Woman's Boyfriend Says She's Selfish Because She Won't 'Just Try' To Meal Prep For Him During Her Chemo—She Wonders If She's In The Wrong

He says his "love language" is "acts of service," but is that really her problem?

Annoyed man and sick woman  Icons8, baseimage via Canva, MR.Yanukit / Shutterstock

The idea of "love languages" is a hot topic nowadays, but one woman on Reddit's boyfriend might be taking the concept a bit too far. 

As she shared in a post to the "r/AmITheA--hole" subReddit, her boyfriend has become very upset that she's unable to hold up her usual "acts of service" now that she's fighting a serious illness.

A woman's boyfriend is upset that she can't do his meal prep for him because she has cancer.

He could, of course, do it himself. But to him, it goes far deeper than that, and her refusal to continue doing his meal prep for him while being treated for cancer has made their relationship "one-sided."


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The woman's chemotherapy treatments leave her without much energy for household tasks.

"Treatments are very taxing on my body," she writes, "mostly nausea and extreme fatigue among other side effects." And her treatment regimen for the rare cancer she has, synovial sarcoma, is aggressive—she spends "8 hours in the cancer center, 5 days a week, every three weeks" taking the chemotherapy drug ifosfamide.


That didn't stop her boyfriend from expecting business as usual around the house, however.

"My boyfriend asked me the night before my next chemo cycle if I would meal prep his meals for him," she writes. She wanted to say no for obvious reasons, but she writes that her boyfriend is "very sensitive and starts arguments often." So she told him, "it would depend on how I feel."

But he "wasn't taking no for an answer," pressing and cajoling her to at least "just try" to prep his meals for him. She writes that she "started to become agitated," because she wants "to feel coddled and taken care of during this time in my life, not pushed to do chores." Which is a pretty reasonable way to feel, to say the least.

Meal-prepping, of course, involves pre-making several days' worth of food ahead of time, which is a lot to ask of anyone, let alone someone going through chemotherapy. "It’s not as if he was asking for a single meal," she writes, "he wanted his entire week’s worth of food made by me after being in the hospital for 10 hours."


Still, he wouldn't take no for an answer.

The woman's boyfriend 'blew up' at her for not respecting his 'love language' of 'acts of service.'

She already does plenty for her boyfriend, aside from meal-prepping. "Whenever he is at my place I offer any food I have on hand, will cook meals...I rub and massage him when we are on the couch, ask about himself and his life," she writes, adding, "in other words, it’s not like our entire lives are about me and my sickness."

And her boyfriend has plenty of time to do his own meal prep besides. "He works early mornings and gets out in the early afternoon. It’s not as if he is so busy he cannot do this himself," she writes. But she thinks he "still wants to be taken care of as well."

They ended up getting into a huge fight in which he accused her of making their relationship "one-sided" by not giving him what he needs according to his "acts of service" love language. But despite that being his love language, "he doesn’t even do that much for me. He takes out my trash when I ask him to and gives me massages when my body hurts."


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Experts say people frequently use the concept of 'the five love languages' to manipulate their partners.

If this poor woman's boyfriend seems wildly red-flaggy to you, you're not alone. The "love languages" concept comes from the book "The Five Love Languages" by Dr. Gary Chapman, and posits that each person gives and feels love in one of five ways—gifts, quality time, touch, acts of service, and words of affirmation.

It's a helpful way to understand your own and your partner's needs and can be a great communication tool for couples. But it has also proven very controversial among many in the mental health field.

As the therapist in the video below details, Chapman's doctorate is in theology, rather than a science like psychology, and he has some... well, pretty concerning fundamentalist Christian ideas about marriage and gender roles, to put it lightly. He's also a virulent homophobe.


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All that aside, mental health professionals also dislike the idea of love languages because they are frequently used to abusive ends, especially by narcissists. Because, as psychologist Kerry McAvoy details in the TikTok below, the "five love languages" concept is a perfect tool to manipulate a partner.



Writing in Psychology Today, Dr. Erin Leonard also warns that "a partner...without empathy and accountability... frequently operates selfishly and manipulates a partner. Instead of using a love language to enhance the relationship, he or she may use a love language for exploitation." Sound familiar?


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People on Reddit were downright disturbed by the woman's boyfriend's insistence she do chores for him during chemo.

And many of them thought there was only one real answer here—get away from him and fast. "Girl, run," one Redditor wrote. "You have cancer and all he can think about is himself." Another user agreed wholeheartedly. "Your boyfriend can suck it up," they wrote. "Guilt trips aren't cool on a normal day, and especially aren't cool under these circumstances. He needs to grow up QUICK."

Another Reddit user perfectly summed up the situation by asking the obvious—"If 'acts of service' is his love language, what services is he doing for you?"


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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.