Houses can have sentimental value for previous owners, but some of the point of selling a house is to leave old memories behind and to make new memories. When you’ve sold the house, you’ve given it to someone else to make their memories in, and intruding upon that space is not welcome.
Redditor that-sad-dad, after buying a new house with his wife, found that the previous owners were somewhat unwilling to relinquish their sentimental value over the house, with one of the women taking to driving by the house and staring at it.
Torn about what to do, he went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for feedback on future actions from objective strangers.
“WIBTA [Would I Be The A**hole] If I Confronted Woman Who Keeps Staring At My Daughter’s Room?”
Our original poster, or OP, and his fiancee just purchased a new house.
“My fiancee [38f[emale]] and I [37m[ale]] bought a new house at the beginning of the year.”
“There was some work to be done before we could move in but we’ve been here for about a month now with our daughter [10f].
“When we were in the process of buying the house we met the previous homeowners, a pair of sisters who appeared to be middle aged or thereabouts.”
“Their mother had previously lived in the house until she had passed away, although she had passed in hospital and not actually in the house itself.”
OP noticed one of the sisters had a very specific and somewhat invasive grieving process.
“While we were working on the house, I noticed that one of the sisters had a habit of driving past on an almost daily basis. Sometimes she’d sit outside in her car and watch us work.”
“I suppose my fiancee and I hoped that this would stop, but the woman still drives past multiple times a week at around midday and parks across the road to stare at the house.”
“My daughter’s bedroom is at the front of the house and we’re fairly certain that from where she is parked she can see in.”
“While I know that she is grieving her mother and likely does not have any sinister intentions, this behaviour is making us uncomfortable.”
OP is conflicted about how to act.
“I know that the house has sentimental value to her and that this may be a part of her grieving process and she isn’t really doing any harm.”
“But my fiancee is refusing to open the curtain of the kitchen window and worries that she is becoming paranoid that whenever she looks out of the window she’ll see her.”
“I know technically she’s parked in front of the neighbour’s house across the road so I don’t know what power I’d have to move her.”
“WIBTA if I confronted her and asked her to stop?”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors think that OP is well within his rights to ask this woman to stop.
“If you haven’t had any threatening vibes from her other than the sitting and staring I agree with everyone. She’s just mourning and hasn’t realized you are noticing and feeling uncomfortable.”
“I probably would offer to give her a tour of the changes. We did once for an adult daughter of the previous owner.”
“She was sad to see changes but also very happy that we were breathing new life into it as it had been let go somewhat.”
“She liked that a young family was getting to experience the house again. She said it gave her closure and we never saw her again. Just a thought.”
“Oh and if you do approach her with one of the many suggestions be prepared she might be embarrassed as it could have felt private to her (people think of cars as private even with all that glass lol) or over emotional aka burst into tears at any kindness you show her.”
“If she lashes at you in anger it could be from.either of those reasons but that’s when you step back, don’t engage and start documenting.”-ikidYYOUnott
“My ex’s neighbor grew up in what is now my ex’s house. Sometimes Dan tends to forget it isn’t his house anymore.”
“Yes, definitely talk to her, but be kind. And if she persists, you may need to be a bit more forceful. Needless to say, NTA.”-Alecto53558
“Grief is a very selfish thing, as it’s bound to be. Take it from someone who has seen their fair share, a lot of the times we are oblivious to much outside of our pain.”
“When I lost my mom and baby brother less than 5 months apart (and my MIL 2 months before those 2) there are chunks of time that I don’t even remember, my grief was so all consuming.”
“The odds that she’s unaware that you’re even noticing her are pretty high. I saw another comment suggest offering her a piece from the house, like an old doorknob or panel from the wall.”
“As renovations sound complete another commentor suggested offering a plant from the yard. Both are wonderful suggestions that make room for her feelings right now. Good luck.”-Dewhickey76
“NTA Ask her politely to stop staring as your family is feeling intimidated and harassed and if the polite angle doesn’t work go the legal route.”
“You have every right to feel safe in your own home. Sounds like one of the sisters has sellers regrets.”-G8RTOAD
However, most Redditors are urging kindness and caution, as she is likely dealing with an extraordinary amount of grief.
“NAH, but maybe the word ‘confront’ is too strong. It would be fine to talk to her about this.”
“I’m not going to call her an AH because it almost certainly is just grief and not a desire to see inside your daughter’s bedroom. It does need to stop, though.”-WebbieVanderquack
“Okay so… I grew up in the same house my mother grew up in. My mother lived with my grandmother and raised my sister and I.”
“Even as an adult I would bring my children to visit and stay while my husband deployed.”
“That house had been a part of our family for 50+ years. My grandmother passed in January and they immediately had to sell the house.”
“I absolutely 100% understand the sentiment behind it all, because we are literally in the exact situation as you, just roles reversed.”
“THAT BEING SAID… I’m going to go with NAH. As difficult as it is for the family, they’ve reached a point in time where it’s time to let go. The home is yours now.”
“It truly is heartbreaking because I feel all of this on such a personal level.”
“My uncle had even mentioned he wants to drive by the ‘old house’ every so often, but my thoughts are that would be inappropriate and might make the current owners uncomfortable.”
“It is your home now, and I don’t think you’d be out of line to let them know their behavior is making you uncomfortable.”
“It definitely won’t be an easy conversation to have, but especially for your daughters sake, she is still so young and deserves to feel safe in her new home with out someone sitting outside watching.”-Snr-88
“If it continues, go with compassion first. Ask how she’s doing, if she has someone to talk to, that sort of thing.”
“If it continues after that, suggest she visit her mother’s grave instead, or let her know she’s scaring your little girl.”
“Think about visually changing the front of your house, a drastically different paint color, plant a hedge or remove one.”
“Put up a bright window cling on your daughter’s room, or decorate it so that it’s clearly for a small child. NTA, of course, but dealing with it will take some extraordinary kindness.”-Zhoenish
“NAH especially since you don’t suspect any malicious intent.”
“You don’t need to confront her but talking to her would not just be appropriate it would also be very kind if coming from a place of empathy.”-EmpressJainaSolo
And many people gave the NAH judgement, as she is clearly going through something.
“NAH Just approaching her and asking if you can help her, telling her you’ve noticed her watching the house daily & letting her know it makes you nervous should do the trick.”
“I give it NAH bc you know she’s grieving. If she keeps it up, there’s nothing wrong with calling the police to ask her to move along.”-pineboxwaiting
“NAH. She’s obviously processing a thing. A place you lived can be a strong memory tie.”
“I personally would leave her alone about it unless she engages in some further behaviors that change the situation. If you must, there’s nothing wrong with talking to he about it.”-LadyCass79
“NTA. I had to tell my significant other to stop when he was doing the same thing. His dad died and his mom sold their house.”
“He would occasionally drive by and look at the changes being made, etc.”
“I told him it was creepy and he may be making the new family uncomfortable since he has personalized license plates and they know it’s him.”
“He thought I was being overly paranoid but it would creep me out, if I were them.”-midner1116
“NTA. As much as I empathize with her grieving, continuing to do this 5 months (almost 6) into the house being yours has become extremely inappropriate.”
“If you feel like you’re able to talk with her, I’d start there and let her know that her behavior is making you uncomfortable (especially given the location of your daughter’s room).”
“If it continues after that, I would probably call the police and see if someone can ask her nicely to move along.”
“Hard to say what they would do since she’s not technically breaking the law by being parked there, but given the situation I’d at least ask.”-drowsygrimalkin
OP has a lifetime of new memories ahead in this house, even though this woman has a lifetime of memories behind her.
Hopefully they are able to come to an understanding through compassion.