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Redditor Berated For Not Telling Fiancée About The ‘Secret Room’ In Their Apartment

Woman peeking into secret room
Tim Robberts/Getty Images

We’ve all been in a situation where we really wanted to surprise someone we love with something we think will really excite them.

Unfortunately, some of us have also experienced those surprises completely flopping, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit, but usually not because we creeped our loved one out.

While renovating their apartment into a space they would love, Redditor SecretRoom-AITA decided to fulfill one of their childhood fantasies.

But when they finally shared that fantasy with their future wife, the Original Poster (OP) was shocked at how she received the surprise.

They asked the sub:

“AITA for not telling my fiancée about a secret room in our apartment?”

The OP purchased and fully renovated an apartment they were proud of.

“I recognize the title sounds a little ridiculous. The situation is less so.”

“I was very fortunate to be in a position to buy an apartment straight out of college. It’s a weird unit on a high floor of a weird building, but I’ve gut-renovated it and made it really nice.”

“One aspect of my home was created just to fulfill a childhood fantasy.”

“A secret room! It’s simple: a flush-mount bookcase put in the doorway. It leads to what would otherwise be a windowless, very large closet, or otherwise a very small room.”

“I made it into a cute secret lair or reading nook, but with no windows.”

“But it never got used. It ended up being more long-term storage.”

“I never told anyone about it… because it was a secret room!”

The OP didn’t even tell their girlfriend, Emma.

“I kind of figured at one point I’d tell my girlfriend, Emma, but I didn’t want to tell her until I had a reason to. (I had finished it shortly before meeting her.)”

“I figured maybe one day if we had a kid, I could remove the bookcase, and bam, we’d have plenty of space to put in a changing table setup or a craft nook for her.”

“But I largely forgot about it, except when I needed to pull something out from back there… which is rare.”

Then the OP’s now-fiancée, Emma, moved into the apartment, too.

“Fast forward to yesterday. Emma, now my fiancée, has been living with me in my (now our!) apartment for eight months.”

“During this time, I’ve kept the secret room… a secret.”

“It’s not like I was thinking about it all the time. I only consciously did something sneaky maybe three times since she’s moved in: to get Christmas lights, a spare coffee maker, and to put away a novelty item she probably thought I threw out.”

“And the reason I was sneaky at those times was that, again, I didn’t want to waste the surprise on Christmas lights!”

The OP decided to surprise Emma while talking about working from home.

“We’ve both been working from home lately, and we aren’t really able to leave very often, due to the pandemic.”

“Yesterday, she jokingly announced we needed a new room to shake things up from her normal commute (from Bedroom to Living Room.)”

“So of course, I excitedly pulled open our ‘built-in’ bookshelf and showed her our room!”

Emma did not respond in the way the OP expected.

“…And she flipped out.”

“She is furious at me. She sees my keeping this secret as a major betrayal of trust, given that this is her home.”

“She’s acting like I cheated on her.”

“I tried to explain that I was waiting for a special moment, but… she thinks that makes it worse.”

“I have no idea if she’s being unreasonable or if I am.”

“AITA?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some agreed with the OP that it sounded like a fun surprise.

“It was supposed to be a fun thing for them to share together, and he was waiting for the opportunity to surprise her and make her smile. It’s not like he was hiding it for some nefarious purpose, or this was an important area of their home he was denying her access to.”

“She’s basically screaming at him over a closet with a cool entrance. NTA.” – vallyallyum

“Seriously. It’s not like they’ve been dating for YEARS. Literally, a third of the relationship was during quarantine. You don’t tell any new partner everything in the first few months.”

“My husband is still learning about me and we’ve been together for 16 years. This is ridiculous.” – killrkiwikakes

“Mate. It’s not a ‘f**ked up’ secret to keep. Having a child she didn’t know about, a shady criminal past, being a heroin addict, sure, those are some f**ked up secrets. But a small windowless large closet space is so benign, I’ve no idea what anyone would get mad over.”

“I’d have thought it was cool. Weird, over-the-top reaction on her part. NTA.” – Teapur

“NAH. I think a different kind of person would have found your reveal surprising and hilarious as well. You were saving the big reveal for a moment you thought worthy. Some people would have appreciated the mystery.”

“And some people hate surprises. And your girlfriend clearly saw this as a lie you’ve been keeping from her. I think your best course of action is to be very conciliatory, explain that you see you went wrong, and explain that you were excited for the right moment to reveal it to her, like magic.”

“You understand where she is coming from, and you hope she can understand where you were coming from.” – compassionfever

“NAH. A secret room is everyone’s childhood fantasy, so that is amazing.”

“From her perspective, it does come across as a bit weird and potentially creepy that there was a whole other room that she didn’t know about.”

“And it’s not like it was just some cupboard she walked past every day and didn’t look at, it was a whole different room purposely hidden (not from her specifically but still).”

“Potentially, she is worried about why you would need a secret room, what you do in there, and what other secrets you have.”

“You need to communicate with her. She probably needs some reassurance that you aren’t a creep or weirdo and that it’s just a fun little thing you built.” – Specialfrancine

But others could understand why the girlfriend might be concerned.

“There’s something the guys say on ‘Last Podcast on the Left: ‘If there is a secret room you’re not allowed in, in your own house, there’s probably a body in there.'”

“While that clearly isn’t the situation here, you know how scary is it for someone to reveal in your own home that there is a huge secret room that’s been just… there… without your knowledge? You have no idea what’s in there or what he’s been hiding in there. Your mind can run amok with anxiety thinking about that.”

“I don’t know why OP thought keeping it a secret was a good idea unless he’s just not thinking about how she would feel.” – charliexbones

“Who knows what he could be storing in there, either by his own volition or as a favor to a friend (like, in a theoretical situation).”

“She at least should know this to practice her reaction if the police come knocking. Because it’s not gonna fly if she’s only able to say, ‘Oh yeah, I had no idea that those bags with the suspicious white substance were stored in the apartment where I live with my fiance. Nope, no idea at all.'”

“Like, I get that trust is very important, and that we need to trust our partners implicitly (ideally!), but the reality is quite different.” – bottomofabyss

“In lots of other posts I’ve read, people say that some lie of omission implies they MUST be lying about other things. Not that I necessarily agree or not, but there might be some of that thinking here.”

“Personally, I think this is pretty s**tty. I live in a small apartment, thankfully with a big closet, and if that closet were hidden from me for eight months or before signing the lease, I’d be pretty p**sed. I use that room for a lot of stuff. One extra small room can make a world of difference in a small apartment/condo.”

“If she’s living in the apartment, she has a right to know about it. Moving in with a partner should, in some ways, be treated the same as signing in a new lease; she should at least know everything there is to know about the apartment.”

“Equating it to cheating is too much, but if I were her I’d be pretty upset or disappointed that I didn’t know about the extra room, which sounds like it’s not being very well utilized, that I could have been using. And, it’s easy for negative feelings like that to slip into anger.” – wholeWheatButterfly

“She didn’t know it was there, or whether anyone was inside it, or what might have been going on in there. In this case, we have the story laid out in front of us and we trust that OP seems like a reasonable guy, and probably nothing nefarious was going on. But to act as though she should have just been charmed and delighted is to reduce her agency to that of a child.”

“Realistically, any grown adult who found a secret room in their place would be a bit chilled at first, until they made sure there weren’t other entrances or signs of activity. There are all kinds of situations in which that knowledge could be pretty important, and because you’re not thinking about her safety and feelings of security, you write them off.”

“It’s a reasonable expectation to be told about the full layout of the place you’re living, and it’s pretty depressing that this needs to be said.” – sinenox

“Creeps are sometimes very good at hiding their creepiness. Especially from the perspective of a woman, I am quite paranoid about spying, hidden attackers, etc., at times. Just because your partner says it’s for storage, doesn’t mean it’s easy to accept their explanation.”

“She may get over this, but I think it would go a long way for him to hear her out. Our fears are valid and often from real trauma. It’s about feeling safe in our own home, and having your partner hide a secret room for eight months can really put a dent in how safe you feel.”

“H**l, I would feel a dent in my sense of security if I discovered a secret room no one knew about.” – sillyfacex3

“It’s not always the subject of the deception that makes it erode the trust in a relationship. This is the kind of thing that could make your mind wander.”

“What’s he really been using this room for? Why’s he really been hiding it from me? Was he ever actually planning to tell me? When? If he managed to hide a whole room for eight months in a small apartment that we’ve made a home in, what else is he capable of hiding?”

“Yes, it’s just a room, but in a way, things she trusted without question have now been shown to be not quite as reliable as she thought. Her reaction isn’t about the room, it’s about the perceived deceit and the idea that her fiance is capable of something she hadn’t previously considered. On some level, she probably feels foolish for even trusting him at all.”

“ESH, because her reaction is still strong, but this is such a weird thing to hide from someone that I think it’s understandable for her to be thrown. Especially when you’re only engaged and not yet married, I know personally this was a period in my relationship where suddenly I was examining everything a little closer.”

“Marriage is scary and emotional already (and joyous and wonderful), any doubt at all is going to be more closely considered leading up to your marriage than it might have been when a lifelong commitment wasn’t hanging over you.” – Irisversicolor

“I couldn’t help but laugh. I understand the ‘bat cave’ mentality as I am also a guy, but I think it probably came off more axe-murderer vibe.”

“I want to say NTA, but logically, ESH.”

“It’s your place, so, so what if you have a secret room? It’s your secret room. BUT you should have also told her about it after being with her for so long. Maybe a week after she moves in. Not telling her is like you do not trust her with your secret… which is a bad thing, I would say.” – Galactic_Beans

Though the subReddit could understand how the OP meant for this to be a fun surprise for their partner, they recognized it was a much more nuanced situation than that.

Some might find this to be amazing or hilarious, but for anyone who might have issues with security, safety, and trust, this would certainly be a surprise that could keep them up at night, just like watching a horror movie.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.