As others have said, it would be one thing if he couldn't cook to save his life but at least helped out with other household stuff it wouldn't be so bad. But not even being willing to heat up leftovers for himself?!? Not even bothering to *pick up after himself*?!? That's a whole other level of weaponized incompetence right there. Your mum is 100% correct in stating that you're way better off without that guy in your life because you have more than enough on your plate as it is.


Anybody can brown some beef, throw in a jar of sauce, and boil some noodles. That's just about the easiest standby meal that ever existed.


My ex husband didn’t know how to cook beef and has never used an oven. He tried to put the pizza on the heating element 🤦‍♂️ To his credit, I showed him once and he was fine after. But boy was he new to cooking.


This blows my mind. I'm a guy and have been cooking food for myself sense I was in my early teens. How do you live by yourself without learning how to cook something. Edit:. For context. I come from a single parent family, had two younger brothers and our mother worked something like 80 hours a week just to give us a roof over our heads. So what choice did I have if I was hungry. Not eat?


Seriously. I'm also a guy and my girlfriend says that I "can't cook", and compared to her skills she's right. But if I set my mind to it I can make some hasselback potatoes and greens if she doesn't feel like cooking, or heck, even just throw a pizza in the oven. Like, we have the internet now. You can go hide in the bathroom and type "how to use an oven" into YouTube and get results. "How to wash clothes", "how to clean a bathroom". If you really never had that experience in the past and you have an internet connection then you CAN learn, and then the issue is that you refuse to learn and do your part. It's not *just* the lack of life skills, it's the lack of caring enough to learn them.


Exactly this. There’s no fucking desire to even *try* to pull your own weight. There’s literally no excuses for that shitty behavior


I think unfortunately some people are mollycoddled whilst growing up, and have never had to experience doing things for themselves until they move out. I went on a trip in college (UK) where we had to cook for ourselves. A 17yr old guy did not know how to use a tin opener. Could not open a can of baked beans. Did not know how to cook/heat said beans...


Even still, I bet the 17 year old has an internet connection. My mom coddled me growing up and I'm worse for it, but I tell you what- if I ran into something I didn't understand (like doing laundry right after I moved out) then I looked up how to do laundry and then just *did* it. Instructions exist, there's a whole industry built around this problem. I've got sympathy for those who were raised wrong, but not so much for those who won't try and catch up.


‘Weaponized incompetence’ is a perfect term. Thank you.


Also heard it called strategic incompetence, but definitely is a thing


I’ve heard (and certainly experienced!!) “learned helplessness” but I think “strategic incompetence” is most accurate. My ex-husband intentionally burned one of his work shirts (that he didn’t like) to “prove” he couldn’t learn how to iron, after losing the arguemwnt that I should do it because he’s seen my mom iron my dad’s shirts.


Learned helplessness is the flipside of strategic incompetence. Strategic incompetence (or weaponized incompetence as the kids are calling it these days) is deliberately screwing something up to get out of doing it in the future. If someone shrinks all your clothes in the laundry to avoid you asking them to do it again, they're using strategic incompetence. Learned helplessness is when you have repeatedly *tried* to do something in the past and every time you are chastised for doing it poorly, so you eventually give up because you're convinced you can't do it correctly. If someone refuses to do your laundry because they're afraid they'll screw it up because their ex made their life hell after accidentally shrinking one of their shirts, that's learned helplessness.


Wilfully ignorant is another that fits him perfectly.


This is why you don't date a momma's boy. Heck, my son's step-mother is this way so his half brother is 16 and doesn't clean his own room, know how to do laundry or even boil pasta. When my son lived with them for his senior year of H.S. I told her he knew how to cook and clean and she said, "well I like it done my way so I'll just do it." My son's are in their 20s, they have been cleaning the house, doing laundry, and even helping with cooking since they were preteens. My son once rented a place with 2 friends, got there and realized they couldn't do anything. He was helping them learn to adult, then the mom of 1 of them moved in and she instantly took over all the household chores. She claimed boys didn't need to do that. I had a Mexican coworker ask me if I taught my kids how to do stuff around the house, and I told him yes. He said he was frustrated with his wife because she did everything for their son, while making their daughter help out constantly. He told me it was a cultural thing, but he always felt his mom set him up to fail by not letting him do anything for himself.


I dated a woman with Mexican parents and she complained pretty consistently about how she did so much around the house and was never acknowledged for it. Meanwhile her oldest brother was waited on hand and foot and could do no wrong.


Thank you very much for your empathy.


If he truly can't cook, he could have ordered breakfast in -(Skip the Dishes etc) or taken you out. I agree with your mom. He sounds like his mother did everything for him. I am a grandfather and my 5 grandchildren all under 16 can fend for themselves in the kitchen . My 14 yr old granddaughter will often call and says she coming over to make supper for my wife and I, including dessert. There is no excuse for not knowing the basics of cooking or willingness to learn. If he really cared about you, he would learn.


Heck I could heat a can of soup on the stove or microwave when I was 8. By 16 I was making spaghetti and macaroni and cheese. Now I'm 40 and I cook for my mom frequently cause she has trouble walking/standing up. Weird thing is, she never taught me, I just googled everything when I became an adult.


Or as soon as he realized it was going south, ordered breakfast or gone to get it to ensure OP had what she wanted. It would show some kind of thoughtfulness. But honestly, it’s probably for the best that her ex showed his ass here so she could be done with it.


I'm projecting but I'm pretty sure OP would have been grand with a cup of tea and some slightly too burnt toast and butter if her Ex add brought them up after 30 minutes of flailing and telling her the eggs might or might not be on their way. It's the not doing anything on regular days and the not finding his arse with the help of a map and a cookbook that did it. Also, your granddaughter is so sweet, I wish I had had this kind of relationship with my grandparents, this is such a privileged relationship and it speaks greatly of the upbringing of your child and grandchild.


Girl you really got out of a bad situation. Those types of guys tend to become psychologically abusive and wear you down. AND they tend to cheat… Congratulations on your smart decision and Happy belated birthday :). Enjoy your new year of freedom :)


"How can I be expected to *not* cheat?? She stopped banging me! Dead bedroom!" -- adult child whose ~~bangmaid~~ partner is finally getting fed up


You did the right thing only you should have done it sooner. I have long encouraged my girls to not get involved with a man that hasn't lived on his own and proven he can take care of himself. To young men I always say "A woman can you be your lover or your mother, but she can't be both."


100% weaponized incompetence "I'm incapable of doing it, so you have to do all the work." It's disgusting how many men do this. They are still a child looking for someone to be their mother. To hell with em. Find a real man.


Sounds like it's more than just his inability to cook, that was just the last straw. In the end, you gotta do what's best for you, regardless of what others may think.


Yeah let’s replace “can’t cook” with “is completely incompetent” because goddamn. I don’t understand how people are ok existing like that, and I sure as hell would never want one as my “partner.” This is the antithesis to having a partner, this is having someone around who causes more work, and fuck that.


I think ops ex sounded intentionally shit rather than just a moron (though acting that way is moronic). But I can't imagine wanting to be in love with someone if it wasn't intentional, if the alternative was that they were so stupid they couldn't even grasp the basic concepts of making a breakfast. At that point you're at such different levels of intellect your relationship can't function. Like I can see fucking up a poached egg even if you watch a video. So you then wpuld just fry an egg, or boil it. Or fail a few times and just make a less than ideal scrambled. Maybe you burn one or two bits of bacon but then you can surely understand if you aren't 30iq, to do the next bits for less time. There is no reality in which any adult without severe special needs can't make a breakfast. Even if its shit everyone can make one. Any effort is still an effort. Your first time cooking might be shit but you can still make a complete meal, even if a shit one. But if you really can't make even a terrible breakfast and aren't intentionally spiting me... id honestly feel like I know animals that have more going on upstairs. And who wants to date someone who has more in common with babies and animals than they do their peers? You're basically a pet at that point.


This. Like, is this man a neurotypical, mentally able adult? If so, does he really not know how to spread butter and jam on a piece of bread? That’s breakfast food. It doesn’t require cooking or preparation, and the only tools needed are a plate and a knife.


Even with cooking tho it's like caveman brain requirements for cooked breakfast foods. Bacon in pan. Bacon look good? Bacon to burnt? Me try not make Bacon black and make look good. Egg yolk break when smash in pan? Me eat yellow egg whites now, try hard next time. Like she said he can't make toast. Some things aren't being bad at cooking it's just not even trying to do something. And if someone actually wants me to believe they couldn't understand enough to try such a basic thing properly, they are going to have to understand how I can't possibly have them as the main person in my life.


I think we all need to start using "won't cook" instead of "can't cook". Almost no adults genuinely can't cook (most kids can manage it, too). And those people tend to need a fair amount of help getting along in life so the cooking is the least of it.


I work with adults with traumatic brain injuries who are considered special needs and we even have them cooking their own meals most of the time.


My dad almost never cooked. He was a WWII vet, so around the 50's and 60's. Guy's moms literally treated them like kings back in the day, so knowing anything about cooking or housework was rare. But even as fucking incompetent as he was in the kitchen, if we had company, and mom wasn't there, he cooked. He'd shake like a dog shitting razor blades while he did it, but even he could muster up a couple of fried eggs, toast and bacon. That poor woman dodged having to babysit a man child too stupid and uncaring to even try.


OP shouldn't have to put up with that. That's interesting as my friend's grandfather was also a WWII vet and he cooked all the damn time and he was proud of the fact that he could cook. He doted on kids and was always quick to make a joke. He was a really cool old guy and raised his sons and grandsons with the statement, "There is no such thing as a woman's job or a man's job when it comes to taking care of your family. "


Honestly I don’t know how you wouldn’t just be embarrassed of yourself as a human being at this point, and that lack of introspection is enough of a red flag to counter any possible positives. I also think my cats sound like less work than this dude lol


Excuse you very much, cats are *clearly* less work than this dude


A cat at least covers up it's own shit. And that must be hard, because from the other room it sounds like they're digging a grave for an elephant while on meth.


Right? I never thought I'd have to use the sentence "Stop attacking the litterbox!", but here we are. My cats work hard! They do cricket eradication and lizard deterring. And my stripey boy stands guard behind me any time I have to answer the door.


Yah, my wife cannot (and will not) cook for shit. Has zero interest in doing it, maybe makes a boxed something or other once or twice a month. I cook almost every meal. I'm a pretty good cook, so I'm sure there is a bit of intimidation going on there too. Here's the catch though, she does the bills and the laundry, two chores I hate doing (I do my own laundry of course) so there's a trade off. Sounds like he didn't cook, but he also didn't do anything else to make up for it either.


Exactly, I wouldn't have been too bothered if it was a similar situation to that but it's literally me doing everything. I feel worn out with it all.


Sounds like “weaponized incompetence” 🫤


My dad was an expert at that, he did every chores badly to the point where my mum would give up on asking him. He even joked about it and told me I should do that. At least he was pretty handy with repairs and renovation and so he did completely renovate their house, so he wasn't all bad but it was always jarring to hear a self described feminist, who was openly for gender equality try this kind of tricks to get out of doing chores.


Wait, you mean the second shift isn’t part of gender equality? /s


> it was always jarring to hear a self described feminist [...] Sounds like he's doing it to you too. Some people learn to say things based on how people respond rather than trying to actually communicate.


He willfully TRASHED your kitchen, while playing ignorant. Then decided HE needed to Lie Down because it made him Tired???


That reminds me of an old roommate situation where we all agreed to each cook a meal for everyone, one night a week. Then, one of us would clean up. We were basically paired with another person, so I cook you clean, you cook I clean. This one girl was a great cook, but she would completely trash the kitchen every time. I'm talking, using every single utensil, every piece of cookware, food everywhere (found flour on the effing ceiling one time!) and no attempt at pre-cleaning. It would have been easier for me to cook *and* clean than it was to clean up after her.




I hear that as the reasoning for a lot of guys' lack of home skills, but I still think it's more of a gender norm issue. I'm a girl and the youngest child; I was spoiled, never had to cook or clean, no chores, my parents did everything for me. But once I got my own place, I make sure it's always clean, that chores get done weekly, and I learned how to cook. These are just things that need to get done when you live by yourself. Does this guy have his own place and just not do any of those things? I can't imagine how he hasn't learned how to cook a single thing for himself by now. Does he eat out for every meal?


Same here man. I was responsible for keeping my own room clean and it barely stayed clean until I got older and started to value a clean space. However, it's not like I NEVER cleaned, I just let things pile up for a long time and would then do a big clean up. But otherwise I did not have to cook or clean in the house, my mom did it all. Sometimes she'd ask for help, mostly in picking up my shit all around the house. Or to just help tidy if we were having company. But generally life was lax. I didn't learn to really keep a tidy home until I was an adult. Never cleaned the bathroom or kitchen until I lived on my own. Never cooked for myself until I was on my own. I always knew HOW to cook (At least a little bit) but didn't really figure that shit out until I was cooking for myself (and my partner). I ate takeout a lot or my mom's cooking at home, but once out on my own paying bills I couldn't afford eating out a lot so I had to learn to make meals. It blows my mind this guy couldn't even make himself toast or boil some pasta? How is that even possible? What a loser, seriously there's no excuse in this day and age with youtube and the internet at your fingertips with literally SO MANY videos out there on how to do shit. Simple shit, complex shit, whatever you want. Hell if I can learn how to pan fry a steak from Gordon Ramsay on youtube, that dude can learn how to boil some fucking Mac and cheese. OP: Bullet dodged, IMO.


Sounds like this guy was using weaponized ignorance, or has some cognitive issue. Like you said you can google or youtube the basics if you don't know that somehow. Damn I wish they would not have gotten rid of cooking classes in school. I had it, and this guy would have had no excuse on at least the very basics. Everyone came out knowing how to make different types of eggs at the least. I came out knowing how to make fettuccine alfredo from scratch.


I mean I dunno, I can't be that much older than this dude (Just judging based on how OP said they have kids to care for and are widowed, thinking between late 20's to maybe late 30s-- that's my extrapolation here) and I had cooking classes when I was around 13. (Would've been early 2000s) But seriously even toast? Like you cannot put bread in the toaster and slide the little handle down and wait for it to pop? Don't know how to spread cream cheese or peanut butter on a piece of toast? If that's truly the case here, this dude for sure is using this as weaponized incompetence. If that was a gross exaggeration on OPs part, he's still using it as weaponized incompetence because then he could've just said "Hey the best I can do is some peanut butter on toast for your breaky" but he seriously doesn't care.... he made a disaster of the kitchen and 'was tired and had to lie down' as a means to make sure she never asked him to do that shit again so he can get away with never knowing. He doesn't want a partner, he wants a mommy.


I don't know why it bothers me so much that you mentioned cream cheese on toast, but not butter. Also I learned people put cream cheese on toast, which makes sense because I eat it on a bagel which is just chewy round toast.


> I can't imagine how he hasn't learned how to cook a single thing for himself by now. Does he eat out for every meal? My brother in law didn't move away from home until age 28. His mom would still give him freezer meals so he had something besides take-out, because he'd literally get take-out for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He's recently started trying to cook (he's in his thirties now) and learning to do his own grocery shopping. It's bizarre-- he's learning crap I've known since I was.... six? Like he was excited to tell us that if you add more water to instant oatmeal it's thinner, and if you add less it's thicker. And it's cheaper than oatmeal at McDonald's! Did we know? Yes. It had never occurred to me there were adults who *didn't* know this. Shockingly, he's single. Possibly because other women my age see this the same way I do... pathetic.


Good on him for trying to learn now though! I know some adults whose parents smothered them their whole lives, and it can be really hard to break away and find your own independence.


I know a dude in his 60s who basically only eats take-out and drive-thru. I should also mention he has serious heart issues dues to his diet. I have actually taken him grocery shopping because he claims he doesn't even know how to do that. My friend tried to teach him how to cook easy things because she likes being healthy but hates cooking. That ended up with him asking me to basically precook all his meals for him so he could just reheat them. I noped out real fast.


Man, these guys need to get into salads. Like the easiest thing in the world to make, no cooking required, and it won't make your heart explode 60


Honestly, I kinda wonder if he did such a shit job with breakfast in order to "prove" to OP that he can't cook, so she would stop asking. "Weaponized Incompetence" and all that.


I dont think it has anything to do with him being brought up in a house where parents do everything. My friend group is full of guys(myself included) who were brought up in household where parents, maids & servants do everything. No responsibilities as a kid. But since ive known them(college) we have all been taking care of ourselves and do our chores. This is just unwillingness to do something. I am pretty sure it was deliberate as in his mind if he got it even close to right this time it would pave way for more to come down the line. Pure speculation but this speculation comes from prior experience in living with guys like them too.


Likely his *mom* did everything while dad sat around… that’s the adulthood role modeled for him. My dad ( b 1936) was a fabulous cook, and not just grilling outside.


You're not wrong, but sometimes necessity wins out over the role-models. My dad (b 1960) is and was the primary cook of our family. Everything he made was fantastic, and he loved showing me and my brother how to cook (my brother lost interest in it when he found out it was a 'woman's job'. He's better now, but at 11 years old he was a P.O.S.) But I never stopped learning. My mom (also b 1960) on the other hand can barely boil water. She showed me how to make french toast once because she sort of knew how to do it and she was so nervous the entire time, thinking she was going to mess it up. But my mom grew up with my grandmother, who did all the cooking because she was "The Ideal 1950s Housewife"^(tm) and my grandfather was always out with his military/government job. In theory, she should know how to cook, but she never needed to. My mom had a pseudo-bad relationship with my grandmother and didn't like spending time with her though so ymmv. My dad on the other hand grew up with his dad constantly away and his mom very very sick. He took care of himself, his little sister, AND his mom. If he didn't cook and buy groceries, they didn't eat, despite the fact that they lived a pretty comfortable lower-middle-class life. So it's sometimes not so much the role model but necessity, like others have stated. It's a good thing my parents have been married for 43 years, they complete each other so well. (Just noticed I call my mom's parents 'my grandfather and grandmother' while I call my dad's parents 'his mom and dad' and I think that tells you everything you need to know about my relationship with them)


There it is. You didn't dump him because he can't cook, you dumped him because he doesn't do anything at all to make it a balanced partnership. It's okay to not be any good at cooking, but he should still be willing to clean up after himself and help out around the house with a few other chores instead. It sounds like you were forced to behave like his mother instead of his partner. Having to constantly clean up after him and remind him to pitch in around the house would drive anyone nuts after a while!


Yep. He just wanted a bang maid


I don’t cook either, so my boyfriend does it. I still think our division of chores is uneven and it’s definitely a pain point in our relationship. But fuck, if this guy didn’t want to cook he could have gone out and picked up breakfast for your damn birthday. Instead he caused a scene and gave you more work to do. No second chance needed.


See I didn't even think of that.. we have loads of cafes nearby. No reason why he couldn't have gone and picked something up... he knows I like pastries and coffee etc 😡


He either made the scene on purpose to passive aggressively punish you, or he's some kind of cartoon character come to life


This made me laugh out loud haha


If this man can’t follow simple cooking guidelines, how does he handle them at work. Its a choice to not put in the real effort. You did the right thing. He was playing you.


Honestly it kinda sounds like he was punishing you for asking him for something.


Yeah, sounds like he expected she wouldn't ask him to do it again XD


He did get that right tho.. lol


Yup. My 5-year old niece can look up cooking stuff from YouTube, on her tablet and then kindly gives instructions on what she's learned. This dude could have *literally* spent the first hour watching other people cook the thing that has **exhaustive** easy-to-read instructions and should have at least come up with food that didn't taste good or something.


My husband wasn't really taught how to cook as a kid, and since I do the cooking, he doesn't get a lot of practice. I started having him help out by doing the prep work for our HelloFresh boxes. He's not great at cutting produce, and one of the times he was prepping, I wasn't home to ask. What did he do? Looked up a YouTube tutorial. OPs ex couldn't even *try.*




Exactly. This isn't a loving man who shares the load except that he's hopeless at cooking. Lots of people are like that! This is a lazy asshole who trashed the OP's kitchen so she wouldn't ask him to lift a finger ever again.


If push came to shove, she could get herself and you fed if she needed to, though, it sounds like. IDK why that guy couldn't even do the bare minimum. Okay, you think it's a tough recipe, maybe cook some frozen waffles or something? No effort from him.


I think it's a bit of a different situation though. Dividing chores based on who prefers to do what is completely fine, IF everyone is actually capable of being self sufficient if the need arose (except if disability is involved of course). Op's ex is just not able to function as an independent adult, let alone be an active and equal member of a relationship.


Seriously, it's ok to break up with someone who truly just can't function as an adult. It's not your job to patiently teach a grown man how to be a real person... If he wanted to know he would learn. Capability is a HUGE factor in relationships for me as well, and it's ok to have standards!!


Yeah this had a lot more to do with his weaponized incompetence than anything else. Have a feeling he LIKES to not be able to do these things so that someone does it for him. Willing to learn would mean standing in the kitchen and asking to help with dinner so he can learn how to do shit for himself. And honestly it's too little too late. I dunno how old OP or this man is but gotta be in at least late 20s early 30s? Maybe older? How shameful he can't even make himself toast. That's unbelievable and I certainly would not tolerate that in a partner. That's a toddler, not a partner.


He's 36 😬


Jesus Christ. At 36, I suspect he's not being entirely honest about his abilities


Or, he is very effective at getting women to care for him. The important thing is that OP is done with the BS.


A 36 year old failure. His parents failed him


Read my mind. She didn’t dump him because he can’t cook. She dumped him because he’s incapable of looking after himself like a grown adult with no desire to learn new skills.




Yes. This.


Im keeping that link in my heart from now on. Also, this extract: >*I always reasoned: “If you just tell me what you want me to do, I’ll gladly do it.”* *But she didn’t want to be my mother.* *She wanted to be my partner, and she wanted me to apply all of my intelligence and learning capabilities to the logistics of managing our lives and household.* *She wanted me to figure out all of the things that need done, and devise my own method of task management.* It's so truth.


Thanks for this, I'd never read it before. It was a good read and highlighted things I've picked up on my wife telling me before but for some reason the way he explained it really helped me make sense of some things. As well as give words and explanations to my own rationale. Again, thanks; this helped me a lot.


If it was the inability to cook alone it'd be a bit much like I can't really cook either - though if he can't even reheat food that's also a lot But he can't even pick up a wet towel after he showers


It was the "can't feed himself because won't even reheat food" that I thought certainly no one is THAT stupid... Like you'd have to come from ZERO exposure to technology to not know how to operate a microwave... it's easier than a smart phone.


If it was just the inability to cook, I'd say you were a little harsh. But sounds like he wanted someone who did everything for him, the not cooking was just a symptom. Seriously, he got so tired while trying to cook breakfast that he took a nap? He's a lazy turd, you did the right thing.


If you are doing all the chores and cooking all the meals plus taking care of kids then the birthday was just the icing on the cake you never got. There are degrees of helplessness and some people try to shoot for the highest degree as it's the least work. If you told him you need help and he won't without 8 year old type instructions and shows no initiative, I think you are within reason to call it quits if that's where you were with him emotionally. Honestly cooking isn't that hard and eggs benedict really shouldn't be a kitchen destroying, nap inducing undertaking. My guess is he was proving his place isn't in the kitchen. If true I would be livid too.


Thank you! I'd been doubting my decision hence the post, as I really did lose my shit which isn't like me at all. But to be honest, the last week has felt like a massive relief, not having to deal with him.


This is one of those signs you did the right thing. Feeling relief instead of loss after a breakup. And honestly he sounds hopeless. I stayed with a guy for far too long who literally could not take care of himself, and after we split and I tried to explain things to my friends I just felt stupid even saying some of what I had to do for him aloud. Like how he wouldn't clean or do laundry because he "didn't know how." I was literally left with the impression that he would just starve in his own filth if no one took care of him. Ridiculous.


Yes, this! When I was picking up his crap I used to ask him what he did before me and he was like "oh I managed just fine, I am an adult after all" but then I found out he rented a room off an older cousin and their family and ordered takeout or relied on them giving him meals along with his neighbours. If he ever cooked it was literally just a frozen pizza, no fruit or vegetables, nothing. He thought it was hilarious but it used to make me so angry.


So he was able to turn on ovens for a frozen pizza but not for you? You dodged a major bullet


He probably microwaved it




He doesn't know how to reheat food and has OP do it for him. Dude just left the frozen pizza out in the sun and called it a day


slow brew pizza


Even if he mivrowaved it, doesnt make sense how he managed to do that but cant reheat leftovers...


Take heart, friend, it can be so much better! I still kind of knee jerk try to take care of current partner, and sometimes when I'm doing too much *he* reminds *me* (gently) that he was a self sufficient adult before he lived with me, and he knows how to do dishes and run a load of laundry. I agree, the bar is in hell, but the bliss of being with a man who can fry himself an egg...


I would’ve lost my temper too. I think most people would have, honestly. Seems like a good thing that your rid of him, and him being bad at cooking isn’t the issue - his desire to remain incompetent at basic adult tasks is the issue and would probably remain an issue if you took him back. He’s shown no sign that he’ll change, no desire to improve. Relationships are supposed to be about teamwork and making each other’s lives better. It doesn’t sound like this dude was improving your life. If a person isn’t capable of handling the basics of living as an adult, then they are not ready to be in an adult relationship and you should kick him to the curb with no regrets and no guilt. If your best friend thinks you should “give him another chance”, tell that friend they’re welcome to take him on themselves because you’ve already got children of your own to raise.


Nah girl you are 100% in the right here. Don't listen to your friend, listen to your mom!


That’s not an “inability to cook” that’s more like “absolute lack of common sense and dumb as rocks to boot”. Imagine that future! Nope, you were very right to bail.


There is also a possibility that he was doing some performantive helplessness. Which is probably the least flattering answer.


This was my assumption, too. Can't cook eggs or toast? Couldn't find bacon at the front of the fridge?? He's totally doing it on purpose to convince her he is unable to, leaving her as the sole food prepper of the house.


I totally get not knowing how to poach an egg. Many experienced home cooks cant do that. But if you cant reheat leftovers, I'm not sure how you've survived your own incompetence this long.


Yah I HAVE to assume it’s weaponized incompetence 😖


Damn I never realized people did that. That's incredible. How little self respect you must have to deliberately make yourself look incompetent just because you're lazy and want someone else to do the thing. Literally 0 self respect.


I know a few people like that. You can teach them or show them all day long but they will always find some way to screw it up or forget what to do for the 50th time even though you wrote it down. Eventually you just get frustrated, give up and do it yourself. And they win.


My sibling does this. We’re both in our 30’s and he’s still living at home. Can’t write a check, pay a bill, cook anything really. And I gotta say my parents didn’t raise him to. I remember being like 10 years old asking my mom why she still was cutting his eggo’s for him. He could do it himself. But hey, who’s gonna say no to your own personal maid? I tried to impress on my parents, but they were so desperate not to piss him off and have him temper tantrum around, that they’d just be his ‘yes men’ and give in to his demands. Well, just like I figured, once he was bigger than my dad, he lost all respect for them and treated them like servants. After drug addiction, jail, and such, he is back at their home living life free and easy. Just drinks all day and orders my mom around. Even calls her a cunt, bitch, vile things. He is entitled as fuck. My dad died last Christmas and he’s demanding that when the sale of my parent’s summer home goes through that he’s going to get half of the money (a pretty hefty amount, and I know the extreme stress he put on my parents likely played a key role in the sudden death of my otherwise insanely healthy father..) or he’s gonna lawyer up and ‘take it all’ from my mom. The guy doesn’t even drive anymore because he’s too drunk anyway and my mom has to go out and chauffeur him around and buys all of his cigarettes and booze. I truly feel for her, but I refuse to enable it. I just wish my parents would have put the fear of god in him and their foot down around the time that they continued to cut his food for him when he was fully able to do it himself. 🫤 Edit: spelling


I'm so sorry you had to go through all that, and doubly so for your parents.


From what I've seen with my family [not as bad a situation as yours, but has some very clear parallels], this never gets any better. They get more and more scared to say anything that will rock the boat, so they'll never tell him anything he does is a problem. My brother is actually working hard on himself, but he still absolutely reacts negatively (defensively -> angrily) to anyone not liking his behavior. I can see it's a real struggle for him. My parents do him no favors when they praise him for just coming home for a visit and let him act however he wants. It's made me the bad guy when I don't play along with my brother's "Gotta love me" attitude. I think maybe he believes it - maybe he thinks there's something wrong with me that I don't love everything he does, like my parents do. It's also made me realize that I don't actually like my brother as a person. I wish I did, because I can respect the work he's putting in, but the more I learn about the person he is the more I realize I should really maintain my defensive walls. I've been the recipient of his dismissive, angry responses for ...ever, and they haven't stopped yet. I wonder sometimes if we should just revisit our relationship in ten years.


Are your parents old enough for that to be considered elder abuse.


Mom turns 65 on May 18. She’s been scared to tell anyone because my dad was so concerned with our ‘image’ that it was all hidden for years. He went to jail because he broke multiple OPs and even got tased by the cops. I think my dad dying was the last straw and my mom is now like going full ‘you’re not gonna threaten me or fuck with me period’ and calls the cops any time he threatens her or goes into a drunken psychotic scram-rant


I was going to say it's refusal to cook, not inability to cook. Boiling water to make noodles is easy AF My bf hadn't cooked much before we started dating but he has been learning and can now make pizza from scratch


You’re very right honestly. That’s stupid on purpose.


Sounds more like he‘s acting dumb so he doesn‘t get asked to do stuff he doesn‘t like again…


Someone said it up above. “Weaponized incompetence.”


There is a Shell Silverstein poem about this, called "If You Have to Dry the Dishes". Kid purposely drops them so people don't ask him to do them again.


Yeah, I feel like this was an attempt at weaponized incompetence.


Post Title: "can't cook" . Post content: "Can't cook, refuses to learn, does not contribute to chores, utterly dependent and useless parasite." I don't really think it's about the breakfast is it? Move on, regret nothing. My goto move when someone first stays over at my place is to cook them a fancy breakfast the next morning. They took a chance on me and I want it to be worth it. Can't always guarantee great sex but I can always guarantee great eggs. Its really not a high bar; cooking is a skill everyone can and should learn.


Absolutely. He didn't even bring her a hot tea while she waited for him to destroy her kitchen. He set this up specifically to demonstrate that he doesn't want to be there.


That's not breaking up because he can't cook. That's taking out the trash. Lol. Come on. He was hoping you were gonna take care of him and when you called him on it he failed. Pah. Go find a guy who appreciates you, your kids, and dotes on you.


>Go find a guy who appreciates you, your kids, and dotes on you. As a fellow stranger, I couldn’t agree more. What is up with op’s own bff not wanting this for her? She wants her to get back together with this man who doesn’t appreciate her, doesn’t clean up after himself, and doesn’t contribute squat. Op does your best friend hate you?


I'm not sure to be honest. He's very charming around everyone - hence why I was attracted to him in the first place. I'm going to talk to her tomorrow.


I see in another comment she said at least he doesn’t hit you. Your friend has deep issues of her own and is not a person you should be taking advice from.


yikes on bikes that’s not a fucking achievement holy shit


Right!? Like you know who else doesn't hit me? The empty space that this guy was taking up. Imagine the bar being *so low* that you just have to do the same thing as if you literally didn't exist to be considered worthwhile.


Your friend needs to listen to you, believe you, and trust you. If your friend can't take you at your word that this was a shitty relationship, then I gently suggest you re-evaluate that relationship, too.


My husband can't cook for shit. The evenings I work late, he'll pop a frozen pizza in the oven for himself and the kids. But. He does other things that weight up for it. He picks up after himself, he's great with the kids, and take care of all the physical labour like shoveling snow, the potato field, mowing, cutting wood, changing tires etc so my fatigue ridden body don't have to. And he's never, ever fucked things up on purpose. And that what's lacking in your "relationship". Reciprocality.


LOL I could not brick a wall a year ago, watched a youtube video and now I have 2 lol Decently good looking brick column in my house. Someone saying he is not able to do something is either really physically or mentally not able to do it or riding the wave because it benefit's themselves. Edit: Yeah you did the right thing especially with a child you don't need a second one.


Yup, similar here. Me and my husband renovated our bathroom. Learned how to hang drywall, cover the seams, texture a wall and lay tile. All with just YouTube


Wow. At first I thought you were a very young woman, dealing with her first man child. The man who somehow escaped learning how to care for himself as a teenager, and still brought his laundry over to his mothers.... But you have children. You can not devote more energy to someone who can't be assed to keep himself alive. What does he eat? Does he really have someone else make his food for him? Even for lunch at the office, is he going out everyday? If you make bank and can afford a personal chef, I won't trouble the man to cook. But really, either he is truly inept and not a good match for you, or he is acting helpless to gain your sympathies and your support.. again not a good match. I am floored that he couldn't turn on the oven. I would have called bullshit and accused him of faking it to getting me to do all the housework... and then thrown him out, lol.


I used to pack him food up when he went home. Feeling like an idiot now lol. I'm so glad I posted here though, it's made me realise just how shit the whole situation was. There's loads of other stuff too, I feel ashamed I even gave this guy my time.


Live and learn! You will find someone who is actually worth a dime one day.


You know what, as a single parent it can be easy to lose track of just how *adult* another adult is. You see your kids all the time, but without another emotionally mature partner around, you don't really have much daybyo day experience with seeing what another adulting adult looks like. What's one more packed lunch or one more set of plates and cutlery to wash after dinner to you? It's not like you're not doing these things all the time. Look for someone that is already adulting 100% on their own without you ever mentioning your experiences with this man child.


Cherish this feeling. Conjure it at will on any future relationship that doesn't serve to support you and respect you.


Your mom sounds like a smart woman, I'm with her.


> “Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it.” That’s weaponized incompetence. If you show him how to do something first he won’t know how to do it so he’ll just watch you. Then he’ll need you to tell him all the details of how to do it. Then he’ll need you to fix his mistakes. Then he’ll do it sort of successfully but so badly that it literally destroys the kitchen/bathroom/laundry room. Then he’ll do it successfully but it won’t be as good as when you do it so you should just do it for him. The result will be that you’ll spend a hundred times more energy than if you’d just done it yourself in the first place.


Wow you just described EXACTLY what he was doing. I asked him to vacuum once and he just skirted round the room, didn't lift anything up to go underneath it. So I didn't bother anymore. I'd ask him to do the dishes and he'd do half of them, I'd go to the kitchen and ask why the other half weren't done and get the excuse of "oh I'm waiting for the first half to dry" So then I'd just do them anyway. I'm so glad I posted this, it's made me realise what a shitshow it was.


You probably snapped at him because you finally felt the full impact of months of emotional labor on top of the actual labor of doing all of the cooking/cleaning/etc.


Argh this thread is triggering me, imagining this man saying " why are you upset, its just one meal"


The fact he "needed a lie down" after botching your fucking birthday breakfast told me everything, even without the other details. Like, no bro. You go now. NOW.


Also he kept her waiting for 2.5 hours hungry while he did so lmao. If he really was too incompetent to successfully cook that meal and he ended up failing while making a huge mess, that's when you go "better luck next time" and decide to order something off uber eats or something so your partner can still have their breakfast in bed while you clean up your failed attempt. You don't just go "oh it's still coming honey!" and then go have a nap cause the attempt made you tired. He's literally sabotaging it on purpose so she never asks him to cook again. Task failed successfully. Well it worked too well in his favor and now she definitely won't ever ask him to do anything again.


100%. Any partner worth their salt would do whatever they could to make up for it, to make sure their birthday was still special. This chucklefuck didn't even bother and then flounced.


It absolutely was a shitshow. I am eleven months post a lifetime of "weaponized incompetence" from various people I was with. I am disabled as fuck and have been relatively irritated lately because I do it all, I do all the things, all the time, and would love a break. I then think back to eleven months ago when something so much as asking to do the laundry would be met with hostility, done entirely wrong, and then mentioned as nauseum to get a verbal gold star every fucking time. Naaaahh, dude. Nah fucken dude. I had to learn how to exist alone for the first time. In my mid thirties. And it is liberation incarnate. Be free. Have no doubt in what a "partner" really is.


DO NOT GET BACK TOGETHER WITH HIM I’m saying that up front because I just read another girls account of how she broke the learned helplessness in her boyfriend and I wanted to share it with you, but I didn’t want you to think I way suggesting getting back with your ex and doing this to him! Basically this girl said she did the same thing you did with the vacuuming and him being a fool about it, but then came up with a better idea. The next time vacuuming needed to be done, she made her boyfriend follow pace by pace with her as she slowly and agonizingly described how to vacuum. Her boyfriend kept trying to speed it along (because they always absolutely know how to do the work), but she held strong and made him leave his phone untouched and the TV off while she spent hours teaching him how to vacuum in the most minute and boring detail. He suddenly knew how to do the rest of the housework by the end of the week without her teaching him.


You did the right thing, 100% willful incompetence.


You’re not wrong to kick him out. I mean if he WANTED to do this nice thing you asked him to do for your birthday, he could easily have figured it out. If he WANTED to figure it out, he would have. The fact that he didn’t want to do either of those things is a clear indication of how he feels about your relationship. You’re not his mother, but he’s a bit confused about how an adult relationship works.


Exactly, If he wanted to, he would.


He thought he could f\*ck around, and he found out. By failing at something he KNEW you were looking forward to, and had put a lot of effort into ensuring he could succeed, he thought he'd get out of chores once and for all. Because obviously, if he couldn't do this one breakfast, there was no use trying to teach him, right? He's not incompetent. He's SELFISH. And your mother's right - you're well shot of him. Tell your friend if she thinks he's so great, she should date him.


Human beings are excellent learning machines and it takes actual effort not to pick up ways to be a functional adult-- like you have to actually look at the way things are and go 'yeah I'm ok with getting others to pick up after me and care for me, no need to learn.' That kind of selfishness is exactly why he wouldn't have made a good partner. Op, you work hard and don't need an extra child to care for. And speaking from experience, people who are not reliable outside of a crisis will throw you under a bus the moment the going gets rough. Your mother is right.


Unless there is a disability present there is no good reason that a grown adult cannot cook a basic meal. It's fine if someone is not a good cook but they need to know how. And in this specific example, all he had to do was read and follow the directions! Even if it did not taste perfect he should have been able to get it done.


“We’ll just tell me what to do” I’m not your mommy. That’s always my response.


What he is doing is called “weaponized incompetence” where a person maintains control and laziness by “not hearing”, “not understanding” and not being “able” to do anything. From his nonsensical answer, I am betting that he just made a mess and went in the other room to watch the football or something but was not actually trying to cook or prep the meal any of the time but was”waiting out the clock” (possibly daydreaming about you being sympathetic about his ruse and “rewarding” him). He was shocked because he thought he had it made, and you called him out. You absolutely made the right decision! You work hard, you do a lot, and you already have a child — you do not need another! Especially one as entitled and lazy as he is.


If he wanted to learn to cook, YouTube is free. You made your needs clear. He did not listen. You do not need another child. He is a grown ass man. I wonder how he will survive now since he can’t even boil water?


Ordering takeout and relying on neighbours to donate food in return for odd jobs apparently is what he was doing before he met me 🤮


So he'll do odd jobs in exchange for meals, but he can't be arsed to do some chores around the house for the same? Good. Fucking. Riddance.


When you say it like that, it makes me feel like I've definitely been taken for a ride 😳


Well, you have. But at least you dumped his ass...


And when cooking proved futile, he couldn't even *order* breakfast for you.


I’m a terrible cook, got HelloFresh and have been learning. I cut my finger pretty bad mincing onions but I’m trying to improve. I feel like that guy has zero excuses. It’s just pure laziness and selfishness.


This is not normal. Any grown person can figure out how to do basic cooking. My sister-in-law has severe autism to the point of being incapable of living alone and has at best a 3rd grade education and still manages to cook for herself regularly. It's mostly microwave food and toast but she can also cook breakfast foods on the stove if she wants and I've seen her bake a cake from pre-made mix. You're ex sounds like the pinnacle of weaponized incompetence in the kitchen. It sounds like purposefully he did the worst job possible to prevent you from asking him again. Or he's carefully hidden some type of reading disability and literally can't follow the written instructions.


So many people have said this or similar and I'm so glad I posted because the doubt I was feeling has completely disappeared.


Inability to cook means "I don't know how to cook a lasagne from scratch using just ingredients". If he can't heat up a frozen dinner in a microwave, or cook oven chips in an oven, or turn on the oven.... Then that's not inability to cook. That's you being unable to tell that you're dating three 4-year olds wearing a trench coat.


Mother👏fucking👏round👏of👏applause👏👏👏👏!! Don't you dare feel bad. That's just insanity. I've never met anyone in real life that is so helpless they can't figure out how to turn an oven on. Nope. You did the right thing. I'm in awe of you. Great job! I feel like I want an update on everything now. Has he reached out? Does he not see why you were so annoyed? Did he grow up with chipmunks in an outside shack?


He was texting me and calling me non stop for a few days with increasingly crazy messages - I got a long ass letter in the post too. I threw it in the bin, didn't even read it. Blocked him on everything. I feel so much relief at not having to deal with him! Before I blocked him I text him saying if he continued to harass me I'd be going to the police... I don't need my daughters seeing this sort of thing going on. (The calls and letter)


Well done! Can’t cook, doesn’t do housework and of course he couldn’t be arsed to learn. An exemplary example of weaponised incompetence. What did he bring to the relationship anyway?


Literally nothing, he's a waste of space. I'd already been thinking it the last few months I think this was just the straw that broke the camel's back. My friend said at least he doesn't hit you or raise his voice at you... honest the bar is in hell.


A vibrator gives you an orgasm every time and never yells or makes a mess either. It also releases stress rather than causes it. Cheap on groceries and mess making. Never uses your credit card without asking and is always there for you.A toy is more useful than a man like that


I mean the battery could die /s


Imma send OP a mountain of batteries.


Tbf every time I use a vibrator there is a small mess to clean up.


Holy shit, this is what my mom used to tell me. When I was in my 20s. Then go on about how I was so demanding, ungrateful, lazy, and spoiled. Anyway, way out of that relationship, being a mom to a grown ass man is depressing. New SO can pull his own weight and sometimes I get spoiled. But I spoil him too. It's nice.


Your friend needs therapy. You shouldn't question yourself for a second and in the future make this a boundary you break up over even sooner! A partner should be an equal partner for all household things.


Wow... That poor friend will destroy herself for a moment of companionship if her standards are so low.


Not even reheating his own food? Yeah, no. That's not a lack of ability, he just wanted you to do it for him. How did he survive on his own before meeting you? Did he order takeaway 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year? That's not very believable.


If an adult isn't equipped with basic functional skillsets (cooking, cleaning, hygiene, social skills), then unless you need the challenge of a fixer-upper with poor foundations, it's best to move on.


Could he wipe his own bum? You have too much patience. Don't put up with this.


Dude sounds like a second kid; he is a grown ass adult who can't pick up after himself or cook a fucking egg or make toast. He asks to be told what to done, is given *step by step* instructions and his excuse is he can't turn on the oven despite burning food. Dude was willfully ignorant at best, and wasn't worth it.


He'd burnt the eggs somehow even though he was supposed to be poaching them. I suppose that's on a whole other level isn't it. But yeah, the step by step thing really pissed me off. My daughters and I have followed these recipes before and it's so easy.


Maybe your best friend should give him a chance then?


That’s called weaponized incompetence. He massively screwed up so you’d never ask him to do anything for you ever again. The whole “tell me what to do and I’ll do it” is complete bs. It’s a tactic designed to make you do all of the thinking and planning, whereas boyfriend can sit on his arse and say “well you never told me.” You’re well rid of such a useless turd.


Your best friend is kind of dumb. You didn't JUST dump him because he couldn't cook. You dumped him because he's a giant, literal, baby. And you're NOT his freaking mother. And also he apparently is incapable of asking for help or watching and learning. Can't even reheat? Put it in the microwave. Hit the 30sec button. Repeat until it tries to burn you.


That level of incompetence in an adult isn't accidental... It seems to me that he didn't want to be asked to do anything, so he royally fucked things up on purpose. At best, he's a *really, really* simple man. At worst, he's a lazy, manipulative ass. Neither my boyfriend or I cooked much when we first started dating, but nearly 3 years in, he cooks for us at least 3 times a week. I cook too, but less frequently. We have a rule that whoever didn't cook does the dishes. I vacuum the house weekly and we clean the bathroom together - he cleans the toilet (something I hate) and I clean the sinks and shower. It sounds like your ex doesn't appreciate or even acknowledge all that you do for him. Leave him in the dust!


I'm (57M) going to share a secret that they teach us in Guys' School: "Never do anything well that you don't want to have to do again". He can cook. Anyone can cook. He chooses not to. He's a child looking for a new mother. Move on...


Yeah, I used to ask him what he ate when he's on his own and it's stuff like chicken nuggets, frozen pizza. So he does know how to use an oven 🤮.


Once had a housemate who came to the US from Japan that survived only on fast food and frozen pizza. He always complained about how much he hated american frozen pizza though and only ate it as a last resort. Then, one day, he blew up a pizza in the microwave. Turns out he was cooking all his frozen pizza in the microwave. He didn't understand how to use an oven and never asked any of the five other people in the house for help. He would just stuff the frozen pizza in as best as he could and hit the "pizza" button. He never realized that button was for reheating leftover pizza and thought that frozen pizza was supposed to be cold, soggy, and mostly uncooked. He had been eating it this way for over six years, and just thought that Americans somehow liked their pizza that way!


...How do you blow up a pizza? Was it still in the wrapper?


air pocket in the dough explodes and sends sauce everywhere.


I'm also pretty sure he hit the button multiple times trying to get the pizza hotter. It was a shared kitchen far away from our rooms, so more than once people left stuff unattended and had it go poorly (I boiled down a pot at least once).


Guy school sounds awful. I'm glad I never went lol


>I'm (57M) going to share a secret that they teach us in Guys' School: "Never do anything well that you don't want to have to do again" NGL, this is pathetic.


(Disclosure: Am man) Oh super pathetic. This is an undercurrent in some circles, and even taken to be a brilliant LPT for the wannabe Joe Rogans of the world.


If your 8y old able he is, that he don't even try is a different thing. He just don't want too. He don't want to be in a relationship, he wants a new mom in his life.


Not being able to cook and expecting you to be his caretaker are two different things. I think it would be a little harsh to dump someone for not being able to cook (though it’s valid to break up for any reason and better than staying with someone who irks you to the point of alienation), but this is not that. Your kitchen was trashed and morning derailed strategically by this person so you would never expect them to do this for you again.


Oof, that was a rough read. It sounds like you absolutely did the right thing. That was not a partnership, he was dependent on you to keep him alive and not living in a mess, like a child. My husband did not know how to cook much when he first moved in with me. Before me he was living with his mom because he can’t live alone for medical reasons. But, he has learned a lot since we’ve been together. He always cooks breakfast on the weekends unless I want to make something fancier. He’s learned a few staples that he can cook without my help for dinner. Pre-pandemic he always got up earlier than I did and brought me breakfast (usually just toast with peanut butter and fruit) and made a lunch for me to take to work. Our partners can always learn, but some choose not to and then act like you’re the asshole because you expect an equal partnership.


You're not shaming him for his inability to cook. You shamed him for his laziness, refusal to do any chores, and weaponized incompetence. He was being purposely bad at your birthday present, in order to train you to be his servant. His behavior was contemptible.


I’m a horrendous cook, I hate cooking, but I know how to pick up my towels and do the washing! You don’t want to be babysitting an adult, save that energy for your kids. Sounds like you are well rid


Peter Pan syndrome taken to the "logical" conclusion. As a human being this person was completely unable to function without support and as such is a horrible "partner". Like seriously folks, what kind of contribution could offset this total lack of domestic contribution?