It's never good when one member of a couple unilaterally decides how the entire family will operate. But unfortunately, that's exactly what happened in this Reddit Relationship_Advice post.
OP explains that she has been with her husband for six years, and they've been married for four. They have two kids — a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old. She works extremely long hours, and because of it, they can live very comfortably and afford a lot of things, including several types of technology, which has been a sore spot with her husband for a while.
They have three TVs (one in their room, one in the kids' room, and another in the living room). They have one computer, then the kids have a laptop, and they also have a DVD player. Plus, each of them have a phone. This seems like a reasonable amount of technology.
OP explains that she does her best to limit her kids' screen time. They usually only get to watch movies on weekend nights and some YouTube in the mornings. Plus, they'll listen to music through the TV.
Recently, they got a nice, new TV for the living room. It's more expensive than what they'd usually spend, but OP says she loved it. Her husband evidently didn't feel the same way, though.
One day, she came home from work to find that out of the blue, without telling her, he'd gotten rid of all of their electronics. He gave away, by her estimation, "at least £4,000 (probably more) worth of stuff for free!" The TV and the computer were nearly brand new.
Understandably, OP is furious. She writes, "He told me basically he wanted us to give up electronics, he wanted to live a traditional life including me staying at home and having more children. This is a crazy change of personality and I can't even talk to him without getting so frustrated. I have tried and I just cried that's how frustrated I was, and he just seems so unaffected."
The technology is only part of the story. She also writes that he is "turning into a political nut job" and won't even hear his wife when she tries to talk about her own views.
It really seems like this guy is being totally radicalized by right-wing politics and has somehow linked the presence of electronics in his home with modern, liberal views, which is ironic because it's probably the television and the internet that have done the bulk of the work in shifting his point of view.
OP doesn't know what to do. Luckily, Reddit users chimed in with comments. One even suggested what she should say to him word-for-word: "But you wanting it doesn't mean you get to unilaterally make a decision that affects me and your whole family. I have my own opinions and as a couple we decide on things together.
"You giving our stuff away is unacceptable. You screaming in my face is unacceptable. We're going to a couples' counselor or I'm going to a divorce lawyer because I refuse to be dictated to, so which is it?" Frankly, that's a very straightforward and bold way to approach it, but OP has to be prepared for her husband to take the second option.
Some Redditors recognize this behavior. "This is exactly what my super controlling father used to do," one person wrote. "Electronics were bad, TV was bad, basically anything that gave us free access to ideas other than his? Bad. Of course, when HE decided he wanted it, it was OK..."
This man clearly views taking away all the electronics in the household as a control tactic to make sure he remains in charge of his wife and kids. Especially when coupled with his political radicalization, this shouldn't be seen as just an annoying thing he did but the start of a much more insidious agenda.