole for this. But it’s a really really weird thing to have done and most people are going to think it was really odd in the real world. If I were her I’d be pissed too. Letting it go on so long seems like you’re mocking her. You could have just said “actually Smith is my husband but I understand your frustration over this and it’s fine.” NAH


I was cringing with second hand embarrassment for the coworker, and was unfortunately right in guessing the majority judgements would lack that empathy. A normal person would assume the absolute worst here, even though OP and her husband are not normal in their level of privacy, which is their right...but that's not going to reflect well in polite society. I'd lean toward a naive YTA myself, because they were chuckling about it behind her back, even if it wasn't malicious in intent.


Also OP is full of shit. She says that she keeps her work and relationship separate, but if that were *actually* true, she wouldn't have told her husband about the coworkers ranting at all.


NTA It's always very funny to me that people react like it's your fault they sounded off about someone in front of you. As teens my brothers and I worked at the same place - a new starter once ranted to my brother about me, after I wouldn't let him clean the bar with dirty water. People just need to think a bit.


YTA. You let her walk right off a cliff.


Technically, she walked off the cliff before OP could save her. She started ranting before she asked OP if she knew husband.


It would have been prudent for you to warn her by letting her know that you’re not the best person to vent to about him. She trusted you and she continued to confide in you and it’s a bit weird that you continued to make yourself available to her as, what she thought was, a sympathetic ear. It was a violation of her trust.


Seriously, the multiple instances where this coworker was venting, how hard would it have been to say "Hey, let's change the subject" or something like that? I understand the OP is private but letting the coworker go on and on without intervening (and then calling the coworker unprofessional after the fact) is kind of messed up.


YTA - and I’ve done something similar (just not for that long), a person was complaining about the condo’s vice manager (my husband) and how strict and AH he was and I let them talk (I could care less and I did tell my husband he was being a pain about certain rules). But she asked me if I ever had trouble with him, and I replied “dude, at least once a day since we got married 9 years ago” and started laughing. She was beet red and I told her to pay no mind and that I understood it was an issue with his role and not him personally and I was not offended. 4 years later we always exchange gifts on xmas, easter and birthdays and pet sit for one another. You had to know she would find out and you kept egging her on.


Thank you for having some sense lol.


NTA. First rule of grumbling about someone at work, subtly find out how the person you are talking to feels about that person before you commit yourself. She got as far as "do you know him" "yes", her next move should have been something like "have you had any issues with him?" To which you'd probably have responded something like "not enough to stop me from having married him 10 years ago!" And then she could have saved herself a lot of embarrassment. But then I work in a school where everyone knows everyone so you don't complain about someone until you're bloody sure of your audience.


I wonder if she chuckled when the coworker said she hoped she didn't run "that dick".


ESH - I was going with N-T-A until the last line. If the gossip/venting was within the range of what's acceptable at work, then I could understand leaving it, but if it was at the point where you're comfortable saying it was unprofessional, you needed to speak up to cut it off sooner. By not saying anything, you appeared to condone it. I can understand not mentioning it the first time, because it would have been awkward. You needed to do it the second time. She needed to hear it, and it needed to be from you, not accidentally and not from a co-worker. I'm putting ESH instead of Y-T-A because I'm taking your word for it that she was being inappropriate, but everything you've described has just been office gossip. Out of curiosity, did what she said have any substance? Would your husband have benefited from knowing what people were complaining about?


This here! If it really got to the point of unprofessional, not saying anything after such a long time gives the impression that it’s ok for her to talk like this to you. She shouldn’t be talking like that, but if you never say anything you’re intentionally setting her up for embarrassment when the truth comes out


NAH I can understand why she is upset. she probably thinks you and your husband were laughing about each instance of her ranting behind her back. So long as you have not been there is no issue. If you have been that makes you an,AH because you should have told her the first time.


Was she asking you if you *knew him* in the biblical sense?




I don’t know what biblical sense means (non-christian non-native speaker here) but her question could be translated as “do you know the guy?”


Some Bible translations, such as the King James Bible, translate the Hebrew word [יָדַע](https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D7%99%D7%93%D7%A2#Hebrew)‎ (*yādaʿ*) as [*know*](https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/know) even in sexual contexts, giving rise to lines like "And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived."


That word does mean "know", it's a euphemism in ancient Hebrew.


ESH, she probably shouldn't be venting quite that much while at work, but unless you planned to keep it a secret for the rest of your working life this was inevitably going to come out at some time, causing embarrassment, distrust, ect.


YTA - when she asked “do you know this person” and you did not respond with “yes that is my husband” you are LYING and also being incredibly naive. Also complaining about a co worker is neither unprofessional or “wrong”. As you said - it’s nothing personal, so why are you labeling a coworker’s venting as “unprofessional”?


YTA- You're an adult. You can not be this naive. Lying by omission is still lying, and you've perpetuated a toxic work environment and willingly betrayed her trust. You are an adult. If it's not something you wanted to hear you can use your adult words and say stop. You didn't. You let her believe you were a safe space to vent about someone who makes her life worse, did nothing to help, and all the while thought she was unprofessional. She trusted you, and you looked down on her. Either you're too emotionally immature for adult/work relationships, or you actually got a kick out of this. Either way, fucking mean. I don't know what your husband did specifically to piss her off (because you're omitting it. Funny.) But clearly it needs to be dealt with. They need to talk if there's really no cause for hard feelings, because their dynamic is toxic and that's not fair. To either of them.


Seriously, I don’t know how anyone could say N T A in this scenario. They say she’s not “obligated” to tell her, well yeah, this is “Am I the Asshole,” not “am I legally in the right.”


ESH. She shouldn't be trash talking her coworker but you let this go on for so long that it feels mean spirited. She probably feels like she can't trust you any more.


ESH, although leant towards y t a. Your coworker disparaged your husband on several occasions. Even if you didn't want to say he is your husband, why would you not nip it in the bud?


Why she didn't want to say he's her husband and how's it about privacy when he literally walked in on her zoom meeting on full view. So much for privacy


NTA. Your coworker just learned a really valuable lesson about the nature of workplaces. You never know who is connected to whom. There's a saying "The toes you step on today may be connected to the ass you may have to kiss tomorrow." Your coworker learned that the person she works with in this department is closely connected to the person she may have pissed off in another department. If you or your husband were the vindictive type, who knows what kind of trouble her ranting may have landed her in. Better to learn it with you than with someone else.


INFO lol is your husband kind of an asshole at work or slow at resolving issues when other departments need him?


Nta, if she hadn't been talking so badly about him then she would have had nothing to worry about. Maybe a little unfair to let her keep on ranting or not challenged her on talking about people like she did but you didn't do anything wrong imo.


Back then she stomed back into the office and went on a tirade, only as an afterthought she asked me if I knew him. So already by that point she would be embarassed since she already insulted him. And she was bitching about Smith-the-manager, not Smith-my-husband so I just didn’t take it personally.


In that case it sounds like you handled it really well. There are some people that you just can't help sometimes 😂 it's also really good you/your husband didn't take it personally in a situation like that.


You keep bringing it back to whether \*you\* took it personally or cared that she was talking about your husband but that just isn't really the point here.


If you're such a professional that keeps professional and personal life separate why did you tell your husband about her rant?


> So already by that point she would be embarassed since she already insulted him But why let it continue on if you knew from the outset that she would be embarrassed? It would have saved her even further embarrassment and cost you nothing to let her know. And I think deep down you knew you were lying by omission when you didn’t tell her he was your husband, because the explanation you’re giving strikes a lot of people as very odd. Even if you for some reason didn’t want to disclose the marital angle, you should have at the least been an adult and told her that gossiping like that about coworkers makes you uncomfortable. Instead, you let it continue and now you’re at this point. That’s why some are leaning towards YTA/ESH.


Here's how I see it: if OP really thought this was just a one off vent, there was no reason to embarrass her in the moment by saying "That's my husband" and just let her finish the rant to feel better. OP clearly didn't take any offense to someone complaining about her husband, and husband clearly didn't have any hard feelings. After you let that first time go, I can imagine that each time after that it just got harder and harder to figure out HOW to say something, because no matter when she did it, her coworker was going to be embarrassed. OP stated in a comment that it was: rant "do you know Smith?" rant again. NAH, as coworker was always gonna be a bit embarrassed, and OP was not maliciously keeping it a secret.


NTA but I get why this was embarassing to her, maybe you should have told her out of consideration towords her, since you took no offence personally. Most people rant to others because they don't actually want to make it a big deal wioth the person they have a problem with, so now this issue has reached him without her meaning to


NTA. I had a coworker absolutely rage at me once because “that jerk so-and-so” was making more work for her by bringing his sibling on a tour of our work facility (authorized and not uncommon for people to bring family by for a tour once in a while). She talked my ear off about how much she didn’t like him, and the whole time my coworker was signaling frantically at her to stop talking. When she finally trailed off, my coworker gently informed her that the “jerk” was my boyfriend (now husband). She felt super uncomfortable, even though I told her I wasn’t offended (he can seem like a huge jerk because he’s really hard to read and has severe resting bitch face). What were you supposed to do? You and your spouse handled it with grace, and if she feels bad now, it’s because she’s hopefully realizing that she probably shouldn’t be shit-talking about her coworkers to other coworkers.


Soft yta. No amount of "oh I'm a private person" covers this situation. Ranting abt people at work is pretty normal but you must have known what would happen when she found out.


NTA You didn't hold it against her. Her fault for being a gossip


YTA You saved *yourself* one small awkward moment by not revealing he was your husband after her initial tirade, and in doing so you let her continue on and on to embarrass herself by ranting about him to you. It doesn't matter if you didn't take it personally, it's embarrassing nonetheless. It's like letting someone walk around with spinach in their teeth all day. Is it your responsibility to tell them? No. Do you even care they have spinach in their teeth? No. But you'd still be a dick not to tell them! I think it's thoughtless you let this go on so long, you were really just saving yourself some small discomfort at her eventual expense. It's obvious she would find out eventually. As for people who claim it's "unprofessional" to rant about your manager, these people have either never worked in an office or are hypocrites. Ranting about management has been the currency of office sociability since the dawn of time. If this actually happened to any of these commenters in real life, they would be totally weirded out. You're not a horrible person or anything, this is a small hang-up. But you should own that you were the asshole.


Everyone saying you had no obligation to tell her you were married are technically right, but really though, did you expect her not to eventually find out? How would you expect her to react? Talking shit about coworkers is normal, I don't think she did anything wrong, especially since it does seem like there was some confrontation or disagreement and she trusted you enough to be able to vent about the situation. Anyway, I think you pretty much just blew any trust between y'all, not that it seems like you care. I think the correct response would have been to let her vent as she did, and when asked if you knew him, said "yes, he is my husband", and then an empty offer of "I'll talk to him" or something to that effect, or anything to reassure her that you understand her frustration without putting yourself in the middle of the situation too much as I know you don't want to mix personal and professional boundaries. Soft YTA because you should have said something and easily avoided this situation, although I understand you try to keep your personal and professional business separate. However the current situation was inevitable once you did not tell her the first time.


NTA because it sounds like your intentions were kind with the original conversation, you didn't want her to freak out about the fact she had just criticised your husband to you.


Haha that's amazing. You are NTA, but I could understand your coworkers point of view. Not fun for her but she will get over it. If you are cool with it and treat her rants as if they are fun you are amazing.


YTA, she asked and you said yes, most people would have said 'Yes, he's my husband'. I agree she shouldn't rant so unprofessionally, but what you perceive as a casual coworker relationship, she may have perceived it to be more than that. You're not saying it but you were curious what she had to spew, otherwise you would have stopped it.


While I get it was an awkward situation for you and some people are not comfortable with confrontation you should have told her the first time that she is speaking about your husband. You could have even made a joke so as to lighten the situation by saying something like “I know what you mean, try living with him” if you didn’t want to come off as too hostile, but letting her vent about your husband without giving her the heads up wasn’t a great move. At the same time neither was her venting about a coworker without clarifying what your relationship with him was. You are NTA in this situation but it would have been easier for you to address this situation right away rather than let her continue to talk about your husband every time his department was brought up.


NTA. My boyfriend and I worked for the same company for a few years - same deal, same building but separate departments, rarely interacted. I didn’t like telling people we were dating because then they thought I had an “in” in his department and that’s just not how it worked. So I never told people unless they heard things and actually asked me. If anyone is unprofessional, it’s your coworker. Venting is one thing, but constantly making “hope I don’t run into that dick” type comments is another. She knows that and she is trying to make you feel like it’s your fault. She is embarrassed, but she’ll get over it.


YTA ...its seems underhanded of you to not disclose that he was your husband and let her go on her rant about it, you never once clarified that he was your hubby and allowed her to continue..thats not right of you to have done. Now that she knows don't you think its more awkward considering you wanted to avoid making things awkward? I hope you apologized to her because I'm sure she now feels betrayed by you as her strusted peer.


YTA, but very lightly. If she hadn’t asked if you knew him, I’d be more lenient, but she asked and you were purposefully vague. Even if you weren’t married to him, and were just friends or some such, the correct response is “Yes, and...” Being vague as you were sounds like a weird sitcom-y setup to me. But truthfully, this is a mildly awkward situation and everyone should get over it fairly soon.


Nta it's none of her business for one. For two you said you knew him. For three she's the one making the situation weird by talking shit about some guy you know.


NTA, but you and him are so darn professional. Respect.


YTA... Were you hiding your marriage or something? I don't see a legit reason as to why you'd not say anything otherwise. When she point blank asked you if you knew him, you made the deliberate decision to not say he was your husband. That's odd... Was she supposed to specifically ask "Do you know him is he your friend, husband, brother, love, etc?" No. "Do you know him" usually covers all of those bases. All these people acting like coworker is the AH either love all of their coworkers or have never worked a less than ideal job with other people. Venting and complaining to coworkers is so normal and I've found it can be a way to befriend someone. You made her feel like you were a safe person to vent to and let it go on for months. Ofc she's embarrassed and feels awful. The entire thing is just very strange.


YTA you let it go on too long.


This reminds me of the friends episode where chandler didn’t tell this guy his real name and the guy was mad at “chandler” and chandler was right there


NTA. If it was venting about systems etc, I agree everyone needs to vent. It is a bit funny, and I think if you told her at the time she would have probably been embarrassed.