Share

What basic life skill were you surprised to find your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse didn't have when you first started dating?

DontMicrowaveCats

Archive Photos / Stringer / Getty Images

Tax Man

Had to file 7 years back taxes for a girl, she'd simply never done them and didn't know that after university and working minimum and low wage jobs since high school that it meant she'd be getting back thousands of dollars, like $21,000.

Tax Man
Budgetary Concerns

Money management. She used to think, "Oh, I have $500 in my account, which means I can buy that $500 item!" She's since learned how to appreciate saving.

Budgetary Concerns
Take This

Being able to determine whether my hands are free or not.

Like I'll be carrying a two handed tote and she wants to hand me the glass of water she just poured. Like yes please balance it on my shoulder.

Take This
Better Than Sliced Bread

My dad likes to make bread, and I gave my boyfriend (who I'd been dating for a year at that point) a loaf.

We decide to have a slice and he just cuts the entire loaf in half.

He wasn't sure where to go from there.

I suppose a lot of people just buy sliced bread and never make their own!

Better Than Sliced Bread
In His Best Interest

Compounding interest.

My ex had maxed out a $500 limit credit card ten years earlier, just ignored it, and had been paying about $25/month in interest ever since.

I explained to him that the single easiest way for him to earn money was to pay it off and terminate the card -- that would be like earning $25/month for doing nothing!

He slammed his fists on the table and yelled, "No! I'm not earning anything, they're just taking my money! I'm not giving them any more!"

In His Best Interest
It Says Disposable

The ability to understand how a lint roller works.

He didn't know that the sheets peel off the roll, just thought when the top sheet was covered you threw it out and got a new one.

It Says Disposable
Flammable

Dated a girl who called me one night asking me if it was safe to put plastic in the oven. When I said no, she laughed nervously and said she might have set her house on fire. (She did)

I was confused by much in that conversation, but the main thing was why she was calling me and not the fire department.

. . . She also couldn't tell her lefts from her rights.

It was odd because other than that she was a generally intelligent human being.

Flammable
Big Baby

My ex was a hot mess in that regard (life skills).

He didn't know how to do anything in terms of taking care of himself. I asked him to mind the pasta that was cooking for five minutes while I went to grab something, and when I came back he was just standing there watching it boil over without doing anything. He tried to run the dishwasher, but filled it with just rinse aid instead of detergent because, "they're basically the same thing, right?". When he did laundry, he would leave the wet clothes in the washer for 3-4 days and then be surprised when they mildewed literally every time. He never budgeted, just spent whatever he felt like (mostly on expensive sports equipment, etc) and then would call his parents in a panic if he got an overdraft fee before his next payday.

He'd clearly been babied all to hell, and I would've had a lot more sympathy except that a) most of these things were pretty easy to just Google if you didn't know how to do them, and b) whenever I tried to gently correct him on how to do something, he'd fly off the handle and accuse me of being condescending and nagging. So, yeah, by the end of our relationship I'd kinda lost all respect for the guy.

Big Baby
Spell My Name

He couldn't spell my name right.
My name is Hazel. It's not exactly common, but it's not super rare either; English, five letters, not so bad. And it wasn't that he was dyslexic either -- he was whip-smart, and had no problems with spelling anything else. His text messages were all perfectly punctuated. His grammar was on point. He'd proofread my work from time to time. It's not a thing I would have expected him to have a problem with.
But in the three months we dated, I was a Hazzle, a Hazle, a Hazzel, a Hayzel and a Hayzell. Not once do I recall him getting it right. It got to the point where I thought he might be doing it on purpose, either because he thought it was cute or to annoy me, but no -- it was just a complete blind spot for him.
It didn't last. (For other reasons, but... damn, I mean, is it too much to want your name spelled right?)

Spell My Name
Down the Drain

My wife did not know how to plunge a toilet. The first few times I was over at her place and her toilet was clogged when I entered the restroom I figured "hey, it happens, I'll just plunge it on the dl and save her the embarrassment." After a couple of years and countless low-key plunges we had to sit down and talk about checking the bowl, proper plunging technique, all that jazz. It's much better now but for a while it was this weird little secret that only I knew.

Down the Drain
Late Bloomer

Time management.

Her concept of time is so skewed it's mind boggling and it's caused her to be one of those people who "has their own time" (like people add an hour to whatever time she says she'll be anywhere).

I didn't understand it until I witnessed it first time when we were getting ready to leave somewhere together. She thinks "well I just have to throw clothes on and make up and I'm good, so leaving in half an hour is fine." However, she lets things distract her from her two main objectives and doesn't allot any extra time for such occurrences.

Example: Starts dressing and make up, then realizes she hasn't fed the dog, but also realizes she hasn't eaten so makes a quick snack, but while doing that she notices she hasn't taken the trash out and if she doesn't do it now it will attract flies, what was I doing again? Make up, oh yeah. Where's my coffee? Oh I hadn't made it yet. Better do that. What's this bowl of yogurt and granola doing here? Oh yeah, I need to eat this. Okay lets go. Wait, I need to bring this chair up to my mom on the way up to the car. Proceeds to have 5 minute argument with her mom about nothing in particular.

And suddenly we are 45 minutes late.

Late Bloomer
Lifesaver

Wife can't swim. She said her mother wouldn't let her learn because she was afraid of her drowning. THAT'S THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT SWIMMING IS FOR!

Lifesaver
Back At Basics

Basic life skills. He (an ex from long ago) couldn't comprehend certain daily tasks. He thought any kind of soap could be put in the dish washer, he would leave things in the oven and forget about them for hours, thought you only needed to shower or brush your teeth every few weeks?! I once witnessed him make a milkshake and not put the lid on the blender... shit went everywhere and he was genuinely perplexed at the outcome. If he didn't feel like working 1 day he'd just quit and apply for another job. The worst part was he truly believed I was an idiot for thinking him wrong or suggesting he change his habits. I felt like a wrangler at the zoo... or a parent to a 25 year old man baby.

Back At Basics
Smile

Dental care.

She nearly dumped me when I pointed out that it's not normal for teeth to be brown on the edges. I didn't notice it initially because the brown was eternally covered by white, fossilized food residue.

Eventually, I was able to make it clear that I just care about her health, and she's been working through about $5000 in fillings, root canals, and gum treatments as quickly as her insurance will let her.

Smile
Magic Dust

Cleaning.

Specifically, dude had no idea where dust came from. Thought that if he didn't go over to that part of the room, it wouldn't get dusty, and therefore didn't need to be cleaned.

Magic Dust
Thise Hinges Go in Both Directions

The ability to close cabinet doors.

Thise Hinges Go in Both Directions
Moving Violation

How not to drive like a jackhole.

She tailgated, stopped late, swerved randomly because she wasn't paying attention, and... It has taken a lot of patience to get her to the point where i am cool with her driving the kids around. Her sister is still a horrible driver.

Moving Violation
Self-Maintenance

ANYTHING that requires maintenance.

I mean anything. Like, she will listen to a fire alarm beep for hours before I come home and swap the batteries. She will try and change a light bulb while the switch is on. She does not understand the concept of circuit breakers. Every time she has a computer problem, I ask her "Did you turn it off and on" and invariably, she hasn't.

She went ~8 years between moving out of her parents home, then living with me. I don't know how she survived.

BUT she is super smart. Like, so very good with money, deans list when she went to Uni, excellent mother, reads and understands contracts. Pretty much everything I'm dumb at she's good at and vice versa. We make a really good team.

Self-Maintenance
Boom!

I had a roomie who, three months into living together, told me she'd let the gas stove run a while and use a Bic to light it.

Because she was "afraid of the clicking noise."

There were a lot of reasons I wanted to hit her in the back of the head to knock some blockage loose, but that was the time I came the closest.

Boom!
Soap IS Soap, Right?

Dawn dish soap in the dishwasher deal.

Cleaned the house, did the laundry mowed the lawn and bought flowers for the ex before she came back to her place. Final touch was having all dishes done and put away. Put dish soap in because wtf it's clearly soap for dishes so that'll work. Turns out it floods the whole kitchen with bubbles. I decided to mow while dishes were going, had to call and explain before she got back. Thankfully she thought it was hilarious and said thanks for cleaning the floors while calling me an idiot.

Soap IS Soap, Right?
Mama's Boys

Fundamentally, all of them. His mother basically anticipated that he would find a good woman to take care of him, so he was essentially treated as a child. He couldn't cook, not even ramen. He didn't know how to repair a car, didn't understand how to clean, shop all. Not only did he fail to budget, he fundamentally had no clue how much stuff cost.
I refused to live with him.

I know a woman raising a son like that. She has said that she's not bothering to teach him how to cook or clean because he'll find a wife to do that for him. When someone asked her what if he didn't get married, she said "he'll just make good enough money to be able to hire a maid".

Mama's Boys
Can It

How to use a can opener!

I was literally blown away. How can a grown man not know how to use a car opener?

Can It
Primitive Living

This is a "what she has taught me" post. I grew up in a hoarder/squalor house (like on TV), so when I first moved out and got a place with my girlfriend at the time, I had to basically be taught every domestic skill (apart from cooking, which I had already taught myself). That was like 11 or 12 years ago, and I STILL learn things every now and then from my wife. An upbringing like that isn't something you just overcome at the drop of a hat. After being out of that environment for so long, visiting home now sometimes feels like visiting an uncontacted tribe in the Amazon where I observe primitive behaviors that I evolved out of, but are still prevalent within the family.

Primitive Living
Swept Away

How to use a broom.

Not like lazy, but literally has never handled a broom before and doesn't have the motor memory for a sweeping motion. I actually kind of have to work hard not to laugh as its adorably watching a grown human being handling a broom like a toddler.

Swept Away
What a Gas

My biggest smack my head moment with my wife was when she called me and told me that she had just met with the road service guy due to running out of gas. I asked where she had run out and she told me the location.

It was in the same parking lot that contained a Shell Gas station about 50 yards away from where she was parked. Sigh....

What a Gas
One at a Time

When texting I have to write a sentence and wait an answer.

If I write more than one, she only reads the last one.

Always.

One at a Time
Zero Sum

Basic budgeting skills.

It's like she thought that her monthly balance had to be 0.

Zero Sum
Guess Where Vegetables Come From

An ex-GF was from a wealthy family and I'd get calls about everyday life stuff all the time:

"How do I choose which head of lettuce at the grocery store?"

"How do I use a _ (gas pump, clothes iron, sandpaper...)?"

" Why are there so many kinds of shovels and which one should I buy?"

My favorite was her fuming about the farmers market that sold her a bag of veggies that were dirty, they had ACTUAL DIRT on them.

Guess Where Vegetables Come From
Beep, Beep, Beep...

My friends sister secretly taught herself Korean, announced as a total surprise to everyone (including her family) that she was moving to Korea, alone, and worked there for a couple of years as an English teacher. We live in England and she had no previous connection with Korea, so this was pretty incredible.

In her mid- to late 20s she came home and moved back in with her dad, and one day the smoke alarm was beeping because the battery had run down. She wasn't sure what to do, so she rang her dad for help, despite knowing he was at work. On a ship. Fifty miles away. After he got understandably annoyed and asked what the hell she expected him to do about it, she left it beeping for about six hours until her brother got back and changed the batteries.

It still boggles my mind that someone so clearly intelligent, adventurous and apparently independent could have so little common sense when it comes to everyday life. She isn't the only person I know who can be like that though, so maybe it's a totally different part of your brain that's involved or something.

Beep, Beep, Beep...

[Giphy][1]

[1]: /var/folders/w3/22m87tnd56q8pfgk9qpgf63c0000gq/T/com.apple.Preview/com.apple.Preview.PasteboardItems/giphy (45)-1 (dragged).tiff

Masterchef

Cooking....like at all...she would burn pasta...

"BOIL water?? What am I...a chemist???"

It's obviously rocket surgery...PhD required.

Masterchef
Misdirection

My GF is a Forensics Chemistry major with two minors and she's brilliant. But she has trouble telling which way to turn when giving directions and confuses her left and right. If she says "Go left" my safest bet is probably turning right because left would be me turning into oncoming traffic, a tree, a wall, or just the way we don't need to go.
It's kind of cute now, but at the beginning it was confusing.

Misdirection
Training Wheels

My husband can't ride a bike.

He was never taught.

Training Wheels
Cuff 'em

He was amazed with my sock folding skills.

You know, when you're folding laundry and pair up two matching socks side by side and then fold down the cuffs so that the socks stay paired up together.

His reaction was like he had watched me perform brain surgery. Literally mind blown. I should have taken it as a sign.

Cuff 'em
  • Next

Add Your Comment

Staff Picks!

People Admit The Weirdest Things They’ve Done While Their Brains Were On Autopilot Surprise Me People Admit The Weirdest Things They’ve Done While Their Brains Were On Autopilot 10.24.2017 By Amelia Mavis Christnot We have our daily routines and sometimes they become second ... 0 comments
People Confess Ideas That Still Break Their Brains When They Think About Them Surprise Me People Confess Ideas That Still Break Their Brains When They Think About Them 10.24.2017 By Amelia Mavis Christnot "Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably ... 0 comments
People Share Their Most Unbelievable 'Pics Or It Didn't Happen' Moments Surprise Me People Share Their Most Unbelievable 'Pics Or It Didn't Happen' Moments 10.24.2017 By Amelia Mavis Christnot People tell a lot of outrageous stories online, giving rise ... 0 comments